Baby – Movie Review

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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

Dolly Ki Doli Movie Review

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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

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