Divya Khosla Kumar is no stranger to the entertainment industry. Besides directing several videos, she has also acted in a big-budget film starring A-list actors [AB TUMHARE HAWALE WATAN SATHIYO]. So when Divya — the wife of the head honcho of T-Series [Bhushan Kumar] — decided to make a feature-film, everyone expected her to start with top of the line stars/creme-de-la-creme in her maiden venture. Instead, she chose to cast rank newcomers in principal roles — a move that raised eyebrows.
Post the super-success of STUDENT OF THE YEAR, helmed by Karan Johar and AASHIQUI-2, helmed by Mohit Suri, which was a game changer, several studios as well as reputed raconteurs are executing qualitative projects with fresh faces. YAARIYAN, which marks the directorial debut of Divya Khosla Kumar, stands out from films of its ilk. Reason: While the principal cast boasts of freshers, the making, opulence and splendor is at par with any mega-budget film attempted in Bollywood. The question that crosses your mind is, is YAARIYAN equally big in terms of content? Let’s evaluate…
First, the plot! The film starts with the college principal [Gulshan Grover] summoning five students, handing them the responsibility of saving the college campus from a foreign hotelier who intends making a resort. The deal is that in order to save the college, the Indian students should outdo their Australian counterparts in the test of physical and mental abilities. While there are the expected ups, downs and betrayals, what triumphs in the end is friendship, as the title suggests.
I genuinely believe that the teenage years are the best phase of your life. When one is well ensconced in the dreamy world. When life is yet to throw challenges towards you… Divya Khosla Kumar attempts to encapsulate that period through the lead characters of her movie. In fact, it won’t be erroneous to state that YAARIYAN attempts to pay tribute to that phase of an individual’s life.
Evidently, Divya Khosla Kumar seems to be an ardent fan of movies such as JO JEETA WOHI SIKANDAR, KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI, JAANE TU… YA JAANE NA, 3 IDIOTS and STUDENT OF THE YEAR, since there are faint echoes of such acclaimed films in her maiden endeavor. Of course, the premise of YAARIYAN is dissimilar and so are the character sketches.
The first half of YAARIYAN has its moments of fun, although the narrative tends to go astray at times. If one were to pinpoint the deficiencies, the romance between the professors appears forced in the narrative. Also, Himansh’s cousin being attacked by members of the Australian team lacks conviction. The humor/liveliness also dries up after a point and one feels that the first half — which commenced with lively and funny moments — could’ve been succinct by at least 10/15 minutes.
However, the writing gets consistent in the post-interval portions. The mountain biking race as also the rock climbing contest is the mainstay of the film. They are brilliantly executed! Prior to that, the tender moments shared by the lead pair works decently well too. Divya also gets the intensity in the emotional sequences spot on. Additionally, the dazzling locales and magnificent cinematography translate into a truly good looking film.
Divya deserves kudos for accepting the challenge of directing freshers in her debut film. The best of storytellers are not afraid of taking risks and Divya seems to be one of those. Her handling of the humorous moments as well as the emotional ones with maturity confirms the fact that she knows the craft well. But one does feel that the writing could’ve been sharp edged at places. One of the USPs of the film is — no prizes for guessing this one! — the musical score, which has the word ‘Chartbuster’ written all over it. In fact, every track has caught on big time with listeners, especially ‘Baarish’ [soulful], ‘Sunny Sunny’ [a rage with partygoers], ‘ABCD’ [foot-tapping], ‘Allah Waariyan’ [melodic] and ‘Meri Maa’ [makes you moist-eyed]. Cinematography is top notch, with the DoP [Sameer Arya] capturing the spectacular locales with flourish. The opening and end credits are also innovative and catch your eye!
Now to the performances! Agree, the beginners don’t set the screen ablaze at the very start itself, but the performances grow on you gradually. Himansh Kohli is earnest and endearing. He has the makings of a fine actor. Rakul Preet looks beautiful and acts confidently. The way she emotes with her eyes is commendable. Nicole Faria, Dev Sharma, Shreyas Pardiwalla, Serah Singh and Vikas Verma are appropriate in their respective parts. Evelyn Sharma looks gorgeous and does a fine job.
Gulshan Grover is wonderfully restrained. Deepti Naval and Smita Jaykar are perfect.
On the whole, YAARIYAN has a gripping second half, smash hit musical score and the youthful romance that should lure and entice its target audience — the youth. A treat for youngsters and young at heart!
Hacker movies are a novelty for the Indian spectators. Although the subject matter is serious, integrating intermittent cackles and guffaws within a thriller format could prove to be the perfect escapist fare for the Gen X that identifies with such subject matter. In the West, a number of films have made a social statement on the issue, but a film based entirely on hacking is indeed a unique experience on the Hindi screen.
Although the plotline and genre bear no semblance to VICKY DONOR, you somehow connect MICKEY VIRUS with Shoojit Sircar’s vastly admired movie simply because of the backdrop [Delhi] and the protagonist who’s looking for shortcuts to get hold of some effortless cash. These similarities apart, VICKY DONOR and MICKEY VIRUS are as dissimilar as apples and peaches in terms of matter and material.
Mickey [Manish Paul] sits in his mother’s grocery store in the day and creates viruses and quirky softwares in the night with his pal Chutney [Puja Gupta]. The story takes a turn when ACP Siddhanth [Manish Chaudhari], who’s on the look out for a street-smart hacker, hires Mickey to bust a colossal plan that can shake up the national capital.
While much of the first half of MICKEY VIRUS is committed to Mickey, his friends and the romantic liaison with Kamayani [Elli Avram], the story gathers momentum towards the post-interval portions. Besides, a few portions do move at a sluggish pace in this hour and one wonders why debutant director Saurabh Varma has devoted so much time and footage to Mickey and his sweetheart. Of course, it’s only towards the subsequent half that Saurabh opens the cards and one realizes that the first-time director was only creating the base for the turn of events that are due in the latter half.
Saurabh sets aside the best for the second hour as MICKEY VIRUS gathers pace and alters tracks [it gets into the thriller mode], with several unanticipated twists thrown in the sequence of events. The murder, the ambiguity behind the murder, the cat and mouse game… Saurabh ensures there’s no dreary or yawn-inducing moment now. The build up to the culmination is nerve-racking, with the identity of the actual perpetrators catching you completely unaware. However, once the identity of the killers is out in the open, MICKEY VIRUS loses steam, partly because the way the villains go about divulging their game plan looks amateurish and slipshod. The penultimate moments, frankly, could’ve been innovative like the rest of the film.
Despite being his first attempt at directing a film, Saurabh Varma’s proficiency is appreciable in a number of sequences. Besides, the triumph of the film lies in the fact that it does manage to keep the viewer hooked for most parts. Music is functional, while the DoP [Anshuman Mahalay] does a commendable job of capturing Saurabh’s vision on celluloid. Dialogue do elicit a few laughs at times.
Manish Paul, who’s a reputed name in television circles, gets a character that’s far removed from the comic parts he’s synonymous with. He does a swell job of adopting the mannerisms of geeky college brats and even manages to pull off the emotional sequences rather well. Elli Avram, on the other hand, is self-assured for her debut film, but is vaguely underutilized. Puja Gupta is alright. Manish Chaudhari impresses a great deal, but Varun Badola is the real scene stealer actually. He’s sure to walk away with laurels!
Raghav Kakkar [as Floppy], Vikesh Kumar [as Pancho] and Nitesh Pandey [as Professor Utpal Acharya] are appropriate.
On the whole, MICKEY VIRUS is a well-made, engrossing thriller that should be liked by the youngsters.
Review by Taran Adarsh on Bollywood Hungama
True to its title, SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE is indeed a shuddh [pure] take at live-in relationships involving desi characters and looks at the highs and lows that come with it. Although the spectator has, over the decades, witnessed innumerable interpretations of love and romance, Maneesh and writer Jaideep Sahni make sure they don’t take a leaf out of been-there-seen-that kind of situations. Instead, they ensure that the three characters in SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE follow their hearts and don’t succumb to the diktats of the society. Also, they speak an uninhibited lingo, which hasn’t been spoken in Hindi films earlier. They are not rebellious, but straightforward. And that, in all honesty, is the prime reason that gives this film an edge.
SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE is the journey of three restless young people who junk the society’s syllabus for finding love and decide to follow their heart. Raghu [Sushant Singh Rajput], a tourist guide in Jaipur, wants a love in his life… Gayatri [Parineeti Chopra], a part-time instructor in an English-speaking institute, has been around the block a few times and knows the scene… Tara [Vaani Kapoor], who’s dying to get out there and fly, knows what’s right for her, but a little experimenting never hurt anybody, did it?… When their lives crisscross, their beliefs get challenged and their loves, tested.
After leaving a tremendous impression in his first Hindi outing, Sushant Singh Rajput wows you with a remarkable portrayal yet again. He brings a lot of freshness with his unpretentious and spontaneous act. Parineeti Chopra gets into the bindaas zone yet again, a role that’s become synonymous with her of late. She seems to be going from strength to strength with every film. Vaani Kapoor is self-assured and doesn’t seem overwhelmed by her skilled co-stars. Rishi Kapoor is, like always, in terrific form. Rajesh Sharma is okay in a cameo.
On the whole, SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE caters to the youth and reflects the mindset of a chunk of the youth these days. The film, which speaks a different lingo, is a gutsy attempt that defies the stereotype. Told in an entertaining format, it is sure to strike a chord with not just the youngsters, but also with those who love shudh [unchartered, in this case] storylines. Refreshingly different, give this one a chance. Recommended!
Review by Taran Adarsh in Bollywood Hungama
Girl: I fell in love with him at second sight.
Friend: Never heard of love at second sight???
Girl: At first sight he was crossing the road, and on the second sight, he got into his Audi
Husband and Wife had an heated argument on Karwachauth day.
HUsband came up with a killer reply – “Dimaag khane se bhi Vrat Tuut Jata hai”
Stars – 2 Stars
Given the kind of films that have been releasing recently, what one sees is that there is a certain ‘talking point’ about every film that is coming out from Bollywood lately. Be it the hero’s much-hidden secretive hairstyle, or the suspense of the film or maybe an integral cameo by a leading superstar, or as seen in current times, even adaptation of popular books or classic literature, which eventually gets all the possible mileage for the film before its release.
This week’s release HAIDER comes from the stable of the ‘thinking’ filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj. After his earlier films MAQBOOL and OMKARA, Vishal brings to you yet another Shakespearean treat in the form of HAIDER, which is an Indian adaptation of Shakespeare’s HAMLET. HAIDER stars some of the superlative talents of the country in the form of Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, Shraddha Kapoor and others, which makes it needless to scale the level of expectations one would associate with this film.
HAIDER starts off circa 1995 in Srinagar, where military rule reigned supreme. The film is about Haider (Shahid Kapoor), who is the son of Dr. Hilal Meer (Narendra Jha) and Ghazala (Tabu). One day, when Dr. Meer brings home a militant for treatment; this ‘information’ gets leaked to the military forces, which leads to a crackdown of the army, who in turn, land up blowing their house in front of Tabu and others. Post this; Dr. Meer goes missing, which leaves his wife Ghazala as ‘half-widow’. Taking advantage of the situation, his brother Khurram (Kay Kay Menon) ends up marrying Ghazala, whom he always addresses as ‘bhabhi jaan’ but is madly in love with. This is something that Haider doesn’t approve of, because he still believes that his father is alive somewhere. That’s when he confronts his mother openly disapproving of her relationship with Khurram. Amidst all this, the only person who stands by him through the thick and thin is his love Arshia Lone (Shraddha Kapoor), who is a journalist by profession. The search for his father leaves Haider with no time for anything else. That’s when one day, a certain Roohdaar (Irrfan Khan) appears out of nowhere and trails Arshia only to pass Haider a message from his father. When Haider meets Roohdaar, the latter explains everything in detail to him, right from Khurram’s evil plans to trap his father to Khurram’s affair with his mother. But, when Haider confronts his uncle Khurram, the uncle has a totally different story to tell about Roohdaar, which only confuses Haider further. A very helpless Haider is now torn apart in all the directions, because of his father’s grief, his anger for his uncle and his unsaid and unspoken longing for his mother.
Does Haider succeed in finding his father and does he succeed in conquering the love of his life, does he finally get to hear the whole truth from his mother, forms the rest of the story.
Even though the film’s director Vishal Bhardwaj is known for his thoughtful and meaningful cinema, HAIDER is interesting only to a certain extent. The film, that starts off on a promising note in the first half slowly losses its fizz as the story progresses. While the first half is engaging to a large extent, despite its slow pace, the same cannot be said about the second half, which drags endlessly. Crisp editing is the secret that could have saved the film from being a yawn-trip by the end. The length of the film is definitely a big issue here.
What however keeps the audience glued to the chair through this dragging affair is the brilliant performances by all the actors. Do not miss Shahid’s explanation of the term ‘chutzpah’ to everyone.
HAIDER definitely is Shahid Kapoor’s best performance till date. It is one of the complex roles that he has taken up till date and he definitely gets into the skin of the character. Shraddha Kapoor, who is seen here after her last hit EK VILLAIN, seems to have perfected her Ps and Qs of emotions and even the ‘Kashmiri English’. She is loveable in her part as the innocent girl who is madly in love with Haider. Even though Narendra Jha, who plays Shahid’s father, doesn’t have many scenes in the film, his voice haunts you till the end, as he seeks revenge from his brother. Kay Kay Menon, as the evil mind uncle, also delivers what was expected of the role. The show stealer of the whole film is indeed the firebrand actress Tabu, who as Ghazala, towers over everyone. The rest of the actors (Kulbhushan Kharbanda after a long time on screen, Aashish Vidyarthi, Aamir Bashir and others) simply help in moving the film forward. Here, a special mention goes to the duo that plays ‘Salman Khan do-alikes’.
Even though the music (Tushar Parte- Simaab Sen) of the film is soulful and heartening at places, it lacks the required lustre. With the exception of the lavishly shot ‘Bismil’ song, all the others look and sound just about average. While the film’s choreography (Sudesh Adhana) is average, a special mention goes to the costume designer Dolly Ahluwalia for having come up with some of the most brilliant costumes of the characters. The film’s cinematography is first-rate.
On the whole, HAIDER is targeted more at niche multiplex audience and not for the masses, which may work against the film. Add to that, the lesser number of screens available for the film and its release alongside the gigantic competitor film BANG BANG may just see the film struggling at the Box-Office.
BY Taran Adarsh
Dad : Son u hv to get married I hv seen a girl for u
Dad : Think twice she is Bill Gates daughter
Son: I m ready.
Dad goes to Bill Gates
Dad : My son wants to marry ur daughter
Bill Gates : Not possible
Dad : Think twice he is the CEO of Swiss Bank
Bill Gates : I m ready
Dad goes to Swiss Bank Authorities
Dad : Make my son the CEO of ur Bank
Authorities : Not possible
Dad : Think twice he is Bill Gates Son in Law
Authorities : Ur Sons job is confirmed
Rating: 3.5 / 5
A typical Bollywood Masala Movie, which is purely made for entertainment. The movie is fast pace with very few moments of slow down. The story can be predicted in the first half and doesn’t give us many surprises. But the movie will keep up with your expectations of pure entertainment.
Characters were well structured, except for Parikshit Sahini and Shakti Kapoor, they could have been avoided. Shiv Pandit and Aditi Rao Hydari performed well and made their presence noticeable. Mithun acted well as a father and contributed well in emotional scenes specially between him and Akshay. Ronit Roy is the worthy nemesis to Akshay, who does the menacing act to perfection. He’s absolutely loathsome. Danny Denzongpa is wonderful, as always. But overall it was Akkis movie. His fans will not be disappointed as in OUATIM2. His approach to the character in BOSS is way different from what he enacted in his earlier masala movies. Clearly, he’s the mainstay of the enterprise. Also, he looks much more fresh than his previous movies.
However, three sequences stand out. One — Akshay’s intro, two — when Mithun visits a dargah with his sons and the fight that ensues and three — the penultimate fight in the end.
A paisa vasool entertainer with full masala, already popular songs, full action and shall woo the masala lovers. Go and feel like a BOSS >>>>
Santa rang 98.3 FM
Santa: I found a purse on SV Road, it has Rs 15000 cash, a credit card and Id with name of Pallavi Mishra
Radio Jockey: Wow!! you are so honest, would you like to return the purse to her
Santa: No, I wish to play a Sad Song for Pallavi Mishra
Stars – 3
In an industry where fame and fortune changes every Friday, where equations and relations are correlated with the BO earnings [strange, but true!], the only thing that remains constant is change. Several film-makers are making an earnest attempt to be an integral part of the transformation, attempting wide-ranging genres and embarking on a path less travelled. Of late, a number of storytellers are in the mood to attempt satires, doing away with the mundane and unexciting tried and trusted stuff. Recall PEEPLI [LIVE], OMG – OH MY GOD! JOLLY LLB, SAARE JAHAAN SE MEHNGA… more recently, there was DEKH TAMASHA DEKH. Now Janaki Vishwanathan attempts a satire that’s set against the backdrop of rural India — YEH HAI BAKRAPUR.
Like Anusha Rizvi, who directed PEEPLI [LIVE], Janaki, has also been a journalist. The question that crosses your mind is, why do journalists attempt satires? I guess, when you watch life at such close quarters — examining the ludicrousness and illogicalities so meticulously — you hope to present the myriad experiences on celluloid some day. And what better genre than satire to highlight the message. After all, tackling a grim issue and coating it with humor makes it easily palatable, right?
I am told the premise of YEH HAI BAKRAPUR is inspired by a news-report about a goat brought from Rajasthan to Delhi. The story explores the innocent relationship between Zulfi [Shameem Khan], a young kid, and his pet goat Shah Rukh. Burdened with poverty, recurring expenses and loans, the family is always in distress because Ansari [Asif Basra] and his nephew Majid [Faiz Khan] don’t earn enough to sustain the family. As a last resort, the family decides to sell off the goat at a mela, much against the wishes of Zulfi, who is completely heartbroken by the decision.
That’s when Jaffer [Anshuman Jha], who is in love with Zulfi’s elder sister Naaz [Yaushika Varma], gets a brainwave…
YEH HAI BAKRAPUR marks the foray of National Award winner Janaki Vishwanathan into Hindi films [she also doubles up as the writer of this film]. Frankly, she couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate theme for her Hindi debut, since the written material offers her ample scope to entertain the viewers with an out-of-the-box theme, plus drive home a serious message. The serpentine twists in the plot and the engaging screenplay manage to keep you alert and attentive, except when Janaki decides to have an abrupt intermission and an open end, which stands out like a sore thumb. Ideally, it would’ve worked better had she thought of a firm resolution.
Janaki also uses the songs [Agnee] smartly in the narrative; the tracks don’t look forced into the goings-on. Like CHENNAI EXPRESS, which paid tribute to Rajinikanth ['Lungi Dance'], the team of YEH HAI BAKRAPUR too pays tribute to SRK towards the end credits. The background score is subtle, but effective. Extensively filmed in Bidar in Karnataka, the DoP [Abinandhan Ramanujam] captures the locales wonderfully on celluloid.
The cast slips naturally into their respective parts. Anshuman Jha and Yaushika Varma enact the lovebirds with conviction. Asif Basra is absolutely at ease, while Faiz Khan is convincing as the helpless husband. However, it is Suruchi Aulakh who breathes life into her character of the nagging housewife Suraiyya. She’s remarkable! Shameem Khan, the child artist, exudes the right amount of smartness and innocence required for the part. Wasim Khan [Jaffer's father], Utkarsh Mazumdar and Amit Sial are alright.
On the whole, YEH HAI BAKRAPUR employs a comic tone to tell a serious story. Armed with a simplistic, but innovative plot and an engaging screenplay, this small little film deserves a watch because it’s made with heart.
BY Taran Adarsh
At a time when almost all reputed names in the industry are planning mega-projects, casting top-of-the-league names to ensure a record start at the ticket window, Amole Gupte seems to be an exception. He casts a kid [yet again!] in the central role and ventures to narrate the boy’s scratch-to-achiever saga, even when his world is falling apart.
HAWAA HAWAAI is all about ordinary people. Those who cross our paths every single day, but we barely glance at them. Neither do we have the time or inclination to think of their existence. It’s the story of willpower and determination. And it highlights the triumph of the human spirit in the wake of adversities. It makes you realize that those who dream have the power to move mountains. It’s about ambitions and finding the hero within.
After TAARE ZAMEEN PAR [Amole was credited as the creative director of the film] and STANLEY KA DABBA, Amole constructs the emotional journey of a kid who faces hardships at every step, but is unyielding and unwavering in his motive. Much like the above-named two films, HAWAA HAWAAI is seeped in emotions, moves and motivates you and concurrently, makes you applaud the indomitable spirit of the protagonist.
Let’s enlighten you about the plot. HAWAA HAWAAI narrates the story of Arjun Harishchandra Waghmare aka Raju [Partho Gupte], who takes up the job at a tea stall after his farmer-father’s [Makarand Deshpande] demise. A chance encounter with Lucky [Saqib Saleem], a coach, who trains young kids in rollerblading, and Arjun aka Raju starts dreaming of learning the sport.
From hereon begins a heart-warming story of five daily wage earner kids and their battle not for survival, but for living their dreams.
Amole Gupte’s film is a sparkling gem because he introduces us to characters that win you over instantly. Amole has a knack of handling kids [recall his previous films] and the ones in HAWAA HAWAAI make you chuckle, pause and introspect at vital points of the movie. These kids, child labours all, sport a smile even in adverse circumstances, while most of us, blessed with a decent life, crib and curse constantly. Entrusted in any other director’s hands, HAWAA HAWAAI may’ve floundered, with the characters looking more like caricatures, but not here.
Amole directs with a sure eye, while the screenplay [it holds you attentive for most parts] is far removed from frivolity attached to a majority of Hindi movies. The only time HAWAA HAWAAI goes off-track is when Pragya Yadav enters the scene. The pretty newcomer acts confidently, no doubt, but her character appears ornamental in the scheme of things. Also, the sequence of events in the hospital appears overtly dramatic and should’ve been abridged for a stronger impact. However, these are minor aberrations.
The soundtrack is situational, while the camerawork is wonderful. The cinematography towards the make-it-or-break-it race in the finale is striking.
HAWAA HAWAAI belongs to Partho Gupte, who astounds you [yet again!] with a smashing performance. He’s the soul of the film, no two opinions on that. Saqib Saleem is relegated to the backseat in the first half, but makes sure he shines in several poignant moments towards the post-interval portions. I’d like to make a special mention of the four kids who help Partho attain his dream — Bhura [portrayed by Salman Chhote Khan], Gochi [Ashfaque Khan], Abdul [Maaman Memon] and Bindaas Murugan [Tirupathi Krishnapelli]. Each of them get their act spot on, especially Gochi. Anuj Sachdeva [as Saqib's brother] is first-rate.
Neha Joshi [as Partho's mother] is a talent to watch out for. She is terrific. Makarand Deshpande, Divya Jagdale, Sanjay Dadich and Razzak Khan leave a mark in their respective roles.
On the whole, HAWAA HAWAAI is a gem that shouldn’t be missed. A wonderful creation with heartrending emotions, this one’s inspirational and motivating. Strongly recommended!
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3
Lawless land. Coal mining mafia. Men with insatiable hunger for power and sex. Gruesome violence… Asshu Trikha highlights all of the above in his new outing KOYELAANCHAL. The raconteur takes you to the world where might is right and the voice of the poor and the hapless never make it to the ears of the concerned authorities.
Although the plot is distinct and so are the characters, KOYELAANCHAL brings back memories of Asshu’s hard-hitting gangster movie BAABARR. Also, Anurag Kashyap’s GANGS OF WASSEYPUR and Ali Abbas Zafar’s GUNDAY. Is the film as absorbing as those films, let’s find out…
KOYELAANCHAL highlights the atrocities committed by Saryubhan Singh [Vinod Khanna], referred to as ‘Maalik’ in the region. The only language he knows and understands is, my way or the highway. Things take a turn when an honest and upright District Collector Nisheeth Kumar [Suniel Shetty] steps in to take charge.
As a warning to steer clear of his path, Saryubhan sends his trusted Karua [Vipinno] to warn Nisheeth. Things take an ugly turn when Karua ends up attacking Nisheeth’s wife [Purva Parag] and hijacks the car that has their infant in it. The battle lines are drawn…
KOYELAANCHAL takes a reallyyy longgg time to come to the point. Ideally, Asshu should’ve established the characters and set the ball rolling within 15/20 minutes of the commencement of the film, but much of the first hour is devoted to establishing the characters, depicting bloodshed and the pathetic condition of the locals. The wheels start moving only before the intermission, when Karua attacks Nisheeth. It’s at this juncture that the writing gets interesting, when the two warring factions lock horns.
The volatile confrontations, the drama that ensues, the new characters that step in [Kannan Arunachalam in particular]… it is as this stage that you feel that Asshu has got the grip finally. As a matter of fact, it won’t be erroneous to state that it’s like watching a different movie altogether, with the dramatic confrontations [between Vinod Khanna and Kannan Arunachalam first and between Vinod Khanna and Suniel Shetty subsequently] making an impact, so much so that you ignore the deficiencies that show up sporadically. However, the emotional connect between the kidnapper and the infant is stretched for no reason.
One expects the culmination to take the film to its pinnacle, but the writing messes up at this point. The finale lacks fizz, while the VFX appear tacky.
In a film whose middle name is violence, there’s no scope for music at all. The songs, therefore, are functional. Also, given its genre, the film rests heavily on violence and bloodshed [there's too much of it!], while the gruesome and explicit sequences do put you off at times.
Vinod Khanna carries the film on his broad shoulders with his villainous act. The veteran gets the opportunity and some heavy-duty sequences to display his mettle and he grabs the opportunity with both hands. It’s a stellar act without doubt. Suniel Shetty underplays his part beautifully. Generally, most actors would’ve insisted on being one-up on their on-screen opponent, but not Suniel. Vipinno gets ample opportunity to exhibit his physique, flex muscles and exude power. He doesn’t get many lines to deliver. He does leave a mark nonetheless.
Kannan Arunachalam is in terrific form, while the ladies, Rupali Krishna Rao [as Roopmati] and Purva Parag [as Suniel's wife] are first-rate both. Deepraj Rana is getting typecast. Brij Gopal [as Vinod Khanna's trusted confidant Sadho] is competent. Asshu Trikha appears in a well-enacted cameo.
On the whole, KOYELAANCHAL is absorbing and engaging, especially towards the second half. Should find its share of audience at single screens specifically.
By Taran Adarsh
A Question asked in a talent contest
Q – If you are married to one of the twin sisters, how would you recognize your wife?
The winning Answer – “Why should I?”
The first look, posters, news, speculations, trailers have raised the expectations of what Krrish 3 is will deliver on Bollywood platform. Following the legacy from Koi Mil Gaya to Krrish, this presentations has surpassed all expectations. With every step of this growing franchise expectations are raising and the team let no stone unturned to deliver more than expected. Everything has gone bigger and better for Krrish 3 surpassing all the levels of technology to presentation.
The story spins around three main characters, the father (Hrithik), son (Hrithik) and daughter in law (Priyanka) and retains the same plot of all superhero movies, battle of noble versus evil. Some of the scientific idea thought and presented in the movie is worth round of applause. It seeds some ideas, like Hollywood movies does and present what could be expected. The right balance of emotions, technology and series of sequences decorated the platter to perfection.
The evil force in the movie is another strong character (Vivek Oberoi) which has created an army of mutuants (a combination of animal and man). This concept has given the movie an edge and Chameleon Kaya (Kangna Ranaut) with other mutants challenging superhero and fight sequences will drop jaws, without a shred of doubt. The characters are well balanced and had been given enough screen presentation to justify their presence.
Movie has three songs among which Raghupati Raghav is a popular number. Hrithik must have apprehended all spectators while performing. His dance steps were spellbound. Other two songs are entertaining, with good cinematography and right blend of emotions.
The characters were well played and distribution of screen presence between father and son characters are perfect. Both Hrithiks looks so different that you get different flavour from both characters. Priyanka is looking gorgeous. She hasn’t got much screen presence but did really well in her slot. Hrithik has matured in acting and building the ability to move the plot on his shoulders. Kangna has impressed a lot with her character and the movements of her emotions with changing sequences. With no qualm she will walk away with lot of applauds.
Rakesh Roshan has adapted himself to the fast-changing times. His clutch on the emotional proportion is evident in every project, but in KRRISH-3, the marriage of content and VFX is the motivating force, which sets it apart from his previous directorial ventures. As Hrithik claimed “Krrish 3 will move some heads from west” and we very well trust after watching this huge entertainer.
ON the whole the movie has correct mix of everything for all generations. The team has pulled up something unique which had never been presented on Bollywood platform and has set new benchmarks for coming movies. Bollywood certainly is changing its shape from orthodox concepts to new ideas and moving times. A must recommended watch and don’t miss to see it on big screen to get the perfect feel of humongous entertainment.
Stars – 3.5
Some stories should be told. And director Sandeep Varma does a splendid job of chronicling the tale of Manjunath Shanmugam and bringing it to multiplexes.
Manjunath was 27 when he was assassinated in 2005. The director creates a vivid portrait of a young man who was an obedient son, a thoughtful friend and an honest worker in this biopic called MANJUNATH. Working for the Indian Oil Corporation, Manjunath was a whistleblower, who exposed the petrol pumps selling unadulterated fuel.
Unfortunately, Manjunath’s voice was silenced. He was shot dead on duty for doing what was right.
As a film, MANJUNATH works in totality. Director Sandeep Varma presents the heroic deeds of Manjunath, putting together the events meticulously and crafting an engaging film around him. It’s an honest endeavour that oozes sincerity. A courageous attempt, since the storyteller remains faithful to the subject material.
Sandeep gives an insight into Manjunath’s life at the IIM-L, his interaction with his friends, the relationship with his parents… the storyteller also integrates humor, besides a song or two in the narrative.
One of the factors that elevates MANJUNATH to another level is its talented cast and the superior performances they pitch in. Seema Biswas and Kishore Kadam, portraying Manjunath’s parents, are outstanding. Recall the sequence when they attend a program in memory of their son. The sequence is sure to melt even the stone-hearted. Anjori Alagh interprets her part with complete understanding. Divya Dutta is absolutely believable. Yashpal Sharma and Asif Basra are effectual. Faisal Rashid is first-rate.
Expectedly, it is Sasho Satiiysh Saarathy who wears the character like skin and is the soul of MANJUNATH. He portrays strength, anguish and simmering rage with incredible ease and conviction.
On the whole, MANJUNATH documents the story of Manjunath Shanmugam in a life-like way. It is realistic, brave and powerful. Watch it!
By Taran Adarsh
Santa and Banta decided to rob a bank but during the process of the robbery they mess it up, but they do managing to escape with two sacks that they find on the floor.
They do manage to take one sack each.
After a while they meet again and one asks the other…
Santa: What did you find in your sack?
Banta: Ten lakh Rupees!
Santa: Wow… that’s a lot of money!’ What did you do with the cash?
Banta: I bought a house. How about your sack?
Santa: It was full of bills.
Banta: And what did you do with them?
Santa: Eh, well… little by little, I’m paying them off…
A young woman had given birth in the elevator of a New Delhi hospital, and was embarrassed about it.
One of the Doctors, in an effort to console her, said, “Don t feel bad. Why, only two years ago a lady delivered in the front yard of the hospital.”
With that the new mother burst out crying.
“I know,” she said. “That was me, too.”
EK shaitaani Chudel ne 60 saal ke husband
& wife se kaha.Main tum dono ki ek ek wish puri kar sakti
hun..Wife :- Main apne pati ke saath saari
duniya ghoomna chaahti hun..
Chudel ne chutki bajayi aur 2 tickets aa
gaye..Fir husband se poochha..
Tum bolo kya chaahte ho??
Husband :- Mujhe apne se 30 saal chhoti
Chudel ne chutki bajayi aur husband ko
90 saal ka kar dia!!
Moral :- Aadmi ko yaad rakhna chaahiye ke
Chudel bhi aurat hi hoti hai.
Wife takes very ill husband to a Doctor.
Doctor advices to wife :
- Give him healthy breakfast daily
- Be pleasant & in good mood
- Cook tasty dinner
- Don’t discuss your problems with him
- Stop watching tv shows & facebook n whats app
- Don’t demand new jewels
If u can do this for one year, Ur husband will be ok.
On the way to home, husband asks wife :
What did Doctor say ?
Wife : Bachna mushkil hai !
Best one line ad by a married man on OLX..
For Sale – Wedding suit, used only once, by mistake
Three fastest means of communication
……Need still faster? Tell her not to tell anyone
A store that sells “New Husbands” has opened in New York City, where a woman may go to choose a husband.
Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:
You may visit this store ONLY ONCE!
There are six floors and the value of the products increases as the shopper ascends the flights.
The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!
So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband.
On the first floor the sign on the door reads:
Floor 1 – These men Have Jobs.
She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:
Floor 2 – These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.
‘That’s nice,’ she thinks, ‘but I want more.’ So she continues upward. The third floor sign reads:
Floor 3 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.
‘Wow,’ she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going. She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:
Floor 4 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help with Housework.
‘Oh, mercy me!’ she exclaims, ‘I can hardly stand it!’ Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:
Floor 5 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.
She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:
Floor 6 - You are visitor number 31,456,012 to this floor.
There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please!!!
Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.
(scroll and keep reading!)
The store’s owner opened a “New Wives Store” just across the street.
The 1st Floor has wives that listen to men.
The 2nd, 3rd, 4th,5th and 6th floor have never been visited by men
4-5 dost daru pee rahe the tabhi table par rakha mobile baja Man…Hello Wife – main market me hu kya mei 50 hazar wala
gold set le lu Man…- Ha lelo Wife-Ek silk suit bhi lelu 5500 ka hai Man….-Ha janu lelo,suno 2-4 lelo Wife-Thik hai tumhara credit card mere paas hai
usi se le rahi hu Man…-Thik hai All Friends – Tu pagal hai ya tujhe chad gayi hai… Man…-wo sb chodo aur ye batao ye mobile kiska
hai ?? HAR EK DOST KAMINA HOTA HAI..
Sardar 2 hotel Receptionist in the midnight-
U are providing Free Wife in the room?
Its not “Free Wife”
Its “Free Wi-Fi”! ��
Car Sales man: Madam this is New Honda Accord with V6 Twin turbo engine and with 6gears.Hope ul like to test drive….. Lady: oh I don’t need 6 gears,instead give me 1gear and 6mirrors for my makeup=))
Romeo Rajkumar is another Prabhu Dheva presentation and you can feel it through out the movie. At many instance the movie reminds of some cloned presentation from Khiladi 786. That was a well balanced masala entertainer so is R… Rajkumar.
The songs are popular and you can feel the contribution of Prabhu Dheva in many dance steps. Shahid has performed his steps with perfection and in dance we can affiliate his hard work and dedication. However, most songs are there to fill the time, but doesn’t portray any necessity. But Pritams music and contribution by others raised the expectations of what the team will be delivering. We would say R… Rajkumar music has contributed well to attract the audience, who would come in a hope for Paisa Vasool.
The characters seems to be well balanced except for Asrani who has been added to add some humour to the show. His presence didn’t contributed much except for couple of sequences. Shahid’s role is a typical masala movie hero who can do anything to get his love. He fits well and his fight sequences are enjoyable. His confidence and rowdiness in the character is well presented, and he looks fit throughout the movie. Though the never ending energy during fights doesn’t match with the skinny posture he possess. Still it is overshadowed by many other punches in the movie. Sonakshi is as good as in any other movie. She is the central character for which friends becomes enemies. Though director tried to show the feminism part of her by drenching her in many sequences. She is getting confident with time, but her characters seems to have similar outlines. Sonu Sood, Ashish Vidyarthi and Srihari played villains and Sonu excelled in his screen presence. Though his character doesn’t outlined any differentiation to other evil models, but he did well to make him hate in many sequences. Other characters played their part and helped to fill the gaps, with no special attractions.
Story has some twists but much predictable as it goes on. Still the fast pace of sequences force you to be at your seats. Nothing much new to offer in the show, but if you are a masala lover of Bollywood then this movie may entice you and you will not let you returned dishearten. If you want to save your money for Dhoom 3 then the gamble is still on. Everyone is waiting for the release but R.. Rajkumar may fit well in covering the gaps of regular cinema visitors. So if you have nothing much to do then R… Rajkumar will entertain you….
You enjoy a movie even more if it has the unforeseeable factor adjoined to its premise. Thankfully, a number of storytellers in Bollywood are aiming to surprise, shock and charm you with attention-grabbing yarns you haven’t witnessed earlier on the Hindi screen. Some get it right, some don’t, but what needs to be lauded is the effort to break the mould, to go beyond the stereotype. Vikas Bahl’s QUEEN also dares to push the envelope.
The promos of QUEEN bring back memories of TANU WEDS MANU, partly because the protagonist [Rani] seems like a distant cousin of Tanu. But let’s get one thing clear: The presence of Kangna Ranaut and North India setting apart, there’s no commonality between TANU WEDS MANU and QUEEN. However, one can draw parallels with ENGLISH VINGLISH, since Shashi in ENGLISH VINGLISH and Rani in QUEEN are vulnerable and low on self-esteem, but eventually find their own voice once they resolve to venture out on their own accord.
QUEEN is about a shy and timid girl who travels to Paris and Amsterdam for her honeymoon all alone, when her beau calls off the wedding at the last minute. A quirky concept, yes. But this coming of age story is indeed enjoyable, despite the hiccups.
First, the premise! Rani [Kangna Ranaut] hails from a Punjabi family in Delhi. She has led a sheltered life, having been surrounded by her over-protective, but caring parents, doting grand-mom and younger brother Chintu. Rani is introduced to Vijay [Rajkummar Rao], the son of their family friend. Vijay is attracted to Rani and woos her relentlessly. Eventually, Rani gives in to Vijay’s charms.
Vijay and Rani get engaged. Vijay is posted in London, but when he returns to Delhi for the wedding, he’s a changed man. He calls off the wedding at the eleventh hour. Rani is heartbroken, her family is shattered as well. Rani resolves to take charge of her life. She decides to go on her honeymoon to Europe. All by herself…
QUEEN starts off as yet another attempt to encapsulate the middle class Punjabi set-up [based in New Delhi yet again!], replete with resplendent song-and-dance spectacle prior to the wedding, but quickly changes lanes as Rani sets out for Paris. Steering away from the conservative route of the woman wallowing in self-pity, Vikas Bahl tells Rani’s story with insight and understanding and along with his team of writers [screenplay: Parveez Shaikh, Chaitally Parmar, Vikas Bahl] injects loads of optimism, besides spirited and lively episodes, to portray Rani’s emotional rollercoaster journey.
What really works is the way Vikas presents Rani, his lead character. Rani [in her 20s] is no bimbette or abla naari, is stuck somewhere between tradition and modernity, but has a mind of her own. Her experiences outside the comfort zone [on foreign land], the interaction with varied people she encounters in Paris first and Amsterdam later, the atmospherics… the writers unfurl a tale that’s utterly believable, besides creating a colorful canvas that’s brimming with characters who are *not* cardboard cut-outs. Sure, a couple of episodes may seem quirky, but gel wonderfully in the scheme of things.
Having said that, QUEEN isn’t fool-proof either. The bloated run time — almost 2.30 hours — acts as a roadblock. Also, the story stagnates in the second half. Besides, there are too many songs, especially in the first hour. As a result, the film feels elongated and also indulgent at times. Thankfully, the film is back on tracks towards the closing stages, when Rani meets Vijay in Delhi. The final act is indeed brilliant!
There seems to be an overdose of songs [Amit Trivedi] here. ‘London Thumakda’, ‘Hungama’ and ‘O Gujariya’ are effervescent compositions, while a couple of tracks only add to the run time. Cinematography deserves special mention. The DoP [Bobby Singh; additional cinematography: Siddharth Diwan] captures the sights and sounds of Paris and Amsterdam wonderfully. Dialogue [Anvita Dutt; additional dialogue: Kangna Ranaut] come across real.
It’s hard to take your eyes off Kangna, who captures the nuances of her character spot-on. She’s simply outstanding! Even when the goings-on appear stretched, Kangna doesn’t miss a beat. The earnestness and sincerity she invests in her performance is for all to see. Additionally, the deglam look and the attire [jeans, kurtas, sweaters, handbag] makes it so believable. It won’t be erroneous to state that she turns Rani into the most real woman you’ve encountered on the Hindi screen lately. Rajkummar Rao sparkles in a role not many actors would’ve dared to take up, while Lisa Haydon is simply delightful and supremely confident, complimenting Kangna through and through.
Mish Boyko [as Olik], Jeffrey Ho [as Taka], Guitobh Joseph [as Tim] and Marco Canadea [as Marcello] contribute wonderfully to their respective parts. The actors enacting the part of Kangna’s parents, especially the grand-mom, are lovely.
On the whole, QUEEN reinvents the genre with its non-formulaic screenplay and skilled direction. A charming little film, this one’s made with heart and feeling and it shows. Absolutely recommended!
As a storyteller, Satish Kaushik has never stuck to any particular genre. In addition, he has helmed several remakes over the years, achieving varying degrees of success. His latest outing GANG OF GHOSTS is a remake as well, that of the immensely-liked and successful Bengali film BHOOTER BHABISHYAT .
While films involving ghosts/spirits fall into the horror genre, with spooky and blood-curdling episodes out to scare the living daylights out of you, GANG OF GHOSTS does a somersault. This one’s a comedy with an imaginative premise and wacky characters. While the original [Bengali] film could’ve veered into the outrageous zone, its director [Anik Dutta] made sure the humor was subtle, the ghosts — from diverse strata and era [projected as 'endangered species'] — were lovable and the film successfully exposed the greedy real-estate sharks who’d raze structures to make way for shopping malls and multiplexes. The onus, therefore, falls upon Satish Kaushik to deliver ample laughs in the Hindi remake, besides punctuating the screenplay with a subtle message for the pan-India audience. Does Satish Kaushik remain faithful to BHOOTER BHABISHYAT, which skillfully passed on a vital message, yet eyed the commercial cinema-loving spectator? Does GANG OF GHOSTS deliver as a stand-alone film?
Let’s enlighten you about the premise of GANG OF GHOSTS. The grand old mansions and mills of South Mumbai are being razed to make way for swanky condominiums, malls and multiplexes. Some of these dilapidated buildings were haunted by ghosts. They were evicted and are homeless today. There is no rehabilitation package on offer. Politicians, media, intellectuals, the common man — no one gives a damn to them. After all, ghosts can’t vote.
Royal Mansion is one such heritage property, which is rented out for film shoots to facilitate its maintenance. A heroine faints during a film shoot, allegedly sighting a ghost in the mirror. A film-maker [Parambrata], on a recce of the mansion, gets to hear a spooky tale by an aspiring writer [Sharman Joshi] revolving around the house. But is it just a tall tale or is there a twist to it?
Comedy is serious business and the storyteller ought to ensure that the audience reacts to the comic lines/punches as they unfurl on screen. Much like the original, GANG OF GHOSTS highlights the gluttony of the land-sharks to multiply their money, but, sadly, much is lost in translation. Reason being, Satish Kaushik is unable to retain the qualities that made the original film work. Sure, the cinematic sensibilities are different, but the film ought to keep you transfixed from commencement to conclusion. GANG OF GHOSTS is funny in parts and the zany moments do make you smile occasionally [except for the jokes on flatulence], but, alas, the genuinely funny sequences are few and far between, while the grip loosens at periodic intervals. The film turns captivating towards the closing stages — the penultimate 15 odd minutes hold your attention — but it’s too late for damage control.
Additionally, what weighs down GANG OF GHOSTS is its soundtrack. Actually, there’s an overdose of songs — in the second half specifically — and what adds to the woes is that the tunes are lackluster. Since the Jains, who have produced the film [with Satish], have a music label and a knack for choosing melodies, the tracks should’ve been easy on the ears.
The DoP brings to fore the bygone era effectively, while the dialogue are smart, witty and amusing at most times.
Anupam Kher dominates the show with a super act, more so towards the finale, when he delivers a poignant speech. Sharman Joshi, synonymous with natural performances, gets his act spot-on. Parambrata, who gets to portray the same part in the Hindi version as well, is in fine form. Saurabh Shukla is first-rate. Mahie Gill brings back memories of the bygone era with her accomplished act. She’s simply excellent! Meera Chopra looks unrehearsed to get her act right. Vijay Verma looks his part, but doesn’t get ample scope. Jackie Shroff is typecast as a ‘Bhai’ for the umpteenth time.
Chunkey Pandey, Yashpal Sharma, Asrani, Rajpal Yadav, Rajesh Khattar and J. Brandon Hill are adequate in their respective characters.
On the whole, GANG OF GHOSTS offers laughs, but only in bits and spurts. It’s disheartening to watch a wonderful concept go awry!
Ultimate open letter-
Dear Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi…..
If u have d intention to know problems of a common man….
Then the first thing u should do is Get Married
Logic. …. .
Teacher was teaching Mahabaratha to 6th std students. “Kans heard devaki’s 8th son wud kill him. So he put devaki & vasudev in prison. 1st child was born. Kans killed it by poison. 2nd Kans killed by sword. 3rd was born n so on…
At this point a boy raised his hand for a doubt.
Teacher : What?
Boy : “If kans knew that the 8th son wud kill him, why did he put devaki & vasudev in SAME jail?”
Teacher fainted !!
***The Deaf Wife Problem***
John feared his wife Rosy wasn’t hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.
Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem.
The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.
‘Here’s what you do,’ said the Doctor, ‘stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response..’
That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was In the den. He says to himself, ‘I’m about 40 feet away, let’s see what happens.’ Then in a normal tone he asks, ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?’
So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, ‘Rosy, what’s for dinner?’
Still no response.
Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his Wife and asks, ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?’
Again he gets no response.
So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?’
Again there is no response.
So he walks right up behind her. ‘Rosy, what’s for dinner?’
(You’ll love this)
For God’s sake John, its the FIFTH time m telling you, its ‘BIRYANI!’
An Illiterate Father with his educated son went on a camping trip,they setup their tent & fell asleep.
Sum hours later,Father wakes his Son & asks:Look up to d sky & tell me wat u see?
Son:I see milions of stars.
Father:& wat does that tell u?
Son:Astronomicaly,it tells that there r milions of galaxies & planets..
Father remains silent for moment then says:Idiot, sum1 has stolen our tent!
=P MORAL: Education ruins your common sense.
There was a husband and his wife sitting next to a drunk in a bar.
Suddenly the drunk stands up and yells, “ATTENTION ALL” and farts loudly.
The wife is extremely embarrassed, and the husband looks at the drunk and says, “Excuse me, you just farted before my wife.”
The drunks replies, “I’m sorry I didn’t know it was her turn.”
An old lady always gave the bus conductor Cashew Nuts, Almonds to eat.
Conductor: “So kind of you that you give me those nuts to eat everyday. Why don’t you eat them yourself”
Old Lady: “I don’t have teeth to munch them.”
Conductor: “Then why do you buy them?”
Old Lady: “I just love the chocolate around them!”
Naughty Restaurant Advertisement Board:
We server food as HOT as your friend’s wife…..
Beer as COLD as your own wife..!!!
A woman finds Aladdin’s magic lamp. She starts rubbing it and a Genie comes out as usual. The woman looks at the Genie and asks him to grant her wishes:
- I want my husband to have eyes only for me.
- I want to be the only one in his life.
- I want him to sleep always by my side.
- I want that when he gets up in the morning I’m the first thing he grabs and takes me everywhere he goes.
The Genie turned her into a Smart Phone….!!!
A new miracle doctor was in town. He could cure anything and anybody, and everyone was amazed with what he can do. Everyone except for Mr. Smith, the town grouch.
So Mr. Smith went to this ‘miracle doctor’ to prove that he wasn’t anybody special.
“Hey, doc, I have lost my sense of taste. I can’t taste nothin’, so what are ya goin’ to do?”
The doctor scratches his head and mumbles to himself a little, then tells Mr. Smith, “What you need is jar number 43.”
“Jar number 43?” Mr. Smith wonders.
So the doctor brings the jar and tells Mr. Smith to taste it.
He tastes it and immediately spits it out, “This is gross!” he yells.
“I just restored your sense of taste Mr. Smith,” says the doctor. “That will be $100.”
So Mr. Smith goes home very mad.
One month later, Mr. Smith goes back to the doctor along with a new problem, “Doc,” he starts, “I can’t remember!”
The doctor scratches his head and mumbles to himself a little and tells Mr. Smith, “What you need is jar number 43…”
Before the doctor finished his sentence, Mr. Smith fled the office.
4 Stars by Taran Adarsh on bollywwoodhungama
It’s a well-established trend to have a franchise or a sequel as a meritorious follow up to a triumphant prequel. The year 2013 ended on a high, with the third installment of the lucrative DHOOM franchise rewriting the record books. Now, in the second week of 2014, a sequel to the immensely likable ISHQIYA  is out to woo the spectators — DEDH ISHQIYA. But unlike most franchises/sequels, which have an urban backdrop, DEDH ISHQIYA, much like its predecessor, is set in the hinterland, has an unassuming, homespun feel and an old-world charm to it. But let me make one thing clear: Cosmetically, the two films may be in the same space, but the stories are in sharp contrast to one another.
Abhishek Chaubey created an out of the ordinary world in his directorial debut ISHQIYA. The tale of a love-lorn and ruthless woman Krishna [portrayed by Vidya Balan], who uses Khalujaan and Babban to settle scores, caught the attention of cineastes for varied reasons. Besides a differing plot and an enthralling screenplay, that film had wit, conspiracy and romance that was so unconventional and individualistic on the Hindi screen then. DEDH ISHQIYA continues the escapades of Khalujaan and Babban, but the duo has the extremely desirable, sophisticated, but a secretive woman [Begum Para] and her confidant [Muniya] for company. In addition, while the first part was a love triangle, with both Khalujaan and Babban falling in love with Krishna, DEDH ISHQIYA has two love stories running concurrently.
ISHQIYA was sharp, spicy and volatile, with impulsive characters and a storyline taking a somersault every few minutes. DEDH ISHQIYA is no different. It transports you to a diverse world, but like the first part, this one focuses on love and deceit as well. Also, it’s far more complex this time around… and the truth hits you like a ton of bricks!
Begum Para [Madhuri Dixit-Nene] of Mahmudabad is hosting a festival of poetry and music in her mansion. The country’s best poets are in town. Khalujaan [Naseeruddin Shah], posing as the Nawab of Chandpur, is participating as a poet in the festival. He is not there merely to show off his poetic wares, but to impress the widowed Begum who, as the grapevine suggests, is scouting for a husband — preferably a poet.
Babban [Arshad Warsi] arrives in Mahmudabad to take Khalujaan back to their old life, but his plans alter the moment he sets his eyes on Begum’s maid and confidant Muniya [Huma Qureshi], a brash and sexy young woman. Muniya too has plans of her own. She leaves the palace every now and then in a disguise to meet gangsters in dark alleys. The palace is rife with intrigue…
Unlike the promos of the first part, which communicated quite a bit about the film, the promos of DEDH ISHQIYA maintain the element of mystery around the characters and its plot. Sure, one is familiar with Khalujaan and Babban, but the new characters that Abhishek Chaubey introduces us to in DEDH ISHQIYA — Begum Para and Muniya specifically — are shrouded in secrecy/ambiguity. While ISHQIYA was earthy and rustic, one gets to witness an alternate universe in DEDH ISHQIYA. There’s a lot of poetry, music and color this time around. At the same time, there are layers to the story that baffle you. Garnished with chaste Urdu and peppered with unconventional humor and simmering sexuality, the characters indulge in a treacherous game yet again. This time, it’s even more dicey and perilous.
Abhishek Chaubey deserves colossal admiration for taking the story forward by retaining some characters and adding several new ones. The screenplay is capricious and unpredictable, imparting a flavor that’s distinct and one you most certainly haven’t experienced heretofore. Also, a section of the audience may find the chaste Urdu a tad strenuous to comprehend [although the sub-titles make it quite effortless to decipher], but come on, when you have a film based in Punjab or a South Indian state, the essence of that sector has to come to the forefront, right?
The music [Vishal Bhardwaj] is a sore point and one misses winsome tracks like ‘Dil To Bachcha Hain Ji’ and ‘Ibne Batuta’ from ISHQIYA. This film deserved an entrancing score, also because the emphasis is on poetry this time. Dialogue, also penned by Vishal Bhardwaj, are the mainstay and the backbone of the enterprise. The lines are loaded with wit and the usage of Urdu is prudently juxtaposed in several sequences. The DoP captures the old-world charm wonderfully well and the visuals are absolutely stunning.
Expectedly, Naseeruddin Shah is supremely efficient as Khalujaan. Getting into the skin of the character, the actor gives it all to the film, delivering a performance that’s sure to be recalled amongst his premium works. Matching Naseer is Madhuri Dixit-Nene, a powerhouse of talent. Cast in an unconventional role, it’s a colossal leap for the actress who has several power-packed performances in her repertoire. She also deserves kudos for opting for an unconventional, avant-garde character, which will only win her tremendous admiration and honour in times to come. Arshad Warsi is in terrific form yet again. The actor, a spontaneous performer, wows you with his brilliant act. In fact, Naseer and Arshad are a delight to watch in several sequences, with both complimenting each other from commencement to conclusion. Huma Qureshi is fantastic and if one were to say so, catches you with complete surprise. Her sequences with Naseer, Madhuri and Arshad reiterate that she can stand on her feet, despite being pitted against top notch actors. Yet another performance that stays with you is that of Vijay Raaz. One of the finest talents around, I am sure, DEDH ISHQIYA will make the film fraternity realize that you cannot ignore him for long.
Salman Shahid is top notch in a cameo. Ravi Gosain does a decent job. Manoj Pahwa registers a solid impact.
On the whole, DEDH ISHQIYA is a worthy follow up to the widely admired ISHQIYA. Powerful writing, superb direction and outstanding performances make DEDH ISHQIYA a must watch. Just don’t miss it!
The much-talked-about, much-in-news, mired in controversy movie hits the screens in India. Finally!
A few weeks ago, a documentary called GULABI GANG released at select screens of India. Now Soumik Sen’s GULAAB GANG, which throws light on women dressed in pink saris, fighting against the injustice meted out to women in the heartland of India, opens at cineplexes after courting controversy. What also makes the film interesting is its interesting casting [and on-screen face-off] — Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Juhi Chawla.
Let’s enlighten you about the premise of GULAAB GANG, before I move ahead. Somewhere between vigilante and activist, a group of women takes up varied issues — domestic violence, dowry, rape, electricity, education, et al. The plot thickens when Rajjo [Madhuri Dixit-Nene], their leader, locks horns with a conniving and shrewd politician Sumitra [Juhi Chawla], who uses everyone to her advantage.
Although GULAAB GANG raises a strong voice against years of patriarchal pain and suffering — one might assume it tilts towards arthouse cinema — the fact of the matter is, Soumik presents the classic conflict between good and evil like any other masala film, replete with high-voltage drama, song-and-dance routine and of course, action sequences. This time, the protagonist as well as the antagonist are women, the story is set in the hinterland, the issues they tackle pertain to women… while men are merely peripheral characters here. Also, unlike some films set in the hinterland, Soumik abstains from using cuss words/colorful lingo to belittle the oppressors here.
GULAAB GANG sheds light on the plight of women in a particular region, but the message resonates beyond the boundaries of the region it attempts to illustrate. The screenplay packs a couple of nail-biting episodes, which skilfully highlights the vulnerability of women in rural India. The fight against merciless husbands, crooked politicians and government machinery and the conventional and regressive attitude comes across effectively on varied occasions. In short, a number of sequences sting with honesty!
However, you can’t turn a blind eye to the blemishes either. Not much happens in the first hour of GULAAB GANG [the writing lacks meat!], after Soumik introduces us to the pivotal characters. Lack of conflict or face-off is also one of the reasons why the first hour never really impresses. Also, Soumik could’ve avoided the usage of songs [the synchronized steps and the reference to 'Ek Do Teen' in a sequence look out of place], since the focus in a film like GULAAB GANG is on drama primarily. Fortunately, GULAAB GANG is back on tracks in the post-interval portions. The simmering tension between Madhuri and Juhi is captured wonderfully. Besides, a couple of dramatic sequences leave a hammer-strong impact. In addition, the chameleon-like opportunistic character of Juhi catches your eye in the second hour.
A big reason the film never feels contrived is its tremendous cast, especially Madhuri and Juhi. It’s a pleasure to watch Madhuri essay the role of Rajjo with flourish. In her three-decade-long career, the actress has worked in practically all genres of cinema, but GULAAB GANG gives her the platform to explore not just the dramatics, but action too. She enacts the part of a righteous woman with supreme understanding and deserves brownie points for a terrific portrayal. Matching Madhuri with a pitch-perfect portrayal is Juhi, who defiantly ventures into an alley she has never sauntered into in her career earlier. The actress displays the evil side without resorting to loud theatrics or attempting to overpower her co-star. You’d love to hate Juhi here, for she lives up to the character of a shrewd plotter and an acute schemer.
Other performances are finely pitched as well and topping the list is Divya Jagdale, who stays in your memory much after the screening has concluded. Priyanka Bose is first-rate. Tannishtha Chatterjee is wonderful.
On the whole, GULAAB GANG is well-intentioned with several powerful moments, especially towards the second half. The game of power and politics is well captured too. Additionally, the bravura performances of Madhuri and Juhi add immense weightage to the film. Watch it!
A guy was speeding down the road and got pulled over by a state trooper.
The trooper said, “Do you have any idea how fast you were going ?”
The driver looked at the trooper and said, “Do you see the woman sitting in the passenger seat ?”
The trooper said. “Yes.”
“Thats my wife,” the driver said to the trooper, “Do you see the woman sitting in the back seat ?”
The trooper said, “Yes.”
“Thats my mother in law. She lives with us. They just had a big spat and she said she was moving out. I’m trying to get them home before they make up !!!!”
The trooper wrote him a warning and then gave him an escort home with lights flashing.
Granddaughter is sitting on Grandpa’s lap as he reads the paper not paying any attention to her. So she starts studying the wrinkles on his old face. She gets up the nerve and rubs her fingers over the wrinkles and then over her own face and looks more puzzled.
She finally asks, “Grandpa, did God make you?”
‘He sure did honey, a long long time ago”, he replied.
“Well, did God make me?` she asked.
“Yes He did, and that wasn’t too long ago,” he answered.
She thought for a minute and then said, “Wow! He’s sure doing a lot better job these days isn’t He?”
God decided it was time to end the world, so he called together those whom he considered the three most influential people in the world. President of USA Barrack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh.
“The world will end,” God told them. “You must go and tell the people.”
Obama, made a live statement on TV, “I’ve good news and BAD news.” he said. “The good news is that we have been right, there is a God. The bad news is that he is ending the world.”
The second person, Xi Jinping sent out a worldwide message, “I’ve bad news and WORSE news,” he said. “The bad news is that we have been wrong all along – there is a God. The worse news is that he is ending the world.”
Third person, Manmohan Singh immediately calls up Sonia Gandhi and says, “I’ve good news and BETTER news. The good news is that God thinks I’m one of the three most influential people in the world. The better news is that we do not have to worry about how to stop Modi or Kejriwal from becoming PM.”
Wife is busy packing her clothes.
Man: And where are you going?
Wife: I’m moving to my mother.
Husband also starts packing.
Wife: And where do you think your going?
Husband: I’m also moving to my mother.
Wife: And what about the kids?
Husband: Well if you are moving to your mother and I’m moving to my mother then I guess they must also move to their mother….
Two guys show up in Heaven at the same time. The first guy says he froze to death, and the second guy tells him that he died of a heart attack.
“How did that happen?” asks the first guy.
“Well, I came home and thought I heard my wife with another man. But when I searched the house, I couldn’t find anybody. I was so stricken with remorse for wrongly accusing my wife of infidelity, I had a heart attack and died on the spot.”
“Geez,” says the first guy. “If you’d opened the fridge, we’d both be alive right now.”
Stars – 3 Stars
Himesh Reshammiya may have his share of admirers and adversaries within and outside the industry, but let’s face it, the man continues to score big as a musician and his movies — as an actor — are talked-about, evaluated and scrutinised feverishly [good, bad, whatever!], which, indirectly, hints at his popularity. Like him or loathe him, the fact is you can’t ignore him.
In his new endeavour THE XPOSE, Himesh and director Ananth Narayan Mahadevan take you back in time. When Bollywood depended completely on the whims and fancies of its lead stars. When 70mm fantasies were all that mattered. When movies were the only source of entertainment for the common man. In the past, accomplished film-makers like Farah Khan [OM SHANTI OM] and Zoya Akhtar [LUCK BY CHANCE] embarked on an enchanting journey into this world. Now Ananth Narayan Mahadevan draws parallels with real life, integrates a murder mystery in the plot, garnishes it with a lilting soundtrack and recreates the bygone era in THE XPOSE.
Let’s enlighten you about the premise. THE XPOSE is an ode to the glam world called Bollywood. Set in the 60s, the film starts off with the sudden demise of a rising star. She has been murdered, actually. The finger of suspicion points towards several people who were associated with her. Who could’ve committed the ghastly act?
Flashback. The seeds of hatred were sown during the making of two ambitious films that were filmed concurrently ['Ujwal Nirmal Sheetal' and 'Reena Mera Naam'], which, incidentally, were released on the same day and starred rival stars. The latter becomes a runaway hit, while the former faces its waterloo at the ticket window. Worse, the lead actress of ‘Ujwal Nirmal Sheetal’ walks away with the coveted award and during the party that ensues, she gets murdered…
Ananth Narayan Mahadevan juxtaposes fantasy and reality and depicts the life on and off film sets. Being an integral part of the industry, Ananth makes sure he includes episodes that would make the spectator draw parallels with real life, neatly presenting the grime and sleaze behind the glam and insecurities behind smiling faces.
Showbiz is a cruel place where fortunes and equations change every Friday, depending on how your film fares at the ticket window and Ananth captures this aspect rather well. He also makes sure he encompasses the casting process, the whims and fancies of stars, the scandalous streak in actresses, the manipulative games people play and of course, the cut-throat competition when two biggies clash on the same date.
Having said that, the film suffers due to a sketchy script intermittently. The relationship between Himesh and Adil Hussain appears far from convincing. The romance between Himesh and Zoya Afroz could’ve been more persuasive. Additionally, looking at the stardom and popularity of Yo Yo Honey Singh, his role could’ve been more substantial, more so because he has been given equal prominence in the posters of the film. Ditto for Irrfan, who is a mere sutradhaar, the narrator of this tale.
With Himesh and Yo Yo Honey Singh featuring in a project together, the soundtrack ought to scale dizzy heights and the music of THE XPOSE has chartbuster written all over it. The three tracks that stand out — the songs could also give an impetus to the business of the film — include ‘Dard Dilon Ke Kam Ho Jaate’, ‘Hai Apna Dil To Awara’ and of course, ‘Ice Cream Khaungi Kashmir Jaungi’. The film bears an upscale, glossy look and the DoP [Maneesh Chandra Bhatt] captures the bygone era exceedingly well on celluloid. Dialogue [Bunty Rathore] are aimed at the masses and though a couple of lines may seem ludicrous in the promos, they seem to fit well when viewed in context. The background score is top notch.
Himesh appears slim and trim [he has lost weight for the part] and carries the character with conviction. Also, the attitude that he flaunts goes well with his on-screen character. Yo Yo Honey Singh has the trappings of a fine actor, but is relegated to the back seat. Irrfan Khan appears in a cameo. The two leading ladies, Zoya Afroz [as Chandni] and Sonali Raut [as Zara], look glamorous and enact their parts with confidence.
Nakul Vaid does a fine job. Ananth Narayan Mahadevan is effective. Ashwin Dhir [as Bobby Chadha] is first-rate. Adil Hussain is wasted. Rajesh Sharma is, as always, efficient. Jessy Randhawa, Bharat Dabholkar, Dayashankar Pandey, Naresh Suri, Kanika Dang and Kunal Thakkur are perfect.
On the whole, THE XPOSE is a decently-crafted vintage musical-thriller that keeps you guessing about the identity of the murderer all through. An entertaining outing for fans of atypical Bollywood-style murder mysteries.
By Taran Adarsh
A well dressed lawyer went into a bar for a martini and found himself beside a scrungy-looking drunk who kept mumbling and studying something in his hand.
The attorney leaned closer while the drunk held the tiny object up to the light, slurring, “Well, it looks like plastic.”
Then he rolled it between his fingers adding, “But it feels like rubber.”
Curious, the lawyer asked, “What do you have there mister?”
The drunk stammered, “Damn if I know, but it looks like plastic and feels like rubber.”
The lawyer said, “Let me take a look.”
And the drunk handed it over. The attorney rolled it between his thumb and fingers, then examined it closely.
“Yeah, it does look like plastic and feel like rubber, but I don’t know what it is. Where did you get it anyway?”
The drunk replied, “Out of my nose.”
Starring Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan as a young married couple dealing with the arrival of a new member in the family, Shaadi… is not a Marriage Movie but a Baby Movie. And on that front, it ticks every box in the Baby Movie genre:
1. Witty observations on how a man’s freedom evaporates post marriage,
2. Humorous scenarios involving babies annihilating your precious sleep
3. Sex life going for a toss
4. Gender politics regarding responsibilities
5. Funny baby care related anecdotes.
Yup, this is an ‘easy’ movie with easy jokes and scenarios. Sure, this could have been a smarter film than it is, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t a good movie.
Shaadi… is consistently enjoyable, mainly thanks to Farhan Akhtar’s comic timing and his mystic ability to make contrived scenarios passable rather than cringe-worthy. A large section of Shaadi… reminds you of Paul Reiser’s books Couplehood and Babyhood, and that could explain why director Saket Chaudhary named the film as a pseudo sequel to his earlier venture, Pyaar ke Side Effects. The premise involves Trisha’s (Vidya Balan) desire for children, something for which Sid (Akhtar) is not ready. It’s less of a plot and more of a gimmick to get the ball rolling. From here you can pretty much guess the rest. Sid must juggle his job and his insecurity of not being the alpha male breadwinner of the house, while keeping Trisha from wrecking his confidence. Along the way, Sid gives you sardonic voiceovers about the hilarities arising out of love, marriage and babies as he does more and more stupid things to keep his male chauvinistic ego afloat. The lack of a well-developed story here can be overlooked because there are certainly some fun moments, particularly when Sid and Trisha riff off each other. For example, there’s a scene where Sid, dazed by social baby-potty talk, responds by cracking jokes about his own potty and it is hilarious. Refreshingly, the characters are quite mature and have more than one dimension. Trisha sacrifices her career for her child, but that trait doesn’t define her. Sid is a freelancer who loves to indulge in freewheeling, but is not a childish buffoon. The interplay between Trisha and Sid is entertaining thanks to Akhtar and Balan’s on-screen chemistry, and they score extra brownie points for rooting their performances in reality. They are fun to watch together more so because their humour is identifiable, instead of farcical. Both Akhtar and Balan seem aware of the script’s flimsiness, but they hit just the right notes instead of overcompensating. Sure, there are a few things in the film that paint marriage in broad strokes and Trisha and Sid’s baby girl is glossed over even though she’s at the crux of the store. Rati Agnihotri shows up as Sid’s mom-in-law, but she has fewer lines than scenes. The less said about Ila Arun’s crummy nanny character, the better. Unlike in Pyaar ke Side Effects, the songs in Shaadi ke Side Effects by Pritam are terrible and generic to say the least, and were obviously padded on just to sell the film. The final 15 minutes have some ridiculous drama that consists of nonsensical confrontations and reconciliations. This is when the film strains for story conflicts and solves them in lazy ways, but thankfully the finale eases out right before your palm reaches out for your face. Still, the film’s blunders are outweighed by its goodies. A big plus in its favour is Ram Kapoor as the Perfect Dad who keeps making Sid jealous. Vir Das is a scene stealer as Sid’s reckless single stoner friend, the personification of who Sid wants to be. There are a handful of solid giggles and the film cleverly pushes the right double standard buttons to outrage both sexes, and ties it all up with a neat little bow in the end. That kind of balance is rare in Bollywood and for that, Shaadi… merits a definite recco.
Stars = 2.5
It’s back to the hinterland. Back to the region of goons, bullets, bloodbath and slimy netas. Back to the world where human life is cheap, the characters are either grey or black, the lingo is loaded with expletives and the games people play may seem contemptible to us, but is a way of life for them. Striding into the territory of Tigmanshu Dhulia’s PAAN SINGH TOMAR and BULLETT RAJA and Anurag Kashyap’s GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, REVOLVER RANI, directed by Sai Kabir, is set in the region where alliances are twisted according to convenience.
While Kangna’s Plain Jane act in QUEEN continues to wow spectators across the globe, the talented actress sports a new avatar in REVOLVER RANI. It’s a 180 degree turn actually, since Alka [Kangna's character in REVOLVER RANI] is wild, kinky, impulsive, explosive and violent.
Let’s enlighten you about the plot before we move forward! REVOLVER RANI is set against the backdrop of goons and politics. The reign of Alka Singh [Kangna Ranaut], a politician, has come to an end and her opponents [Zakir Hussain, Kumud Mishra, Pankaj Saraswat], who have won the elections, are out to settle scores with her. But before that they decide to hit where it hurts: they kidnap Alka’s toy boy Rohan [Vir Das], an aspiring actor…
While the promos may give an inkling of what to expect from the film — one expects the film to shatter the laws of conventionalism — the fact is REVOLVER RANI comes across as a distant cousin of BULLETT RAJA and GANGS OF WASSEYPUR. Now this is all the more surprising since a name like Tigmanshu Dhulia is attached to the project — someone who has consistently raised the bar and carved his own path with several remarkable films. Director Sai Kabir attempts to amalgamate a love story with hi-octane drama, political maneuvers and rustic action and also coats it with the local flavor to make it seem authentic and bona fide, but something’s amiss. After a fairly engrossing first hour, the post-interval portions slide downwards.
Let me elaborate! REVOLVER RANI isn’t consistently engaging and that’s a minus. The sparkling moments dry up in the second hour and what ensues is the usual game of one-upmanship between two warring factions. Random sequences are forced into the goings-on and they make no impact whatsoever. A tighter and an invigorating screenplay would’ve only helped — the director had a clever concept on hand, frankly — but he lets go of the opportunity.
The characters too — the opponents especially — transform into being mere caricatures after a point. In fact, most twists and turns are foreseeable, except for a few fleeting moments that catch your attention. The director does come up with an interesting twist towards the closing stages, but making Kangna single-handedly eliminate dozens of attackers appears unreal. The makers have also kept the provision for a sequel, which seems unnecessary.
The soundtrack of REVOLVER RANI gels with the mood of the film, but the appeal is restricted. The dialogue are raw and rooted in reality.
Kangna goes full-throttle in REVOLVER RANI and emerges trumps. There’s a strong possibility that people may walk in keeping Kangna’s stellar act in QUEEN in mind, but the actress is sure to make heads turn with yet another super act in REVOLVER RANI. Enacting the part of a woman who has the power and loves to flaunt it, Kangna shoulders the attitude with aplomb. The body language, the lingo and the attire [including funky glasses and metal accessories] makes her appear alluring, no doubt. Vir Das gets ample footage [despite Kangna dominating the screen time] and the actor makes a strong impression.
Piyush Mishra effectively plays out the part of Kangna’s trusted uncle. Zakir Hussain continues to deliver in his own way. Kumud Mishra is in his elements. Pankaj Saraswat is alright. Zeishan Quadri gets minimal scope.
On the whole, REVOLVER RANI has engaging moments, but they are few and far between. This being Kangna’s immediate film release after the remarkable success of QUEEN may benefit the film to an extent.
By Taran Adarsh
Cross-border love stories raise eyebrows. Always. Especially when it involves India and Pakistan. Recall Raj Kapoor’s dream project HENNA [1991; directed by his son Randhir Kapoor], J.P. Dutta’s REFUGEE , Anil Sharma’s GADAR , Yash Chopra’s VEER-ZAARA … more recently, Kabir Khan’s EK THA TIGER  centred around an Indian spy falling in love with a Pakistani spy. While the above-named movies reconstructed the ordeal faced by the lovers on account of cross-border romance, Eshvar Nivas’ TOTAL SIYAPAA takes a different route altogether. The director peppers the plot with humor and amusing episodes while depicting the chaos that engulf the lives of the much-in-love couple [Pakistani boy, Indian girl].
First things first! TOTAL SIYAPAA is based on ONLY HUMAN [SERES QUERIDOS], a Spanish film. The nationalities have been changed [to make it more relatable], while the premise has been modified [albeit slightly] to suit the Indian sensibilities. Also, unlike the above-mentioned Hindi films, this one’s set in London. So, there! The question is, does the cross-border romance strike a chord? Or does the storyteller miss the opportunity to drive home a point?
Let’s enlighten you about the premise first! Aman [Ali Zafar], of Pakistani origin, falls in love with Asha [Yami Gautam], of Indian origin. He visits her parents’ [Anupam Kher, Kirron Kher] home to seek permission to marry her. However, his plans to impress the family fall flat when the mother discovers that he is a Pakistani. A series of unfortunate events befall the good-hearted but hapless Pakistani boy, leading to outrageous situations.
Neeraj Pandey, one of the producers of TOTAL SIYAPAA, as well as Eshvar Nivas, the director of the film, are synonymous with serious films that have an undercurrent of tension [although Eshvar has attempted some light entertainers in the past]. The emphasis is to narrate a love story involving an Indian and Pakistani and the script offers ample scope to pack in crazy, absurd and bizarre situations to keep you in splits, but the screenplay doesn’t milk the concept to the optimum.
While the promos of the film prepare you for a laugh-riot, what unfurls on screen doesn’t keep you in splits through and through. Initially, yes, the humor works, especially when Ali meets his prospective mother-in-law Kirron Kher, but thereafter, a few sporadic instances apart, several episodes fall flat. Instances: The track involving the English cop fails to evoke laughter… The entire track involving Yami’s hyper brother and the Pakistani neighbour doesn’t work… The kanjoos bro-in-law’s sequences are far from amusing. On the brighter side, the sequences involving Ali and Kirron Kher are hilarious. Additionally, the sequence involving Anupam Kher and the call girl, though corny, makes you laugh. However, what could’ve been a funny take on cross-border romance remains, at best, an ordinary fare.
Since Neeraj Pandey is credited with adapting the Spanish film, you expect him to deliver a spirited tale replete with laugh-inducing situations, eccentric characters and unfortunate coincidences, but the writing appeals intermittently. It would’ve been great to see the peripheral characters [father, brother, sister, bro-in-law, grandpa] contribute to the wacky goings-on, but the screenplay limits their growth. The curse of the second half, which plagues most Hindi films, looms large here too. There’s not much scope for director Eshvar Nivas in such a scenario, although he handles a couple of sequences with poise. The soundtrack [Ali Zafar holds the additional responsibility of scoring the music] is decent. ‘Palat Meri Jaan’ and ‘Nahi Maloom’ are catchy compositions.
TOTAL SIYAPAA would’ve tottered completely had the makers cast names with no flair for comedy. Ali Zafar has the charisma and talent to carry off the part. He’s likeable as the hapless lover stuck in a crazy situation. Yami Gautam is easy on the eye and leaves an impact. But it is Kirron Kher who steals the show with an over the top act. She is terrific. Anupam Kher is fun to watch, but gets limited footage. Vishwa Mohan Badola, the septuagenarian, is under-utilized. Sara Khan [Yami's sister] is perfect, while Anuj Pandit Sharma [Yami's brother] hams. Sagar Arya [Yami's bro-in-law] is wooden.
On the whole, TOTAL SIYAPAA appeals in bits and spurts. You expect a laugh-riot, but what comes across on screen is half-baked.
A number of political parties have started focusing on the aam aadmi. A number of movies too have been highlighting the life of a common man. Rajat Kapoor’s ANKHON DEKHI mirrors the life of one such person beautifully!
ANKHON DEKHI tells the story of Bauji [a superlative portrayal by Sanjay Mishra], a common man, and his day-to-day fight for survival, his dealing with the ups and downs of staying in a joint family, his monotonous office chores and many such issues. But the turning point in his life comes when his daughter announces about the love of her life. And since there have been too many hear-say about the boy and his ‘character’, the family decides to shun the boy even without seeing him. However, when the dutiful father lands up at the boy’s house with the cops and other relatives with an intention to give him the trashing of his life, he realizes that the boy is not what he’s made out to be.
That’s when Bauji decides to believe *only* in whatever his eyes see, not on whatever his ears hear [from the world]. While this nature of his gradually becomes a nuisance to his near and dear ones, this newly-acquired nature of his also results in him quitting from his job. Bauji’s brother [Rajat Kapoor] and his wife decide that they can’t take this [nature] any longer and separate from him. Unable to take the non-stop criticism about his opinionated talks, he decides to remain mum and communicate only with actions…
The multi-tasking Rajat Kapoor, who doubles up as the writer as well as director, truly deserves to be applauded for the way he has handled the film and its characters. He has really shown the world that one need not splurge multi-million dollars to make a convincing/decent film. The soundtrack is soothing and gels well with the mood of the film. While the editing could have been sharper, the cinematography contributes in making the film believable.
As pointed out at the outset, Sanjay Mishra is simply remarkable. No other actor could’ve pulled off the Bauji act as effortlessly and convincingly as he does. Rajat Kapoor too delivers an effortless performance, while Seema Pahwa is terrific. The rest of the cast is hugely competent.
Stars – 3.5 stars
An interesting news-piece highlighted the fact that an increasing number of pet owners are providing provisions for their pets in their wills. The write-up focused on some of the world’s richest animal heirs, which included a Pooch, Labrador, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Ragdoll Cat… even a Chimpanzee.
The West has attempted films on pets inheriting the wealth of their deceased master. Recall films like THE RICHEST CAT IN THE WORLD  or THE DUKE . A number of dream merchants in Bollywood have explored the man-animal relationship in films — HAATHI MERE SAATHI, TERI MEHERBANIYAN or the more recent YEH HAI BAKRAPUR. ENTERTAINMENT is, perhaps, the first Hindi film that depicts the dog as the heir to his deceased master’s riches.
What makes ENTERTAINMENT attention-grabbing — besides its distinctive storyline — is the fact that it is helmed by Sajid-Farhad, who have penned several laughathons in the past. Naturally, one expects their directorial debut to be a rib-tickling entertainer. There’s one more reason — Akshay Kumar. The actor, synonymous with comedies, has a terrific comic timing and with a title like ENTERTAINMENT, the film ought to live up to those lofty expectations, right? Does ENTERTAINMENT hit the right notes? Let’s find out!
First, the premise! Akhil [Akshay Kumar] struggles to make ends meet by doing petty jobs. He does all this to support his ailing father [Darshan Jariwala], who has been hospitalized. Akhil gets a jolt when he overhears his father telling the nurse that Akhil is not his son. That’s not all, for he also gets to know that the wealthy diamond merchant, Pannalal Johri [Dalip Tahil], is his father, who had cheated his mother.
When an over-excited Akhil breaks this news to his pal [Krushna Abhishek], the duo also get to know, through a news channel, about Pannalal Johri’s sudden demise in Bangkok. Akhil rushes to Bangkok to stake claim on his fathe’s fortune. However, Akhil gets a shock when the lawyer [Johny Lever] informs him that his father has bequeathed his fortune to his dog — Entertainment. What happens next?
Sajid-Farhad have been an integral part of Rohit Shetty’s movies and unsurprisingly, Rohit’s influence shows in their very first outing as well. Much like Rohit or for that matter, David Dhawan and Anees Bazmee, who have focused on providing ample laughs and amusement in those 3 hours, Sajid-Farhad too throw logic out of the window, focus only on tickling your funny bone and offer unabashed, over the top humor.
Sajid-Farhad also integrate the man-animal relationship smartly in the narrative and create episodes that are ludicrous, but comical. One doesn’t mind absurdities or irrational situations as long as you have a good laugh and Sajid-Farhad make sure the humor is never in short supply. Much like their predecessors, Sajid-Farhad’s first attempt is akin to your fav fast food that may be low on nutrition [sensible, path-breaking stuff], but your taste buds relish it and you savor it till it lasts.
The writing is stuffed with uproarious episodes and a couple of them are indeed side-splitting. The sequences between Akshay and Krushna Abhishek [at the commencement of the film] or the antics between Akshay and the pet do bring a smile on your face and at times, makes you break into guffaws. Really, if you need to de-stress yourself, ENTERTAINMENT — with all its bizarre, outrageous and wacky jokes and superb one-liners — serves the purpose.
However, you cannot disregard the loose ends. The humor quotient goes downhill as the comic villains [Prakash Raj and Sonu Sood] surface slightly before the intermission. The gags and funny episodes, all of a sudden, take a back seat towards the second hour and though Sajid-Farhad do make an attempt to pack hilarious occurrences, you aren’t amused really. Furthermore, a number of sequences in the post-interval portions are stretched for no reason, with a couple of jokes appearing forced in the scheme of things. Nonetheless, the pace gains momentum yet again towards the penultimate stages.
The soundtrack boasts of two popular tracks — ‘Johnny Johnny’ and ‘Veerey Di Wedding Hain’ — which are already a rage with listeners. ‘Teri Mahima Aprampaar’ is another tuneful composition that has been filmed skillfully. The DoP imparts a rich texture to the visuals and the eye-catching locales of Thailand aid him in his endeavor.
Akshay returns to the comfort zone [comedies] and expectedly, is charismatic, charming and vibrant. His faultless comic timing coupled with the enthusiasm with which he goes through his part is worthy of immense praise. Tamannaah is endearing and though she’s paired with Akshay for the first time, they compliment each other wonderfully well.
The supporting cast also adds to the madness. Mithun Chakraborty is in fine form yet again. It’s a sheer joy to watch Prakash Raj and Sonu Sood step out of villainous roles and have fun with comic characters. Johny Lever is top notch, evoking ample laughter on varied occasions. Krushna Abhishek is simply outstanding. His comic timing is impeccable and his one-liners are howlarious.
Dalip Tahil, Darshan Jariwala and Vrajesh Hirjee are okay. Riteish Deshmukh, Shreyas Talpade and Remo D’Souza appear in cameos. The pet, a Golden Retriever named Junior, is simply adorable.
On the whole, ENTERTAINMENT is a joy ride that lives up to its title. Go, laugh out loud and get entertained!
By Taran Adarsh
A drunk stumbles along a baptismal service on Sunday afternoon down by the river. He proceeds to walk down into the water and stand next to the Preacher.
The minister turns and notices the old drunk and says, “Mister, are you ready to find Jesus?”
The drunk looks back and says, “Yess, Preasher… I ssssure am.”
The minister then dunks the fellow under the water and pulls him right back up.
“Have you found Jesus?” the preacher asked.
“Nooo, I ddddidnt!” said the drunk.
The preacher then dunks him under for quite a bit longer, brings him up and says, “Now, brother, have you found Jesus?”
“Noooo, I dddid not Reverrrrend.”
The preacher in disgust holds the man under for at least 30 seconds this time, brings him out of the water and says in a harsh tone, “My God man, have you found Jesus yet?”
The old drunk wipes his eyes and says to the preacher, “Are you sssssure thhhis is where he fffffelll in?”
Politics, besides movies and cricket, is a fav topic of Indians, but the talk on politics has reached a crescendo these days. The forthcoming elections, the political rallies, the debates and arguments on TV channels, the widespread coverage in the print media, the chats on social networking sites… almost every discussion veers to politics, politicians and the ensuing elections nowadays.
YOUNGISTAAN, directed by Syed Ahmad Afzal, couldn’t have desired a more appropriate release period. For, YOUNGISTAAN centres around politics, with Jackky Bhagnani essaying the part of a politician who intends bringing about a change. It’s a pertinent take on contemporary politics, yet a fictionalized account of a youngster who’s not the archetypal politician.
Come to think of it, YOUNGISTAAN is not a hardcore political film. Set against the backdrop of Indian politics, this one attempts to strike a balance between the love story of a young politician and his political life. The challenge lies in doing the balancing act well, besides entertaining the spectators. Does the first-time director get it right?
Let’s enlighten you about the plot, first! YOUNGISTAAN narrates the story of Abhimanyu [Jackky Bhagnani], who returns from Japan after his Prime Minister-father, Dashrath Kaul [Boman Irani], succumbs to illness. The elections are not far away and the senior party leaders decide to make Abhimanyu the Prime Minister for the interim period, although his girlfriend, Anvi [Neha Sharma], is dead against Abhimanyu’s decision of joining politics. A storm ensues as Abhimanyu’s love life becomes public and fodder for gossip mills…
YOUNGISTAAN looks at scheming politicians, driven by a greed for power and who try to pull the rug from under the feet. The storyteller also borrows episodes from real life — some characters bear a striking resemblance to real-life politicians too — making the spectator relate to the proceedings. The ambience is pitch-perfect, the feel is just right, the upheavals in the life of the young politician are illustrated wonderfully at times [Jackky pitches in a stellar act -- more on that later].
Having said that, it’s not smooth sailing as far as the screenplay is concerned. The love story, which should’ve been integrated seamlessly in the premise, is inconsistent. Why is Neha against Jackky’s decision of joining politics? Perhaps she has her reasons, but it could’ve been explained distinctly. Subsequently, Neha’s behavior — after Jackky is sworn as the Prime Minister of the country — ought to be far more responsible, right? Also, knowing well that the paparazzi has done an exposé on their love life, why don’t Jackky and Neha take the saat pheras?
The minor blemishes notwithstanding, YOUNGISTAAN has some wonderful moments. Jackky’s character is, without doubt, the USP of the enterprise. His sequences with his father [which are interspersed across the movie], his speech at the U.N., his reaching out to the common man and of course, the culmination to the story keep you completely hooked. Also, the sequences between Jackky and the senior political leaders are expertly executed by the director.
The soundtrack boasts of the energetic ‘Tanki’, but it’s the harmonious ‘Suno Na Sangemarmar’ that stays with you. In fact, ‘Suno Na Sangemarmar’ comes across as a breath of fresh air in this era of mediocrity. The production design is top notch, with the makers going all out to give the film a tasteful look.
Jackky Bhagnani springs a big surprise, surrendering himself to the character completely and delivering what can be rightly termed as his most sensitive portrayal to date. The confidence and understanding with which he carries off his part is an eye-opener, frankly. This act is sure to win Jackky plaudits, besides making people sit up and notice the hitherto untapped talent. Neha Sharma does very well, although you don’t feel for the character initially. The late Farooque Sheikh is absolutely flawless and his performance in the film makes you miss him all the more. Boman Irani is, as always, bankable. Meeta Vashisht and Kayoze Irani get limited scope. The actors enacting the part of the politicians are perfect.
On the whole, YOUNGISTAAN has an interesting premise, a mature act by Jackky Bhagnani and importantly, the message it conveys is just right. The writing could’ve been sharper, but having said that, this movie is worthy of a watch.
Review by Taran Adarsh
In 1998, Ramgopal Varma created a clutter-breaking film on Mumbai mafia called SATYA. Post RGV’s attempt, which earned a cult following amongst cineastes, a number of film-makers — including RGV himself — attempted movies on the sinister world of guns, goons, gangstas and gang wars. These films promised to offer the spectator a closer view of the mechanisms of the dark, gritty world.
Sanamjit Singh Talwar explores the underbelly of the city in his directorial debut DISHKIYAOON. But the question is, hasn’t RGV himself [besides a couple of film-makers] milked this genre dry? Perhaps Sanamjit had an interesting idea on paper — a youngster walks out on his father, who preaches non-violence, to be a gangster — but the debutant director squanders it all thanks to a worn-out script.
Let’s enlighten you about the premise. DISHKIYAOON is narrated through flashbacks as Viki [Harman Baweja] reveals his life story to Lakwa [Sunny Deol]. Starting out as a timid student, Viki’s life undergoes a metamorphosis when he comes into contact with Mota Tony [Prashant Narayanan]. The rest of the film focuses on his sole ambition of being the master of the game.
Seeking inspiration from some of the best gangster films isn’t sacrilege, but like I pointed out at the outset, isn’t the genre over-exploited? And anything in excess loses sheen, right? Again, serving the tried-and-tested stuff is not an issue, but the material ought to have the power to keep you absorbed and engaged. Unfortunately, in this case, the recipe is right, but the flavor isn’t.
Come to think of it, the trailer makes you believe that the debutant director is sure to spring a couple of surprises, but the predicament is DISHKIYAOON is marred by a laborious screenplay that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. There’s a twist in the tale towards the final moments of the film, but barring this sequence as well as the emotional outburst by Harman, the film doesn’t really work. In addition, like most first-time efforts, the substance takes a backseat, while style takes precedence here. Ideally, it should’ve been the other way around.
On the brighter side, a couple of action pieces catch your eye, but there’s an overdose of violence here and it gets on your nerves after a point. The soundtrack is mediocre, although, frankly, there’s not much scope for songs here.
There are instances of flawed scripts getting salvaged by competent performances, but that’s not the case with DISHKIYAOON. Sunny Deol looks exhausted. Harman Baweja pitches in a fine performance, although he needs to polish his skills in dramatic moments. New-find Ayesha Khanna is strictly okay.
Prashant Narayanan is top notch, while Anand Tiwari gets his character spot-on. Sumit Nijhawan plays the mandatory bad guy without much effort. Aditya Pancholi is wasted. Ditto for Rajit Kapoor, who plays Harman’s father. Shilpa Shetty Kundra sizzles in the promotional track that’s placed towards the end credits.
On the whole, DISHKIYAOON misses the mark!
Review by Taran Adarsh
The election fever is heating up and not a day passes when one doesn’t hear of charges of corruption, bribery, scams, kickbacks and frauds committed by certain politicians. Fodder for drama? Post BODYGUARD, one expects Alvira and Atul Agnihotri to deliver yet another masala entertainer — a remake, perhaps — with celebrated stars. But the Agnihotris take a U-turn with O TERI. They opt for an issue-based film, cast relative newcomers, but package it with commercial ingredients to connect with the aam junta. Does the film strike a chord?
First, the premise! O TERI narrates the story of intern journos Prantabh aka P.P. [Pulkit Samrat] and Anand aka A.I.D.S. [Bilal Amrohi] associated with a news channel in Delhi, in search of a big scam to prove a point to their senior [Sarah Jane Dias]. The story takes a turn when a dead body accidentally lands up in their car. Later, a bridge collapses and finally, a CD which exposes a major scam involving a politician [Anupam Kher] falls in their hands. What happens next?
Does the plot ring a bell? Oh yes, it does! Recall Kundan Shah’s ageless classic JAANE BHI DO YAARO. O TERI brings back memories of that film. Even the characters portrayed by Pulkit and Bilal bear similarity to Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani’s characters in JAANE BHI DO YAARO [Shah and Baswani portrayed struggling photographers in that film]. Coincidental?
The similarities notwithstanding, first-time director Umesh Bist borrows from real-life episodes, emphasizes on the politician-builder nexus, throws light on corruption amongst the top ranks of leadership, but ensures he sugar-coats the bitter truth with funny lines, amusing episodes, glitzy songs… in short, O TERI is a satire with a Bollywoodish slant.
The plot of O TERI had the potential to explore the murky games that politicians play. Handled adroitly, the outcome could’ve been revealing and rewarding. But O TERI spends too much time and footage on inconsequential things, which deviates your attention from the core issue. While the first hour is engrossing in parts — a few episodes are amusing — the graph of the movie spirals downwards in the post-interval portions. Reasons: the humor is banal, the laughs are missing, the writing lacks meat, the sequence of events leading to the culmination just don’t work.
In addition, the undercurrent of sarcasm — so essential in a film that mocks at the system and also at the bureaucrats — is clearly missing. Furthermore, Umesh succumbs to the pressures of making a masala entertainer, which results in the storyteller packing songs and item tracks, which look forced in the scheme of things. In addition, the run time, although controlled [less than 2 hours], seem never-ending, more so towards the second half.
The soundtrack is foot-tapping, but an overdose of songs [in the first half] mars the impact.
Pulkit Samrat is pitch-perfect in his part. He seems to be getting better with every film. Bilal Amrohi radiates confidence, but the rawness is too evident at times. Anupam Kher runs through his part with effortless ease. Sarah Jane Dias does quite well. Mandira Bedi is effectual, while Vijay Raaz’s talent isn’t tapped to the fullest. Manoj Pahwa looks like an add-on and his re-emergence in the climax seems weird. Salman Khan sparkles in the title track towards the end credits.
On the whole, O TERI had the potential to be a smart take on political scams and corrupt bureaucrats, but, unfortunately, the film crumbles thanks to a shoddy screenplay.
Review by Taran Adarsh
Santa noticed that Banta was looking depressed, and asked what was wrong.
“Well,” said Banta, “I ran afoul of one of those awkward questions women ask. Now I’m in deep trouble at home.”
“What kind of question?” asked Santa.
“My wife asked me if I would still love her when she gets old, fat and wrinkly.”
“That’s easy,” said Santa. “You just say ‘Of course I will.’”
“Yeah,” said Banta, “That’s what I did, except I said ‘Of course I DO…’”
At a time when our country is getting all geared up for the D-day [or should we say the E-day -- Election Day], the entertainment industry seems to be filled with dedications for the same. YOUNGISTAAN and BHOOTNATH RETURNS provided an interesting take on Indian politics and politicians. This week witnesses the release of DEKH TAMASHA DEKH, a socio-political satire, which revolves around the hunt for the religious identity of a man.
Inspired by a true incident, DEKH TAMASHA DEKH starts off when an underprivileged man gets crushed under the weight of a politician’s [Satish Kaushik] mega hoarding. The film gets into the mood immediately after the death of this man: Be it the judge trying to get into the details of the man’s death, be it the lawyers of the parties arguing the case, be it the sparking off of the communal riots… Since the deceased, who was a Hindu by birth, but had got converted to Islam, his death gives rise to a religious spark between two religious factions — the Hindus and Muslims — who want his body to be burnt and buried, respectively.
Amidst all this chaos, comes a dedicated young IPS officer, who tries to bring a stop-gap solution to this problem by keeping the dead body in the morgue, till the time the court reads out its final decision. After all the bloodshed and bloodbaths, the court announces its decision in favor of the Hindus. Despite the court’s decision, the deceased’s relatives bury his body minus any opposition and chaos. This is what confuses and surprises the IPS officer, till a revelation takes place…
The captain of the ship, director Feroz Abbas Khan, who has several noteworthy plays and a film to his credit [GANDHI, MY FATHER], deserves points for handling the sensitive issue with utmost care. Even though the film has its quintessential fun moments, he makes sure the film doesn’t go overboard.
Although the storyteller does away with the background score, giving the film a realistic feel, the film could’ve done with a tighter edit in order to make the film more in sync with the storyline. The cinematic grammar of the film stays intact as far as the dialogue are concerned. The writer [Shafaat Khan] deserves accolades for bringing out the reality of politicians and their opportunistic politics in a light-hearted manner.
Of the cast, Satish Kaushik, as the politician, is as dependable as ever. And so are Vinay Jain, Tanvi Azmi and Ganesh Yadav. A special mention ought to be made of Sudhir Pandey, who excels in his part.
With a run time of just about 100 minutes, DEKH TAMASHA DEKH is indeed watchable.
By Taran Adarsh
A mother asked her young son, as they waited for the bus, to tell the driver he was 5 years old, because then he would ride for free.
As they got into the bus the driver asked him how old he was.
“I am 5 years old,” said the little boy proudly.
The driver had a son of his own that age, and smiled, “And when will you be 6 years old?` he asked.
“When I get off the bus,” answered the boy.
At a time when indie cinema is gradually but definitely making a mark in India, it’s heartening to note that spanking new stories concerning rural India are being backed by Studios and getting showcased at prime multiplexes. I earnestly feel, a number of stories with a rustic backdrop, highlighting the lives and tribulations of those residing in the countryside, ought to be given exposure. If there’s an audience for masalathons that are aimed at the hoi polloi, there’s an audience for realistic/inspiring cinema targeted at the more discerning viewer as well.
I must confess, the stunning theatrical trailer of JAL was the hook for me to look forward to the film. Since JAL has made the rounds of the festival circuit, a section of the film industry *might* write it off as a ‘festival film’, with minimal/zilch ‘commercial prospects’. But let me correct those who think that way: JAL is *not* art house cinema. Sure, it narrates a rustic tale, but it is as much ‘commercial’ as a commercial film would be. The only difference is, this is *not* a no-brainer.
Conversely, there’s a tiny section of viewers who feel that just because a film has won acclaim at festivals, it is unblemished, flawless and faultless. The question is, does JAL work as a standalone film?
First, the premise! Set in the Rann of Kutch, JAL narrates the story of Bakka [Purab Kohli], who has the knack for discovering water in the desert. The story takes a turn when an animal activist, Kim [Saidah Jules], shows up at the village. She seeks Bakka’s help to find water for the dying flamingos. A pump is installed to trace water for the flamingos, but there’s no concern for the thirsting villagers. It is at this juncture that the drama begins, with the devious Puniya [Mukul Dev] hatching a conspiracy to destroy Bakka.
An attention-grabbing premise, JAL encapsulates varied emotions and human traits in its narrative, besides highlighting the all-pertinent issue of water scarcity. Girish Malik, who makes his big screen directorial debut with this film, wastes no time to introduce his characters and the problems they face, creating a tale that packs fact and fiction wonderfully. Aiding Girish in creating a stunning canvas on screen is the DoP [Sunita Radia], who captures the parched land brilliantly on celluloid.
The story unravels slowly initially, gathering speed only towards the post-interval portions. The serpentine turn of events, the captivating drama and the episodes leading to the culmination are enthralling and camouflage the minor aberrations that you encounter at times.
With the kind of opulence and magnificence director Girish Malik puts on display in JAL, the film doesn’t come across as one made by a debutant. His command over the subject matter and the craft is incredible. The connect with the issue is tremendous as the film rakes up ecological and environmental issues, besides drawing your attention to the natives and the location. You ought to have abundant courage to choose a subject that defies the stereotype and for that alone, Girish needs a pat on his back.
One has witnessed the Rann of Kutch in several movies, but the director and DoP make sure they paint a spectacular image on canvas. The dehydrated land, the scorching heat, the desiccated stretch, the twisters leave you awestruck. Another aspect that deserves brownie points is the background score, which enhances the dramatic and emotional impact of the movie.
Hiccups? Like I pointed earlier, the story takes it own time to unravel initially. In addition, the slow pacing [first half] as well as the run time [slightly above 2 hours] could’ve been shortened for a hammer-strong impact. However, these are passing clouds in an otherwise sunny film.
It’s hard to to take your eyes off the actors, since each and every act in JAL is natural to the core. The effort is all the more laudable since the actors must’ve worked in extreme conditions, faced dust storms, yet attained the level of perfection that’s rare. Purab Kohli, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Kirti Kulhari, Mukul Dev, Yashpal Sharma, Ravi Gossain, Rahul Singh, Gary Richardson and Saidah Jules, each actor slips into his/her part effortlessly. The septuagenarian, Habib Azmi, brings about the much-needed humor with a class act.
On the whole, JAL makes a rock-solid impact. It’s poignant and powerful and I suggest, you take time out to watch this truly gripping fare.
Review by Taran Adarsh on Bollywood Hungama
Until sometime back, the masala film space was dominated by Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Govinda. Subsequently, Shah Rukh Khan stepped in. Just when you thought that the young brigade would look the other way, abstaining from non-stop entertainers, Ranbir Kapoor green-lit BESHARAM, Shahid Kapoor gave his nod to R… RAJKUMAR and Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor gave the go ahead to GUNDAY. Now Varun Dhawan, a relative newcomer, opts for the tried and tested genre in his very second outing — MAIN TERA HERO. Interestingly, he teams up with his father, David Dhawan, a veteran at masalathons, who has worked with the above-mentioned seniors [except SRK].
David Dhawan’s filmography tilts heavily towards remakes and the veteran’s latest endeavor MAIN TERA HERO is a remake as well — of the immensely successful Telugu film KANDIREEGA . A lot is riding on MAIN TERA HERO, since it teams up the father and son Dhawan for the first time. Will Dhawan Sr.’s magic wand work again, like it did in the past?
Let’s enlighten you about the premise of MAIN TERA HERO. Seenu [Varun Dhawan] is terrible in studies. When his father [Manoj Pahwa] cites instances of Seenu’s friends enrolling in various universities and emerging toppers, Seenu decides that he too would enroll in a university and make his parents proud. Seenu encounters Sunaina [Ileana D'Cruz] in the university and it’s love at first sight for him. However, Angad [Arunoday Singh], a cop, is also in love with Sunaina and intends marrying her, much against her wishes.
Seenu throws a challenge at Angad that he will win Sunaina’s heart and as luck would have it, he makes Sunaina falls in love with him within three days. Just when everything seems to be sailing smoothly for the couple, Sunaina gets kidnapped by a don based in Bangkok [Anupam Kher], whose daughter Ayesha [Nargis Fakhri] — whom Seenu had saved from eve teasers — is in love with Seenu.
Seenu is in a dilemma. What happens next?
Watching a David Dhawan movie is akin to having your fav fast-food, which may not be high on nutrition [read meaningful content], but you relish it with glee since it whets your appetite. And MAIN TERA HERO does that to you. Packed with just about every mass-friendly ingredient available on the shelf, which the hoi polloi laps up with delight, David designs an entertainer that keeps you amused for most parts. Sure, there’s nothing you haven’t watched before, but the trick is to keep the viewer completely absorbed in the proceedings and David has mastered the art since decades.
Writer Tushar Hiranandani adapts KANDIREEGA for the Hindi movie audience, making sure there’s no room for boredom for most parts. The twists in the tale, the aimed-at-masses humor, the witty and comical dialogue [Milap Zaveri], which are one of the highlights of this film, the assorted characters with over the top acts, the appropriate situations for songs and action pieces… the packaging of MAIN TERA HERO is just precise — a formula that seldom goes wrong, if handled correctly.
In addition, David presents Varun as the *young* mass-friendly hero. He makes Varun do stuff that sends front-benchers into raptures, which includes Varun flaunting his torso and flexing muscles. Moreover, David, very smartly, makes Varun slip into the shoes of his peers by making him do stuff that had worked big time with Sanju, Salman, Akshay and Govinda in the past. And Varun carries off the antics adroitly.
The sole blemish I can point out is the excessive length towards the post-interval portions, with a few sequences appearing stretched without any reason. The entire episode involving Shakti Kapoor also appears forced, while the journey to the culmination could’ve been taut and crisp.
The soundtrack [Sajid-Wajid], much like David’s earlier ventures, fits the genre of the film seamlessly. ‘Palat’, ‘Besharmi Ki Height’ and ‘Shanivaar Raati’ are foot-tapping compositions. Action sequences are well orchestrated.
Varun steals the show with an act that’s sure to multiply his fan-following by heaps. Not just in metros, but beyond metros. The film offers Varun abundant scope to play to the gallery, own every sequence he features in. His energy levels coupled with his self-assured act and striking looks fall wonderfully in place here. He’s terrific, the show belongs to him, no two opinions on that! Ileana pairs off very well with Varun and does a reasonably good job. Nargis Fakhri looks great, but needs to polish her acting skills. Anupam Kher is in super form. His mafioso act with reverberating dialogue is sure to be loved by the junta. Saurabh Shukla is superb, especially towards the latter part of the film. It’s a delight to watch Arunoday Singh in a mass entertainer. He seems most comfortable in the given space. Rajpal Yadav manages to raise a few good laughs. Evelyn Sharma, Manoj Pahwa, Raju Kher and Supriya Shukla are just right. Shakti Kapoor is wasted.
On the whole, MAIN TERA HERO is a wild, wacky, madcap entertainer that has the unmistakable stamp of the master of entertainers — David Dhawan. An over the top plot, humor quotient and performances are three aces the film stands on. The film should work well with admirers of typical Bollywood masalathons, also because Varun Dhawan pulls off the act with flamboyance and bowls you over with an uproarious act in this zany entertainer. Go, have fun and laugh out loud!
Review by Taran Adarsh on Bollywood Hungama
popular bar had a new robotic bartender installed, to make serving drinks more efficient.
A guy came in for a drink and the robot asked him, “What’s your IQ?”
The man replied, “140.”
So the robot proceeded to make conversation about string theory and the latest cancer research.
The man listened intently and thought, “This is absolutely great.”
Another guy came in for a drink and the robot asked him, “What’s your IQ?”
The man responded, “120.”
So the robot started talking about the controversies surrounding creationism and the abortion argument.
The man thought to himself, “Wow, this is fantastic.”
A third guy came in to the bar. As with the others, the robot asked him, “What’s your IQ?”
The man replied, “45.”
The robot then said, “So, how are things in Bihar these days?”
Stars – 4 Stars
A number of storytellers seek inspiration from the masala movies attempted in the 1970s and 1980s. An era that witnessed the emergence of the angry young man. An era when storytellers such as Vijay Anand, Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra, Ramesh Sippy, Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai and other reputable names transported the single screen audience [there were no multiplexes then; just 'Balcony' and 'Stalls' in cinemas] to a world of make believe. An era that gave us a string of unforgettable entertainers.
No wonder, a number of present-day film-makers borrow/seek inspiration from films of yore… a couple of directors even going to the extent of remaking those all-time classics.
Rohit Shetty’s SINGHAM — his best effort to date, in my opinion — was a forceful blast from the past. A film that faithfully followed the rules of entertainment to the T. A remake, the first part brought back memories of the classics that were attempted by our peers. SINGHAM emerged a solid hit for varied reasons: high-voltage drama, raw action, dialogue-baazi during the confrontations and of course, power-packed performances by Ajay Devgn and Prakash Raj that elicited wolf-whistles. Quite obviously, the expectations from SINGHAM RETURNS, which brings the unbeatable combo of Ajay and Rohit Shetty together, are gargantuan.
SINGHAM RETURNS is dissimilar when you draw parallels with the first part — there’s no connect between the two films, except, of course, Bajirao Singham. In SINGHAM, Singham took on the powerful politician [Prakash Raj], while the second installment throws light on the upright cop’s crusade against corrupt politicians, including an influential Swamiji [Amole Gupte]. Much like the first installment, the combat is amongst equals yet again, with the protagonist and the antagonist going all out to knock each other down.
SINGHAM RETURNS reflects the times we are living in. Scams, frauds, corruption, misuse of power by the high and mighty… much like the entertainers of yore, SINGHAM RETURNS provides a voice to the common man and you root for the diligent cop as he wages a war against the crooks. Sure, it’s a familiar terrain for moviegoers, since we have experienced such face offs in countless films, but what matters ultimately is how persuasive, ambitious and imaginative it appears, despite the conventional constraints. Both, Ajay and Rohit dive into the film with earnestness and conviction, relishing every moment and deliver a knock out entertainer.
Here’s the plotline: The courageous Bajirao Singham [Ajay Devgn] now returns to Mumbai. The story takes off when an officer from Singham’s squad [Ganesh Yadav] is found dead, holding an enormous sum of money and charged with being corrupt. Singham begins his quest to trace the mystery behind it.
Known for escapist entertainers like the GOLMAAL series, ALL THE BEST, BOL BACHCHAN and CHENNAI EXPRESS, Rohit does an about turn with the SINGHAM franchise. Besides, he and screenplay writer Yunus Sajawal add a dash of realism to reinvent the formula, but the focal point remains the same: Entertainment. Expect a deafening applause when Singham stages an entry or when he gets into a war of words with the Swamiji or when he exchanges blows with his bare fists or when the officers march to Swamiji’s office in the climax.
However, there are loopholes you cannot overlook. Much like the first part [SINGHAM], the romantic scenes just don’t cut ice and appear forced in the narrative. In fact, the story stagnates when the songs are incorporated to make the romance factor work. The film could’ve done without songs actually. Also, the action pieces are too lengthy at times and could’ve been crisper. Additionally, the soundtrack, which, despite a couple of reputed names associated with it, doesn’t linger in your memory, including Yo Yo Honey Singh’s ‘Aata Majhi Satakli’.
Sajid-Farhad adorn the sequences with seeti-maar dialogue that are sure to be an instant hit with audiences, especially during the high-voltage dramatic sequences. Dudley’s cinematography is top notch, while the action sequences are raw and gritty.
Although Ajay’s body of work includes several memorable characters and films, the character of Bajirao Singham does optimal justice to his personality, acting skills and star charisma. Expectedly, the actor delivers a towering performance, grabbing your attention the moment he enters the story. He packs a solid punch in a role that seems tailor-made for him, a character that will remain synonymous with his name. You’ve to give it to Kareena for being able to hold her own effectively, despite Ajay being the showstopper. She’s lively and though she goes over the top occasionally, the masses will like her loud character.
There’s tremendous curiosity for Singham’s adversary this time. In fact, it must’ve been a challenge for Rohit to make the opponent as commanding as the one in the previous film [Jaikant Shikre]. Amole Gupte as Swamiji, the antagonist, does a marvelous job. Anupam Kher is extraordinary. He slides into his part most effortlessly. Mahesh Manjrekar is subdued, but effective.
Zakir Hussain hits the bull’s eye yet again. Sharat Saxena is in fine form. Dayanand Shetty infuses life into his part. He’s first-rate! The supporting cast — Ganesh Yadav, Govind Namdev, Pankaj Tripathi, Deepraj Rana, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Vineet Sharma — do justice to their respective characters. Ashwini Kalsekar is excellent.
On the whole, SINGHAM RETURNS is a complete mass entertainer with power-packed drama, hi-intensity dialogue and towering performances as its aces. The brand value attached to it coupled with a long weekend will help the film reap a harvest and rule the box-office in days to come. A sure-shot WINNER!
By Taran Adarsh
One day Paddy, an Irishman, goes into a pharmacy, reaches into his pocket and takes out a small Irish whiskey bottle and a teaspoon.
He pours some liquid onto the teaspoon and offers it to the pharmacist and says, “Could you taste this for me, please?”
The pharmacist takes the teaspoon, puts it in his mouth, swills the liquid around and swallows it.
“Does that taste sweet to you?” says Paddy.
“No, not at all,” says the pharmacist.
“Oh that’s a relief,” says Paddy.
“The doctor told me to come here and get my urine tested for sugar.”
Stars – 4
Akshay Kumar returns to the silver screen after a hiatus. Known for having a film release every few months, this move has, expectedly, garnered positive reception by the film fraternity as well as the multitude of fans. In his newest outing HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY, the actor teams up with A.R. Murugadoss, who made his Hindi debut with GHAJINI , starring Aamir Khan. Incidentally, Murugadoss too returns to the Hindi film arena after a gap of almost six years.
HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY is a remake of the Tamil action-thriller THUPPAKKI [2012; starring Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal], which won immense critical acclaim and reaped a rich harvest at the box-office. Obviously, the expectations are humungous since Murugadoss’ GHAJINI was the *first Hindi film* to waltz past the Rs 100 cr mark in the domestic market. Besides, THUPPAKKI has been a Blockbuster and one expects the Hindi adaptation to repeat history.
When one attempts to remake South Indian hits in Hindi, one makes modifications to suit the Northern sensibilities, which only enhances the project in question. Murugadoss does exactly that in HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY. THUPPAKKI was a hugely admired and engrossing entertainer and evidently ranks amongst Murugadoss’ finest works. Does the able craftsman deliver a far superior product in HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY? Does Akshay slip into Vijay’s shoes with as much ease? Is the new antagonist Farhad as merciless and cold-blooded as the original baddie Vidyut Jammwal? Most importantly, does Murugadoss take a leap forward as he recreates his bonafide Hit?
Let’s shed light on the premise! Captain Virat Bakshi [Akshay Kumar], an army man, returns home to Mumbai for his holidays. His family takes him to see Sahiba [Sonakshi Sinha], but he rejects her. Later, on another occasion, he finds out that she is actually a boxer and is surprised by her personality. The story takes a turn when an anti-social activity in the heart of Mumbai city gets him involved into something huge.
Being a patriot and a special agent in the Indian Army, Virat is dragged into a huge network of terrorism. The rest of the story is about his fight against the terrorist network and the eradication of the sleeper cells from the city.
Let’s not confuse HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY with atypical Akshay Kumar film that tilts heavily towards humor or has an uninterrupted flow of gags. This one tackles a serious issue — terrorism — and how a lone soldier sets out to annihilate the sleeper cells that are out to create mayhem in Mumbai. Sure, a number of films focusing on terrorism have made it to the big screen, especially post 9/11, but Murugadoss marries the serious issue and good old romance [Akshay-Sonakshi] most effortlessly. Of course, much like the original source, HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY veers towards the clash between a soldier and the terror forces, but the storyteller, who’s eyeing the pan-India audience, makes sure he gives the masala movie lovers something more than that.
Additionally, in a majority of entertainers, the screenplay takes a backseat, while the star power takes precedence. HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY comes across as an exception because the smartly-packaged fare never loses focus from its core issue [the fight between an army man and terrorists], with the post-interval portions diversifying into race-against-time thriller mode. Also, Murugadoss employs the right tricks to woo the entertainment-seeking spectator — abundant turns in the screenplay, the face off between good and evil, the hand-to-hand combat, the subtle humor, the nail-biting finale et al — but at the end of the day, the message that the film communicates resonates loud and clear.
Expertly filmed and edited [Amitabh Shukla], the sole hiccup is that the romantic portions could’ve been short-n-snappy. The club song in the second hour appears forced. Besides, though the makers employ Pritam to belt out chartbusting melodies, the soundtrack is plain ordinary. But these are minor hiccups in an otherwise slick film that gets so many things right.
N. Nataraja Subramanian’s camera gives the film scale, while the action sequences [Greg Powell, Anl Arasu] are raw, gritty and appealing.
Murugadoss abstains from casting over-familiar faces for pivotal characters, choosing actors who aren’t known for featuring in Akshay starrers [except Sonakshi]. Govinda is restrained in a cameo. Sonakshi Sinha is effervescent and contributes in making the proceedings lively. Sumeet Raghavan is wonderful, absolutely in sync with his character. Farhad [aka Freddy Daruwala] is impactful as the antagonist. He has good screen presence and handles his part with conviction. Zakir Hussain effectively portrays the same part that he essayed in the original.
The scene-stealer is, without doubt, Akshay Kumar, who reinvents himself with this one. The actor has acted in every possible genre and though the cynics may argue that Akshay keeps repeating himself in film after film, I’d like to remind them of his nuanced act in SPECIAL 26 and now HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY. It’s a power-packed portrayal, which the actor illustrates with complete understanding, without going overboard. This is Akshay’s show unquestionably!
On the whole, HOLIDAY – A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY is a slick action-thriller that keeps you engrossed, enthralled and captivated all through, thanks to its fascinating premise and a watertight, razor-sharp screenplay. Go for it!
By Taran Adarsh
Billy was excited about his first day at school. So excited in fact, that only a few minutes after class started, he realised that he desperately needed to go to the toilet. So Billy raised his hand politely to ask if he could be excused.
Of course, the teacher said yes, but asked Billy to be quick.
Five minutes later. Billy returned looking more desperate and embarrassed.
“I can’t find it”, he admitted.
The teacher sat Billy down and drew him a little diagram to where he should go and asked him if he will be able to find it now.
Billy looked at the diagram, said “yes” and goes on his way.
Well five minutes later, he returned to the class room and says to the teacher, “I can’t find it”.
Frustrated, the teacher asked Tommy, a boy who has been at the school for awhile, to help him find the bathroom.
So Tommy and Billy go together and five minutes later they both return and sit down at their seats.
The teacher asks Tommy, “Well, did you find it?”
Tommy is quick with his reply, “Oh sure, he just had his boxer shorts on backwards”
Stars – 3.5
To counter the dearth of hits year after year, film-makers and leading Studios — also actors — have formulated a strategy to woo spectators in hordes: Sequels. The general feeling is, a follow-up to a successful film, by and large, rakes in enormous moolah at the ticket window. Luckily, the success ratio of sequels has been optimal, hence bigger and better installments are being designed by the creative brains this side of the Atlantic. Noticeably, it’s raining sequels in Bollywood these days.
For any product to leave an impression, it’s imperative that the spectator’s eyes do not stray from the screen. Neither should his/her attention vacillate from the goings-on. The sequel ought to deliver more than the earlier part. The content ought to be imaginative and inventive… or else, the franchise fatigue sets in instantly.
BHOOTHNATH RETURNS does not take off from where the first part ended. Barring the friendly ghost — the Indian Casper, Bhoothnath — everything that you witness in the second installment is fresh, be it the plot or the characters or the setting. Wait, there’s a new storyteller [Nitesh Tiwari] too. Additionally, this one is coinciding with the elections. The identification with the material is immense, since the film also depicts a corrupt/slimy politician, besides communicating a vital message: The significance of exercising our right to vote.
Does BHOOTHNATH RETURNS ups the ante with a fascinating and captivating plot? Does it pack ample ammunition through those 2.30 hours’ run time? Let’s analyze…
BHOOTHNATH RETURNS takes Bhoothnath’s [Amitabh Bachchan] story forward. As he returns to ‘Bhoot World’, Bhoothnath is greeted with taunts and condemnation from other ghosts for bringing disrepute to the ghost-community for getting bullied by a kid on earth. Post the humiliation, Bhoothnath decides to redeem himself and come back to scare a bunch of kids.
Bhoothnath’s search for kids brings him to Akhrot [Parth Bhalerao], a slum kid, who is also the only person who can see him. Together, they agree to help each other and their friendship sees them get involved in a cause that is bigger than they had ever imagined. To move ahead, they lock horns with the powerful and corrupt politician, Bhau [Boman Irani]. The Lok Sabha elections are nearing and Bhau’s victory is a mere formality, or is it?
Nitesh Tiwari takes the BHOOTHNATH template and spins an altogether fresh tale in BHOOTHNATH RETURNS. The corrupt netas and the corroded political system have been an integral part of Bollywood for decades now. One is used to mortals trading charges against each other or manipulating the junta to suit themselves… Nitesh reinvents the genre by pitting a ghost against a political heavyweight and therein lies the difference. Everything else is fine-tuned to fit into the rhythm. The setting is a basti in Mumbai, but, frankly, the connect and identification is pan-India.
Nitesh also does away with the conventional romantic track, which is an essential part of Bollywood. However, the director compensates it with the camaraderie the kid shares with the friendly ghost, which amuses you no end. As a matter of fact, Nitesh has the knack of dealing with kids [recall CHILLAR PARTY, which he directed with Vikas Bahl], which is evident in BHOOTHNATH RETURNS as well.
While the first half is breezy, with several pleasurable moments and witty one-liners laced into the proceedings, the film does a U-turn in the post-interval portions. The goings-on, all of a sudden, turn serious, while the humor goes missing. As a matter of fact, the film veers into the Prakash Jha territory in the second hour, becoming a political drama, while the entertainment quotient is sidelined completely. The election process, the manipulative games played by the politicians, the fight for votes and power… the film changes tracks and gets preachy too. Sure, the message it conveys is well-intentioned and noble, but the serious and grim turn of events look out of place in view of the fact that the film has been promoted as a light entertainer eyeing the kids’ segment amongst moviegoers. Additionally, the pacing is uneven at times and the run time [2.30 hours] only dilutes the impact created by some terrific moments.
The soundtrack of BHOOTHNATH RETURNS is pleasant, not memorable. ‘Party To Banti Hai’ is the best track of the enterprise, while ‘Party With The Bhoothnath’ [featuring Big B and Yo Yo Honey Singh] comes *after* the end credits. It’s too late by then! Dialogue are witty at places and bring a smile on your face on varied occasions.
Although Bachchan Sr. has delivered unforgettable performances in his illustrious career, he never fails to surprise you with stellar acts again and again. He is the soul of BHOOTHNATH RETURNS, shining in several crucial sequences of the film. Boman Irani is fabulous as the power-hungry, shrewd politician, while Parth Bhalerao is the scene stealer, delivering a winning performance, despite sharing screen space with ace actors. The ensemble cast comprising Sanjay Mishra, Brijendra Kala, Usha Jadhav and Usha Nadkarni also deliver natural performances. Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor make cameo appearances, but they hardly leave any impact. Ditto for Anurag Kashyap.
On the whole, BHOOTHNATH RETURNS is made with noble intentions and the message it conveys resonates in the second hour, although those looking for entertainment may find it lacking in the second half. Watch it for some wonderful moments and superior performances by Bachchan Sr., Boman Irani and the child artist Parth Bhalerao.
By Taran Adarsh
A little girl asked her mother, “How did the human race appear?”
The mother answered, “God made Adam and Eve and they had children and then all mankind was made.”
Two days later the girl asked her father the same question.
The father answered, “Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.”
The confused girl returned to her mother and said, “Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?”
The mother answered, “Well, dear, it’s very simple: I told you about my side of the family, and your father told you about his.”
Eight-year-old Sally brought her report card home from school. Her marks were good… mostly A’s and a couple of B’s. However, her teacher had written across the bottom:
“Sally is a smart little girl, but she has one fault. She talks too much in school. I have an idea I am going to try, which I think may break her of the habit.”
Sally’s dad signed her report card, putting a note on the back: “Please let me know if your idea works on Sally because I would like to try it out on her mother.”
Stars – 4.5
Inter-caste relationships/marriages aren’t new for Bollywood. Till a few years ago, it was a regular template essential to make a Hindi movie work. Recall EK DUUJE KE LIYE, attempted more than three decades ago. The much-in-love couple — the South Indian guy [Kamal Haasan] and his North Indian beloved [Rati Agnihotri] — encountered a storm when their families got wind of their romance. More recently, in the hugely-admired VICKY DONOR, the Punjabi mom [of Ayushmann Khurrana] and the Bengali father [of Yami Gautam] voice apprehensions when they learn of their respective kids’ stance of having an inter-caste marriage. Are we still conservative when it comes to matters of heart and marriage?
2 STATES is based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller ’2 States: The Story Of My Marriage’ and since the film is set in the present times, when a lot of people have liberal viewpoints on love and marriage, one wonders why the principal characters — the North Indian boy [Arjun Kapoor] and his South Indian sweetheart [Alia Bhatt] — do not oppose their parents’ wishes and get married? Both are in love, both are free-thinking individuals, both have lucrative jobs and aren’t dependent on their respective families… so what’s the hitch? Conversely, in this day and age, why do *some* people feel that since their kid has done so well in life, he/she deserves a partner from their own community?
2 STATES, directed by Abhishek Varman, attempts to answer the varied questions crossing the minds of the lovers and their respective families. The love birds here are no rebels. Instead, they decide to persuade their families, win their trust, besides making the families overcome the prejudices and misconceptions of cultural differences. In a way, the film motivates you to look beyond the community — a message that comes across vigorously towards a vital stage in the film.
Let’s enlighten you about the plot of the film! Love marriages around the world are simple. Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. They get married. It’s different here… Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. Girl’s family has to love the boy. Boy’s family has to love the girl. Girl’s family has to love the boy’s family. Boy’s family has to love the girl’s family. And if things fall into place, the couple gets married…
2 STATES is a story about a journey of one such couple, Krish Malhotra [Arjun Kapoor] and Ananya Swaminathan [Alia Bhatt]. They meet at the IIM-Ahmedabad and fall in love. Complications arise when they decide to get married. Krish and Ananya belong to two different states of India: Krish is a North Indian Punjabi boy from Delhi, while Ananya is a Tamil Brahmin girl from Chennai. They take a conscious decision; till their parents don’t agree, they won’t get married.
Everything goes downhill when the parents meet. There is a cultural clash and the parents oppose the wedding. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple faces a tough battle in front of them. For, it’s easy to fight and rebel, but much harder to convince. Will Krish and Ananya’s love for each other sustain the battles? Will they manage to convince their parents?
Director Abhishek Varman stays faithful to Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller, adapting it delightfully on the big screen. The diverse cultures, the discomfort and the pressures when people talk of inter-caste liaison, the unyielding love and the resolve to win the parents’ trust… each and every aspect — the emotions included — are captured meticulously by the storyteller. Abhishek also makes us peep into the mindset of the two families, highlighting the doubts that arise in such a scenario, yet he makes sure he doesn’t belittle or demean any community in the process.
Abhishek makes a significant debut as a storyteller. His eye for detailing, the sensitivity with which he handles relationships, the complex story that he narrates without resorting to gimmicks catches your attention. The story flows seamlessly, the sequence of events follow a rhythm, the balance between the couple’s desire to get married and their mission to make things work between the two families is picture perfect. Having said that, one shouldn’t overlook or sidestep the contribution of the writer [Chetan Bhagat], who packs in ample meat for cineastes looking for relevant and relatable, yet engaging and entertaining stuff at the same time.
The soundtrack [Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy] gels beautifully with the genre. While a couple of compositions are harmonious, you relate to the songs more when you view them in context. Binod Pradhan’s cinematography bathes every single frame in lush colors, making it a visually enticing experience. Hussain Dalal’s dialogue are articulate and convey the emotions wonderfully.
2 STATES is a complete departure from the genre of films Arjun Kapoor has featured to date [ISHAQZAADE, AURANGZEB, GUNDAY]. This one is more real, demands that he shed the unwanted baggage of the conventional hero and interpret the character with complete understanding. Arjun steals the show with an effortless, charming and convincing portrayal. He’s gonna surprise a lot of people with this film, for sure. Alia Bhatt proves yet again that she doesn’t need a dialogue to communicate; her eyes and expressions do the talking. Also, post HIGHWAY, Alia gets yet another complex character to prove her mettle and she does a super job of interpreting her character with aplomb.
The supporting cast is consistently first-rate. Ronit Roy sparkles in a difficult-to-portray character. Amrita Singh is terrific as the dominating mother. A role she enacts so wonderfully, she deserves brownie points for it. Revathy leaves a stamp every time she appears on screen. She’s fantastic! Shiv Subramanyam hits the right note as Alia’s father. I’d like to make a special mention of Achint Kaur, who stands out in a brief but vital role.
On the whole, 2 STATES is one of the finest movies to come out of the Hindi film industry of late. This is one of those rare Hindi movies that commands a repeat viewing. Strongly recommended!
Review by Taran Adarsh
One day many years ago at a school in South London a teacher said to the class of 5-year-olds, “I’ll give $20 to the child who can tell me who was the most famous man who ever lived.”
An Irish boy put his hand up and said, “It was St. Patrick.” The teacher said, “Sorry Alan, that’s not correct.”
Then a Scottish boy put his hand up and said, “It was St. Andrew.” The teacher replied, “I’m sorry, Hamish, that’s not right either.
Finally, a Gujarati boy raised his hand and said, “It was Jesus Christ.” The teacher said, “That’s absolutely right, Jayant, come up here and I’ll give you the $20.”
As the teacher was giving Jayant his money, she said, “You know Jayant, since you are Gujarati, I was very surprised you said Jesus Christ.”
Jayant replied, “Yes, in my heart I knew it was Lord Krishna, but business is business!”
Husband to wife: Today is a fine day.
Next day he says: Today is a fine day.
Again next day, he says same thing: Today is a fine day.
Finally after a week, the wife can’t take it and asks her husband: Since one week, you are saying this ‘Today is a fine day’. I am fed up. What’s the matter?
Husband: Last week when we had an argument, you said, ‘I will leave you one fine day.’ I was just trying to remind you.
Stars – 1.5
The summer vacations are finally here and so is the array of film releases which tend to redeem it during the holidays. Considering the scorching heat outside, one always feels safe and undisturbed sitting indoors and playing games like whodunit detective games or reading mysterious novels.
This week’s release SAMRAT & CO, touted to be a mysterious whodunit thriller, seems to be a story plot just out of the storybooks. The film comes from the stable of Rajshri Productions Pvt Ltd, the same people who gave us the all time musical smash hits cum family dramas like MAINE PYAAR KIYA, HUM AAPKE HAIN KAUN, VIVAH etc. Does the movie live upto its promise of offering the viewers a ‘dilchasp rahasya ride’, and whether the Rajshris are able to live upto the audiences” expectations, let’s analyze.
The film starts off with the ‘seventh sensed’ STD aka Samrat Tilakdhari (played by Rajeev Khandelwal) and his part time-sidekick-cum-part time TV host CD aka Chakradhaari (Gopal Dutt) receiving a phone call from Dimpy Singh (Madalsa Sharma) seeking help to solve a strange case of their garden fading for no reason and also the sudden deteriorating health of her father Mahendra Pratap Singh (Girish Karnad). Despite the initial hesitations, Samrat and Chakradhaari finally make it to the palatial estate of Mahendra Pratap Singh. Right from the time they gain an entry into the mansion, they find the situations getting embroiled into one mystery after the other. As time begins to progress, they witness the murder of Girish Karnad under mysterious circumstances. Even while they go all out to solve this murder mystery, two more murders take place in quick succession, which further thickens the plot. How ‘Samrat & Co’ trail after the murders and nail the culprit is what which forms the rest of the story.
Director Kaushik Ghatak, who had earlier directed EK VIVAAH AISA BHI, fails to live upto the expectations’ of being a ‘Rajshri director’. Right from the time the film starts till the last frame if the film, the viewer is subjected to a roller coaster ride of their patience, courtesy the poor direction. Where on earth will one find a reputed and famous detective (whose success stories are published in leading newspapers), utter limericks in almost every second line of his conversation! Even though the director has infused multitude of characters in order to create confusion (read ‘mystery’) in the minds of the viewers, he fails miserably in establishing their individual identities. Many of the side actors land up looking like mere props in the film. As far as the film’s cast is concerned, Rajeev Khandelwal, who is best known for his choice of unconventional roles, seems to be a bit out of place in this character. One cannot totally blame him for this as he only delivered what must have been told to him. Despite a convincing screen presence, what really brings down his character is the fact that he gets involved in a lot of creative wordplay, which once formed the USP of films like KYA SUPERKOOL HAIN HUM and likes. Adding more to the irritation is Chakradhaari (Gopal Dutt) and his constant hammering of “That’s the point”, which, after a certain point, gets translates into a migraine. Madalasa Sharma, who makes her debut with this film, contributes her bit to the film in the form of beauty and grace, even though the film doesn’t offer her a platform to exhibit her acting potentials. While a special mention to Bhaumik Sampat (Inspector Khalid) for playing his role with conviction, the other actors who feature in this film include the veteran actor Girish Karnad, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Indraneil Sengupta, and Barkha Bishit Sengupta, Shreya Narayan, Ravi Jhankal and Puja Gupta.
While the screenplay writers of this film (Kaushik Ghatak, Manish Srivastav) seems to have done a sloppy job, which otherwise could have turned the film into a watchable affair. The dialogue writer (Sanjay Masoom) does a ‘creatively decent’ job with his words. While the editor Nipun Gupta seemed to know what was expected of him, delivers his goods intact. But, the same cannot be said about the action (Kaushal and Moses), which is a letdown. What one fails to understand why would the hero and the villain get into a ‘question and answer session’ while fighting with each other! As far as the music is concerned (Ankit Tiwari) despite the inclusion of an item number, the film offers no memorable song which you can hum on your way back home. The only saving grace/ salvation/ redemption of the film seems to be Sandeep Shirodkar’s background music that keeps the film at its pace.
All in all, SAMRAT AND CO is a major letdown, certain elements notwithstanding.
Review by Taran Adarsh
This 89 year old woman was arrested for lifting.
When she went before the judge he asked her, “What did you steal?”
She replied, “Can of peaches.”
The judge asked her why she had stolen the can of peaches and she replied that she was hungry. Then the judge asked her how many peaches were in the can. She replied 6.
The judge said, “Then I will give you 6 days in jail.”
Before the judge could actually pronounce the punishment, the woman’s husband spoke up and asked, the judge if he could say something on his wife’s behalf. The judge said, “What is it?”
The husband said, “She also stole a can of peas.”
Stars – 2 stars
In today’s world where everything is available at a mere press of a button, many of us have forgotten as to how the bygone era was and what all were the means of livelihood that they had adopted as a career [both conventional and unconventional]. Strange but true, one such unconventional but well paying job was the art of writing porn!
MASTRAM is about yesteryear’s one such writer in northern India named Rajaram Vishram aka Hans [Rahul Bagga]. Even though he works as a small-town bank clerk, he always nurtures and harbours the dreams of moving to Delhi and becoming a famous author. Since his bank’s boss doesn’t approve and encourage his writing, he quits the job and starts going from one publisher to the other to get his works published.
When he meets with dejection everywhere, a certain publisher points out that if he really intends to get his books published, there is a certain amount of ‘masala’ that he needs to sprinkle his writings with. An innocent Rajaram then starts looking up to the lengths and breadths of almost everywhere to understand the meaning of the said term. And the moment he understands what the term ‘masala’ is actually meant, it gives rise to ‘Mastram’, a pseudonym under which he start writing his pornographic novels.
This pseudonym is something that only he and his publishers know about, so much so that he keeps his best friend and his ever-so-supportive wife Renu [Tara-Alisha Berry] in the dark about his writings. With the advent of his newfound success, his middle class life takes a U-turn towards richness, thus making him the subject matter of discussion on everyone’s lips. What happens when his family gets to know the reality of ‘Mastram’?
As far as the cast is concerned, Rahul plays the title role with the right amount of innocence and conviction that the role demands, although the same cannot be said about Tara, who plays his ever-supporting wife. She is good in parts. While the man who plays Rahul’s best friend delivers a decent performance, the rest of the cast do their bit in carrying the film forward.
Director Akhilesh Jaiswal seems to know his job. Given the movie premises, the dialogues should have been more impactful. At the same time, the editing could have been a bit crispier in order to have the desired impact. There’s absolutely no way anyone will remember the film’s music as it’s the film’s content that will drive the audience to the theatres. Surprising enough, the film doesn’t have any of such explicit content as was expected from a film of this stature.
All in all, MASTRAM is a film that can be given a try, if you haven’t tried anything else this week.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 2.5
Subhash Ghai is back on the director’s chair after a hiatus. After YUVVRAAJ . It’s indeed a long sabbatical, considering the Showman has continuously churned out movies in varied genres. Mostly entertainers. With KAANCHI, Ghai decides to entertain in his own way, yet attempts to drive home a message.
A number of film-makers have attempted movies on the woman of today. Someone who is feircely independent and charters her own path in life. More recently, Vikas Bahl’s QUEEN narrated the story of one such woman. In KAANCHI, Ghai attempts to narrate the story of a small-town girl who locks horns with the high and mighty over personal issues. An interesting concept indeed… However, what could’ve been a lone woman’s fight against the corrupt and evil forces loses track midway since Ghai tries to pack in just about every commercial ingredient to woo the spectator. More on that later!
First, the premise! KAANCHI tells the story of Kaanchi [Mishti], whose life turn upside down when the young son [Rishabh Sinha] of a politician [Mithun Chakraborty] unleashes hell in her life. She decides to pick the pieces of her life by shifting to Mumbai and settling the score with the oppressors.
KAANCHI starts off very well, with Ghai capturing certain moments that stay with you. The first hour has several engaging and interesting episodes, while the twist in the tale that leaves Kaanchi shattered is the highpoint of the movie… one expects the post-interval portions to only go forward from this point. Sadly, KAANCHI hits a rough patch in the second hour.
What could’ve been a thought-provoking film deviates into sub-plots that seem far from interesting. For instance, the entire track involving Rishi Kapoor and Mishti looks ridiculous. Additionally, the portions that show Mishti landing herself a job in Mithun’s home and the sequence when she discovers the relationship Mithun shares with an important member of his political party is absolutely weird. Even the closing stages — Mishti fighting the opponent — is far from real. Like I pointed out earlier, Ghai tries to pack in too much for the entertainment-seeking spectator, which, in the final tally, appears forced in the scheme of things. The run time is another deterrent, which could’ve controlled had Ghai eliminated the unwanted tracks in the narrative.
Ghai’s attempt to balance entertainment with the serious issue that he desires to address via KAANCHI also does not work completely because at the end of it all, instead of forcing us to confront the stark issues and bitter truths, the outcome neither falls into the typical Ghai entertainer bracket, nor do you applaud the courageous fight for justice of the protagonist. On the brighter side, Ghai does succeed in transporting you to Mishti’s world at the commencement of the film. The relationship between Mishti and her mother and also between Mishti and her lover Kartik is wonderfully depicted.
The songs are melodious, but not the type that have recall value, something Ghai’s previous endeavours boasted of. Recall the soundtrack of Ghai’s earlier films and compare it with this one. The title track is melodious, while ‘Kambal Ke Neeche’ brings back memories of ‘Choli Ke Peechhe’. The DoP captures the beautiful locations with aplomb.
Ghai rests the plot of KAANCHI on Mishti’s shoulders and though the actress looks beautiful [reminds of Aishwarya and Mahima from certain angles], she does a confident job of interpreting her part. Also, her fragile face bears the scars of trauma effectively. Kartik Aaryan does a good job, although one misses his presence after a point. Rishi Kapoor looks out of place in a character like this, while Mithun Chakraborty steals the show. Rishabh Sinha as Mithun’s son is first-rate. Chandan Roy Sanyal is too good.
Adil Hussain manages his part efficiently. Mita Vashisht is wasted. Mahima Chaudhary appears in a cameo.
On the whole, KAANCHI could’ve been a riveting fare, but doesn’t rise beyond the ordinary in the final tally.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 2.5
Bollywood seems to be in an experimentation mode. Diverse themes, which were considered ‘risky propositions’ till some time back, are slowly finding their way on the big screen. This week’s KYA DILLI KYA LAHORE, despite being a war film, is not a film on war; rather it’s a film about war!
Unlike the war films attempted earlier [BORDER, LOC KARGIL, LAKSHYA come to your mind instantly], KYA DILLI KYA LAHORE is not a war film, but a self-confessed India’s first ‘anti-war’ film. Also, the fact that Vijay Raaz has helmed the project makes it special. The film is a satire on the sensitive relations between India and Pakistan and focusses on the emotional bonding between the cook belonging to the Indian army and a Pakistani soldier, both of whom are stationed at the Indo-Pak border.
The film starts with independence and partition footage. Vijay Raaz, who plays a Pakistani soldier, lands up at the border. At the behest of his senior officer [played by Vishwajeet Pradhan], Raaz comes in search of a secret document that is the alleged route map of a tunnel planned by India. While searching it, he happens to encounter an Indian army’s cook [played by Manu Rishi].
The first half of the film is actually a conversation between Raaz and Rishi, both of whom brag about the grass being greener on their side. Due to a sudden turn of events, Raaz, who initially overpowers Rishi and takes him to his seniors, is now at the gun point of Indian Army’s postman [played by Raj Zutshi]. Zutshi, in an attempt to become an army officer, calls his senior officer and claims to have captured a Pakistani soldier [Raaz] and a traitor [Rishi] from the Indian army. Why does Zutshi call Rishi a traitor and what happens to the duo in the end forms rest of the film’s story.
Of the cast, Vijay Raaz seems to get carried away with his role in this film, despite his being an author backed role. He is really convincing in the emotional scenes. But it’s actually Manu Rishi who leaves an impact. Even though his dialogues are mostly in Punjabi-Hindi, his attire of an army cook and the shedding of his inhibitions while handling a gun come across very smoothly. He really looks the part. Raj Zutshi and Vishwajeet Pradhan do their bit in carrying the film forward.
The veteran Gulzar, who has been a mentor, has also penned its lyrics, although not all the songs feature in the film. The film’s music doesn’t leave much of an impact. As far as the film’s locations are concerned, the film has been creatively shot at Fiji. Full marks to the art director, who recreated the Wagah border in Fiji, although there are places wherein the locations starts looking monotonous/stereotyped.
On the whole, KYA DILLI KYA LAHORE is a one-time watch mainly for its offbeat storyline.
Review by Taran Adarsh
Stars – 2.5
There have been many meanings and dimensions to the term ‘friendship’ aka ‘dosti’. There have been a million movies which have been made with friendship being the central theme. We have also witnessed many films which showcased the friendship of two best friends going sour, courtesy a girl and the misunderstanding that comes attached as a package deal.
This week’s release PURANI JEANS also treads on the same territory of the time tested premise of two best friends falling in love with the same girl and the resulting complications which arise after that. The film is based on the belief that ‘friendship is like a pair of old jeans- the older it gets, the better it becomes’. Does the film offer anything new and how much of the film’s story is worth its salt, let’s analyze.
The film starts off with the never-say- die friendship of the self confessed ‘Kasauli Cowboys’ gang, which consists of Tanuj Virwani, Aditya Seal, Param Baidwaan, Kashyap Kapoor and Raghav Kakkar. They eat, drink and make merry together. Even though Aditya is someone who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he yearns for love, affection and friendship. That’s why he prefers the company of his friends and also the company of the lovely ‘M’ (played by Rati Agnihotri), who plays Tanuj’s mom. This is because, with them, he can be his own self, unlike at his house which consists of a drunkard mother (Sarika) and her second husband (Rajat Kapoor), a scheming opportunist. All is well in the friends’ gang till the time Izabelle enters the scene. Both the best friends (Tanuj and Aditya) fall head over heels in love with her, without being aware of each other’s feelings for the girl. While the suave cool dude Aditya makes it very vocal about his feelings towards her, the silent Tanuj suffers in silence and decides to forgo his love for the sake of friendship. Amidst all this, an incident takes place which changes everyone’s path forever. Will the love emerge triumphant over friendship or vice versa, is what forms the rest of the story.
The director and the film’s story writer Tanushri Chattrji Bassu, clearly knows as to what she wanted in this youth drama and she delivers it without any fumble. It would have been great though if she had added some more twists and turns in this otherwise predictable film. As far as the star cast is concerned, despite Tanuj being the ‘hero’, its Aditya Seal who steals the show and how! He really deserves special brownie points for his amazing screen presence and the conviction that he exudes through his character. Even though Tanuj is okay in parts, he really has a long way to go as far as his dialogue delivery and emotional scenes are concerned. As for the rest of the gang, Param Baidwaan, Kashyap Kapoor and Raghav Kakkar do their bit in carrying the film forward in whatever manner they can. As for Izabelle Leite, the film’s heroine, she should concentrate more on acting and emoting, as merely looking good on screen is just not good enough. Amongst the senior lot, Sarika, Rajat Kapoor and Rati Agnihotri enjoy their moments under the sun, while Manoj Pahwa is at his usual self.
Ram Sampath, who has composed both, the music as well as the film’s background score, needs to be applauded for coming up with some memorable tunes. The songs’ lyrics and the music seem to complement each other beautifully. While the editors Apurva Motiwale and Ashish Mhatre are commendable in their departments, the work of the cinematographers Sunil Patel and Christo Bakalov, seem to be a step ahead of them.
All in all, this film is worth a watch once… all for the sake of friendship.
Review by Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3
Till a few monsoons ago, the protagonists in a Hindi movie were pristine white, while the antagonists, expectedly, were jet-black. Nonetheless, Hindi cinema seems to be getting ‘real’ with each passing week, serving plots that one can relate to and presenting characters that are as credible and authentic as you witness in day-to-day life. FUGLY, directed by Kabir Sadanand, fits into the variety.
The very first theatrical trailer of FUGLY brought a sense of déjà vu, as cineastes started drawing parallels with Bejoy Nambiar’s SHAITAN… and for a legitimate reason. Bejoy’s film mapped out the lives of five youngsters who commit felony after felony to smokescreen the dreadful offense they had committed. A tough cop [Rajeev Khandelwal] was, hence, entrusted with the task of apprehending them… In FUGLY, the four youngsters are pitted against a cop [Jimmy Sheirgill] as well, but before you jump the gun, let’s correct you. The plotline is similar but only to a point and takes a diverse route when the youngsters have a run-in with the law.
FUGLY is set in the lanes of Delhi. A story of four friends — Dev [Mohit Marwah], Devi [Kiara Advani], Gaurav [Vijender Singh] and Aditya [Arfi Lamba]. Their dreams and expectations come to a crashing halt when, one night, they are faced with evil incarnate R.S. Chautala [Jimmy Sheirgill], a Police Officer. What unfolds from here is a series of events that will put to test their friendship and character.
FUGLY is not the standard Bollywoodish fare that looks at life through rose-tinted glasses. Unlike films of its ilk, which tend to get dark, gory and predictable after a point, Kabir Sadanand smartly uses sub-plots and characters so that the film doesn’t steer into the foreseeable zone. In addition, Kabir invests in drama and the emotional bond amongst friends to make the proceedings captivating, but at the same time, makes the road back from hell compelling and lifelike.
Although the initial portions focus on the bonding and the fun-and-amusement the youngsters seem to revel in, you’ve an inkling that there are curves ahead, the smooth sailing won’t last for too long. Your apprehensions come true when Sheirgill makes an entry.
Kabir takes time to warm up, but once he does, there’s no stopping him. He maintains his grip on the dramatic portions for most parts, expertly building up tension and handling a couple of episodes adroitly. Although it’s sacrilege to spill the beans and spoil the fun for the viewers, I’d like to state that the sequences featuring Sheirgill keep you most attentive.
Conversely, there are loopholes that are hard to ignore. Like I pointed out at the outset, the initial portions are not completely compelling. A few episodes in the second hour too appear implausible, more so because the film chooses to stay as real as possible and these sequences just don’t gel. Even the finale in the hospital — with a TV crew interviewing an almost-dead patient — appears far-fetched. Nonetheless, the conclusion brings the film back on tracks.
The film’s key weapon, besides drama, is its soundtrack and Kabir makes sure he places the songs neatly in the narrative. ‘Banjarey’ is easy on the ears and the spectacular visuals of Ladakh catch your eye, while ‘Dhuaan’ has a tinge of sadness that comes at a crucial point in the tale. Milind Jog’s cinematography is top notch, with the DoP capturing some wonderful frames on his lens.
The performances are strong, with Kiara Advani and Jimmy Sheirgill leading the pack. Mohit Marwah makes a confident debut, interpreting his character with insight and conviction. He has this amazing intensity which gels well with his character. Vijender Singh has screen presence and surprises you with an effective portrayal. Arfi Lamba underplays his part well and maintains the grip over his performance all through.
At first, Kiara Advani gives the impression of just adding to the glam quotient, but the pretty newcomer catches you completely unaware as she handles her part with rare understanding. She has the combination of looks and talent, both. The manic charisma that Jimmy Sheirgill brings to his character leaves you bewildered. His fury and wickedness makes you detest him, which clearly indicates how brilliantly he has portrayed his character. Sheirgill is indisputably one of the film’s biggest strengths. Mansha Bahl [cast opposite Arfi Lamba], Vidushi Mehra [associated with a news channel] and Anshuman Jha lend satisfactory support. Kunickaa Sadanand is perfect in a cameo.
On the whole, FUGLY is relatable that portrays several episodes that mirror the realities and the problems the youth encounter in the present times. A decent entertainer!
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 4
A hero. A heroine. And a villain. That’s the standard template Bollywood has been using for decades now. Very infrequently do you come across a film that creates undeniable curiosity for the antagonist. Mohit Suri’s EK VILLAIN is one of those rare films.
The attention-grabbing trailers and the mesmerizing soundtrack have generated substantial curiosity for the film. So much so that the know-alls are drawing parallels with the Korean thriller I SAW THE DEVIL . The grapevine gains credibility because the two films — the Korean as well as EK VILLAIN — focus on the serial killer and how the male protagonist, whose life has overturned due to a distressing occurrence, courtesy the serial killer, gets even with the antagonist. The resemblance ends there.
The similarities apart, EK VILLAIN charters a novel route completely. The characters, the reason that compel a simpleton to slip into the robes of a serial killer, the clash between the good versus evil factions are dissimilar when compared to the Korean film. So, there!
Let’s enlighten you about the premise, before we proceed further! Guru [Sidharth Malhotra] is a quiet, tough and ruthless guy working for a gangster [Remo Fernandes] in Goa. A dark past continues to haunt Guru, until he meets Aisha [Shraddha Kapoor]. He falls in love with her and subsequently marries her.
Guru quits his job and moves from Goa to Mumbai to make a new beginning with Aisha. Just when things seem perfect, she falls prey to an attack…
Devastated, Guru starts hunting the miscreant and is shocked to learn of his seemingly innocuous and unpretentious identity. Something is amiss and Guru is unable to place a finger on the precise problem. What is the assailant’s motive?
Instead of narrating the tale in a linear fashion, Mohit Suri uses an altogether different mode this time — reverse narration — whereby the story unfolds after the catastrophe has occurred. The tender moments between the lovers, the upheaval in their lives caused by the antagonist, the twisted game of cat and mouse and the thrilling twist in the finale… Mohit has a knack of narrating stories with flourish and the tale he sets out to narrate in EK VILLAIN keeps you on your toes all through.
Mohit makes EK VILLAIN an enthralling experience, no two opinions on that. Although a number of movies have focused on serial killers, the talented raconteur along with screenplay writer Tushar Hiranandani [also the creative director of the film] makes sure they pack several remarkable twists that transcend the genre, making it a novel experience for the spectator. The undercurrent of tension and the violent crimes are intertwined skillfully with the affectionate moments between the lovers and the emotional turmoil that the protagonist goes through. The writing, in short, keeps you captivated right through the finale, which, again, is not of the run of the mill variety. As a matter of fact, the clash between the good and the evil towards the concluding stages is the icing on the cake.
Mohit’s movies are intensely violent, most of the times, and EK VILLAIN follows the same format. Given the nature of the subject, Mohit keeps the proceedings dark, but not repulsive. At the same time, the ruthlessness of the antagonist is depicted minus blood, gore and explicit visuals.
One has come to expect a winning soundtrack from Mohit in film after film and the music of EK VILLAIN lives up to the gargantuan expectations. This being his first movie outside of Vishesh Films, a production house synonymous with chartbusters, it’s imperative that Mohit scores on this front as well and score he does. ‘Galliyan’, ‘Banjaara’, ‘Zaroorat’ and ‘Awari’ — each of the tracks is soulful and reverberate in your memory even after the screening has concluded.
Dialogue [Milap Milan Zaveri] is another highpoint of the enterprise, garnishing the well penned and well executed sequences with flourish. In fact, Milap, who is known for witty and double entendres, surprises you with punch-packed lines that decorate the sequences wonderfully. Cinematography [DoP: Vishnu Rao] captures the vision of the storyteller on celluloid to perfection. While the film is visually rich, the underwater sequences stay in your memory. The action sequences, thankfully, are not overdone and balanced neatly in the proceedings. Background music [Raju Singh] is superb.
After repeatedly being cast in fun-loving/naughty parts in film after film, Riteish Deshmukh gambles with a dark, intense, sadistic character in EK VILLAIN. It’s a radical shift from what he has portrayed thus far and I must add, the actor carries off the unpretentious, sinister streak with brilliance. A middle class man who’s fighting his inner demons, you take to the performance all the more because Riteish manages to keep it fine-drawn and plausible.
Sidharth Malhotra is an absolute revelation, catching you with complete surprise as he handles several complicated moments with exceptional understanding. Recall the portions that portray him simmering with pent up anger. This must’ve been a challenging character to interpret, since the actor gets to portray varied shades and as he gets into the groove, you realize that the three-film-old actor has finally come of age.
Shraddha Kapoor, the catalyst who moves the story forward, looks dew-fresh and manages to add so much to every sequence she features in. Again, the part she gets to portray is not of the run-of-the-mill variety or ornamental in the scheme of things, for she has to move the story frontward. Post AASHIQUI-2, this is yet another performance that’s sure to multiply her fan-following.
Mohit uses the supporting cast most appropriately. Aamna Shariff is in super form as the nagging wife. Her sequences with Riteish are first-rate. Shaad Randhawa is top notch. The coolness with which he carries off his part is sure to catch your eye. Kamaal R. Khan springs a pleasant surprise. He gets to reprise a character that’s sure to be an instant hit with his fans. Remo Fernandes handles his part very well. Asif Basra is perfect. Prachi Desai sizzles in the song ‘Awari’.
On the whole, EK VILLAIN is a stylish, spellbinding and terrifying edge-of-the-seat thriller. It’s a step forward in this genre, without doubt. A sure-shot winner!
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3.5
For the layman, who buys a ticket to entertain himself for those 2 hours, the term ‘photo-realistic performance capture’ may come across as Greek and Latin. Unfortunately, in India, animation films have not got the due yet.
The technology used by Rajinikanth’s daughter Soundarya, who helms KOCHADAIIYAAN, captures the facial expressions of the actors and attaches it to the virtual image created for the project in question [that's explained at the very commencement of the film -- a good move, in my opinion], something which James Cameron used in the path-breaking AVATAR. Of course, there’s no comparing KOCHADAIIYAAN and AVATAR, since the time taken for the Hollywood project — including the budget allocated to that film — is beyond imagination for an Indian film-maker.
KOCHADAIIYAAN is a big leap as far as technology is considered. The question is, will KOCHADAIIYAAN change the perception of what the common man thinks of animation films in India, that it’s a film for kids of all ages, from 8 to 80? Besides, will KOCHADAIIYAAN emerge as an alternate medium to woo the spectators to theatres? Most importantly, will it give a fillip to the non-existent animation film market in India?
Soundarya makes a fervent attempt to bring the technology to our shores and travel the road never travelled by any Indian film-maker thus far, but the fact of the matter is, KOCHADAIIYAAN is saddled with the usual good versus bad saga [the son of an honest senapati seeks revenge for the wrongs done to his father]. Having said that, I wish to add that the screenplay is truly absorbing for most parts, except when the songs show up. I’d like to make a special mention of the writing in the post-interval portions, when Rajinikanth narrates the reason for attacking Deepika’s father [Nasser]. The entire flashback portions keep you hooked.
While it takes time to get the grasp of the technology initially, it becomes smooth sailing subsequently, mainly because the storytelling takes precedence after Soundarya introduces you to the characters. Besides, you ought to give credit to Soundarya for conceptualising and executing the project and presenting her superstar-father Rajinikath in three novel avatars [the third avatar emerges in the last sequence -- is there a sequel in the offing?]. The fact that she decided to choose an alternate medium of cinema to narrate the story gets her our mandate. Also, this one’s in 3D, which only enhances the impact.
Since a film like KOCHADAIIYAAN depends heavily on post-production [I believe, a massive team in India, China, U.K. and U.S.A. has worked on it], the outcome ranges from average to good to excellent. It could’ve been consistent, but, let’s face it, this is just the beginning.
The film, a mass entertainer to please the legion of fans of Rajinikanth, portrays the superstar in a role that does justice to his image — a man of extraordinary abilities. And I must add, no other actor could’ve portrayed the archetypal superhero with such brilliance. Soundarya deserves kudos for making sure she delivers what one has come to expect from a Rajinikanth film. Additionally, right from the costumes to the armour to the overall look of the superstar, KOCHADAIIYAAN decorates the superstar luminously.
Although Deepika’s character is the mandatory leading lady, she does get a couple of sequences to leave an impact. Among the supporting cast, the ones who stand out include Nasser and Jackie Shroff. Nasser especially has the meatiest part after Rajinikanth, while Jackie is competent.
KOCHADAIIYAAN also boasts of several talented names such as Shobana and Sarath Kumar. Both of them leave an impression in brief roles. Aadhi does well. Amitabh Bachchan’s baritone voice at the start gives the film the right momentum. The soundtrack by maestro A.R. Rahman is seeped in originality, but the non-popularity of songs go against them. Having said that, the powerful background score compliment the visuals on screen.
On the whole, the absorbing screenplay and the technology makes KOCHADAIIYAAN an interesting fare. For the legion of Rajinikanth fans, this film is definitely worth a watch. Recommended!
By Taran Adarsh
Co-pilot was welcoming the passengers on the plane shortly after take off.
“Thank you for flying with us this morning. The weather is…..”
When suddenly he starts screaming while he is still on the loud speakers.
“Oh my God! OMG!!! OMG!!! This is going to hurt….Its burning”
A ghostly silence reigned, he gets back on the microphone talking to the passengers.
“I sincerely apologise for the incident but the air hostess just dropped a very hot cup of coffee on my lap… you should see my pants from the front”
A passenger replies, “Why don’t you come here and see our PANTS FROM BEHIND!”
Stars – 4
There’s a sequence in FILMISTAAN, towards the second half, when the septuagenarian haqim sahab, who migrated to Pakistan during the partition, reminisces about the pre-partition days in Amritsar [India], while the protagonist, an Indian, recalls his [now deceased] grandfather’s desire, who was uprooted from his homeland, to visit his birthplace Lahore [Pakistan]. That moment, which the first-time director of FILMISTAAN [Nitin Kakkar] captures brilliantly on celluloid, is sure to make many Indians and Pakistanis moist-eyed, especially those who vividly recall the partition.
You connect with FILMISTAAN for several reasons…
Notwithstanding the violent partition, the strained relations between the two nations and the wars that the two nations have fought, when an Indian meets a Pakistani in a third country — on foreign soil — the topic, generally, veers towards the popularity of Indian films and movie stars in Pakistan [the game of cricket is another fav topic]. The Bachchans, Khans and Kapoors are loved and adored in the neighbouring country as well.
Bollywood continues to magnetize not just Indians, but Pakistanis too — an aspect that FILMISTAAN integrates in its plot with remarkable ease and honesty.
In retrospect, FILMISTAAN may appear as yet another film that looks at the popularity of Hindi films in the neighbouring country, but scratch the surface and you realize that it highlights the bonding between an Indian and a Pakistani wonderfully, communicating strong signals of love, friendship and brotherhood between the two nationalities. Coincidentally, the timing appears most appropriate, since there’s hope that the two nations are aiming to move forward, after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India last week.
Concurrently, director Nitin Kakkar brings to the fore the thorny issue of terrorism and how the common man in Pakistan too desires peace and harmony. Steering clear of sermons and shunning jingoism, Kakkar presents a tale that’s truly remarkable in every sense. FILMISTAAN has won accolades across the globe, besides winning the National Award for best feature film in Hindi, and you strongly feel, the praises, rave reviews and awards are most deserving in this case.
Let’s enlighten you about the premise of FILMISTAAN. A Bollywood buff and wannabe-actor Sunny [Sharib Hashmi] goes with an American film crew to the remote areas of Rajasthan to work on a documentary film. One night, late after shoot, a terrorist group kidnaps him and takes him to Pakistan. When the leader of the terrorist group meets Sunny, he realizes that the inept terrorists have mistakenly kidnapped an Indian and taken him prisoner, instead of an American crew-member. With little choice, the terrorists decide to keep him hostage until they locate their original target. Sunny finds himself hostage in enemy land, amidst guns and terrorists.
The house Sunny is confined to belongs to Aftaab [Inaamulhaq], a Pakistani, who pirates Hindi films but, like Sunny, loves Indian films and the two of them bond over the pirated Bollywood films that play in the village. Soon, they become close friends and Aftaab promises to help Sunny escape and cross the border from Pakistan back into Rajasthan, India.
FILMISTAAN is one of those rare Hindi films that juxtaposes drama, humor and emotions seamlessly [screenplay: Nitin Kakkar]. An absorbing plotline is spread out splendidly into a 2-hour film and believe me, there’s never a dull moment in the entire narrative. Although the film does highlight cross-border terrorism, it also shed light on the love that people from both sides have for Bollywood. Additionally, while the Indian protagonist is held captive in a hamlet in Pakistan, the film doesn’t come across as gloomy or dark. And despite the fact that he faces hardships/atrocities at the hands of his Pakistani captors, the director presents a picture of hope and optimism.
The only time FILMISTAAN falters is during the middle of the second hour, when a couple of episodes seem stretched, but these are passing clouds in an otherwise sunshine film. The penultimate moments, again, leave you mesmerized at the turn of events and you wonder, will the protagonist escape alive? Will he cross over to India?
The locations are delightfully captured by the DoP [Subhransu Das], while the background score [Arijit Datta] is effectual. Dialogue, penned by Sharib Hashmi, are well-worded and most appropriate.
FILMISTAAN stands tall thanks to its superior writing, besides benefiting tremendously from its strong casting. Both Sharib Hashmi and Inaamulhaq are a complete revelation, slipping into their respective parts with astonishing ease. Sharib holds you attentive from the commencement itself, when he impersonates a couple of Bollywood actors with flourish and maintains the sur right till the finale. Inaamulhaq too pitches in a fabulous performance, his performance and body language making you forget you’re watching an actor emote.
Kumud Mishra revels in his solidly-written role and delivers a pitch-perfect, dynamic performance as the terrorist. Gopal Datt is another actor to watch out for. He’s absolutely believable as Kumud’s subordinate. Waseem Khan, portraying the part of Inaamulhaq’s father, gets his part spot-on. Habib Azmi is first-rate as the haqim sahab. Sanjay Mehta, the leader of the extremist group, is appropriate. Tushar Jha, as Aftaab’s younger brother, is okay. Manoj Bakshi, as the Indian cop, is efficient.
On the whole, FILMISTAAN walks the tightrope between offbeat and commercial with gusto. This is a massively entertaining film. A film that shouldn’t be missed at all. Watch it. Now.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3.5
I sometimes wonder, what facets remain to be explored in the romance genre by dream merchants here? Right from MUGHAL-E-AZAM to BOBBY, EK DUUJE KE LIYE, HERO, QAYAMAT SE QAYAMAT TAK, MAINE PYAR KIYA and DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE, to the love stories attempted by new-age directors of late, just about every facet of love and romance has been explored and presented on the silver screen. Every film-maker, from K. Asif, Raj Kapoor and Yash Chopra to Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, have delivered some memorable love stories that hold tremendous recall value.
But pyaar, ishq, mohabbat can never go out of fashion. Besides, every film-maker has his/her individualistic style of interpreting a love tale…
Ironically, when a star-kid takes his first step in Bollywood, his launch pad, intuitively, is designed as a love story. Tiger Shroff’s debut vehicle HEROPANTI is no exception. A remake of the Telugu Hit PARUGU [2008; starring Allu Arjun, Sheela, Prakash Raj], which was remade subsequently in other Indian languages, HEROPANTI has been modified in its Hindi avatar [albeit slightly] to suit the North Indian sensibilities. It’s a vintage love story that gives its lead actor ample scope to depict heroism and waltz into your heart. Does it work, let’s find out!
Let’s enlighten you about the premise of the film, before we proceed ahead. Chaudhary’s [Prakash Raj] eldest daughter [Sandeepa Dhar] elopes with her boyfriend minutes before her marriage. Resultantly, Chaudhary’s relatives and henchmen start searching for the guy in question and kidnap his friends, including Bablu [Tiger Shroff]. Apparently, Bablu has lost his heart to Dippy [Kriti Sanon], who happens to be Chaudhary’s younger daughter. What happens next?
Director Sabbir Khan brings all his tropes to the table — ample twists, turns and melodrama, striking action pieces, ear-pleasing music, eye-filling locales and of course, the crackling chemistry of the lead pair. Borrowing a page out of the contemporary masala movies re-invented by Prabhu Dheva specifically, Sabbir presents an absorbing fare that hits the right notes as far as love stories are concerned. The ecstasy of first love, the stern father and the wall of opposition, the never-give-up attitude of the lovers… it’s a familiar world no doubt, but Sabbir makes sure he keeps you absorbed and engaged at the same time.
In a first of its kind on the Hindi screen, HEROPANTI offers some daredevil stunts that would leave you awe-inspired — the martial arts, the back flips, the parkour sequence, the aerial moves and the kicks… all filmed without a body double. That’s Tiger’s core strength and the director capitalises on it completely. As a matter of fact, Tiger, well-trained in gymnastics and martial arts, fills the ‘action hero’ slot that had been lying vacant for a while now. The naysayers may scoff at this aspect being given too much importance, but, hello, that’s the boy’s USP, so why not capitalise on it? Also, HEROPANTI is an unapologetic commercial masala fare that also happens to be the launch vehicle of a star-kid, so why not press all the buttons?
Hiccups? The problem with this genre is that you need to constantly offer riveting stuff to the viewer. Since one can guess the direction the story is heading, it becomes imperative to be on the go constantly. The writing hits a rough patch after a point, with the conflict between the lovers and the girl’s stubborn parent being stretched slightly. Also, inserting a party song [while the search mission is on in Delhi] looks weird in the scheme of things. Additionally, the emergence of the jealous groom [Vikram Singh] in the climax takes the film to the predictable zone. The finale has traces of DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE, but looks completely justified here. Having said that, HEROPANTI is shades much, much better than the lazy entertainers we’ve been subjected to in the recent past.
Most debut vehicles of star-kids are embellished with a lilting soundtrack and the songs of HEROPANTI, one must admit, are peppy, youth-centric and fit the context well, especially ‘Whistle Baja’ [the signature tune of HERO is the icing on the cake], ‘Rabba’ and ‘Tabah’. For a film that makes no qualms about being an entertainer, the dialogue are punctuated accordingly. They are aimed at the hoi polloi, soaked in energy, power and acid, as the situation demands. The background score is top notch.
Tiger Shroff flaunts his chiseled, well-sculpted physique with six packs et al uninhibitedly and scores brownie points in action and stunts. As an actor, Tiger registers an impact in several sequences. For a first-timer, he exudes supreme confidence — he looks the tough guy he has been entrusted to be, yet enact the romantic with conviction. This should make the spectators connect extremely well with his character. Kriti, who debuted in a Telugu biggie earlier this year [1: NENOKKADINE, starring Mahesh Babu], looks gorgeous and handles her part with certainty and confidence. She has the trappings of a star, no two opinions on that. Prakash Raj, who had performed the same role in the original Telugu film, is a seasoned actor who gets his character spot-on.
Sandeepa Dhar is effective in a cameo. Vikram Singh is alright. The actors portraying the part of Tiger’s friends perform well.
On the whole, HEROPANTI is designed as a launch pad for Tiger Shroff and it gives him ample opportunity to prove his credentials in his debut film. The good news is, he delivers a striking performance. Additionally, what works is the masala quotient — melodrama, music and action. An entertainer that hits the right notes!
BY Taranm Adarsh
Stars = 3.5
Tales highlighting the innocent who arrive from the countryside to a metropolis, falling prey to the scheming and calculating ways of smooth talkers and getting corrupted and tarnished in the process have been a staple diet of cinema for eons. Hansal Mehta presents the immoral and dark side of Mumbai in his newest outing CITYLIGHTS, an adaptation of the 2013 British-Filipino crime drama METRO MANILA, directed by Sean Ellis. For those not conversant about METRO MANILA, the well-made film won tremendous critical acclaim and awards, besides getting selected as the British entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.
Indeed, it’s a herculean task to recreate a movie that has won laurels across the globe. And what makes matters arduous is that a majority of remakes tend to look inferior and mediocre when compared to the original source. Not CITYLIGHTS. Hansal borrows from METRO MANILA, but the talented storyteller makes sure CITYLIGHTS is not a xerox or replica. Much like the original source, CITYLIGHTS leaves you troubled, disturbed and distressed. That’s one of the key reasons why the film works!
Let’s enlighten you about the premise of the film. CITYLIGHTS narrates the story of a family comprising of Deepak [Rajkummar Rao], his wife Rakhi [Patralekhaa] and their daughter Mahi, residing in a village in Rajasthan. All’s well for the family till the debtors come knocking and take charge of Deepak’s shop due to his inability to pay off the loan. Armed with a mobile number of a friend, the crestfallen family leaves for Mumbai, the city of dreams, hoping to make a living there.
Once in Mumbai, they not only fail to trace their friend, but also get conned by a property agent. While in police station to file a complaint, Rakhi meets a bar dancer, who subsequently helps them find a roof over their head, besides getting a job for Rakhi in the bar. Meanwhile, Deepak too gets a job in a security bureau, an agency that undertakes the transportation of cash and expensive commodities in specialized armored cases.
During one such delivery, Deepak’s collaborator [Manav Kaul] divulges a master plan that could make them rich overnight. Does Deepak succumb to the temptation?
Let’s clear one misconception at the very outset. This one is *not* art house cinema or a ‘festival film’, as being understood by few. CITYLIGHTS reflects the times we live in. And Hansal encapsulates the rural migration, penury, exploitation and adversities in an overcrowded metropolis with utmost realism. The transformation from a social drama to a disturbing thriller is gradual, evoking myriad emotions, leaving you troubled and distressed at the plight of the couple. The shocking finale is disheartening, while the gut-wrenching images of a once-happy family leave you distraught as you step out of the auditorium.
Fresh from the laurels of SHAHID, Hansal maintains the grip for most parts. A few sequences do appear stretched, while the pace at which the story unfolds tends to get sluggish at times, which makes you fidgety and impatient. Even though you may have watched the original, you are eager to how Hansal would conclude the film. Will he fall prey to the diktats of the market and opt for an all’s-well-that-ends-well finale or leave you feeling uneasy and perturbed? Fortunately, Hansal makes you empathize at the emotionally-shattered family, which remains true to the essence of the film.
In a film like CITYLIGHTS, there’s zilch scope for music, but the good news is, the movie has two haunting tracks [music: Jeet Gannguli] that stay with you and have become popular with cineastes too — ‘Muskurane’ and ‘Soney Do’. The background score [Raju Singh] accentuates the goings-on wonderfully. The DoP [Dev Agarwal] captures the tone perfectly.
After winning plaudits in LOVE SEX AUR DHOKHA, RAGINI MMS, KAI PO CHE!, SHAHID and QUEEN, Rajkumar Rao delivers a stunningly raw and absolutely believable performance as Deepak. The supremely talented actor seems to be raising the bar with every film and you’ve got to hand it to him for stepping into the character and emerging trumps. Although Patralekhaa doesn’t get as much footage as Rajkummar, it must be noted that she achieves in her very first film what many do not, even after being part of multiple films. She’s first-rate! Both Rajkummar and Patralekhaa also deserve kudos for getting the dialect spot-on. The child artist portraying their daughter wins you over with her innocence. Manav Kaul is in terrific form. It’s a pity that the actor hasn’t got the due that he deserves in Hindi films. Sadia Siddique, as Manav’s wife, is super, especially during the sequence when she breaks down.
On the whole, CITYLIGHTS is one of the most captivating movie experiences of late. An expertly-crafted heartbreaker, this tragic tale has a riveting plot, power-packed narrative, soulful music and arresting performances to haunt you much after the screening has concluded. A must watch!
BY Taran Adarsh
A friend asked a gentleman why he never married?
Replied the gentleman, “Well, I guess I just never met the right woman… I guess I’ve been looking for the perfect girl.”
“Oh, come on now,” said the friend, “Surely you have met at least one girl that you wanted to marry.”
“Yes, there was a girl… once. I guess she was the one perfect girl; the only perfect girl I really ever met. She was just the right everything… I really mean that she was the perfect girl for me.”
“Well, why didn’t you marry her,” asked the friend.
“Unfortunately, she was looking for the perfect man.”
Stars – 2 Star
By now, we all know and agree to the fact that Bollywood is all about mix and match. A pinch of one film’s plot mixed with another film’s climax is something we have witnessed on the silver screen many a times. Does this week’s release ACTION JACKSON by Prabhu Dheva also fall in the same category or does it have something really fresh and innovative to offer? Let’s analyse.
The film starts off with the entry of Vishy (Ajay Devgn) in his regular fashion that’s combined with élan and style. For reasons unexplained till almost the interval, Vishy is at the target point of many goons who follow him left, right and centre to bump him off. As if this wasn’t enough, there comes Khushi (Sonakshi Sinha) who ‘experiences good luck’ in succession after seeing Vishy ‘family jewels’. With this, Vishy adds one more ‘stalker’ to his list! It’s only towards the interval that the audiences get to know that Vishy has a doppelganger by the name of ‘AJ’, who by profession is a killer. And then it becomes clear that the goons actually mistook Vishy to be AJ and hence followed him everywhere. And when AJ and Vishy meet, the former explains the reason to the latter and his friend (Kunaal Roy Kapur) that since he refused to marry the dreaded goon and mafia kingpin Xavier (Anand Raj)’s highly obsessed sister Marina (debutante Manasvi Mamgai), the goons are out to kill him and the love of his life Anusha (Yami Gautam). Tracking down AJ in India, Xavier sends his henchmen to India to kill AJ, which is when AJ devises a plot with the help of Vishy to destroy Xavier and his crazy sister Marina and protect his wife and new born baby.
Does the simple man Vishy say yes to be a part of this risk taking plan and go to meet Marina in a foreign country, does the dreaded villain Xavier get to know about the plan of the duo, does AJ get to save the love of his life and does Khushi become truly lucky and unite with Vishy again is what forms the rest of the story.
Prabhu Dheva, seems to have gone all out to infuse every possible element in this film and has tried to mount it on the same canvas as that of WANTED, ROWDY RATHORE AND R… RAJKUMAR! The sad part is that this time round, he fails miserably and falls flat on his face. Going by the looks of it, it seems like Prabhu Dheva was in a tearing hurry to recreate the same magic of the aforementioned films. Despite ACTION JACKSON being a Bollywood film, the look and feel of the film is that of loud South Indian films. While the film drags in the first half endlessly, the second half too barely has anything in it to hold the audience’s attention. The film has no script whatsoever and has been put together haphazardly on the editing table glued together which non-sensical graphics and animation.
As far as the performances are concerned, even the seasoned and ever dependable actor like Ajay Devgn couldn’t save the film from drowning ever since the word go. The otherwise composed Ajay seems to be confused himself as to what exactly was being required of him to do in the film. There is hardly any element of Ajay Devgn which we haven’t seen in his previous films. The same applies to Sonakshi Sinha, who seems to be repeating all of her previous acts in this film too. She appears in the first half and completely disappears until the climax. Yami Gautam has a sort of extended cameo and her character is just subject to unbearable violence with the goons bashing her up in every second scene. Sadly for the debutante Manasvi, this film does no good, as her character is shown to be plain psychotic to disturbing levels. The young actress is just made to play a bold part and do ample of skin show.
One can easily blame the writers of the film for having written a disastrous script (if there was one) which is heavily inspired from the 70s and 80s potboilers. The music (Himesh Reshammiya) of the film is nothing to write about, and background score (Sandeep Chowta) is loud. This only means that the film’s choreographers (Vishnu Deva, U. Jogasekhar, VJ Sekhar) also will be at the suffering end because of the bad music and songs which seem to have been infused in the film. What’s shocking is that, Prabhu Dheva, despite being an ace dancer and choreographer himself, wasn’t able to help Ajay who seemed to be struggling with his dance steps. The film’s editing (Bunty Nagi) has no logic or pattern.
On the whole, ACTION JACKSON is a highly avoidable affair.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 2.5 Stars
Bollywood has, over the years, witnessed many a film, which spoke about and highlighted the age old ‘tradition’ of the evil dowry system. In the past, films like MEHNDI, GHAR HO TOH AISA etc. have spoken of this social evil. This week’s release DAAWAT-E-ISHQ also treads on the same territory, but in a ‘delicious’ manner (as the title suggests).
To start with, the title of the film DAAWAT-E-ISHQ is misleading, as the film is about dowry system and not about food and delicacies as the film’s title and promotions indicate. This film highlights the fact that not only are girls from middle class families subjected to this unethical custom of paying dowry during weddings, but also how today’s girls can actually con (courtesy, internet) any simple loving boy off his emotions and wealth, using the law.
The film starts off from the household of a Hyderabad based family of Gulrez Gullu Qadir (Parineeti Chopra), who happens to be an academic topper in the state of Andhra Pradesh, and who is equally good in sports. Despite all her achievements, her prospective in-laws demand dowry from her simpleton righteous father (Anupam Kher), who works as a clerk in the High Court. Gulrez manages to rag and drag out the money hungry prospective grooms and their families at every possible meeting that her father arranges. That’s when Amjad Baig (Karan Wahi), a rich guy who is on his way to USA for further studies, enters her life. The two fall in love and when their respective parents meet up for marriage discussion, Gulrez gets a shock of her life as she hears Amjad’s parents asking for monetary ‘help’ and not dowry, which her father cannot afford to pay. Even worse, Amjad too fails to stand by his love. This is when Gulrez is heart-broken and decides to teach the ‘dowry’ seeking grooms and their family a lesson. Her plan is to con a rich groom, use Section 498 (A) of the Indian Law and extract alimony money from the family in which she gets married.
After convincing her father, Gulrez and her father change their identities, reach Lucknow and pose as rich business family from Dubai. The stage is then set in a hotel room wherein Gulrez’s father scans the bridegrooms and schedules them for interviews after checking their profiles on a matrimonial website. However, a night before the meetings, while they are dinning at Hydari Kabab restaurant, Gulrez and her father bump into the young dashing owner of the place Taariq Haider (Aditya Roy Kapur). Taariq, who too is one of the candidates selected, gets impressed by Gulrez and uses his charm and culinary skills to impress Gulrez and her father. The father-daughter duo meanwhile also discovers that he is the richest of all the candidates that they have met. The two families meet, Gulrez records their dowry discussion on a hidden camera, she eventually gets married to Taariq and the plan is successful. She gets the money and leaves for Hyderabad. Only problem, she too has fallen in love with Taariq but can’t go back. Will she confess her crime and come clean and will Taariq forgive and accept her as his wife forms the rest of the story.
DAAWAT-E-ISHQ, which has been directed and written by Habib Faisal (who had earlier made films like DO DOONI CHAAR, ISHAQZAADE), fails to live upto the standards of a YRF film. This film, despite dealing with a sensitive issue and a strong social message, loses its track gradually as the film progress. While the film has a comparatively engaging first half, it stumbles in the dragging second half. Plus, the slow pace of the film doubles up as a villain in the film’s progress. Having bankable names like YRF, Aditya Roy Kapur and Parineeti Chopra at the helm of things, Habib had immense scope as a director to shape the film into a sensible one, but that doesn’t quite happen.
As for the actors, Aditya Roy Kapur excels and shines as the Hyderabadi lad Taariq. He can be very aptly termed as the true charmer in this film, who delivers an effortless performance. He has taken immense care to perfect the accent and the mannerisms of his character. Unfortunately, he appears 50 minutes later into the film. Parineeti Chopra, on the other hand, who is known for her ability to get into her characters with utmost ease, seems like a bit of a misfit in the role of Gulrez. Not that her act lacks the spunk but her imbalanced and poorly written character makes her look very confused in the film. Anupam Kher, as the girl’s father, too does not bring anything new to the table and seems to have got stuck in the stereotype role. While the film solely rests on these three principal characters, the rest of the characters simply help in carrying the film forward.
Despite the film being an ‘invitation to love’, there is nothing delicious about the film’s music (Sajid-Wajid). Except for the title song, the other songs are a big letdown and don’t register. On the other hand, the film holds its steam because of its crisp editing (Meghna Manchanda Sen) and its cinematography (Himman Dhamija). Despite the presence of Sham Kaushal for action, the action scenes in the climax scene look gimmicky.
The film does have its moments of emotions, comedy and drama. Parineeti does complete justice in the climax scene when she explains the reason behind her master plan to Aditya. Parineeti’s scenes with Anupam Kher and her ‘bidaai’ scene invoke a few laughs. However, it’s hard to believe that the character of Anupam Kher, who is a very honest man and Parineeti, who is a well-educated state topper, would even think of pulling off such a big con-job. Karan Wahi’s segment too seems forced into the first half, making it drag. A special mention does go to the father-daughter relationship shown between Anupam and Parineeti, as they seem to share a great rapport on-screen.
On the whole, the plot of DAAWAT-E-ISHQ does have a good social message relevant to today’s times, however, wrong marketing and slow pace of the film leaves the audience a bit disappointed.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3 Stars
There have been many films in Bollywood, which have followed the ‘Robin Hood’ format in stories. At the same time, the silver screen has been a testimony to many films which have actually ‘con-tested’ the elections as far as conning is concerned. Films like DHOOM series, SPECIAL 26, BUNTY AUR BABLI, BLUFFMASTER, OYE LUCKY! LUCKY OYE!, AANKHEN etc… will always remain as the evergreen shining examples of films which has been made on the subject of con jobs.
This week’s release RAJA NATWARLAL (earlier titled SHAATIR) also follows the same path. The film starts off with Raja (Emraan Hashmi) a con artist by ‘profession’ and his partner in crime Raghav (Deepak Tijori) and their means to survive in the big bad city of Mumbai. Life goes on smoothly for Raja, courtesy Deepika Padukone and Waheeda Rehmaan and Zia (Humamima Malik), something that you will understand on watching the film. Despite being a conman, his heart bleeds for the helpless children and beats for the bar dancer Zia. Raja and Raghav seems to be really satisfied with their petty con-crimes for survival till Raja overhears two men discussing big money. Wasting no time, he gangs up with Raghav and they both hatch a foolproof plan to seize their big-ticket con with both their hands. Even though they become successful in executing their plan and become overnight millionaires, little did they know that their ‘loot/booty’ actually belonged to Varda (Kay Kay Menon), a cricket obsessed dreaded gangster based abroad. When the news reaches his ears about his men being looted by the duo, he wastes no time in bumping off Raghav, something that happens in front of Raja’s eyes. That’s when Raja decides to go on a mission to avenge Raghav’s killers, during which he encounters Yogi (Paresh Rawal), a highly experienced con artist, who is now based in Dharamshala, because he renounces the world of conning and crimes. It really takes lot of conviction for Raja to make Yogi help him avenge Raghav’s death. How do they hatch a foolproof plan to destroy Vardas’s empire despite the many odds against them is what forms the rest of the film. The reason why Yogi agrees to help Raja also gets revealed almost towards the end of the film.
Director Kunal Deshmukh, who had earlier teamed up with Emraan Hashmi and had delivered hits like JANNAT (2008) and its sequel JANNAT 2 (2012), does a reasonably good job in RAJA NATWARLAL. The camaraderie between him as the director and Emraan as the actor is clearly the highlight of the film. There are a few repeated moments from his earlier films, but the plot of the film overshadows that. He manages to get the audiences glued to their seats throughout the film, a few loopholes notwithstanding. Even though the first half of the film is engaging enough, the second half gets a bit stretched up, thus pushing the audiences into a ‘yawn-zone’. Kunal Deshmukh also makes a blink and miss cameo in the film!
As far as performances are concerned, Emraan Hashmi is top rate as he delivers exactly what was expected of him. Even though his last film GHANCHAKKAR turned out to be a dud, this film will surely live upto the audiences’ expectations from him. On the other hand, debutante Humaima Malik, despite commanding a strong screen presence, is merely reduced to a prop in the film. She does deserve brownie points for her confidence to stand against Emraan Hashmi, even though she doesn’t match upto the ‘requirements’ of being an Emraan Hashmi’s heroine! Deepak Tijori, despite being in a cameo, registers a strong screen presence. Needless to say that the other men in the film Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon deliver a flawless performance each. The rest of the cast help in the film moving ahead.
Even though writer Parveez Shaikh deserves to be applauded for the film’s storyline, the same cannot be said for the film’s editor Anand Subaya, who could have really churned out a miracle with his editing, a factor that is responsible for the film dragging. Even though the film’s background music (Sandeep Shirodkar) is engaging, the same cannot be said about the film’s music director Yuvan Shankar Raja. Unlike the previous Emraan Hashmi films, this film has no catchy music or even his trademarked one-liners. While on one hand, the choreography by Remo D’Souza and screenplay (Parveez Shaikh) is commendable, on the other the film’s cinematography (Raaj Chakravarti), and its dialogue (Sanjay Masoom) could have been really areas which could have done the trick.
RAJA NATWARLAL is essentially an Emraan Hashmi film, which attracts its major audiences from the single screen theaters. The film is bound to face some ‘elephantine’ competition as its release coincides with the Ganesh Chaturti festival weekend. In addition to that, the next week will also see the release of a hard hitting MARY KOM, which could possibly apply the brakes on RAJA NATWARLAL.
BY Taran Adarsh
Stars = 4 Stars
Bollywood has over the years been known for its commercial ‘masala’ films, however, every once in a while, the industry also gives birth to films that tell the real life stories which touch your heart and soul. While the former gets many takers, the latter is fast becoming popular. Thanks to the new found attention being given to reality based films, there are many filmmakers out there who have and are waiting in wings to try their hand at making movies based on the real life stories of iconic personalities. A few examples (read ‘testimony’) in the past have been films like BOSE: THE FORGOTTEN HERO, GURU, GANDHI MY FATHER, THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH, PAAN SINGH TOMAR and not forgetting the controversial film THE DIRTY PICTURE. Interestingly, films on sports personalities are picking up with CHAK DE INDIA and more recently BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG winnings the audience’s heart.
This week’s release, Omung Kumar’s MARY KOM is one such film which is a biopic on one of India’s most illustrious sports personalities, Mary Kom, who, despite all her hardships, put our country on the international map with her achievements. The film goes on to show the real life story of this sports star, which not many are aware of. The film serves as an eye opener not just on the fact that India can produce international ‘gold medal winning’ boxers, but also that Manipur is very much a part of India!
The irony of the film is that, while it starts off with a pregnant Mary Kom (Priyanka), who later goes on to ‘deliver’ a performance of a lifetime. Mary and her ever-so-supportive husband Onler Kom (Darshan Kumaar) fight against all odds in a curfew stricken Manipur to ensure the safe delivery of Mary. Hereon, the viewers are subjected to a series of flashback events which lead to the making of the star pugilist ‘Mary Kom’. Delving into her upbringing, the film explores her past that includes her father’s strict opposition to boxing during her childhood and Mary’s undying spirit and love for the sport.
Omung does a great job of building up the climax with heart wrenching scenes where Mary chooses to box over spending a blissful life with her family. Post her opting to box, Mary accidentally lands up at the boxing training academy of her coach Narjit Singh (Sunil Thapa), who, after seeing her persistence, teaches her that ‘the world maybe round for everyone, but her world should be the shape of the boxing ring, a Square’! Mary’s talent for the sport combined with her coach’s training form a deadly unbeatable lethal combo who go on to win international competitions galore.
However, things come to standstill when Mary marries Onler Kom, despite her coach’s firm opposition, and Mary’s subsequent pregnancy, and her delivering twin children, thus bidding adieu to her long cherished game of boxing, something which her coach had always feared for. Resigned to live the life of a commoner finding it difficult to survive with two kids, Mary applies for a job, but the job she gets is that of a ‘hawaldaar’, something that slaps her from within. Unable to continue with a mundane existence, Mary vows to make a comeback in the ring, this time round, minus the support of her coach, a decision which proves wrong in the long run.
Now, after serious losses in the ring, the absence of her coach and the unbending politics of the boxing federation, Mary faces an uphill task. Will she manage to convince her coach to train her again and will she manage to overcome the boxing federation forms the rest of the film. Omung Kumar certainly deserves an ovation for having shown the guts to make a biopic on Mary Kom, something which will surely go down in the history of exemplary biopics on Indian celluloid. He has managed to achieve the task of making Priyanka refrain from imitating the real Mary Kom, at the same time managed to show her inimitable love for the sports and her spirit to fight against all odds. The film definitely serves as an eye opener to all those who were ignorant about Mary and her contributions to the sports arena.
As far as the performances are concerned, it is indeed Priyanka Chopra who steals the show. She does total justice to this author backed role. One just cannot but miss the transformation of ‘Marte Chun Chun Kong’ to MC Mary Kom and also the scene when she confronts the boxing federations’ chief. When you have a role that’s tailor made for the heroine, it leaves us with no doubt about the screen space for the hero. But, in this film, it’s the ‘hero’ Darshan Kumaar, who exhibits good screen presence and holds his ground firm, despite Priyanka’s towering performances. Full marks go to Sunil Thapa, who shows his emotional, professional and rational sides with equal ease. He is exactly what the highly ranked coaches are made up of. Same applies to the couple playing Mary’s parents. The rest of the cast help the film to move forward without any glitches or flaws.
The music of the film (Shashi Suman, Shivam) is just not upto the mark, but its shortcoming is overshadowed by the film’s background score (Rohit Kulkarni) and the film’s crisp editing by the man himself Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who also is the producer of the film. Brownie points go to Saiwyn Quadras for his screenplay and story, Karan Singh Rathore-Ramendra Vashishth for their dialogue and dialect. The film’s cinematography by Keiko Nakahara is totally at par with costume designer Isha Mantry.
On the whole, MARY KOM is definitely worth a watch. The icing on the cake is that the film has been made tax free, something that should help the film in pulling the audiences to the theatres, besides the word of mouth. Go for it.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 4 Stars
Post a series of horror films in the past (1920, SHAAPIT, HAUNTED, RAAZ), Vikram Bhatt has tried his hand in a completely new genre of monster films with CREATURE. As the title suggests, this time, fear not just has a new face but also is more fearsome as the film is in 3D. Director Vikram Bhatt, who has earlier been at the helm of things for the aforementioned films, seems to be all geared up to give you the thrills and chills with CREATURE. Does he succeed in selling horror and the heebie-jeebies this time as well, let’s analyze.
With CREATURE, Bhatt has tried to redefine horror, in his very trademark style. He leaves no stone unturned to keep the mercury rising within the specified runtime of the film. While on one hand, the film offers its share of horror, on the other, there’s a synchronized drama that runs parallel in the story.
CREATURE starts off with Ahana (Bipasha Basu), playing the owner of a palatial garden resort by the name of Glendale Hotel, which is situated right in the middle of the forest. The USP of this resort lies in the fact that it lies right in the middle of a forest and offers a beautiful experience. This, combined with Ahana’s warm and hospitable nature, forms the driving force for its customers who gather for the hotel’s grand launch. Since the band which was to perform at the launch gets delayed, Bipasha Basu mistakes the guitar yielding Kunal (Imran Abbas) to be a band member and tells him to perform, a genuine mistake that later leads to friendship followed by love between the two. The celebrations come to a sudden standstill when the hotel staff and guests go missing one by one. The situation becomes further tensed when their amputated body parts are found by the cops. All this causes panic and unrest amongst the hotel guests. Despite the repeated pleas and requests, the local police refuses to investigate in detail and declares it to be the work of a wild animal like a lion or a cheetah. That’s when Professor Sadana (Mukul Dev) enters and takes charge of the situation. He then explains the concept of this ‘creature’ to be that of a ‘Brahmraakshas’, a topic which he has been researching about. He also states that these creatures are a resultant of a curse by the Gods. Do Ahana and gang become successful in getting rid of the creature and what exactly is Kunal’s identity and the purpose of his visit to Glendale is what forms the rest of the story.
The fear factor, which Vikram Bhatt started off with RAAZ, 1920 and SHAAPIT, continues with CREATURE. With this film, he has given the audience a taste of spine chilling monster experience. Even though, it will be a bit unfair to compare the film’s techniques to that of the west, still, one can applaud Vikram for at least having tried to match up to those standards. One can very easily say that the visuals effects are by far the best in Bollywood and add to the thrilling experience.
As far as the direction is concerned, Vikram Bhatt leaves no stone unturned to scare the audience with this film. The 3D experience which Vikram has created, makes you feel the fear. He has walked that extra mile to ensure there are no technical glitches, something in which he largely succeeds (a few scenes notwithstanding). Vikram, who also doubles up as the film’s writer does manage in delivering a neat and believable story. He has to be applauded for the simple reason that he succeeds in the challenge of writing the film convincingly, despite the fact that it is so heavy on visuals. Overall, like his previous films, this film too can be added to his repertoire of successful horror films.
The film does have a handful of melodious tracks and soulful music. On the other hand, the smart usage of background score by Raju Rao adds to the film’s overall narrative. The same cannot be said about choreographer (Raju Khan) who hardly gets any scope to prove his skills in a film, where only horror and fear reigns supreme. While the editing (Kuldeep Mehan) and cinematography (Praveen Bhatt) is top rate as expected, Abbas Ali Moghul’s actions seems to falter at places. Girish Dhamija’s dialogues could have been sharper. The multi-talented Vikram Bhatt exhibits his exemplary screenplay along with Sukhmani Sadana.
As far as the performances are concerned, the film solely rests of Bipasha Basu’s shoulders who delivers a fine performance. She handles the romantic scenes with the same amount of conviction as much as the action and fear scenes. Even though the camaraderie between her and the newcomer Imran Abbas seems shaky in a handful of scenes, still the two carry the film very convincingly. Imran Abbas is decent but has a long way to go if he plans to have a serious career in Bollywood. Mukul Dev also delivers a convincing performance (his ‘forced’ white hair strands notwithstanding). The rest of the ensemble cast (a few cameos by Rana, Saaqib and others) help push the film smoothly.
On the whole, CREATURE is indeed a film which is meant for the masses who yearn for some ‘zara hatke’ subjects. CREATURE is a good example of what Bollywood is capable of when it comes to vfx heavy films. It surely is a promising start for more sci-fi vfx heavy movies.
Fear definitely has a new face. If you want to get spooked and that too in 3D then, CREATURE surely wouldn’t let you down.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 1.5
It’s not rocket science to gauge how much the film industry is obsessed with gangster movies. Some survive the test, most bite the dust. This week’s CHAL BHAAG brings together the essences of power and politics.
Majorly shot in Delhi and Mumbai, the film starts with a politician and his aides being bumped off in his car by a dreaded don’s three shooters, thus giving the cops a reason to be on their toes. Around the same time, Munna Supari [Deepak Dobriyal], Bunty [Tarun Bajaj] and Daler Singh [Varun Mehra] also get arrested for petty crimes. Due to the pressure of the don demanding the release of his three men, the police inspector frees the don’s men and replaces them with Munna, Bunty and Daler. The real story unfolds when this trio find themselves embroiled in a fake encounter plot.
CHAL BHAAG goes haywire right from the word go. The film has an interesting premise, but the director doesn’t have the grip on the plot and it shows in the film. The same goes for the film’s music. The songs are forced in the narrative to get the film going. The sole saving grace is its background score. The flaws could have been covered had the editing been razor-sharp.
Of the cast, it’s the versatile Deepak Dobriyal that steals the show. The same cannot be said for others including Varun Mehra and Tarun Bajaj, who have a long way to go in acting. Keeya Khanna hardly gets her place in the sun. Sanjay Mishra, Yashpal Sharma, Mukesh Tiwari and Manish Khanna deliver what’s expected from them.
On the whole, CHAL BHAAG is a dull fare.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3
Till a few monsoons ago, a majority of film-makers in Bollywood would be petrified of experimenting, scared to step out of the comfort zone. Out of the box concepts and quirky titles were considered ‘risky propositions’ or ‘professional harakiri’ and those taking the road less travelled were often scoffed, derided and ridiculed for taking risks. Not anymore!
These days, leading production houses are churning out movies that defy the stereotype. Balancing mainstream films with A-listers with wacky/innovative subjects starring newcomers is the new fad. Balaji/ALT, a key player, has been dabbling with quirky plots since quite some time. Their latest offering, KUKU MATHUR KI JHAND HO GAYI [made in association with Bejoy Nambiar], makes an effort to give the spectator a slice of life experience. Does the winning mantra of ‘small is big’ work in favor of KUKU MATHUR KI JHAND HO GAYI, let’s find out…
First, the premise. KUKU MATHUR KI JHAND HO GAYI narrates the story of two friends in a middle class colony of New Delhi. Kuku Mathur [Siddharth Gupta] and Ronnie Gulati [Ashish Juneja] are thick friends. Kuku comes from an ordinary service class family. His father is a ‘Babu’ at a government office, a typical one who wants his son to study hard and get a good job, whereas the Gulatis are a household name for sarees and dress material in this part of the capital. Hence, it doesn’t take Dada Gulati [Ronnie's authoritative grandfather] much time to surprise his grandson with a shop of his own – Ronnie Blouse & Petticoat Matching Center.
Kuku begins his struggle to get into colleges and the Physical Educational mark sheet doesn’t help much, whereas Ronnie gets real busy attending beautiful girls and quizzing them on the favourite colours of their dupattas.
Life takes a sudden turn for Kuku — he fails to get admission, has to work as a spot boy in a film unit, senior members of the Gulati family insult him, his secret crush has found a boyfriend, his dream of starting a restaurant looks impossible as there is no way to get money — and during all this, his best friend is too busy to even talk to him. At this point of time, Prabhakar Bhaiya [Amit Sial] makes an entry in Kuku’s life.
Prabhakar Bhaiya, from Kanpur, who has a solution to all the problems, is a big jugadu. He takes on the responsibility of bringing Kuku’s life back on track. He suggests a solution to Kuku, a shortcut which could sort all his problems as well as settle his score with the Gulatis. This plan makes Kuku successful, but at the same time, plants seeds for a bigger mess…
KUKU MATHUR KI JHAND HO GAYI not only boasts of a hatke title, but makes an attempt to provide humor and entertainment in the alternate landscape. Like DELHI BELLY and FUKRAY, the backdrop is Delhi, the storyline is simplistic and relatable, but the humor is not over the top. This one’s a drama-driven film, while the laughs are interspersed where necessary. In fact, debutant director Aman Sachdeva sets the plot in a familiar landscape, gives it a fresh coat of paint and gives the clichés a spankingly fresh look.
Frankly, it takes time to get absorbed in the world of Kuku and Ronnie, but once into it, you quite enjoy the joyride. The good part is, there’s no heavy-duty drama, forced humor or gags to entice the spectator. The director keeps it subtle, shying away from over the top, slapstick humor or tomfoolery that’s getting synonymous with this genre of films. The middle act [intermission point] is when the film gathers momentum and Aman makes sure he holds your attention all through the third act, right till the culmination.
Since KUKU MATHUR KI JHAND HO GAYI has a quintessential Delhi flavor, the locations, the characters and the dialect give it an authentic feel. The hiccup is that the screenplay, in the first hour specifically, could’ve been engaging. Also, the soundtrack is plain humdrum.
Siddharth Gupta, who plays the protagonist, is decent, a few scenes notwithstanding. Ashish Juneja exudes the right amount of confidence required for the character. Simran Kaur Mundi doesn’t get much to do. Amit Sial gets his character spot-on. Siddharth Malhotra, who enacts the part of Ashish’s brother, sparkles in a brief role. Brijendra Kala [enacting the part of a god man, who gives absurd advices] is efficient.
I’d like to make a mention of the actors portraying the part of Kuku’s father [Somesh Agarwal], Ronnie’s grandfather [Anoop Puri], the watchman [Alok Chaturvedi] and the actress [Pallavi Batra]. They’re natural to the core! Rajesh Sharma appears in a cameo.
On the whole, KUKU MATHUR KI JHAND HO GAYI is a light entertainer that’s simple-n-sweet, charming and most importantly, entertaining for most parts.
BY Taran Adarsh
A guy sitting in a bar is really looking nervous. Every time the door opens he jumps. Every time there is a noise he cringes.
The bartender after watching this for an hour finally goes over and asks, “What’s the matter with you?”
“Well I received a letter today that said if I didn’t stop fooling around with his wife he was gonna shoot me.”
For heaven’s sake, Why don’t you just stop fooling around with his wife?”
Came the reply, “I would but he didn’t sign his name!!”
A blonde gets a job as a physical education teacher for 16 – 18 year olds.
She notices a boy at the end of the field standing alone, while all the other kids are running around having fun, kicking a football. She takes pity on him and decides to speak to him.
“Are you ok?” she asks.
“Yes,” he replies. “You can go and play with the other kids, you know,” she says.
“It’s best I stay here,” he says.
“Why’s that, sweetie?” asks the blonde.
The boy looks at her incredulously and says, “Because I’m the GOAL KEEPER !”
After 15 years of marriage the wife asked her husband to describe her.
The husband looked at her slowly and without blinking an eye, said, “ABCDEFGHIJK.”
“What does that mean?” She asked.
“Adorable, Beautiful, Cute, Delightful, Elegant, Fashionable, Gorgeous and Hot!!!” he replied.
Wife Smiling asked, “So sweet of you honey. What about IJK?”
He replied, “I’m Just Kidding!
The FBI had an opening for an assassin. After all the background checks, interviews and testings were done three finalists remained. Richard, Sam and Jane were to be given a final test. For the final test, the FBI agents took Richard to a large metal door and handed him a gun.
“We must know that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances. Inside the room you will find Betty, your wife, sitting in a chair. Kill Her!”
Richard said, “You can’t be serious. I could never shoot my wife.”
The agent said, “Then you’re not the right man for this job. Take your wife and go home.”
Sam was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about five minutes.
Sam came out with tears in his eyes, “I tried, but I can’t kill my wife.”
The agent said “You don’t have what it takes. Take your wife and go home.”
Finally it was Jane’s turn. She was given the same instructions, to kill her husband Bob. She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were heard. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood Jane, wiping the sweat from her brow.
“The gun was loaded with blanks” she said. “I had to beat him to death with a chair.”
Stars – 3 stars
There are love stories. And there are romantic sagas helmed by makers like Yash Chopra and Imtiaz Ali. Imtiaz Ali — in particular from the present league of storytellers — has tackled modern relationships most adroitly. His brother, Arif Ali, now makes his big screen debut with a contemporary love story LEKAR HUM DEEWANA DIL. Like his brother, Arif too offers a realistic take on relationships, peppering the film with witty, charming and delightful moments. For most parts.
Although Arif does make an earnest attempt to narrate a story that’s distinct from films of its ilk, you can’t help but notice the influence of Imtiaz’s works in his directorial debut. Let’s not be grumpy — one tends to be motivated by the celebrated works of your peers — but there are times when you feel that the film is scattered [it lacks a foolproof screenplay; more on that later]. Nonetheless, what you cannot deny is that LEKAR HUM DEEWANA DIL has got its heart in the right place.
Let’s enlighten you about the plot before we proceed forward. Set in South Mumbai, Dino [Armaan Jain] and Karishma [Deeksha Seth] are young and restless who wish to live life on their own terms. When Karishma’s family mounts pressure on her to get married, she and her rebellious best friend Dino realize that they are made for each other.
Being the rulers of their destiny, they elope to forge a lifetime of love, fun and freedom. But they are yet to learn that life isn’t that simple. And sometimes who you love the most can become the biggest problem. Dino and Karishma go through friendship, disillusionment, conflict and heartbreak, until they realize true love.
There’s a boy. There’s a girl. Romance blossoms. They face roadblocks. There’s heartbreak. They drift apart. Ultimately, all’s well that ends well. Arif uses the time-tested template to narrate a story, but, let’s not overlook the fact that a mere outline with the usual tropes can never make an out of the ordinary film. Thankfully, Arif cushions the proceedings with sparkling moments in the first hour, but the writing slips in the post-interval portions.
Much like his brother’s films, Arif keeps his characters identifiable and their conversation real. It’s like sitting in a café or eatery and overhearing the conversation of the lovers and presenting the lovey-dovey talks/bickering in the most compelling manner. The episodes that lead to the lovers drifting apart is, perhaps, the best part of the enterprise, for the screenwriting does pull out several aces at this point.
LEKAR HUM DEEWANA DIL loses luster when it’s time to iron out the disagreements and end the squabble [post-interval portions]. You know how the story is going to terminate, but the road to culmination has pointless curves that seem annoying and superfluous. Like, for instance, the sequences with the marriage counselor [Gautami Kapoor] appear ludicrous. Additionally, the love angle involving Armaan’s elder brother [Sudeep Sahir] looks like an add-on. Furthermore, the constant bickering between the love birds could’ve been persuasive. As a matter of fact, there are times when you feel the emotions are more surface-level than heartfelt.
Mercifully, the film gets its act right towards the finale. The conclusion is unconventional, but it fits beautifully in the scheme of things, since the lovers do think from the heart, not mind, and this aspect comes to the fore fittingly at this juncture.
The soundtrack by the maestro [A.R. Rahman] takes time to grow, but is extremely likeable when you watch the songs on the screen [never mind the spate of songs in the first hour!]. ‘Khalifa’ is, without doubt, a chartbuster, while ‘Alaahda’ [soulful], ‘Mawwali Qawwali’ [foot-tapping] and ‘Tu Shining’ [lovely] stay on your lips. The DoP [Laxman Utekar] captures the beautiful locales with dexterity.
LEKAR HUM DEEWANA DIL depends completely on its lead actors. Also, Arif combines the sparkle and adrenaline rush of impulsive liaisons with serious take on relationships, giving ample scope to the first-timers to make an impact. Armaan has the charm that should help him establish a substantial fan-following, but more importantly, he is definitive and confident for someone who’s facing the camera for the first time. Deeksha, who has featured in a couple of South Indian films prior to this film, has a pleasant screen presence and also handles her part confidently. In fact, she underplays the dramatic portions delightfully.
Kumud Mishra [as Armaan's father] is, as always, effective. Rahul Shetty [as Deeksha's father] does a fair job. Anita Kulkarni [as Armaan's mom] is first-rate. Rinku Karmakar [as Deeksha's mom] is perfect. Rohini Hattangadi is super. Sudeep Sahir, Varun Badola and Gautami Kapoor are decent.
Akhil Iyer [as Deeksha's prospective spouse] contributes to some light moments. Prabuddha Dayama [as Armaan's best friend] stands out with a natural act. Darius Shroff [as Armaan's lawyer], Jaywant Wadkar [as Deeksha's lawyer], Shravan Mehta [as Armaan's friend] and Zuber K. Khan [as Deeksha's suitor at the start of the film] are satisfactory.
On the whole, LEKAR HUM DEEWANA DIL has several wonderful moments and genuine sparks that stay with you. The film should appeal to its target audience — the youth.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars = 1.5
Seriously, it’s damn difficult to poke fun at oneself. More so, if the film-maker has delivered an unmitigated disaster in the past. But Sajid Khan has learnt to laugh at himself.
Sample this: In an important sequence in HUMSHAKALS, Satish Shah — who portrays the part of the warden in a mental asylum — decides to teach Saif, Riteish and Ram Kapoor [who attempt to flee the mental asylum] a lesson they’d never forget. “I am going to inflict the biggest torture on you guys,” he tells the trio, before proceeding to show them — hold your breath — Sajid’s own HIMMATWALA. In the end [while showing the footage during the end credits], Satish Shah takes out the DVD of Sajid’s sister Farah Khan’s TEES MAAR KHAN to inflict torture on the trio.
You can’t help but laugh at this genuinely funny jibe that Sajid cracks on himself and his sister. Unfortunately, the laughs are scattered and few and far between in HUMSHAKALS.
That Sajid Khan has a wacky sense of humour and makes zany, over the top entertainers is known to all and sundry. In his latest outing HUMSHAKALS, Sajid attempts a crazy entertainer yet again, but peppers it with inane, ridiculous episodes that makes you wonder, is this for real? I mean, there’s a drug that would make you behave like a dog for a day… a sneeze that could make someone so infuriated that he bays for your blood; the only way to calm him down is by offering him a lollipop… a spray can transform men into sex-maniacs… a comatose patient can be alright when people start fidgeting with the medical apparatus, thinking it to be some sort of a video game… oh yes, there’s a Prince Charles look-alike too, who breaks into Hindi in a bizarre climax.
Sure, we relish madcap entertainers, but what Sajid serves in HUMSHAKALS transcends all limits!
The story revolves around a greedy uncle [Ram Kapoor] of a tycoon, Ashok [Saif Ali Khan], who hatches a plot to usurp the riches unscrupulously. While the uncle connives with his doctor-friend [Nawwab Shah] to grab the fortune, complications arise when they discover the look-alikes of Ashok and his friend Kumar [Riteish Deshmukh].
Bollywood’s obsession with double roles [many, many films], triple roles [recall Amitabh Bachchan's triple role in MAHAAN or Rajinikanth's triple role in JOHN JANI JANARDHAN], even multiple roles [Sanjeev Kumar reprised as many as nine roles in NAYA DIN NAI RAAT] is too well known. But Sajid Khan’s HUMSHAKALS is, perhaps, the first Hindi movie that has each of the three male leads [Saif, Riteish and Ram Kapoor] reprising triple roles.
Like his cinema or not, Sajid’s laughathons have regaled the spectators since his big screen debut [HEYY BABYY; 2007]. Over the years, the HOUSEFULL franchise — HOUSEFULL and HOUSEFULL-2 — have only cemented his status as an entertainer who endeavours to make the audience flex their facial muscles in those 2+ hours. The only sore point in his career has been HIMMATWALA, but one expects him to bounce back with renewed vigour with HUMSHAKALS.
Handling a complicated screenplay is indeed demanding — an arduous task, frankly — but Sajid has, in the past, handled multiple characters in most of his films. Nonetheless, the script of HUMSHAKALS falls into a new terrain completely and the going can be slippery if it lacks the grip. Of course, the intent — providing laughs and offering entertainment — remains the same, but the triple roles have to ensure abundant entertainment for you to relish the ride. While Sajid keeps the storytelling simple and uncomplicated, the fun quotient is missing for most parts, appearing in bits and spurts only.
While HUMSHAKALS begins on a promising note — it’s a premise ripe with comic potential — the graph only spirals southwards barely fifteen minutes into the film. It’s not sacrilege to attempt a no-brainer — the audience loves it — but the smiles/guffaw/laughter should never be in short supply. With a run time of approx. 2.30 hours, HUMSHAKALS drains you at the end of it, despite the actors putting their best foot forward and trying so so so hard to make you giggle even when the gags are weak. The banal jokes and the lame PJs coupled with the muddled screenplay are clearly responsible for the royal mess.
It’s sad to see Sajid going wrong yet again. HEYY BABYY, HOUSEFULL and HOUSEFULL-2 weren’t path-breaking films, but they entertained. Period. HUMSHAKALS doesn’t.
The soundtrack is pleasant, with the composer belting out a couple of hummable tunes. The plush locales of London and the grandiose production design gives the film the required scale.
HUMSHAKALS belongs to Riteish, who proves, yet again, that he has an incredible timing for comedy. Watch him in all three roles and you’d agree, he adds so much to the sequences. Saif steps into a new territory with this one, but there are times when he looks out of place completely. Ram Kapoor too gets to portray parts that demand him to go over the top and the actor does complete justice to them. The leading ladies — Bipasha, Tamannaah and Esha Gupta — are pure eye candies. They don’t get much screen time actually. Satish Shah is hilarious and brings the house down. Nawwab Shah is efficient, as always. Chunkey Pandey is wasted. Ditto for Aakash Khurana and Suresh Menon. Darshan Jariwala is alright.
On the whole, HUMSHAKALS tries too hard to make you laugh, but fails miserably.
By Taran Adarsh
A visitor to Santa, “Which is Mr Banta’s flat?”
Santa: Please come with me.
The visitor is taken on stairs to the 3rd floor.
The visitor rings the bell and there is no response. He rings it again and again and still no one answers.
Visitor: I think he is not in.
Santa: Yeah, he has gone out. He’ll be back in the evening!
Over breakfast one morning, a woman said to her husband, “I bet you don’t know what day this is.”
“Of course I do,” he irritatingly answered, going out the door to the office.
At 11 AM, the doorbell rang, and when the woman opened the door, she was handed a bouquet of red roses. At 2 PM, a two pound box of her favorite chocolates arrived. Later, a boutique delivered a designer dress. The woman couldn’t wait for her husband to come home.
“First the flowers, then the chocolates, and then the dress!” she exclaimed. “I’ve never had a more wonderful ‘Children’s Day’ in all my life!”
Stars – 4 Stars
DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE, released in 1995, continues to inspire and motivate a number of storytellers to this date, even after [almost] two decades of its release. Now debutant director Shashank Khaitan borrows the essence from Aditya Chopra’s all-time classic film and gives an altogether new spin to it. Result: HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA.
HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA is akin to the entertainers we had relished in 1980s and 1990s, using the time-tested template [boy meets girl, love blossoms, boy/girl's authoritarian parent acts as a roadblock], but Shashank makes sure to prettify it with dollops of entertainment, light-hearted drama, heartfelt emotions and of course, harmonious songs that linger in your memory. Most importantly, the chemistry between its lead pair — Varun and Alia — is simply electrifying, which acts as the icing on the cake.
In a nutshell, HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA is a fascinating youth drama + family entertainer that delivers big time.
The plot, first! When Kavya Pratap Singh [Alia Bhatt], a chirpy, yet feisty girl from Ambala, decides to make a trip to Delhi for her marriage shopping, she meets a young, carefree Delhi lad, Humpty Sharma [Varun Dhawan]. Humpty’s father [Kenny Desai] is the owner of a campus bookstore, where Humpty and his two best friends, Shonty [Gaurav Pandey] and Poplu [Sahil Vaid], have grown up together.
Kavya is unattainable for Humpty initially, which makes her even more endearing to him. But he is not the one to give up so easily. With some help from his two best friends, he finds out all about her and through an interesting turn of events [including a ploy to save Kavya's friend Gurpreet's marriage], they start growing closer to each other.
The more time they spend with each other, their love-hate banter grows, but their chemistry is apparent. They are both different, yet very similar as people.
Once Kavya’s trip ends, she heads back to Ambala, knowing very well that her father, the very strict, yet loving Mr. Singh [Ashutosh Rana], would never accept her love for Humpty. But even though they both weren’t looking for love, love happened. So Humpty, accompanied by his two friends, decides to go get Kavya. That’s the beginning of a journey for him that he wouldn’t have imagined undertaking even in the wildest of his dreams.
Humpty, against all odds, decides to convince Kavya’s family to agree to his alliance with her. Does he succeed in his mission?
HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA is a quintessential Bollywood romance and ticks all the customary boxes that make a love story work. Yet, Shashank Khaitan makes sure the screenwriting incorporates several amusing and compelling episodes that steer clear of rusty formulas that we are used to watching in films of this genre. Shashank also steers clear of full-scale melodrama, loud and familiar masala and earsplitting background score, which could’ve seeped in naturally, given the genre of the film. He keeps it subtle, but makes sure the film wins you over. The sequences between Varun and Ashutosh Rana are the highpoint of the film. I’d like to single out the sequence at the railway station; it’s incredible. Of course, the ones between Varun and Alia are the soul of the enterprise and the chemistry makes it all the more interesting.
As a storyteller, Shashank knows his fundas right and he gives his lead actors a well-knit, cohesive screenplay to peg their acting skills. Additionally, the film is brimming with several earnest episodes, besides decorating the sequences with witty lines. Furthermore, the soundtrack compliments the proceedings delightfully. ‘Samjhawan’ is hugely popular, while ‘Saturday’ has caught on big time too. The vibrant colors of North India are captured proficiently by the DoP [Neha Parti Matiyani].
You can’t help but get fully sold on the charming performances pitched in by the principal cast. In fact, it won’t be erroneous to state that Varun and Alia add strength and solidity to their respective parts. Varun gets the attitude of the character spot-on and pulls up a winning act. He reveals a sharp timing for comedy, but springs a big, big surprise in the emotional ones. In short, he makes you sit up, watch and applaud his act. Alia seems to be making the right career choices. HIGHWAY and 2 STATES specifically proved that she could transcend the glamour quotient and HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA substantiates the fact that she will be the top contender at the awards season next year — with as many as three diverse performances getting nominated for the top honors.
Moreover, it’s difficult to take your eyes off Varun and Alia when they’re on screen. Above and beyond, the chemistry between them is crackling.
Siddharth Shukla makes a comfortable switch from TV to the big screen. He gets the nuances of his character very well. Ashutosh Rana is top notch, essaying his part with gusto. It’s an absolute delight watching him in a challenging role after a hiatus. The supporting cast — Kenny Desai [Varun's father], Jaswant Daman [Alia's grandmother], Deepika Amin [Alia's mother], Mahnaz Damania [Alia's sister], Aditya Sharma [Alia's brother], Gaurav Pandey — is just perfect, but I’d like to single out Sahil Vaid [Poplu], who’s simply terrific!
On the whole, HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA is a beautifully textured love story that wins you over. There’s no stopping this one from hitting the bull’s eye. Sure-shot winner!
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 2 Stars
There’s a spurt of women-centric films. Films like NO ONE KILLED JESSICA, THE DIRTY PICTURE, KAHAANI [all three featuring Vidya Balan], FASHION, HEROINE [both helmed by Madhur Bhandarkar], ENGLISH VINGLISH and more recently, QUEEN and REVOLVER RANI [both featuring Kangna Ranaut] have encouraged a number of film-makers and writers to think beyond the clichéd, formulaic male-dominated movies. The BO triumph of a majority of those films has certainly given an impetus to the trend.
At the same time, there is a spate of detective movies in Bollywood. The year commenced with MR JOE B. CARVALHO, then SAMRAT & CO. followed, this Friday witnesses Vidya Balan donning the garb of a detective in BOBBY JASOOS, while DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY and JAGGA JASOOS are in production stages. The genre, it is apparent, is being lapped up by storytellers. What makes it fascinating is the fact that reputed Studios/production houses as well as top of the line stars are ready to step out of the comfort zone to act in these films.
Come to think of it, we haven’t had a woman detective in Hindi films so far. Will BOBBY JASOOS trigger off a trend? Having said that, although BOBBY JASOOS narrates the story of a detective, the makers make sure they add human drama to it, which sets it apart from the detective films we have witnessed thus far. But an unenergetic screenplay acts as a roadblock. More on that later!
The premise first! Bobby [Vidya Balan] hails from a modest neighbourhood of Hyderabad. Her parents [Rajendra Gupta, Supriya Pathak] are keen she gets married, but Bobby is keen to chase her dreams of becoming a detective. She offers to work for a leading detective agency, but when things don’t work out, she starts her own detective agency — Bobby Jasoos P. Ltd.
Slowly but surely, the cases start coming in, but the cases are trivial and don’t interest her. The story takes a turn when Anees Khan [Kiran Kumar] offers Bobby to trace some missing people. Glad that she has made a beginning, Bobby grabs the offer instantly, but as she starts the investigations, she realizes something is amiss…
Unlike the protagonists of MR JOE B. CARVALHO and SAMRAT & CO., who ended up looking like a parody of Sherlock Holmes, first-time director Samar Shaikh and writer Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh ensure they instill anxiety, the feeling of uneasiness and make the spectator impatient as the drama unfolds. Concurrently, the element of mystery is wonderfully intertwined in the narrative, which draws the audience into the world of Bobby and the case she decides to take up. The twists and turns that ensue — when Bobby realizes that this case is not as plain sailing as it appears to be — involve the spectators completely, also because the writer and director make sure the film doesn’t follow the stereotypical formula.
While much of the first half is devoted to constructing the suspense, the post-interval portions, sadly, do not live up to those lofty expectations. Sure, there are some absorbing moments and you do hope to get a shocker when the veil of suspense is finally lifted — about the missing girls and also about the true identity of Kiran Kumar. Sadly, what transpires makes you wonder, what was the chase all about? Why did those families disappear? The reasons offered by Kiran Kumar aren’t too persuasive. Furthermore, the film lacks the thrill quotient, which is so essential in a film like this.
A couple of episodes have also been elongated without much reason. The biryani episode and prior to that, the audition part could’ve been condensed for a stronger impact. Besides, the writer integrates the romantic track with the core story, but there are times when you feel it appears forced in the scheme of things. The romantic song before the climax, for instance, is like a sore thumb and could’ve been circumvented. Even otherwise, the soundtrack is nothing to hum about. The beautiful locales of Hyderabad have been captured with flourish by the DoP [Vishal Sinha].
Vidya Balan is known to walk that extra mile to get the character right. The supremely talented actress, who is seen in a variety of disguises in BOBBY JASOOS and speaks in Hyderabadi accent, is the soul of the film. She embraces the part with all the power that she can muster and is absolutely brilliant. Ali Fazal is a complete revelation. Although pitted against a powerhouse performer like Vidya, Ali makes his presence felt with a wonderful performance.
The film has a strong supporting cast, but the ones who register noteworthy performances include Rajendra Gupta [as Vidya's father] and Kiran Kumar. Both are top notch! Surprising, talented names such as Supriya Pathak, Zarina Wahab and Tanvi Azmi are relegated to the back seat and don’t get meaty characters to leave much of an impact. Arjan Bajwa is just about okay. Aakash Dahiya and Prasad Barve [as Shetty], Vidya’s constant companions, leave a mark.
On the whole, BOBBY JASOOS has an interesting premise, but the writing plays the spoilsport. The saving grace and also the USP is Vidya Balan for sure, but is that enough to salvage the film?
By Taran Adarsh
Three women, a blonde, a redhead, and a brunette are lost in the forest while hunting. They each have a shotgun with 2 bullets. They make a fire. Then the redhead gets up and goes hunting.
She comes back with 2 rabbits.
The other two say, “Wow, where did you get that?”
She says, “I found tracks. I followed tracks. I saw rabbits. Rabbits ran. I shot. Rabbits stopped.”
Then the brunette leaves and comes back with a deer.
The other two say, “Wow, Where did you get that?”
She says, “I found tracks. I followed tracks. I saw deer. Deer ran. I shot. Deer stopped.”
The blonde leaves and comes crawling back, all bloodied and black and blue.
They others say, “Wow, where did you get that?”
She says, “I found tracks. I followed tracks. I saw train. Train ran. I shot. Train didn’t stop!!
Stars – 4.5 Stars
Okay, let’s get one thing straight: Salman Khan’s movies are critic-proof. The naysayers or those baying for his blood may frown on the slipups and blemishes in his movies, point out gaping plot holes, accuse him of opting for remakes rather than original concepts, slam him for using his superstardom for masala entertainers… but you cannot overlook the fact that when Salman saunters on screen, he sets it ablaze with his charm and magnetism.
The star-performer carries the weight of the entire film comfortably on his broad shoulders. Everything he does on screen is emulated by his fans pronto: styling, hair style, killer dialogue, dance steps et al. Referred to as ‘Bhai’ by those close to him, he is now the ‘Bhai’ or the iconic on-screen characters he has portrayed over the years — Prem, Radhe, Chulbul Pandey, Lovely Singh, Tiger — for zillions of fans across the globe.
Salman, the star machine, is the Pied Piper of Hindi cinema. He *doesn’t* promise path-breaking or art house cinema. The focus is on those three magical words: Entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. And that’s what matters to a wide majority of movie-going audience.
Sure, the charismatic star’s newest outing KICK is a remake of the super-successful Telugu film KICK [2009; directed by Surender Reddy and starring Ravi Teja, Ileana D'Cruz and Shaam]. But there’s a world of a difference between KICK, directed by Sajid Nadiadwala, and Salman’s last few entertainers. This one’s more stylized, has opulence and gloss reeking in every frame and is very international in terms of execution.
However, the prime question remains the same: Is KICK Blockbuster material? Yes, of course!
The premise of KICK, first! On a train journey in Warsaw, a pretty psychiatrist, Shaina [Jacqueline Fernandez], meets Himanshu [Randeep Hooda], a police officer from India, for an arranged match. They share their pasts with each other.
Shaina shares the story of her ex-boyfriend Devi Lal Singh [Salman Khan], a guy who lived only for ‘Kick’. She talks about his madness and their whirlwind romance, until one day he breaks up with her for a new kick and walks away, never to return. Himanshu tells her about his glorious escapades and that he has finally met his match — an intelligent thief.
What they don’t know is that their stories have one thing in common — Devil. He returns back into their lives under a new guise of having lost his memory. Behind it all is a deeper mystery and an uncompromising mission…
KICK marks Sajid Nadiadwala’s rendezvous with direction and though the debutant director may have looked Southwards to choose the story, when it comes to executing the written material, the inspiration is clearly the West: the larger-than-life Hollywood fares. Having produced over a dozen movies till date, Sajid has abundant experience and expertise and knows precisely how to use the familiar tropes to his advantage.
Sajid conjures up a world that combines visual brilliance with several knockout episodes. Like Salman, Sajid too has a one-point agenda: Entertainment. No wonder, Sajid and his team of writers ensure that they need to offer more to the astute viewer than what has been witnessed thus far, since the promos have raised the bar and multiplied their expectations. That explains why the cat and mouse game [played between Randeep and Salman] doesn’t follow the tried and tested rules, while the conflict between the Samaritan and the antagonist [Salman and Nawazuddin Siddiqui] steers clear of the conventional configuration. As a matter of fact, the frantic twists and turns in the storyline are proof that Sajid and his writing team are keen to offer the audience that extra dose of entertainment which would make KICK a kickass entertainer.
KICK has the magnificence [in terms of production values] that was lacking in Salman’s previous movies. This is a big ticket movie and Sajid, who has produced larger-than-life extravaganzas in the past, makes sure every frame appears luminous, tasteful and eye-catching. Be it the spectacular locales of Warsaw or the classy sets, the DoP [Ayananka Bose] acts as an aide and encapsulates the plush, up market look with competence. The spectator also gets an international feel during the high-octane stunts, action and chases, which garnish the goings-on magnificently. The train stunt is already the talk of town. Also, the chase in Warsaw, with Salman driving a bus, makes you gasp in disbelief.
I’d like to make a special mention of Rajat Aroraa’s dialogue. The wordsmith gives the film several clapworthy lines, which are sure to become legendary. The best line is, of course, ‘Mere baare mein itna mat sochna, dil mein aata hoon, samajh mein nahin’, which comes at a crucial point in the story. The lines delivered by Nawazuddin are super too and the sequence with Salman towards the climax will be greeted with whistles and claps. Take a bow, Rajat!
Any hiccups? Yes, of course! The first half could’ve been tighter. A few sequences have been stretched at times [Salman and Mithun in the bar]. The songs deserved better situations. The romantic track, in the second hour specifically, could’ve been more persuasive.
The soundtrack remains true to the genre of the film and the popularity of ‘Jumme Ki Raat’ and ‘Yaar Na Miley’, which appears twice in the film, enhances the overall impact.
To state that Salman is the soul of KICK wouldn’t be an exaggeration. He’s committed, charming and competent, so much so that it’s difficult to take your eyes off him. Post DABANGG, those who felt that the actor’s movies lacked a cohesive script to match his superstardom, are sure to feel satiated with KICK, since the film has it all and does utmost justice to Salman’s aura. In fact, the film gives him the platform to exhibit his range as an actor/star and his real-life role of a good Samaritan/humanitarian further. Rest assured, the fans and the fanatics — even those who aren’t — are in for a treat!
Randeep Hooda is supremely efficient, delivering a performance that stays with you. And this is a huge compliment, since the film is a Salman show from commencement to conclusion. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a powerhouse of talent and KICK gives him the opportunity to cross over to the commercial league. Nawazuddin is simply outstanding, essaying his part with gusto [don't miss his typical laugh, it will definitely catch on big time]. In fact, it won’t be erroneous to state that along with Salman, Nawazuddin will walk away with plaudits after KICK.
Jacqueline Fernandez does very well, although her diction needs to be worked upon. She looks great and her dance in ‘Jumme Ki Raat’ is sure to stun you. Mithun Chakraborty is in top form yet again. The sequence with Salman towards the concluding moments stay with you.
The supporting cast — Saurabh Shukla [good], Sanjay Mishra [awesome], Vipin Sharma [super], Archana Puransingh [alright], Kavin Dave [first-rate], Sumona Chakravarti [perfect] — each of them contribute well to the proceedings.
On the whole, KICK is a paisa vasool, seeti-maar entertainer. Get ready for a Tsunami called KICK at the ticket window. It is sure to rewrite box-office records. Salman fans, rejoice. KICK is a sure-shot B-L-O-C-K-B-U-S-T-E-R. To quote a dialogue from the film: ‘Woh apni Eidi lene zaroor aayega’.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3.5
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… The adage has been the essence of several Hindi films over the years. Recall INTAQUAM [Ashok Kumar, Sadhna, Sanjay Khan], OH BEWAFAA [Rajendra Kumar, Anil Dhawan, Yogita Bali], KHOON BHARI MAANG [Rekha, Kabir Bedi]… even the multi-starrer NAGIN depicted the story of an ichhadhari nagin [Reena Roy] settling scores with the men responsible for the slaughter of her ichhadhari naag-partner [Jeetendra].
Revenge sagas continue to be made to this date. Only thing, storytellers attempt to garnish the premise with passion, power play and skin show to entice the spectators in hordes. HATE STORY-2, directed by Vishal Pandya, is an erotic thriller that navigates the same route. Like the first part, the sexually explicit content is cleverly interwoven in the premise, while the female protagonist decides to get even with the oppressor.
First, the plot of the film. Sonika [Surveen Chawla] is the mistress of a high-profile politician, Mandar [Sushant Singh]. Things take a turn for worse when she falls in love with Akshay [Jay Bhanushali]. When the authoritative politician gets a whiff of their liaison, he gets Akshay brutally murdered and attempts to kill Sonika too. A crestfallen and dejected Sonika decides to seek revenge against her tormenter.
Staying faithful to the first part that was helmed by Vivek Agnihotri, HATE STORY-2 director Vishal Pandya amalgamates passionate love making scenes and high-voltage drama in the premise of the new installment, but, at the same time, also makes sure he narrates a new story with the revenge angle.
The battle lines between the tormentor and the tormented are drawn at the very start itself. The high point of the film is that the narrative holds your attention from the word go, with the storyteller making sure you don’t lose focus of the proceedings all through the first hour. A number of sequences catch your attention in this hour: Surveen’s emotional outburst as she reveals the truth to Jay and also the entire episode when Sushant murders Jay and attempts to murder Surveen.
The post-interval portions maintain the grip, but the loose ends do show up intermittently. The most glaring one being the popular Sunny Leone track that springs up from nowhere and has been used as a mere prop. Also, the sequence of events tend to get predictable at times, although a number of dramatic sequences — the entire episode at Rajesh Khera’s farm house as well as the finale, when Surveen settles the score with Sushant — camouflage the deficiencies to a major extent. As a matter of fact, the screenwriting, although veering into the conventional zone now and then, gets your thumbs up, while the director gets full marks for staying faithful to the genre and handling the dramatic sequences with expertise.
Since the film is backed by a music company [T-Series], one expects the soundtrack to be of high order and the songs live up to those towering expectations. ‘Aaj Phir Tumpe Pyaar Aaya Hai’ [melodious] and ‘Kabhi Aayine Pe’ [soulful] are wonderful compositions that have been integrated in the narrative appropriately. The locales of Goa in particular are deftly captured by the DoP. Dialogue [Girish Dhamija] are power-packed, especially the ones delivered by Sushant. The background music garnishes the dramatic portions well.
The woman-centric premise demands that the female protagonist deliver a commanding performance. Additionally, it’s imperative [thanks to the script] that she shed her inhibitions and don a bold avatar. Surveen Chawla catches you completely unaware with a no-holds-barred performance, interpreting her character with utmost confidence. Moreover, there are crucial chunks in the narrative when she has to look dejected and disheartened, which should make the viewer feel for her character, and she handles those moments with conviction. Jay Bhanushali, who has sufficient experience on television, is decent, but gets limited screen time.
One has come to expect power-packed performances from Sushant Singh and the actor more than lives up to the expectations. The dark role that he gets to portray is vicious, venomous and violent and the actor encapsulates the three attributes brilliantly in his act. Siddharth Kher [as the cop] is first-rate. I’d also like to single out Neha Kaul, who portrays the part of Sushant’s oppressed wife. She’s super! Rajesh Khera is effective in a brief role.
On the whole, HATE STORY-2 is a riveting saga of a woman’s vendetta against the man who wronged her. Additionally, the combo of skin show and melodious music add tremendous value to the project. This film has the potential to woo the masses and the youth, thus springing a big surprise at the ticket window!
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3
Adding that dash of humor to an otherwise simplistic love story can really up the entertainment quotient and AMIT SAHNI KI LIST is a fitting example of that.
Obsessed with his dream of finding the perfect girl is the successful investment banker Amit Sahni [Virr Das]. His list is nothing but the qualities that make his Ms. Right just a female version of himself. So when he meets his opposite, Mala [Vega Tamotia], a free-spirited, adventurous girl, he is reluctant to make her a part of his life.
However, with time, Mala’s nature rubs onto Amit and he falls in love with her. Soon after their engagement, Amit meets the sophisticated and classy Devika [Anindita Nayar], the girl that suits ‘Amit Sahni Ki List’ perfectly. Caught between Mala and Devika, Amit discovers his journey of love.
Director Ajay Bhuyan interprets urban characters exceedingly well, capturing the complexities and finer nuances of people living in the metropolis. However, the movie deserves credit for incorporating some quirky punches minus sex jokes that keeps the humor element intact, even in dramatic and emotional scenes. Although the plot isn’t innovative enough, the storyteller also makes sure he pads the narrative with several interesting episodes that keep you smiling constantly.
A novel aspect is the male protagonist looking towards the camera and talking to the spectator. Sure, it appears awkward initially, but the interesting feelings/viewpoint that he conveys works in the film’s favor.
Having said that, AMIT SAHNI KI LIST lacks that required twist that would’ve set it apart from clichéd romantic sagas and movies of its ilk. That is one of the reasons why the graph of the film, all of a sudden, spirals downwards towards the middle of the second half. You know what the conclusion would be, but the way the story culminates is just not original.
The soundtrack is in sync with the mood of the film, especially the song that appears towards the end credits. The DoP [Maneesh Chandra Bhatt] captures the plush look as well as the dazzling scenery [when Virr and Vega go bungee jumping] delightfully.
After her striking performance in CHITTAGONG, Vega Tamotia gets thumbs up for her part of the vivacious Mala. She conveys a lot through her expressive eyes and essays her part with proficiency. Anindita Nayar has wonderful screen presence and appears confident. Kavi Shastri [as Pushkar] is first-rate. Natasha Rastogi [as Virr's modern yet conventional mother] delivers a fine performance. However, it is, undoubtedly, Virr Das who gives the film that added push with a super performance. He is the mainstay of the enterprise.
Meiyang Chang appears in a cameo.
On the whole, AMIT SAHNI KI LIST is a feel-good film that tickles your funny bone with its witty dialogues. Holds appeal more for the urban audience!
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3
It’s tricky experimenting with the horror genre. The intent — besides narrating a captivating tale — is to terrify, startle and provide those occasional jolts that one would expect from a film belonging to this variety. A taut screenplay that keeps you on tenterhooks coupled with a nail-biting finale, dexterous cinematography, spine-chilling sound effects and effectual background score are the other rudiments that make a paranormal thriller work.
PIZZA, the remake of the Tamil supernatural thriller PIZZA , gets it right on some counts. If you haven’t watched the original or are clueless about the plotline, chances are you may be sucked in its world, but the loose ends — despite an unforeseen twist towards the closing stages — cannot be ignored.
PIZZA narrates the story of Kunal [Akshay Oberoi], who works at a pizzeria in Mumbai. The employees [Hussain Dalal and D. Santosh] at the pizzeria are his only friends and his wife Nikita [Parvathy Omanakuttan] is someone whom he trusts and enjoys spending time with. His life is limited to delivering pizzas across the city.
Life is a series of regular uneventful days, until one day a pizza delivery goes wrong. Kunal delivers a pizza to a woman [Dipannita Sharma Atwal] and the encounter changes his life for the worse. The experiences in the haunted mansion makes Kunal realize there are supernatural powers in existence.
To make matters worse, when Kunal finally escapes from the house, his wife Nikita goes missing…
The recipe [read written material] is just right — the constituents that make a bloodcurdling supernatural thriller are all there — and to give the credit where it’s due, debutant director Akshay Akkineni makes sure he startles you on a couple of occasions. The screenwriting is watertight in the initial stages and you keep wondering, what’s gonna happen next?
However, the film is not without its share of blemishes. The sequences in the mansion get repetitive after a point. Also, there are times when the on-screen proceedings try hard to send shivers down your spine, but you remain unaffected. Moreover, a couple of paranormal episodes have been stretched for no particular reason. The conclusion too will meet with mixed reactions. Sure, the twist in the tale comes as a surprise, but it isn’t persuasive enough to make you feel elated.
The first-time director’s vision is encapsulated exceedingly well by the DoP [Jayakrishna Gummadi]. The atmospherics inside the haunted residence — the protagonist has a mere torch to guide him through the pitch-dark night — catches your eye. Besides, the movement of the camera enhances the eerie atmosphere and makes it fear-provoking. A film like PIZZA also benefits thanks to the ‘toppings’ — sound design and background score. It would be sacrilege to ignore their contribution. However, one wonders why the film has been shot in 3D. It doesn’t make much of an impact!
One witnesses a noticeable growth in Akshay Oberoi’s performance, who interprets the challenging role with sincerity. The varied emotions that he gets to exhibit — anxiety, fright, vulnerability — come across well in several sequences. Parvathy Omanakuttan’s perkiness makes the goings-on lively. Dipannita Sharma Atwal and Arunoday Singh don’t really get much to do. Also, their makeup is too chalky.
Rajesh Sharma is as usual. Hussain Dalal and D. Santosh are appropriate in their respective parts. Omkar Das Manikpuri doesn’t get much to do.
On the whole, PIZZA scares and startles in parts. A condensed, watertight screenplay in the latter half was much desired to create a hammer-strong impact. Yet, the film has its moments!
By Taran Adarsh
An American manufacturer is showing his machine factory to a potential customer from Albania. At noon, when the lunch whistle blows, two thousand men and women immediately stop work and leave the building.
“Your workers, they’re escaping!” cries the visitor. “You’ve got to stop them.”
“Don’t worry, they’ll be back,” says the American. And indeed, at exactly One o’clock the whistle blows again, and all the workers return from their break.
When the tour is over, the manufacturer turns to his guest and says, “Well, now, which of these machines would you like to order?”
“Forget the machines,” says the visitor. “How much do you want for that whistle?”
Stars = 3 Stars
Pocolim, a quaint, fictitious village in Goa symbolizes what FINDING FANNY is all about. Far away from the maddening crowd, unhurried languid pace, the meaning of ‘competition’ doesn’t exist in their dictionary and the inhabitants are kings/queens of their own sweet-sordid world. It won’t be fair to judge FINDING FANNY with the same barometer as the regular commercial fare doled out by Bollywood. Writer-Director Homi Adajania has dared to break all conventional rules and manages to serve an absorbing and entertaining story that keeps you interested all of 93 minutes of the run time. It will surely appeal to the target group of a discerning audience that values sensible entertainment. Yet, one can’t deny that it has a very limited appeal as the idea of film entertainment for most people in India isn’t intellectual artistry.
Homi Adajania and Kersi Khambatta’s writing is attention grabbing. The dialogues (in English, with a smattering of a Goan dialect) are intelligent, ironic and very funny. You’d love to read them again and again once the novel (from which the screenplay has been culled) will release next year. Even though the duration of the film is one and a half hours, the narrative is never hurried. There’s no eagerness to reach anywhere, it’s the eventful journey that takes you for a joyous ride. Love can be gloriously, subtle and enriching whether you are or aren’t looking for it. Lust is always fascinating. No two ways about it. The search for Stephanie Fernandes has its share of adventure, conflict, rediscovering love, germination of ‘Art’ and the redundancy of the ‘subject’ post ‘climax’.
Pankaj Kapur’s [Pedro] delicious lecherousness is the big highlight of FINDING FANNY. He is a magician of an actor. You don’t want to miss anything he says or does. He has some of the best lines in the film. When he addresses Ferdie [Naseeruddin Shah] as ‘Casanova of Konkan’, and the manner in which he says it, one bursts out laughing. He shamelessly woos Rosie [Dimple Kapadia] making no bones about the reason for his ‘interest’ in her. Dimple looks stunning for her age (though the much hyped prosthetic bum doesn’t add any visual value, it rather hinders her movement to an extent). She brings the house down at several occasions with her straight faced rejoinders or one-liners. The scene where Pedro makes a portrait of Rosie is a laugh-riot. Pankaj Kapur, take a bow sir!
Deepika Padukone [Angie] looks exceedingly pretty and effortlessly merges with the brilliant trio of Naseer, Pankaj and Dimple. It’s criminal to imagine her as a widow. After the much publicized ping-pong with the Censor Board, the ‘virgin’ element doesn’t make sense when Angie tells Savio [Arjun Kapoor] post making love, that “there’ll be many more times and he could get better …” For someone who has never ‘experienced’ sex before, to tell the man that he could get ‘better’, sounds presumptuous. Arjun displays his angst-and-anger. Naseeruddin Shah as Ferdie, like a chameleon, turns a different colour. His unsure composure, incorrigible romanticism and the propensity to exaggerate his own affliction is captivating.
Background music score [Mathias Duplessy] is an intrinsic character in itself. Like the film, it doesn’t have a conventional sound. The moody mind bursts into songs that the heart sings wafting away in the collective memory of viewers for posterity. ‘Shake Your Bootiya’ [Sachin-Jigar] is the only so-called commercial element in the film and that too has been done in a classy manner. The music video of ‘Shake Your Bootiya’ has been put together highly creatively. Masterly camera work [Anil Mehta] is stunning. There is nothing dramatic about the shot taking. It seems the camera is enjoying sneaking into the lives of crazy souls capturing their odd moments from several angles. Editing [Sreekar Prasad] is spot on. It’s a taut film leaving no scope for undue details. Sound design [Nakul Kamte] makes this journey come alive. You hear what you must hear and superfluousness doesn’t exist.
FINDING FANNY is Homi Adajania’s baby all the way. He, along with Kersi Khambatta believed in the idiosyncratic world of Pocolim giving birth to odd characters each aching to narrate their respective stories. Homi never compromises on giving vent to his crazy vision. ‘Cocktail’ wasn’t a film he must have been totally satisfied with, but FINDING FANNY is almost exactly what he must have visualized. The five odd characters offer lots of intelligent entertainment but again, the characterization and the reasons for their actions may seem bizarre to a wide section of the cine going public in India. The attempt to tie lose ends at the end doesn’t augur well for a film that revels in taking risks.
On the whole, it is commendable on the part of Fox and Dinesh Vijan to have diligently backed this project. With a big name like Deepika Padukone getting associated with this film and then Arjun Kapoor (scoring well at the Box Office) bringing in eye balls too, FINDING FANNY has enough curiosity around it. If you’re tired of the nonsensical fare doled out by Bollywood week after week and have a palate for Unusual-Entertainment, then FINDING FANNY will fill your heart with joy.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3
Pradeep Sarkar known for flicks like ‘Laaga Chunri Mein Daag’, ‘Lafange Parinde’ that somehow didn’t hit the right chord with the audience, narrates the atrocious issue through ‘Mardaani’ and deploys strong actor Rani Mukerji to justify it on screen.
She plays Shivani Shivaji Rao, a fearless and courageous Senior Inspector from Mumbai Crime Branch. She has in her family, her husband Dr. Bikram Roy (Jisshu Sengupta) and a niece Meera.
Shivani takes up a case of a missing girl- Pyari who she comes to know is kidnapped by human trafficking mafia and is smuggled to Delhi. On her verge to chase Pyari out in Delhi, Shivani unearths a complete nexus spread all over the capital and decides to restrain it in her own methodology. Amidst all this, Shivani gets a call from the mafia kingpin- Walt (Tahir Bhasin) who warns her to stay away but hardly giving any heed to the threatening words, she takes this personally and challenges Walt that he will be caught within 30 days.
What follows thereafter? Will Shivani find the top dog and demolish the nexus from its roots? Or will she surrender to the powerful force which is there to trouble her at each and every step. Pradeep Sarkar narrates a daring tale of Shivani through ‘Mardaani’. And it has to be said that the director succeeds in painting a lady officer who nevertheless battles it out like any other man. And Rani Mukerji makes it real.
While the title hints over the actions of the mannish woman, the flick has much more than that to explore and grasp. Delhi has been a platform for exploiting many deeds rampant all over and this time, it’s been targeted by Pradeep who goes lane to lane of the capital and digs up the facts of the hidden mafia.
This over two hour twenty minutes drama has verve for its technique of investigation, which keeps you glued to your seats. The clues, the hints, the secrets entice us to join Shivani and her team in their investigation.
The modes of the kidnapping girls are razor-sharp while serving them like a ‘material’ on a plate before clients has a sense of creating fury against the stone-hearted mafias.
Adding some brilliant dialogues to it makes the flick more apt and realistic. ‘Aur kisi ko law sikhna hai?’ (Any one else wants to learn law?), is one of them which comes out hard-hitting when Shivani recounts sections under the code of conduct to a goon who messes with her.
Here is another one, ‘Legally Kaam Karte Rahoge… Criminals Ko Kaise Pakdoge’ (If you would work legally, how will you catch the criminals?). Most unadvised format to any cop but it sounds and looks good.
Action stunts are not out of the world and were strictly non-required in the flick. Rani wasn’t required to be a lady Dabangg in the flick, which is a non-masala drama. The action is raw which proves to be heroic enough in reel and real life rather than showing ‘hero-giri’ which if included, could have spoiled the flow.
What takes that quality a few notches higher is the performance of Rani. She makes sure that her name is genuinely tagged in most number of the scenes. While as a journalist in ‘No One Killed Jessica’ Rani was fast and clever, in this flick she is tough and more aggressive, which shows on screen.
Tahir Bhasin as a merciless ace criminal minded keeping a mask of a regular guy next door is brilliant. His character is cruel yet smart and Tahir displays that quality with his brilliant act.
Jisshu Sengupta as Rani’s husband does a good job. Akhilesh Verma and Vikrant Koul as cops are good.
Music by Shantanu Moitra is good; however, it’s the background score by Karthik Raja which leaves more impact.
At last it could be said that it’s not just Rani but other influential aspects that make Mardaani work.
Wife: Can you help me in the gardening ?
Husband: What do you think I am… a gardener ?
Wife: Can you fix the door handle ?
Husband: What do you think I am… a Carpenter ?
In the evening, when husband came from work, he saw everything has been fixed.
Husband: Who did all this ?
Wife: Our neighbour. But he gave me 2 options…. Either I should give him a burger or a kiss.
Husband: I am sure you must have given him a burger.
Wife: What do you think I am…….McDonald ?!!
Stars – 2.5 Stars
On face-value, KHOOBSURAT may just pass off as a fairy tale story that’s taken straight out of the fable book with an overly strict mother of the house calling the shots for each and every single member in the household. But, KHOOBSURAT also shows the power of love and laughter, happiness, which can heal an ailing person, bring family members closer to each other and above all, help a person realize his true love.
One would expect this film to be a fun filled joy-ride since this is Disney’s first dream presentation in Bollywood. With the magical dream weavers at Disney at the helm of things, one, but obviously, would expect the film’s makers to capitalize of the timeless classic term ‘Disney Magic’. Whether KHOOBSURAT and its director live up to this term? Let’s analyze.
The film starts off with the introduction of a professional physiotherapist Mili Chakravarthy (Sonam Kapoor) who is a self-confessed ‘spontaneous personality’. She is in charge of treating the players of IPL’s Kolkata Knight Riders’ team, an ‘achievement’ that qualifies to get her a suitable match, according to her typical Punjabi mother Manju Chakravarthy (Kirron Kher). Due to the inability of Mili’s colleague to go to the royal house, Mili fills in for him to treat the King of the palace. Right from the word go, the very vocally outspoken Mili finds herself to be a ‘royal misfit’ in the royal palace of Sambhalgarh, which is ‘manned’ by the lady of the house, Queen Nirmala Devi Rathore (Ratna Pathak Shah). Nirmala’s life revolves around her family members which consists of her husband Shekhar Rathore (Aamir Raza Hussain), son Vikram Rathore (Fawad Khan), and daughter Divya. Besides taking charge of the lives of her family members, she also is the person in charge of all the business dealings and maintenance of the royal legacy.
However, the well maintained decorum of the Rathore household goes for a toss the very moment Mili enters there to treat Nirmala’s husband Shekhar, who has been confined to a wheel chair for more than ten years due to an unfortunate accident which not only claimed their eldest son, but also left him paralyzed since. In due course of treating Shekhar, Mili realizes that there’s more than what meets the eye. That’s when she changes her course of treatment by befriending the King and making his life livelier and fun. Despite the fact that Nirmala and Vikram do not like Mili due to her brash behavior, they gradually come to terms with her after seeing Shekhar respond very positively to her treatments. Despite Vikram being engaged to a royal and rich Kiara (Aditi Rao Hydari), he starts liking Mili, even though being aware that there is nothing similar in them! By now, Mili also starts nurturing similar feelings for him, but refrains from confessing as she learns about Vikram’s engagement with Kiara. Will Vikram choose Mili over Kiara as his life partner and does Mili succeed in treating Shekhar? And above all, will Mili manage to melt Nirmala Devi’s toughened heart is what forms the rest of the film’s story.
Despite its flaws, KHOOBSURAT does manage to capture your heart at places. Director Shashank Ghosh, who had earlier treated the viewers with his quirky films like WAISA BHI HOTA HAI PART II and QUICK GUN MURUGAN, manages to deliver the film that’s strictly good in parts. Even though the film is supposed to be an official remake of the 80s classic by the same name (that starred Rekha and Rakesh Roshan in the lead), KHOOBSURAT seems to be nowhere near the original. With a runtime of 130 minutes, this film is a story of a girl who turns the life of a royal family upside down.
As far as the performances are concerned, Sonam Kapoor gets an author backed role; the film mainly revolves around her character. Her quirks, antics and bindass attitude is supported by smart witty dialogues. One scene that stands out is that of Milli’s first dinner at the palace, where she shows up late, follows no etiquettes, enquires about the young princess’ relationship status and eventually her phone buzzes with the ringtone ‘Maa Ka Phone Aaya’. Halfway through the film though, her loud mouth performance fails to keep you engaged. That doesn’t take away her ability to handle some intense situations really well. As for the debutante Fawad Khan, he is very convincing as the Rajasthani prince. He manages to give a subtle, controlled performance as his character demands, yet at times pulls off comedy without getting loud. His comic scene with Kirron Kher in the climax where he drops his royal mannerisms and talks like a Delhi ka tapori surely displays his versatility as an actor. Ratna Pathak Shah delivers what exactly was required of her to do. Sadly her role is half-baked and not even close to what her mother Dina Pathak got to play in the original, Ratna manages to make the most out of what she has been offered as the strict, commanding and disciplined Queen of the royal Rathore family. The irony of Aamir Raza Hussain’s performance is that, despite him being confined to the wheel chair through the film, it doesn’t restrict him from delivering a sparkling performance. Kirron Kher once again plays the loud Punjabi mother but her witty dialogues manage to make you laugh. At one point she claims to have Rajput blood flowing in her family too despite being a Punjabi lady from Delhi married to a Bengali man. However, her loud performance tends to get a bit tiring towards to climax of the film. The rest of the cast merely help in carrying the film forward.
Despite the weak storyline, what keeps the movie going forward is its music. Sneha Khanwalkar, Badshah and Amal Malik have done a good job in that department. Songs like ‘Engine Ki Seeti’, ‘Preet’, ‘Naina’ and ‘Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai’ which keep coming at regular intervals and gives film the much needed push, especially when the love story kicks in. The film’s background score (Simab Sen), editing (Bakul Matiyani) and cinematography (Tushar Kanti Ray) are all good. The film’s screenplay (Indira Bisht) falters at a lot of places. Though the film starts on a promising note, the story and screenplay have no meat in the second half and all characters seem to have lost direction. This flaw is however covered by the film’s very witty dialogues writtenby Juhi Chaturvedi. Special mention goes to the film’s choreographers Firoz Khan and Karishma Chavan. Also Namrata Soni has styled Sonam very well. Director Shashank Ghosh manages to make the film young and peppy, with quirky characters and fresh beautiful visuals of Rajasthan; however the film’s weak script crashes the film completely in the second half.
Overall, KHOOBSURAT is likeable in parts with good performances and stunning visuals; however the weak script is an ‘ugly’ hurdle this film will face at the box-office.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 1.5
Somewhere in the late nineties, filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma made a film by the name of SATYA, which eventually gave rise to a new genre of filmmaking which dealt with guns, underworld and likes. This also gave rise to many aspiring filmmakers who jumped onto this bandwagon and tried their hands at this ‘genre’ of film making. While some failed miserably, some did make their mark in the tinsel town.
This week’s release DESI KATTEY is producer cum director Anand Kumar’s attempt at how the world of two children working in a pistol factory change when they eventually grow up to be ace sharpshooters. Does Anand Kumar deliver as a filmmaker or does he too joins the ranks of other film makers who have bitten the dust, let’s analyze.
This film starts off with the ‘made-for-each-other’ friendship between the film’s two protagonists Gyani (Jai Bhanushali) and Pali (Akhil Kapur). As kids, even though the duo work in a pistol factory, they seem to gettheir kicks by terrorizing the school children with country guns so that they can eat their tiffins! The USP of these two is that they happen to be ace sharpshooters since the word go. As a child, Pali sees an older girl Guddi(Tia Bajpai) and instantly falls in love with her, so much so that, when he grows up, he kills her lover, who is a local goon, and marries her! What the audiences fail to understand here is, while the filmmaker has shown Pali grow up from a child to an adult, age seems to have arrested itself for Guddi, who remains the very same throughout Pali’s transformation from a child into a grown up man!
In one fateful incident, Gyani and Pali bump off the most trusted henchman of the highly connected politician Judge Sahab (Ashutosh Rana), who, despite being in jail, manages to call the shots in the outside world. When he gets to know about the killing, he becomes furious and vows to avenge the same. But when he gets to know about Gyani and Pali’s dedication towards him (they even call him ‘Bhagwaan’), he decides to hire the duo as his topnotch henchmen. As time passes by, one day, the duo gets jailed by the police for a murder that they haven’t committed. While Judge Sahab is busy with his election meetings, it is Major Suryakant Rathore (Suniel Shetty) who bails them out as he is fully aware about their sharpshooting skills. On his insistence and a promise to give them a changed life, Gyani and Pali bid good bye to the world of crime and ‘upgrade’ themselves from country guns to modern day pistols. One day, Gyani and Pali find themselves at a crossroad of their lives when they have to choose between helping Major Suryakant Rathore to achieve his objective or to accept the offer to join Judge Sahab’s team, something that had been a long cherished dream for them.
Will the duo betrays Major’s faith in them and go back to crime or do they stay back with the Major, and what was Major’s actual reason to bail them out of the jail is what forms the rest of the film.
It seems like the film’s producer-director Anand Kumar had totally run out of ideas when he was conceptualizing this film, and maybe that’s why he ended up creating a royal mash up of many Hindi film plots. How else would you explain the plot of DESI KATTEY looking like a GUNDAY meets CHAK DE INDIA meets a lot of other Hindi films’! The director has to be blamed in totality for DESI KATTEY, which starts off on a slow note in the bearable first half, but gets endlessly stretched in the totally boring, senseless and meaningless second half. There’s hardly any moment in the film which is worthy of being cherished. The places where the film scores is because of S.R. Sathish Kumar (photography) and sound (Buta Singh).
As far as the acting is concerned, the lead boys Jai Bhanushali and the debutant Akhil Kapur seem to suffer due to poor script. Looking the camaraderie that they share with each other, it really seems that the two boys love each other more than they love their respective girlfriends. There are places where Jai shines as an actor, while Akhil makes a decent attempt, he will need to work harder on future projects. While Sasha Agha as Paridhi, (who plays Jai’s love interest) hams while Tia Bajpai has hardly anything to do in the film. Even the seasoned actors like Murali Sharma, Santosh Shukla and Akhilendra Mishra fail to save this film. All of this leaves us with only one name Suniel Shetty, the actor who carries the full film ably on his shoulders, even though he has not done anything in this film which we haven’t seen him so far.
Had the film’s writing (Aaryaan Saxena) been watertight, it would have really saved the film from sinking with every passing scene. The same applies to even the film’s editing (Bunty Nagi) and action (Jai Singh Nijjar), which is way too loud. While the film’s music (Kailash Kher) does have the magical touch of Kailash’s voice in a couple of songs, the other tracks are totally an avoidable fare.
All in all, DESI KATTEY is strictly an avoidable fare.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 1.5
It has always been known that life exists across parallel yet different plains, but the most intriguing being the plain that houses the realm of the spirit world. For ages, man has been engaged in the never ending quest of finding and proving that such a realm exists, with reports from every corner of the world sporadically throwing up instances of paranormal activity, the theory of ghosts, spirits and the undead have gained momentum and even films being made on the same.
In Indian cinema, the horror genre has certainly come a long way since the Ramsay brothers’ films, with the advancement in technology, visual effects, prosthetics and general filmmaking abilities, the viewer is subject to a more enriching, in this case, thrilling and chilling experience. And that’s exactly what 3 AM promises. Whether it lives upto its promise, let’s analyze.
3 AM starts off with Sunny (Rannvijay Singh), a reality show host who is on the pinnacle of his flamboyant career enjoying with his friends Raj (Kavin Dave), and Cyrus (Sahil Acharya) at a party where he proposes to his love Sarah (AninditaNayar) who is a journalist by profession. Post the revelry, Sarah sets off on an expose of sorts with the story she is writing on the most haunted locations of Mumbai, with Rudra Mills, a dilapidated, closed mill, in focus. Sunny ridicules her by stating his disbelief in ghosts. However, on one fateful night, when Sunny is fast asleep, he gets woken up by the wailing woman’s cry. He wakes up but is unable to get up. He sees the clock on the wall and its 3 am. He sees Sarah crying sitting in a dark corner in his room. He tries to talk but he can’t. He tries to move, but he can’t do that either. Finally, she walks over to him and tells him that she is sorry. She tells him that she would always love him and that it was time for her to leave now. She kisses him good night and says “I’ll miss you my love”. Sunny gets up with a jolt, and runs to his phone, trying to call Sarah but her phone is switched off. Finally, after a few attempts he gives up. Just then the phone rings and he runs to it expecting Sarah’s call, but hears her father on the other end who informs Sunny that Sarah was found hung, at Rudra Mills, at 3am.
Shaken by this loss, Sunny hits the bottle trying to comprehend his experience with Sarah’s spirit that completely fractures Sunny’s mind. Later, Sunny sets out on a mission to prove the existence of the afterlife, believing that if he does manage to prove that ghosts do actually exist, he would be reunited with his love, at some point.Do Sunny, Raj and Cyrus all make it till dawn? Does Sunny live on to suffer the loss of his love? Will he and his friends make it through the night? Will he manage to prove to the world (and himself) that ghosts do exist… forms the rest of the story.
Right from the onset, the filmseems highly inspired from the Hollywood flick PARANORMAL ACTIVITY that created a sensation on its release. However, as the film progresses, you can’t help but see the similarities it has to the GHOST HUNTERS show that airs on Discovery channel. Starting off explaining the pretext of the film’s title, the story follows a college kid entering an abandoned mill to meet his three friends; there all four are interrupted by Sunny who tells them sternly that they should not be there, as things are not always what they seem. From here on, Sunny gets into a conversation, telling the friends of what horrors could befall them, like they did him, sending the viewer back in time to relive his life. Post the time shift, the viewer gets to experience Sunny’s life from the high point of his marriage proposal being accepted to his eventual devastation on learning of his future wife’s death, his subsequent substance abuse and his eventual resolve to find out the truth of what really happed that fateful night.
As Sunny recounts the incidents that started to occur, once he and his friends Cyrus and Raj lock themselves in the mill, the audience is subject to visuals that oscillate between night vision camera recording and normal camera visuals, while the background score that is almost always there, works up a tempo to set the mood for the perfect scare. Unfortunately, if the idea was to make a horror film, the shoddy dialogues and less than appreciable execution turn the film into a laugh riot. Raj and Cyrus (aka Bawa) are better suited to comic roles than to those requiring a sharper edge.A commendable effort on attempting to make a found footage film though the editing could have been better.The visual effects used to portray at times are done rather well, while others needed serious reworking.
Director Vishal Mahadkar, who earlier made BLOOD MONEY,fails to show sleek visuals in 3AM. Though he has done a decent job of portraying the thriller effect, Mahadkar’s overall execution of the film could have been much better.
As for performances go, Rannvijay as Sunny does a decent job playing the part of a man on a mission, while Anindita as Sarah who is supposedly the lead actress of the film feels more like an extended guest appearance. Kavin and Sahil as Sunny’s two friends and producers seem better for a comic caper. Though it is not all their fault, as the dialogues seriously lack insight and a certain level of refined English (thanks to the unabashed use of ‘dude’, ‘man’ and ‘bro’ almost in every sentence) is the main cause behind their characters failure.
On the whole, 3 AM does manage to be a bit scary, unfortunately, it is limited to certain parts that are few and far between andthe film comes across as a weak attempt.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3.5
Rather than beating around the bush, let us directly come to the point as to: Is BANG BANG really as big as it’s made out to be? The man who goes by the name of ‘Hrithik Roshan’ is back and how! This time, ‘supporting’ his acts are the highly sophisticated mean machines, hot wheel rubber whose road smooching creates friction, state of the art weapons and much more. When you have a film which is as big and magnanimous as this one, where you have monstrous budgets and colossal star power, the result will be nothing short of BANG BANG!
This film also guarantees the quintessential adrenaline rush through the medium of super high octane stunts, mega fast car chases and mind boggling action sequences. Add to that the ditched planes, shoot-outs, bombing raids and mayhem which are a pre-requisite of any action film. But does BANG BANG match upto the mammoth expectations from the film? Or is it just a gas balloon that will suffer a leak as time passes by, let’s analyze.
The film starts with an unassumingly innocent girl Harleen Sahni (Katrina Kaif) who works as a bank receptionist. In a random turn of events (blind dating, to be precise), she accidentally happens to meet the extremely charming yet mysterious Rajveer Nanda (Hrithik Roshan), who is out on a secret mission. And anyone who comes in the line of his ‘duty’ simply gets eliminated by him… bang bang! There comes a situation when Harleen starts hating Rajveer, when she gets to know his identity. By then, the damage is already been done… sub-consciously she falls in love with him. The situation becomes such that, she cannot leave his side and the two engage in a series of action adventure across the world. Whenever she poses a question about Rajveer’s background, either Rajveer ducks the question or the situation plays the villain. Amidst all this, enters the villainous Omar Zafar (Danny Denzongpa), who kills the nation loving army officer played by Jimmy Sheirgill, as he doesn’t abide by his terms and conditions. The twists and turns of events lead Harleen to unravel Rajveer’s biggest secret.
Who is Rajveer exactly? Why is he dragging Harleen along with him? And what does he really want from Omar Zafar… forms the rest of the story.
Director Siddharth Anand (who had earlier directed films like ANJAANA ANJAANI, BACHNA AE HASEENO, TARA RA RUM PUM and SALAAM NAMASTE) has made a sleek action packed adventure with BANG BANG. One has to applaud him for making the film that seems to be a perfect blend of grandeur and style. The film’s story travels through Prague, US, Thailand and Greece amongst other countries and the idea was to keep a non-compromising approach on the scale of the film while giving the story its due.Even though he has made this film for the masses and classes alike, one thing is for sure that BANG BANG has really turned out to be escapist cinema at its best!
Hrithik Roshan makes absolutely no mistakes in getting his act together. There’s no denying the fact that he plays the perfect Bollywood hero in this film,who can dance effortlessly, fight in style and charm the audiences. But what one really needs to applaud is the way he carries the film on his shoulders. No wonder then, he is the driving force of the film, on which the film can ‘bang’ upon! We have seen him in his stylized action avatar in DHOOM 2. His role in BANG BANG seems to be a hundred notches ahead of what he did in DHOOM 2. On the other hand, Katrina Kaif (who had been paired with Hrithik Roshan earlier as well in ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA) is supports him well as the leading lady. Overall, she plays her funny quirky character decently. Danny Denzongpa has a small but strong role as the main villain of the film. The other actors like Pawan Malhotra, Javed Jaffrey and Jimmy Sheirgill are decent.
The flip side of the film,however, is that its pace remains inconsistent. There are points where the film runs very slow but catches up with the action sequences that follow. Add to that, there are certain scenes in the film which go onto defy logic and even common understanding!
While the writing (Sujoy Ghosh, Suresh Nair) is average, the beautiful visuals of the film definitely arrest the audience’s attention. There are places where the film’s screenplay seem to falter at times, but the performances of the lead actors more than make up for these petty flaws. Ditto for the film’s dialogues (Abbas Tyrewala), even though there aren’t any path breaking one liners, there are certain quirky lines that are smartly used.
The film’s action sequences are bound to take your breath away. And there is just one person to be credited for this and he is none other than the Hollywood action director Andy Armstrong of (The Amazing Spiderman 2 fame). He has indeed lived upto the hype and the expectations that were attached with BANG BANG. Some of the most remarkable action scenes in the film include Hrithik Roshan driving a F1 car, performing water-skiing after being tied to a sea-plane and doing the death-defying fly board stunts.
One of the film’s many driving points is melodious music (Vishal Dadlani- Shekhar Ravjiani), which stays with you after the film. Vishal, who also doubles up as a singer for a couple of songs, really helps the film musically.
When you have the dancing god Hrithik Roshan himself, the pressure and expectations really mounts on the choreographers. In this film, its Bosco Martis, Caesar Gonsalves and Ahmed Khan who are instrumental in making Hrithik deliver one of his finest dance performances so far. The choreography of the ‘Tu Tu Meri’ track as well as ‘Bang Bang’ title song is remarkably outstanding. The film’s choreography is equally stunning as well, bit in performances as well as visually.
Overall, the film’s wide release during the long holiday should definitely work in its favour. Add to that, the popular starcast of the film will ensure that the movie sails through comfortably at the box-office. Another plus point to BANG BANG is that it has the least opposition from HAIDER at the box-office. So, if you are looking high-octane action scenes, sleek visuals, melodious music and if you love masala movies, then BANG BANG should definitely be your pick for this extended weekend.
By Taran Adarsh
We all know that Bollywood is all about mix and match and also permutations and combinations. While the last few offerings from Yash Raj Films stable have been of diverse genre like action (GUNDAY), romance (DAAWAT-E-ISHQ), this week’s film KILL DIL seems to be a mix of both the genres. Will KILL DIL be able to live upto the expectations which is generally attached to any YRF film, let’s analyze.
KILL DIL, which is set in North India, starts off with a shaky camera which introduces the two protagonists Dev (Ranveer Singh) and Tutu (Ali Zafar), who are self-confessed ‘haraamis’. The duo reveal that their childhood was all about learning ‘M for Maaki’ and ‘B for Behenki…’ in place of ‘A for Apple, B for Ball’. It was their ‘Godfather’Bhaiyaaji (Govinda) who handpicked them up from the dustbin and not only gives them shelter, but also nurtures them to become professional killers. Life goes on absolutely smooth for these two free spirited and trigger happy killers till the time Dev saves the ‘criminal-transformer-into-human beings’ Disha (Parineeti Chopra) in a night club. What follows after that, are a few meetings, a surprise birthday party and a handful of romantic outings… all of which are enough to pave way to a blossoming romance between the two. Despite opposition from Tutu, Dev still falls head over heels in love with Disha, and gives up all his criminal activities to lead the life of a common man. Ironically it may sound, but the fact remains that Disha changes the direction of Dev’s life forever. And when the fifth standard fail Dev decides to become a common man, Tutu helps him to ‘acquire’ a MBA degree. What follows after that are series of interviews (worth watching), which sees Dev going in search of a job. Do not miss his audition for ‘Cobra’ brand product. This reformation and transformation of Dev shakes up Bhaiyaaji totally, who then calls up Disha (who is still unaware of Dev’s criminal background) and reveals to her about Dev’s tinted past.
What happens when Disha gets to know about Dev’s background, does Dev manage to win her over or lose her, and does the villainous Bhaiyaaji allow Dev to lead a normal life away from his pangs, is what forms the rest of the story.
Stars – 2
Let’s face it that, KILL DIL is a film which clearly lacks the ‘YRF’ style. With this film, director Shaad Ali has terribly failed to recreate the same magic which he had earlier exhibited in films like SAATHIYA and BUNTY AUR BABLI. He falters big time with KILL DIL, which goes onto prove that a film cannot solely survive on music, performances or story plot. It has to be the right proportion of the three.
As far as the actors are concerned, what starts off as an equal balance between the two actors Ranveer and Ali, gradually becomes a Ranveer show, who makes no mistakes in his screen time. The only problem is that he seems to be looking stereotyped now. A few scenes do remind the viewer of his performance in GUNDAY, but he ensures that the viewer sticks to the premises of his character in KILL DIL. His camaraderie with Ali Zafar is admirable. Following him is the multi-talented Ali Zafar, who for some reason seems to be holding himself in a few scenes, which gets translated into a self-imposed restrained performance from him. Parineeti Chopra, on the other hand, is as effortless as ever. But again, her ‘effortlessness’ seems to be getting repeated in every film of hers. She really has to ‘reinvent’ herself soon. The jack of the pack in the film is indeed the veteran actor Govinda, who makes a comeback in Bollywood with this film. Even though he has grown old, there is nothing in him which prevents him from moving shoulder to shoulder with Ranveer, Ali and Parineeti. There are a few places wherein his character becomes too loud, which could have been duly restrained. Leaving these four actors, there is hardly any rest of the cast who contribute constructively to the film.
Music definitely forms an integral part of this film. The trio of Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa seems to have got all their rhythms and beats right in this film. The only problem is that a few songs (despite being melodious) seem to be out of context and in quick succession. But the tracks of ‘Sajde’, ‘Sweeta’, and ‘Baawra’ remain fresh in the memory even after the movie is over.
While the film struggles to establish itself within the first half, the second half not just loses its pace, but also the direction in which the film is heading towards. The film’s editing (Ritesh Soni) is commendable and is watertight (minus a few scenes). The film’s dialogues (Nitesh Tiwari, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Mehrotra) score big time because of its memorable one liners. While the film’s screenplay (Nitesh Tiwari, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Mehrotra) fails to match up with the story and pace, the film’s action (Sham Kaushal) is very average.
On the whole, KILL DIL is a film, which could have been worth watching, had it been handled and directed properly. This film’s definitely worth a miss.
By Taran Adarsh
On a long haul UK flight, a mother took her young son to the toilet and told him she would come back for him, in five minutes.
However, he was finished in two minutes so he left the toilet and wandered off down the aisle, in the opposite direction from where his mother was.
Meanwhile, a businessman entered the toilet and locked the door.
After the five minutes were up, the mother knocked on the door and called out, “Do you need any help with the zipper?”
From behind the door, a startled male voice said, “Good God!!! That’s what I call service…”
Stars – 2 stars
Bollywood is a place which thrives on creativity and talent. Even though talent is irreplaceable, the creativity aspect sometimes gets ‘translated’ into many rehashes. A couple of weeks back, we saw the release of DESI KATTEY, which in English means country guns. This week again the ‘country guns’ are back in action with the latest release TAMANCHEY.
Looking at the promos of Navneet Behal’s directorial debut film TAMANCHEY, it is kind of tricky to comprehend the genre of the film. That’s precisely why you wait for the reels to unfold, to understand what the lead actors of the film would be up to.
The film starts off with Munna Manohar Mishra (Nikhil Dwivedi), a kidnapper from Uttar Pradesh and his escapades from the police. At one point, he ‘encounters’ a bindaas and dare bare girl Bindiya Thakur aka Babu (Richa Chhadda), who happens to be a street-smart drug peddler from Delhi. They meet each other in police custody while being escorted to jail in different police vans. A fateful accident of both the vehicles enables the lucky duo to escape from the clutches of the cops, most of whom are dead in the accident. They become each other’s survival kit and guide. Munna, who is initially shell shocked to see a girl as bold as Babu, gradually gets used to her and her foul mouthed mannerisms. What initially starts off as hesitation for Munna, gradually transforms into a matter of the heart, while he (despite being engaged to an unseen girl from his village) falls head over heels in love with Babu, who, on the other hand, never reciprocates her feelings for him, despite being his partner in crime all the time.
Amidst an escapade train journey, the duo, after getting drunk inside a goods carrier, land up getting intimate with each other. It’s only at ‘dawn’ that it dawns on Munna that Babu has left him, without any caveat. So much so, that when Babu had to choose between her much accustomed world of crime and Munna, she chose the former over the latter! A dejected Munna then goes all out in search of her and thus reaches Delhi, when he discovers a startling truth about Babu and her ‘association’ with the mercilessly brutal criminal Rana (Damandeep Sidhu). This time round, a determined Munna goes all out to woo Babu and win her over… all over again! While doing so, Munna and Babu accidentally land up killing a policeman. And the only person who can help them out is Rana, who is unaware of their romance which is brewing right under his nose. There is a sudden twist in the tale when Rana decides to leave the country along with Babu. And the only way by which they can escape this situation is by killing Rana.
Will Rana ever get a whiff of the romantic liaison between Babu and Munna, will the Babu-Munna duo kill Rana in order to succeed in their love, will police ever be able to arrest the smart trio of Munna, Babu and Rana is what forms the rest of the story.
This is director Navneet Behal’s debut film, but he shows little spark. There are quite a few shaky moments in the film, which could have been tackled better by Navneet in order for the film to look glossier. The dubbing seems to have gone off at quite a few places whereas the camera angles look and behave very amateurish at places, especially during the climax fight scenes. Navneet should have adopted fresh ideas in the film’s plot to make it more believable. In today’s day and age, when technology, gadgets and gizmos are the call of the day for any kind of robbery, we see the actors in TAMANCHEY resorting to the 70′s and 80′s era of only wearing a mask and robbing the banks off its crores of rupees and jewellery! Even though the film drags a bit in the first half, the second half catches better pace.
As far as the performances are concerned, Nikhil Dwivedi, who is no stranger to the gangster domain, delivers what was expected of him. Even though there are a handful of places where his flaws makes the viewers guffaw, he is otherwise decent in his part. He delivers a sincere performance, if not effortless. On the other hand, it is the fiery Richa Chadda, who carries the film. Richa, whom we have seen in similar roles in the past, excels in this film too. She does proper justice to the role and to the script. Newcomer Damandeep Sidhu does full justice to the role of the treacherous Rana. If he chooses his films properly, he surely can become the face of terror in the days to come.
Even though the music (late R.D.Burman, Krsna, Ikka, Intense, Dj Khushi) of the film is hummable, it fizzles out from the memory as the film ends. Needless to say that the only songs to stand out (read ‘the musical saving grace of the film’) is the recreation of the legendary R.D. Burman’s song ‘Pyar Mein Dil Pe Maar Le Goli’. The background score towards the climax of the film seems to be heavily inspired from Quentin Tarantino’s KILL BILL series.
The film suffers in the editing department (Manish Jaitly) and so does the cinematography (Dani Sanchez Lopez). The film’s screenplay (Shailesh Pratap Singh, Bharat Ratan) is very average, while action sequences (Kaushal & Moses) seem very stereotyped and bring nothing new to the table.
All in all, TAMANCHEY is an average fare.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3
A little over three decades, there was one film made by the name of JAANE BHI DO YAARON, which went onto not just attain a ‘cult status in Bollywood, but also give rise to a new ‘genre’ of filmmaking, about the hardships in the lives of common people but with a funny twist. Films like KHOSLA KA GHOSLA, OMG – OH MY GOD!, PEEPLI LIVE etc are a testimony to it.
This week’s release EKKEES TOPPON KI SALAAMI is a satirical attempt at today’s commercial world that is interspersed with politics, power, greed and lust. This is one film which will make you laugh… laugh at the system and then laugh at yourself. The on-screen characters seem absolutely straight out of everyday life for they are the ones who do not need any make up to ‘highlight’ their roles. These are the characters that are very much a part of everyone’s day to day life.
The film starts off with the extremely sincere BMC employee Purushotam Narayan Joshi (Anupam Kher), who works as a fog machine operator. While his eldest son Shekhar Joshi (Manu Rishi Chadha) works as a small time employee in the BMC, his younger son Subhash Joshi (Divyendu Sharma) works for a leading politician, much against the wishes of his father. The sons don’t share the best relationship with their father, as he is a very honest man, while the boys are practical and money minded. While others prepare for their usual day at work, Joshi gets all prepared for his Retirement Day. Just a day prior to his retirement, like his daily routine, Joshi goes to the fog supervisor in order to surrender his fog machine. Since the supervisor is ‘busy’ watching an adult video on the internet, he casually tells Joshi to leave the machine behind and that he will do the necessary formalities. Even though Joshi is a bit reluctant to do so, he ultimately gives in to the supervisor’s instructions and leaves the fog machine with him, without making an entry for that day. The next day Joshi, with a cheerful and content face, enters his office anticipating a big send off party for him. However, the department head accuses him of stealing the foc machine and labels him a theif, rejecting his character certificate and instead putting a case on him. Joshi goes into depression and his health collapses. Just a few minutes before khis death, he has a heated argument with his two sons. In that moment, his youngest son Subhash promises his dying father, that he will be treated to a ’21 gun (cannon) salute’ at his funeral.
Will Subhash actually manage to keep his promise to his dying father and get a ’21 gun (cannon) salute’ and what difficulties he will face in doing so is what forms the rest of the story.
Director Ravindra Gautam really needs to be applauded from the bottom of the heart for having come up with such a unique film. The way he has treated the subject and extracted performances from his actors, makes him a director to look forward to in the future.
As far as the performances are concerned, it is really difficult to simply handpick one name over the others as each and everyone in the film have done their bit and that too very religiously. It is their combined efforts which make the film a watchable one. After years and years of solid experience, Anupam Kher makes his performance in the film look absolute effortless. Remarkable scenes include his confrontation with his sons before his death. On the other hand, it is the likes of Divyendu Sharma and Manu Rishi Chadha who deliver one of their best performances. Divyendu excels in the role of the younger son; his transformation from a carefree man into someone so very responsible and full of humanity is highly remarkable. The seasoned actor Manu Rishi Chadha supports Divyendu very well throughout the film. The surprise package of the film is indeed Aditi Sharma, who very effortlessly delivers a towering performance in the role of Taanya Srivastav. The other actors in the film include some of the seasoned names and also newcomers, who help in taking the story forward.
Just when one thought that everything was going right for this film, the biggest (and possibly the only) drawback comes in the form of the film’s music by Ram Sampath. Some of the songs are far away from being hummable and interrupt the flow of the story. Even though the film has some minute flaws, they can be overlooked thanks to the film’s tight script. The film’s editing (Amitabh Shukla) could have been been smoother. The film’s cinematography (Sanjay Mamane) is average.
On the whole, EKKEES TOPPON KI SALAAMI has a unique storyline and good performances while makes it an entertaining watch.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 1.5 star
A smart and beautiful go getter girl wishes to put all her entrepreneurial skills in one basket. With time, tide and luck on her side, she has everything going for her… till the time her shining business gets invaded by ‘Shining’! At this juncture comes the helping hand from her USA returned special friend. Is Rohan Sippy’s latest offering SONALI CABLE strong enough to stand the test of time at the Box-Office? Let’s analyze!
SONALI CABLE starts off with the young and vibrant Sonali (Rhea Chakraborty), who strongly feels that “To survive in Mumbai, you don’t need a college degree: you need just guts!” Well, that’s Sonali for you: on your face and unassuming. She, along with the help of a bunch of ghetto boys, makes a living out of providing broadband connections to all the households of her locality. Even though she is doing great for herself in the business, the politician Taai (Smita Jaykar) wants her son Raghu Pawar (Ali Fazal), who returns to Mumbai after doing his MBA from USA, to take it over from Sonali. Raghu, who also happens to be Sonali’s childhood love, refuses Taai’s offer but insists on working hand in hand with Sonali. Just as when Sonali seems to be dealing with this situation, she is faced with yet another gigantically challenging situation created by Waghela (Anupam Kher), the owner of the sophisticated broadband business named ‘Shining Inc’, a man who will not take no for an answer. Waghela’s sole dream is to take over the whole of broadband service business in Mumbai. He not only poses a huge threat to Sonali and her ‘already set’ cable business, but also wants her totally out of the Mumbai territory as she is the sole hindrance to him in having a monopoly in Mumbai. The firebrand that Sonali is, she refuses to give in to the demands of Waghela, which forms the reason for an open ‘WAR’ between Waghela and Sonali, a war where only the smartest can survive! This ‘war’ gradually opens a can of worms in the form of the growing nexus between MNCs and politicians and other such matters. And it is during this time, when the smart Sonali attempts a sting operation in order to outshine the ‘Shining Inc’.
Will Sonali be able to single handedly fight and win the broadband war against the gigantic ‘Shining Inc’, will Raghu Pawar choose his love over his mother’s political interests and will the shrewd Waghela let Sonali own her broadband business despite her being an obstruction is his business expansion, is what forms the rest of the film.
Director Charu Dutt Acharya (who also doubles up as the writer of this film) makes his debut with this film. It is indeed sad to see this man struggle with this film at regular intervals. Despite having an interesting concept and good actors, he seems to have not got it right. Shaky camera angles at certain places, a boring first half that’s doubled up with an insensible second half leads the film story to nowhere.
Of the cast, since it’s an author backed role, Rhea shines in the role of Sonali. Even though she is only just one film old in the industry, one must say that she has a good screen presence and makes no mistake in befriending the camera. But, because of a faulty script, her character seems to have all the energy but no plan of action. The same applies to Ali Fazal, who, equally shines (if not more) in his role. Considering that the last film which he did was BOBBY JASOOS (where Vidya Balan was the lead) and now SONALI CABLE, it’s about time that he avoids being stereotyped. Hopefully, his Hollywood outing (The Fast And Furious) should do the much required miracle for this sincerely talented boy and his career. Even the ever-dependable Anupam Kher seems to be a bit of a letdown in this role. He seems funny at the start but eventually becomes irritating to watch, with an ear bud constantly sticking out of his ear. The multi-talented Swanand Kirkire, despite having a short role, does a good job as the alcoholic ‘Dattaram Tandel’. The surprise package of the film is however, the debutante actor Raghav Juyal, who cakewalks through his role of Sada. It’s really nice and endearing to see Raghav, who has time and again proved his dancing skills in many TV reality shows, gradually move into films. The rest of the cast like Gabriella Demetriades (as Zooni), Faizal Rashid (as Bobby Bose) and others, hardly have anything substantial in the film.
The music (Ankit Tiwari, Mike Mccleary) of the film is nothing to write about. The only hummable songs of the film include ‘Cheenti Cheenti Bang Bang’ and ‘Ek Mulaqat Ho’. The film, which could have upped its entertainment quotient, fails to do so primarily because its poor script and bad direction.
On the whole, SONALI CABLE is a weak film that can be skipped.
By taran Adarsh
Stars – 4.5
Exactly ten years ago, the famous choreographer Farah Khan made her directorial debut with MAIN HOON NA, a Shah Rukh Khan starrer film that gave a major career boost to many names associated with it. She followed it up with yet another mega blockbuster OM SHANTI OM, again with Shah Rukh Khan. Circa 2014: Farah Khan teams up back again with Shah Rukh Khan, with yet another multi-starrer HAPPY NEW YEAR. In a nutshell, HAPPY NEW YEAR is a film about the underdogs (referred to as ‘losers’) and their quest to pull off the biggest diamond theft ever. With a runtime of almost 3 hours, does the film manage to live upto the hype and expectations, let’s analyze.
The film starts off with a world dance championship finale, wherein ‘Team India’ goes missing. Team India is led by the ‘Boston University topper’ Chandramohan Manohar aka Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan), whose ‘entry’ is shown in a illegal kick boxing match, wherein SRK mouths the rehash of all his famous one liner dialogues from his previous movies. Charlie is out on a mission to take revenge for his father, Manohar (Anupam Kher), who is conned by the evil mind Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff) and imprisoned for 12 years. Charlie’s plan is to steal Rs. 300 crore worth diamonds that are under Charan’s security in Dubai. His partners in crime are: A partially deaf Jagmohan Prasad aka Jaggu aka Jag (Sonu Sood) who is an ex-army bomb squad member, a self confessed Parsi ‘stud’ Tammy Irani (Boman Irani) who is an expert at opening sophisticated lockers and who carries a mini supermarket in his bag, a young hacker Rohan Singh (Vivaan Shah) who is a ‘loser in real world, Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan) whose ‘USP’ is that he can puke anytime, anywhere, and then there’s Mohini (Deepika Padukone), who is a bar dancer with a dream of opening a dance school for young girls. Mohini has a huge weakness for English speaking people! She is someone who lives by the saying ‘Haaro toh haaro, Ijjat mat utaaro’, which means for her ‘ijjat’ is everything. The plan is to not just steal expensive diamonds from Charan, but also to restore the lost glory of Charlie’s innocent father, by putting Charan in jail. To execute this plan however, the team needs to participate in the ‘World Dance Championship’ which takes place in the Atlantis hotel, exactly where Charan will be keep the diamonds for a one day display in Dubai. Charlie and his team enroll in this competition and despite all the boys being non-dancers, they use their antics to survive amongst the best dancers in the world.
True to the saying ‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going’, Charlie and his team go all out to successfully execute the plan, even if that means to win the dance championship, despite being non-dancers. Will Charlie and his ‘Team India’ be able to steal the diamonds from Charan’s sophisticated locker, will they be able to win the dance championship despite being non-dancers and will Charlie ever be able to restore the lost glory of his father forms the rest of the story.
With mega blockbusters like MAIN HOON NA and OM SHANTI OM behind her, director Farah Khan (who also doubles up as the film’s writer along with Mayur Puri and Althea Delmas Kaushal), by now, seems to know audience’s taste when it comes to masala movies. And maybe that’s why she makes absolute no mistake while serving the dish called HAPPY NEW YEAR. While the soul and the story of the film remains truly Indian with Bollywood masala, comedy et all… Farah has managed to make a glossy film with stunning visuals. The film is a bit stretched with its run time going to almost 3 hours, the comic moments, dance and music keeps you engaged.
As far as the acting department is concerned, no prizes for guessing as to who the captain of the team is. It is Shah Rukh Khan, who leads the film on his able shoulders right from the word go. Be it his quintessential romance with his lady love Deepika Padukone or the fight sequences, or his acting performance as Charlie, Shah Rukh Khan excels in every department. In this film, he has been portrayed more as an action hero who can sing and dance, which again, the King Khan has done full justice to. If he sported a 6 pack abs in OM SHANTI OM, he moves ‘two steps ahead’ to flaunt a whopping ’8-pack abs’, which looks undeniably good on him! Deepika Padukone, on the other hand, does full justice to her character Marathi bar dancer. After CHENNAI EXPRESS, this is yet another quirky character that the actress has played in one more SRK film. Deepika has definitely evolved a lot as an actress and she proves that yet again with her comic role in this film. Do not miss the scenes when even her silent love for Shah Rukh Khan speaks volumes. Sonu Sood excels in his role and looks convincingly funny. Abhishek Bachchan is back to doing loud comedy in this film after BOL BACHCHAN. In this film, be ready for a double dose of Abhishek as he is seen in a double role. Do not miss his take on his father Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic dialogue ‘I can talk in English and walk in English’. The ever-versatile Boman Irani, yet again proves that he is a bankable actor and such roles are tailor made for him. Full marks to him for proving right the saying, ‘Age is just a number for real performers’. Vivaan Shah also performs well with so many experienced actors around him. After his ‘fatherly act’ in DHOOM 3, Jackie excels in this film as well, but, in a villainous role. He seems to be on a mission to redefine ‘villain’.
Like her previous films, this film too includes many cameos, including Sajid Khan, Prabhu Dheva, Malaika Arora Khan, Sarah Jane Dias, Dino Morea (as a host), Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Dadlani. Do not miss the camaraderie between Anurag and Vishal, who are romantically inclined in this movie. Anupam Kher is convincing in his ‘emotional appearance’, despite having a brief role.
The music of the film (Vishal-Shekhar) is indeed one of the film’s major highlights. Most of the songs (a couple of them notwithstanding) seem to be apt for the film’s situations and helps in moving the story forward. The choreographers (Farah Khan and Geeta Kapoor) do total justice to this extravagant dance movie. The film’s background music (John Stewart) is quite good. The film’s editing (Anand Subaya, Tushar Parekh) is crisp. Manush Nandan does full justice in the cinematography department, so does writer Mayur Puri, who doubles up as the screenplay writer and the dialogue writer for this movie. The action sequences (Suniel Rodrigues and Dave Judge) are choreographed really well. Also, as committed by Shah Rukh Khan, this film too sees the name of Deepika Padukone (heroine) appear before his name in the opening credits. The makers have spared nothing to make the film look extravagant and visually stunning. Red Chillies VFX team requires a special mention for the same.
All in all, HAPPY NEW YEAR is definitely a smash hit film, which has blockbuster written all over it. The film will set new records in the days to come. Go for it!
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 2.5
After a six year gap, RANG RASIYA that was made in 2008, finally gets to see the light of the day this year. While the film did not find any takers initially, for years together the film has been facing controversies.
Based on the life story of iconic painter Raja Ravi Varma as depicted in the novel named on the artist by Ranjit Desai, RANG RASIYA releases this week. So let’s analyze if the film has fulfilled the expectations.
Raja Ravi Varma (Randeep Hooda) is an artist for whom painting is worship. When he is marries to the princess of a Kerala state (Tripta Parashar), he decides to paint his wife as an inspiration. But when she demeans the art form and shoos him away, he decides to look for beauty beyond and finds it in Kamini (Rashanaa Shah), one of the servants in the palace. While she inspires him to paint one of the masterpieces that is responsible for him to win the title ‘Raja’ from the King of Travancore, the death of this old king leaves Ravi Varma shattered and he decides to shift base to Mumbai where he attempts to rediscover the love for art. So when he meets the gorgeous Suganda (Nandana Sen) in a temple, she becomes his inspiration for his future works. In an attempt to impress his biggest patron, the Raja of Baroda (Sameer Dharmadikari), Ravi Varma undertakes the task of showcasing Indian culture through the language of art with his paintings. While his paintings become available to the common man, the ‘so called’ guardians of the Hindu culture raise objection and Ravi Varma is arrested for using human face for God and also for portraying aesthetic art through nudity.
With the bright colours, the gorgeous Indian beauties, the delicate Indian architecture, Ketan Mehta manages to paint a beautiful picture on celluloid that will prove to be a treat to art lovers. Though the filmmaker captures the nuances of the artist, Varma’s struggles, his success, his downfall well, the switch between the past and present frequently makes it difficult to focus on the subject.
While the film moves at a fairly quick pace throughout, the climax seems to be a little stretched. Sometimes adapting an entire book in a span of approximately 120 minutes can prove to be an almost impossible task and RANG RASIYA too seems to be a victim of it. The film which starts with an auction of one of Raja Ravi Varma’s famous painting seems to have had an abrupt ending too.
As far as the performances are concerned, the film solely rested on Randeep Hooda’s shoulders. Though Randeep struggles to make his act work in the first half, it is the second half that he manages to pull off some stellar scenes with aplomb. Nandana Sen, as the muse of Ravi Varma looks stunning in every attire of Goddesses. Paresh Rawal as the business minded Govardhandas, though an extended cameo, suits the role perfectly, Darshan Jariwala as the guardian of Hindu culture and Chintamani Pandit do a good job. Others like debutants Rashanaa Shah, Feryna Wazheir and veteran actor Vikram Gokhale help the movie move forward.
With this period drama set against the backdrop of the British Raj in 1800s, there is enough scope for melodious music that would have given a boost to the artistic portrayal of characters but somehow the music fails to make a mark. Except’Kahe Sataye’, the rest of the tracks aren’t worth mentioning.
On the whole, RANG RASIYA is for the artistic and creative people who believe in freedom of expression but it surely won’t woo the janta who are looking for entertainment and a getaway this weekend.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 1.5
Bollywood filmmakers have always had a fascination of making movie based on wild animals. While some movies in the 70s and 80s showed wild animals as man’s best friend, others featured stories of human settlements under threat by the attacks of the wild beast.
This week’s release ROAR: TIGERS OF THE SUNDARBANS is about a man’s mission to kill a white tigress in order to avenge his brother’s death. Does ROAR: TIGERS OF THE SUNDARBANS really live upto its name and does it really have what it takes to do a ‘roaring’ business at the Box-Office, let’s analyze.
The film starts off with Uday, a young and raring-to-go photojournalist who is on an assignment in the jungles of the Sundarbans. While he is busy capturing the wildlife at its best, he stumbles upon a cub of a white tiger, who gets ensnarled in a poacher’s trap. Taking fancy for the young one, he ‘rescues’ it by bringing it to his room in a cardboard box. This creates panic and unrest amongst the villagers. That’s when a Forest Officer (Achint Kaur) comes in with her team takes the cub away. Around the same time the cub’s yearning mother (a full-fledged white tigress) follows the smell of its young one and sniffs her way to Uday’s room. Eventually, she not only kills him, but also drags away his body to an unknown destination. Learning about his brother’s death, a dashing Army Officer Pundit (Abhinav Shukla) enters the scene in order to claim his brother’s body for the last rites. When he sees no positive reply from anywhere and anyone (including the Forest Officer who tells him that the case is closed), he decides to take things in his own hands and get justice to his brother by avenging his death. His plan is to kill the white tigress that killed his brother.
As a part of the plan, he ropes in a set of best officers, viz., Cheena (Virendra Singh Ghuman), CJ (Nora Fatehi), Hero (Ali Quli), Sufi (Aaran Chaudhary) and Kashmiri (Aadil Chahal). Joining their team are a local guide Madhu (Pranay Dixit) and Jhumpa (Himarsha V). Even before they tackle the tigress, they have yet another job in hand in the form of tackling the evil ways and methods of the dense jungle’s self-confessed ‘best poacher’ Bheera (Subrat Dutta).
Does Pundit become successful in avenging his brother’s death by hunting down the white tigress, does his team help him fulfill his mission and does the team ever get to know the evil ways and hidden motives of the villainous Bheera is what forms the rest of the film.
The actor- turned-director Kamal Sadanah who has directed ROAR, is also the film’s story writer (along with Abis Rizvi), editor (along with Muzzammil Nasir), screenplay writer and dialogue writer (along with Swati Goradiya and Aanand Goradiya). As far as his direction is concerned, Sadanah has a long way to go. There are places which make the film look boring and monotonous, but the film’s photography and camera work overshadow the flaws in his direction. The film tends to drag its way with a dull first half, however, the second half is comparatively interesting and engaging, especially towards the end of the film.
As far as the performances in the film are concerned, it is Abhinav Shukla, in true sense of the word, who leads them all. Trailing a close second is Himarsha V, in the role of Jhumpa. Despite being the ‘lead’, there is hardly any romantic scene of them together (the climax ‘kiss’ notwithstanding). Achint Kaur, although having a short role, looks a bit outspaced in the role of a Forest Officer. The rest of the cast offer their support in whatever way possible in taking the film’s story forward.
The film falters mainly because of its poor screenplay and average dialogues. The film’s music (Ramona Arena) is also a letdown. The film scores its brownie points solely and heavily because of its background music (John Stewart), cinematography (Michael Watson) and action (Allan Amin), as these three departments are the film’s saving grace. The icing on the cake is the VFX of the film, which helps in giving the viewers a first-hand experience of a gigantic white tigress.
On the whole, despite its decent VFX work, ROAR: TIGERS OF THE SUNDARBANS is a weak film.
Stars – 1.5
Bollywood films had and will always have its audience for every genre. There is something for everyone here. While the last week we saw the multi-starrer HAPPY NEW YEAR which was a visual extravaganza, this week will see the family drama SUPER NANI, a film which announces the ‘comeback’ of the ageless wonder cum diva Rekha, who will be seen in a central role after a long time.
Based on the hit Gujarati play ‘Baa Ae Maari Boundary’ by Imtiyaz patel, SUPER NANI is about the protagonist who is constantly being scorned and taken for granted by her full family. This film is about regaining one’s lost respect and that too in front of one’s own family members. Will SUPER NANI find its place in the hearts of the viewers and will it be able to garner ‘respectable’ position at the Box-Office, let’s analyze.
SUPER NANI starts off with an NRI Mann (Sharman Joshi) teaching the value of ‘Mother’ to young candidates through the ‘medium’ of an interview. Even though he resides in the overseas, his heart is very much Indian and he understands the value of family, mother and most importantly, his ‘Nani’. His ‘Nani’ Bharti Bhatia (Rekha) is a selfless lady who has only been sacrificing her life for the sake of her own family members, without sparing even an iota of a thought for herself. Her family consists of her superbusy business tycoon husband R.K. Bhatia (Randhir Kapoor), son Suketu (Rajesh Kumar) a wannabe share market expert who believes that ‘There are indeed shortcuts to success and earning money’. Besides them, there’s her daughter-in-law Aastha (Shreya Narayan) who holds sky high aspirations to become an actress, so much so that, when it comes to ‘adjustments’, she can even ‘adjust’ herself to act opposite a duplicate of Shah Rukh Khan, despite being promised the original. Lastly, there’s her daughter Gargi (Anchal Dwivedi) who is loaded with ultra modern values and someone who will not even blink an eyelid before saying yes even to marry a man who is already in the process of undergoing a divorce and with two children. For her, even the concept of live-in relationship is more appealing and acceptable than her own mother’s simple, traditional Indian values.
Life becomes miserably monotonous and stereotyped for the ‘never-say-complain’ Bharti, who remains mum despite all the tortures done to her by her own people within the four walls. All is not well, till the time her grandson Mann decides to come to India in order to shoot a documentary on Indian heritage. But when he witnesses the inhuman behavior that’s been meted to his favorite nani, he decides to take things in his hands and give her a much-required transformation (read ‘ makeover) with the help of Sammy aka Bamboo (Anupam Kher), Bharti’s long lost childhood friend and also a proud owner of ‘Seven Continent Advertising agency’. The duo of Mann and Sammy leave no stone unturned to transform ‘Mother Mary into Maa Durga’, despite opposition from everyone in the family.
What is Mann and Sammy’s actual motive to transform Bharti from a simple housewife into a supermodel, will Bharti become a supermodel at sixty years of age and will she win back her respect from her very own family members is what forms the rest of the film.
SUPER NANI not only marks the return of Rekha, but also the return of director Indra Kumar to his family drama genre after films like DIL, BETA, etc… With SUPER NANI, he has tried to visit the eras of the late eighties and nineties where morals, values, family and traditions were the key words. Since the film is in the hands of such an experienced director, it doesn’t lose its momentum, except for the song and dance sequences, which could have been shot in tune with today’s time and age. He also tried to infuse some humor angle with Rekha doing ‘take offs’ on Amitabh Bachchan, Nargis, Madhubala and likes. While there is no question about his direction, what one really wonders though is what made him incorporate scenes which are straight lifts from popular videos on youtube, or add dialogues that are famous SMS forwards and also the infusion of a ‘gay Yamraj’!
Of the cast, no prizes for guessing as to who is the star of the film. It is indeed Rekha’s film all the way, right from the word ‘go’. She has really put in her everything in this role. The film totally rests on her shoulders and she does full justice to her role, except that the word ‘beta’ could have been used a lesser number of times by her. Sharman Joshi as her grandson looks the part and also does reasonable justice to his role. If only the makers of the film had done away with his ‘gender-blender’ language, his character could have come across a bit more believable. Randhir Kapoor, on the other hand, looks convincing as a CEO, although he brings nothing new to the role. Shweta Kumar, despite being the ‘heroine’ of this family drama, hardly gets any convincing screen space, except for the song and dance sequences. Her presence in the film makes no difference to the film’s plot. The ‘head-nodding’ Anupam Kher brings nothing new to the table. The rest of the cast, which includes the likes of Shreya Narayan (do not miss her hilarious audition of ‘ek chutki sindoor’), Varsha Usgaonkar (effective cameo), Rajesh Kumar (stereotyped by now), Anchal Dwivedi (who, for some strange reason, comes across as Rakhi Sawant in some places), Vishakha Subedar (as the domestic help) put their best foot forward to justify the film’s storyline.
The music of the film (Harshit Saxena, Sanjeev-Darshan) is lackluster and suffers the same fate as its lyrics (Sameer, Sanjeev Chaturvedi) and the background score (Raju Singh). Despite the genre of ‘family values and tradition’ being a time tested formula, it works for SUPER NANI majorly because of its storyline (Vipul Mehta) and apt editing (Sanjay Sankla). As mentioned earlier, the film’s songs fail to register in the audiences’ mind, which also means that there’s hardly any expectations from the choreography (Saroj Khan, Shabina Khan). Cinematography (Rituraj Narain) is average.
On the whole, SUPER NANI is a wholesome family fare, which can be watched once… only for Rekha.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3.5
Remaking a classic is a tough task and producers Murad Khetani and Ashwin Varde are sure that it will be a smooth ride when it comes to THE SHAUKEENS. When the original SHAUKEEN released in the 80s, it may have not have set the box office registers ringing but it surely made an impact that has lasted for over two decades now. Hence, THE SHAUKEENS comes with a bucket of expectations and let’s see if the 2014 remake manages to fulfil it.
Keeping the essence of the 80s film intact, THE SHAUKEENS follows a similar plotline where three lonely men take the path of lust to add some fun to their monotonous life. Laali aka Lalchand (Anupam Kher), is a shoe-shop owner and a family man but his wife has taken the ‘sanyashashram’ and has sacrificed all sexual relations in order to attain salvation. On the other hand, we have the evergreen KD (Annu Kapoor) a bachelor brooding over his unrequited love. Then we get to meet the third ‘shaukeen’ Pinky (Piyush Mishra), a widower trying to find love once again amidst a huge family of two sons and his grandchild. The three, after many unsuccessful plans decide to fulfill their wishes abroad and take off to Mauritius for a fun filled trip. While they rent out a house of a young girl, they come across their ‘land-lady’ Aahana (Lisa). Young, free spirited and hot, the three try to woo the girl in their own way. Unaware of their lecherous stares, Aahana shares her life with them and when she undergoes a nasty break-up, she decides to end her life. But her plans go for a toss when she spots her hero Akshay Kumar performing at a mall in Mauritius. What starts later, are attempts by three oldies who try to impress Aahana by promising her to make her meet her idol Akshay Kumar – an alcoholic superstar.
Light-hearted, humorous and a complete rib tickling ride, THE SHAUKEENS manages to keep you entertained all throughout. The script, which is a tad different from its 80s counterpart, has enough punch lines to keep you gripped till the end. The first half where the script tries to reveal the life story of the three old men who are trying to find fun in their life is dealt delicately yet with the tinge of comedy,without making it sound vulgar or demeaning! The second half, however, has a lot more of those fun moments that will keep the smile constant on your face. The antiques, the quirks though resemble the original, they have been very aptly adapted to the contemporary times.
What adds to this fantastic comic caper is the performances of Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor and Piyush Mishra. They are equally crazy and creepy that will make you laugh and cringe at the same time. Annu Kapoor brings out the gorgeous lecherousness beautifully. He charms wonderfully and as a man he seems the best bet for actually wooing the attention of Aahana. Anupam Kher has been having a great year with one fine performance after another. This one’s a more nuanced performance with a special care being taken of his self-conscious body language. Piyush Mishra internalises his frustrations masterfully. The manner in which his Dam of self-control bursts open towards the end is commendable.
A critic once famously drew similarities between Akshay Kumar’s acting and the wooden furniture that doesn’t do much. Kumar takes a dig at himself in ‘The Shaukeens’ when a National Award winning Bengali Director tells him, “The furniture in the frame can act better than you. “The hilarious interactions between Akshay and the Bengali director elicit unbridled laughter. If you’d want to watch ‘The Shaukeens’ the second time around then Akshay’s tug of war between the ‘competition’ to get into the coveted 200 Crore Club and his ‘dream’ to win a National Award, will be a big reason. Akshay Kumar steals the show.
But what comes as a surprise package is Lisa Haydon. After her much acclaimed performance in QUEEN, there were doubts if she would be able to pull off a lead role but she does it with panache and how! Blonde, bizzare and a complete fan girl, Lisa Haydon plays the role of Aahana supremely well. She has a much longer screen space, looks deliciously vulnerable and her tremendous sex appeal is hugely tantalising. She stays true to her dim witted child-like character throughout the film. Cyrus Broacha is equally good in his special appearance. Other actors merely help in taking the movie forward.
After TERE BIN LADEN, Abhishek Sharma does what he is best at – making a completely hilarious entertainer. From retaining the stunt man aka KHILADI image of Akshay Kumar in the film to interconnecting the paths of Aahana and her three old men, Abhishek Sharma does a good job. Though the direction is perfect for the kind of entertainer THE SHAUKEENS is, there is nothing different or unique to mention.
Catchy music is another highlight of THE SHAUKEENS. ‘Meherbaani’ written and composed by Arko is a beautiful melody backed by wonderful picturisation. ‘Alcoholic’ and ‘Manali Trance’ by Yo Yo Honey Singh are chart busters that are going to rock the charts for a long time. Lisa’s smouldering dance in ‘Manali Trance’ is breathtakingly captivating.
The let down factor of the film to some extent is its pacing. The editing could have been tighter. The simplistic manner in which the three oldies relegate themselves to their fate at the end is somewhat unconvincing.While you expect a drastic climax considering the way the contemporary films are made, it turns a little disappointing that the end has been treated very mildly.
On the whole, THE SHAUKEENS is a full on Bollywood entertainer that you wouldn’t want to miss.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3
In the years gone by, Bollywood has been a witness to many changing trends (read ‘genres’). Amongst all the genres that we have experienced so far, what reign supreme and are considered to be the most privileged genres are romance, action and comedy. This week’s release is the Saif Ali Khan and Ileana D’Cruz starrer HAPPY ENDING, which too, falls in the genre of rom-com.
Needless to say that, Saif Ali Khan, after the debacle of BULLETT RAJA and HUMSHAKALS, has got all his hopes pinned on this film. Will this film manage to catapult him to the top slot where he once belonged and will this film also manage to make its filmmakers and audiences ‘Happy’ by the ‘Ending’ is what we will find out. Let’s analyze.
HAPPY ENDING starts off on a ‘happy starting’ (no pun intended here!). It starts off with Kareena Kapoor’s character (cameo) confessing her love by telling those three magic words to Yudi, a one-book wonder author and someone who is (self-confessedly) not allergic to ‘I Love You’, but the baggage attached with it’. And when Yudi doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, Kareena’s character shows him the middle finger (quite literally!). No sooner does she exit Yudi’s life, enters Vishaka (Kalki Koechlin), a dentist by profession, and is head over heels in love with Yudi. She loves Yudi so much that she even installs a mobile app called ‘Nospace’ on his cell so that she can keep track of his whereabouts. While she leaves no stone unturned in gaining his attention, Yudi is totally unmoved by her and her feelings and emotions towards him and wants to constantly break up with her. Whenever Yudi is in trouble or feeling lonely, the only two people whom he always looks upto are his ‘ex-girlfriend-now-a-mother-of-three childen’ Divya (Preity Zinta), and his best friend of many years Montu (Ranveer Shorey), both of whom lend him a patient listening and help him sort out the mess of his life. Because he blows up all the money that he had made from his book, he returns back to writing but, he gets dejected when he sees that the same publishers hiring the gorgeous Aanchal Reddy (Ileana D’cruz), whose romantic novels sell like hotcakes. What peps him up is the offer to write a script for ‘Armaanji’ (Govinda), an actor who wants to capture multiplexes after having conquered the single screens. To get a hold of ‘success formula’ in writing, Yudi decides to befriend Aanchal. Taking resort to a few tricks here and there, Yudi not only manages to befriend her, but also lands up spending ‘quality time’ with her. Right at the start of this ‘relationship’, the duo agree to be together without falling in love with each other. While Aanchal is clear about this relationship, it is Yudi who goes onto realize that he has actually fallen in love with her!
Will Yudi gather the guts to confess his feelings to the very practical Aanchal, what happens to the status of his relationship with Vishaka, and does Divya and Montu’s advice really make a difference in Yudi’s messed up life and lastly, does Yudi manage to stage a writing comeback with Armaanji’s film is what forms the rest of the film.
The director duo of Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK (popularly known as Raj and DK) who have previously made films like 99, SHOR IN THE CITY, GO GOA GONE, have tried to move an inch ahead of their comfort zone, but are not very successful at it as one would have expected them to be. They seem to be struggling with the film’s plot mid way. While the first half of the film is enjoyable and bearable, it’s the second half which tends to drag at many points. Even though the film is really funny in parts, a crisp hand at the editing table could have saved this semi-drag fiasco. The irony of the film is that the film falls into the same cliched category which the filmmakers have tried to make a mockery of! The film shows deep traces of the hit American show ‘CALIFORNIFICATION’ and Saif’s own film HUM TUM.
As far as the performances of the film is concerned, HAPPY ENDING is a Saif Ali Khan film all the way… right from the word ‘go’. This is a script which Saif can effortlessly carry and he does just that. He hardly falters in either of the two roles (we won’t spoil the suspense of his second role) played by him. His chemistry with both Ileana and Kalki is sparkling and believable. There are places where his character reminds you of his earlier film COCKTAIL. One has to admit that, Saif has really come a long way in his double role as compared to his triple role in HUMSHAKALS. Ileana D’Cruz, on the other hand, continues her stint with sweet and bubbly character, much like her last film. A strange thing about this girl is that, despite having somewhat stereotyped roles, her performances just don’t look repetitive at all! Maybe it’s something that’s got to do with the camaraderie that she shares with the camera and her co-stars. Kalki, who is back after her last hit film YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI, is as usual, a delight to watch. When her real life quirkiness combines with her reel life character, the resultant is sheer magic. As far as the veteran actor Govinda is concerned, he shines in his role which seems like was written keeping him in mind. The only drawback is that the length of his role could have been increased in order to get the much-needed impact in the film. But, the cinegoers will surely rejoice to see him back on the silver screen in a comic part, as shown in this film. Ranveer Shorey lightens up the film’s moments with his comic timing. Special brownie points to Preity Zinta, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Ileana’s real life boyfriend Andrew Kneebone (blink and you miss role) for their cameos in the film.
The music (Sachin-Jigar) of the film is hummable. The songs that really stand out in the film are ‘Paajitussi such a pussycat’ and ‘G phaadke’ (despite its suggestive lyrics). Because of the film’s hummable lyrics, the film’s choreography (Remo D’Souza) also becomes praiseworthy. Raj and DK, who also double up as the film’s writers, do a reasonably good job, if not splendid. Call it as their good luck or Censor’s overlooking, one really wonders as to how Raj and DK managed to get away with a handful of expletives/ cuss words in the film, even though it goes with the ‘flow’ of the film.
On the whole, HAPPY ENDING is a film which leaves you with a happy feeling. It drags in parts but is worth a watch, at least for Saif’s performance.
By Taran Adarsh
Do you know the relation between two eyes…???
They never see each other… BUT
1. They blink together.
2. They move together.
3. They cry together.
4. They see together.
5. They sleep together.
They share a very deep bonded relationship…
However, when they see a pretty woman, one will blink and another will not…
Moral of the story: A pretty woman can break any relationship…
Stars – 1.5
As we know, ‘Kabaddi’ is an old Indian sport and has since gained popularity in the International sports arena as the only game that requires a strong combination of ‘knowledge’, ‘concentration’, ‘strength’, ‘stamina’, and ‘combat skills’. Although, this sport has its roots in our country, there was little respite in the form of the recently concluded Pro Kabaddi League. This film is an attempt to revive the spirit of the game and rekindle the passion of the game in the hearts and minds of the people of India.
BADLAPUR BOYS is set in a village named Badlapur (in Uttar Pradesh). One of the villagers named Rampravesh Pasi (Vineeth Sharma), who is so sincere and dedicated in his efforts to build an irrigation system in his village, that he threatens self immolation before the concerned officer, if the demands are not met. Because these pleas fall on deaf ears, as per his word, Pasi immolates himself in front of the whole village, who act as mere spectators. Because of his dramatic death, he gets termed as a ‘mad person’, which then echoes on his family. Pasi’s son Vijay (Nishan), in order to support his lonely mother (Kishori Shahane) starts working as a domestic help to Ayodhya (Aman Varma). Vijay, who is extremely passionate about Kabaddi ever since his childhood, starts playing truant at work because of the game, which makes Ayodhya angry and takes a promise from him to leave the game forever. But his passion for the game doesn’t die, and he remains being an extra player in his village team and watches his friends play while he practices in solitude. During one such ‘practice session’ a renowned kabaddi coach Surajbhan Singh (Annu Kapoor) spots his talent and encourages him in the same. Because of the local team player’s egos, Vijay never finds a place in the team, despite being talented. The ‘USP’ of this team remains that they have lost almost every kabaddi match which they have played. One day, they decide to take part in the state level kabaddi championship (75th Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi Tournament), because they feel if they win ‘by fluke’ they will be able to gain the respect of all the villagers, who otherwise have always treated them like mere laughing stocks. On the D-day, one of the players doesn’t turn up for the tournament; this paves way for Vijay to take part in the same, but not before Ayodhya freeing him from the oath. On D-day, coach Surajbhan Singh who christens their team as ‘Badlapur Boys’, reasons that they can’t play at this level because of the norms and regulations and also because of their inexperience playing the handicap. Despite all these ‘rules and regulations’ an opportunity comes when the ‘Badlapur Boys’ become eligible to play the game at the state level, but that requires tweaking of the rules and bending the regulations of the game.
Do the ‘Badlapur Boys’ get to play at the state level, does the federation tweak the rules so as to accommodate the ‘Badlapur Boys’ team, does Vijay become successful in erasing his father’s ‘mad-image’and does the village get its much needed irrigation system is what which forms the rest of the film.
BADLAPUR BOYS is the directorial debut of Shailesh Verma, whose efforts look sincere in highlighting the game of kabaddi on a national level. But his inexperience as a director starts showing in the film every now and then. The film has its share of ‘less of ups and more of downs’ right from the word go. Varma, in an attempt to tell too many things within the stipulated time frame, loses the plot in the bargain. Despite having two heroines in the film, he fails to do justice to even one.
As far as the performances are concerned, the film’s hero Nishan, whose acting is strictly average (a few scenes notwithstanding), needs an immediate crash course in dancing. Even though the film has two heroines in the form of Sharanya Mohan and Puja Gupta, the sad part is that you just do not remember them and their screen presence by the end of the film. The heroines are reduced to mere props in the film. Annu Kapoor, who was last seen in a commendable role in THE SHAUKEENS, tries to do a SRK of CHAK DE! INDIA in this film, but the sad part is that he fails in his attempt. There are only a few scenes which does justice to the persona of his character. Kishori Shahane tries too hard to justify the nuances of her character. Even though she succeeds in parts, her makeup is a big letdown (especially her gray hair). Aman Varma is reasonably good, even though he doesn’t have too much of a role. The rest of the characters help in moving the film forward.
The music (Shamir Tandon and Sachin Gupta) of the film is nothing to write about except that it sounds totally outdated like the lyrics of the songs. The same applies to the choreography (Saroj Khan) as well. On the technical front, the DoP too does a very average job.
On the whole, BADLAPUR BOYS is an average film which can be avoided.
BY Taran Adarsh
Stars – 4.5
Rarely you come across an Indian movie that doesn’t hit a single false note. BABY is one such film. Writer-Director Neeraj Pandey has made a brilliant film that is not only technically at par with the best in the world, but it’s also a dispassionate non-judgmental take on terrorism that’s completely devoid of jingoism and is extremely gripping. Full marks to Producer Bhushan Kumar for believing in such a landmark film, backed by exceptional marketing especially when it’s devoid of songs.
Firoze Ali Khan (Danny) heads a special operations wing of commandoes called Baby. In a conversation with a senior minister in the beginning of the film, he states that the Government ought to win the confidence of the Muslim community in India, for Pakistan is taking advantage of the community’s sense of alienation within India. In another scene Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar) tells an ISI agent Taufeeq (Mujeeb Khan) how he defended a Muslim family during the Gujarat riots and why he puts ‘Indian’ in the Religion bracket in all forms that he fills. Somehow this sets the tone for the film that terrorists don’t have a religion and no particular community ought to be associated with terrorism.
The screenplay is the hero of BABY. It flows lucidly, taking you on an engrossing journey of thrills, intrigue and surprises. Dialogues are peppered with bullets of dry humor that keep you entertained throughout. The verbal-expletive-laden warfare between Shuklaji (Anupam Kher) and Ajay is a case in point in this regard. Or when Ajay matter-of-factly tells Priya (Taapsee) as they’re on the flight to Kathmandu to “stop being my wife” when she informs him about his snoring. The precarious uncertainty in the life of an Officer involved in covert operations has been portrayed in a subtle but telling manner. Ajay’s wife (MadhurimaTuli) isn’t aware of her husband’s job profile but does tell him now and then, “Bas marna mat.” The scene where Ajay slaps the personal assistant of a minister (on his frivolous remark on the death of his colleagues) will result in an applause from the audience in the theaters.
The narrative of BABY flows like a well-made Hollywood film. Actors filter in only where required and they’re not repeated just because it makes a commercial sense from a typical Bollywood perspective. Taapsee is part of one operation. Anupam Kher and Rana Dagubatti join the team in the scorching climax sequence shot in Abu Dhabi. Sudeep Chatterji’s cinematography deserves a special mention. He has done an exceptional job especially in the chase sequences in Istanbul and the desert escapades in Abu Dhabi.
Akshay Kumar has done an incredibly good job in BABY. He’s razor sharp and there’s never a dull moment whenever he’s on screen. In a scene in an Airport washroom when he bandages himself despite excruciating pain is superbly done. He’s exceptional during all his action scenes as well. The entire supporting cast is excellent. Danny is a picture of precision in giving the right expressions. He doesn’t bullshit nor lets anyone else do the same. Anupam Kher weaves in magic in a cameo. He’s entertaining and he gets the job done. Kay Kay as the dreaded terrorist Bilal makes his striking presence felt. Sushant Singh is effective in bringing in humour in a least expected situation. Rana Dagubatti as the tough officer Jai is competent. Taapsee is a sharp Commando. She shall be proud of this film. Rasheed Naaz as Maulana Mohammad Rahman has an interesting appearance and an even more interesting way of dialogue delivery. Mikal Zulfiqar, another Pakistani actor makes his presence felt in a cameo.
Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background score is the heartbeat of BABY as it instills the necessary emotions at opportune moments in the course of the narrative. Shree Narayan Singh’s editing is exceptional. Even though the duration of the film is over two and a half hours, the taut pace keeps you hooked. The last 45 minutes of the film are simply extraordinary and fast paced.
On the whole, BABY is one of the finest films ever made in the history of Indian cinema. Not only because of its excellent cinematic credentials but also because of the balanced ‘Thought’ behind the film. Neeraj Pandey once again proves that he’s a genius. This time he proves, it’s possible to better Perfection. We say, hey baby, don’t think, just go for BABY. Cinema at its very best!
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 3.5
The last few releases have been low key affairs when we take a look at their overall box office collections. However this Friday the audience is in for a treat with the release of the comedy film DOLLY KI DOLI.
After her appearance in the fairy tale story KHOOBSURAT, come this Friday, Sonam Kapoor will be seen playing a runaway bride. While the story of DOLLY KI DOLI follows Dolly (Sonam Kapoor), it begins with her fake brother, Raju (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) identifying prospective grooms, who are eventually duped by Dolly after she gets them to fall in love with her. Once the prospective grooms are madly in love with Dolly, she marries them; however on the night of the ‘suhagraat’, Dolly offers them ‘drugged’ milk making them unconscious after which she along with her gang wipes the house clean of all the valuables. On the other side of the law is Robin Singh (Pulkit Samrat), a police inspector given the task of catching Dolly. Does Robin manage to catch up with the runaway con-bride or does Dolly find her true love and give up her life of crime…makes for the rest of the story.
Good writing and right casting can make a lot of difference. It is perfectly exemplified by Abhishek Dogra’s fun film DOLLY KI DOLI that has one of the most perfect ensemble cast in the recent times. The running time of a mere 100 minutes is another highlight of this saucy entertainer.
Dolly is a compulsive bride-on-the-run aided by a motley group of crooks head-lighted by a grand mom who brings the house down especially in one scene in a police station. Dolly, better known as ‘Looteri Dulhan’ cons many cash-heavy grooms and their families but her dalliance with Sonu Sehrawat (Rajkummar Rao) and Manjot (Varun Sharma) is especially interesting. Then there’s the unrequited love with tough cop Robin Singh. Also, there’s a star cameo, which is Royal, literally. The climax has a quirky surprise factor that goes nicely with the irreverent humour of the film.
Umashankar Singh and Abhishek Dogra’s writing is the big highlight of the film. Even though the basic idea isn’t extraordinary, the treatment of the screenplay keeps you interested. Umashamkar’s funny one liners dot the entire course of the film and keeps you entertained. Casting Director is the hero of DOLLY KI DOLI as rarely you find such a wonderful ensemble supporting cast and each one doing exceedingly well. Brijendar Kala, the giant of an actor, has some exceptionally crackling moments as Inspector Khan. His ‘Jigyasa’ is hilarious. Archana Puran Singh as the loud mouthed Punjabi mom-in-law is a laugh riot. Rajesh Sharma makes you fall in love with him in each scene that he appears in. Zeishan is a hugely talented actor and he impresses here as well. Ishtiaq, the wonderful actor who played Varun’s salacious friend is a delight to watch.
The growth displayed by Sonam Kapoor as an actor in DOLLY KI DOLI is excellent. She oozes varied shades of an Indian woman and her stylist ensures that she gets to showcase this Khoobsurat actress in a buffet of traditional finery and modern chutzpah. There’s a steeliness in her performance that filters out in a subtle manner. Even though she’s enjoying the con act, there’s an underlined air of enigmatic mystery which is engrossing. Rajkummar Rao is a mammoth actor who floors you completely with his flawless Haryanvi Jat act. Rao makes you fall in love with him each time he bursts on the screen with his conned-tomfoolery. Varun Sharma is entertaining while Pulkit Samrat promises appeal.
On the whole, DOLLY KI DOLI is a stress buster that will make you smile as you’ll leave the theatre. Debutante director Abhishek Dogra has competently extracted superb performances from the entire starcast. The unpredictable climax of the film works to the advantage too. But the four day weekend will help this Dolly ensnare many patrons. The word of mouth will be the key in witnessing the growth. We say, it’s a roller coaster entertainer. Enjoy it with your families.
By Taran Adarsh
Stars – 4.5
It has become a trend of sorts now that the year ends with a major release by none other than Aamir Khan in the month of December. After the release of DHOOM 3, as we gear up for the Christmas holidays, Aamir Khan brings his new film PK.
Said to be a comedy-drama, the makers of the film have managed to keep the story tightly under wraps, despite the film’s heavy promotions. As already reported in the media, Aamir Khan plays the role of an alien, something that is relatively new in Bollywood. Add to that, director Rajkumar Hirani wielding the megaphone after three back-to-back hits, PK has managed to generate tremendous hype prior to its release. However, does the film manage to live up to the expectations, will the past success (3 Idiots) of the Aamir Khan – Rajkumar Hirani combination work its charm in enticing the audiences to the theatres, will PK be a Christmas gift to cherish for the film loving audiences? Lets analyze.
The film starts off with PK (Aamir Khan), an alien, landing on earth, in the desert of Rajasthan, to study about human begins and life on earth. Arriving stark naked on a earth, PK has a rough start on the planet when his tracking remote, that helps him send signals back to his spaceship, gets stolen. He now has to find the remote to contact his spaceship and till then survive on earth on his own. Unaware of human mannerisms, language or life in general on earth, PK finds it difficult to adjust. However, fate brings him in touch with Bhairav Singh (Sanjay Dutt) who becomes his dear friend and helps him with life on earth. But destiny takes PK to Delhi. From here on starts a whirlwind story of a stranger in the unknown city of Delhi asking questions that despite their innocence hold a valuable and deep meaning. Aided on by Jagat Janani (Anushka Sharma) who teams up with him on this journey, PK challenges some of the oldest rituals of religion that are ruling life of people on earth.
As for the performances, Aamir Khan excels in the title role. This is probably one of the most challenging characters that he has played so far and with his stellar performance, Aamir Khan carries the film all the way. His childlike innocence, his Bhojpuri accent and his love for ‘paan’ only adds layers to the character of PK. Anushka Sharma, who has in her previous releases earned quite a bit of critical acclaim, does a good job as Jagat “Jaggu” Janani. She stands shoulder to shoulder with Aamir through the entire film. Sushant Singh Rajput is impressive in an extended cameo. Saurabh Shukla, though good, seems to be underutilized along with Boman Irani who too could have been given a meatier part. Sanjay Dutt, on the other hand, manages to carry off his role as a Rajasthani man with panache.
Music of PK is composed by Shantanu Moitra, Ajay-Atul and Ankit Tiwari and the lyrics are penned by Swanand Kirkire, Amitabh Varma and Manoj Muntashir. Songs like ‘Nanga Punga Dost’, ‘Tharki Chokro’ and ‘Love Is Waste Of Time’ have already gained popularity and they take the story forward in the film. ‘Chaar Kadam’ featuring Sushant Singh Rajput and Anushka Sharma is a soft number that sets the mood for romance just right.
Rajkumar Hirani, known for his films like 3 Idiots and the Munnabhai series tries to live up to his reputation of telling an engaging tale with a message. Though the storytelling is seamless, PK does seem to lack the punch that his earlier films had. Though the screenplay (Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani) of the film is comprehensive and engrossing, with humorous situations and entertaining dialogues, the narrative does get slow at certain points. PK however hits the right notes and entertains.
Overall, PK that releases during the Christmas holidays enjoys a three week free run at the box office. Despite the film having its share of ups and downs, it is surely a good entertainer. Being a film that deals with the topic of God and Godmen, audiences are bound to draw a few similarities between PK and the previously released Akshay Kumar-Paresh Rawal starrer OMG OH MY GOD! But while latter dealt with a lay man asking some prominent questions about God and the almighty himself coming down to earth, PK differs with an alien not directly questioning God, but instead questioning the belief system that humans have created to reach God. But with high level of anticipation and a massive release (approximately 5000 screens domestically and 800+ screens overseas), PK is sure to create new box-office records.
On the whole, Aamir Khan’s PK is a solid entertainer that will surely entertain the masses and classes alike. An outstanding film. Go for it.
By Taran Adarsh