Review : D-Day

D-Day: Re-defining Patriotism in Indian Cinema

Patriotism in Bollywood  is synonym with Manoj Kumar and his brand of cinema. Chetan Anand and J P Dutta have also contributed equally to the patriotism in Indian Cinema. But Nikhil Advani has tried to re-define patriotism in new India through an espionage genre of movie.

The story is of 3 RAW agents Rudra Pratap Singh(Arjun Rampal), Wali Khan (Irfan) & Huma Qureshi (Zoya)  and a small time assassin Aslam D-Day(Aakash Dahiya)who are  sent to Karachi, Pakistan for Mission Goldman wherein they are supposed to get India’s most wanted criminal Don Ibrahim (Rishi Kapoor) to India.

 

The story & screenplay by Nikhil Advani, Suresh Nair & Ritesh Shah is well researched and every minute detail is painstakingly correct in the script. It has the right pace of a thriller in the first half till the interval; post interval is when suddenly the screenplay dips in pace giving way to some romantic angle between Arjun Rampal & Shruti Hasan but then it recovers soon enough. The climax is the biggest highlight of the script and is straight forward which leaves you spell bound. The best part of the script is that each character is build well and makes complete sense and is believable. Dialogues by Ritesh Shah & Niranjan Iyengar gel well with the script.

Editor Aarif Shaikh has done a splendid job in keeping the pace intact. Cinematography by Tushar Kanti Ray is excellent and re-creates the mood with his vision which is raw and unpredictable. The real highlight of the movie is the action by Tom Struthers (Dark Knight & Tomb Raider series), it is gritty and raw just like the mood of the movie.

After watching this movie I realized how under rated actor was Rishi Kapoor for Indian cinema till recently. He is becoming brilliant with each movie right from Agneepath. In this film whenever he is there on screen he captivates you with his portrayal, he is mean, gritty as well as completely unpredictable. A REAL CLASS ACT. Irfan as usual is good.  Arjun Rampal is another actor who is growing from strength to strength and his portrayal of Rudra is cold, mean and at the same time emotional, quite complex but Arjun does an excellent job. Huma Qureshi & Shruti Hasan did well. Other actors like Aakash Dahiya, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Sree Swara Dubey, Nasir & KK Raina are apt and do a splendid job.

And last and definitely not the least Nikhil Advani after some misses like Salaam-E-Ishq and Chandni Chowk to China, gets it right with D-Day. D-day shows patriotism without being preachy and there lies the real strength of the movie. Nikhil introduces a new genre to Indian Cinema the Espionage genre of cinema which is so common in Hollywood, and he does it well.

I go with 4 stars for D-Day….

Review : Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: An Epic Saga but a notch low for a classic

On the onset it is very difficult to make a biopic, and if the person is alive then it becomes more difficult as comparisons and speculations start building up. Such movies sometimes become more of a documentary on the achievements of the person on which the biopic is being made.

Bhaag Milkha BhaagDirector Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra & writer Prasoon Joshi have been successful in telling a story with a lot of conviction and with equal amount of entertainment value. Rather they create an epic saga of “The flying Sikh”, but falls a bit short of becoming a classic due to its length.

The story of BMB portrays the life of Milkha Singh (Farhan Akhtar) since partition where he loses his family in the riots and he comes to India from Pakistan. The screenplay showcases his early teens when he was a ruffian to him joining the army and becoming the greatest athlete that India has produced. The story captures his struggle and tribulations but at the same time celebrates his achievements.

The Story & Screenplay written by Prasoon Joshi tries to create an epic saga but the main issue is the length of the movie which is around 3 hours. The movie could have been trimmed by 25 to 30 minutes at the most. The screenplay makes you laugh as well as cry in a few sequences like the sequences of Milkha and her elder sister. One such sequence is when kid Milkha and his elder Sister (Divya Dutta) unite in the refugee camp, it is really moving. Some of the moments are great and you tend to clap like the sequence when Milkha Singh runs with a wounded leg during his selection race. But Milkha Singh’s romance angle with Biro (Soman Kapoor) is weak and hampers the pace and is stretched unnecessarily.

Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has created a saga of epic proportion and also created the period from 1946 to 1960’s with efficient detailing and conviction. Cinematographer Binod Pradhan has done a stupendous job in putting the right amount of color in every frame. Production Design by Acropolis has been a highlight and has helped the movie to give that correct look and feel. Costumes by Dolly Ahluwalia have been the cherry in the cake wherein the clothes and the styling have been done with minute detailing and the styling aptly changes from 40’s to 60’s.

Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy blendes with the movie well like “Zinda” & “ Maston Ka Jhund”, but some of the songs are a hindrance to the pace of the movie. Lyrics by Prasoon Joshi are inspiring and poetic.

Farhan Akhtar is the real reason why someone should watch BMB. The actor has really worked hard and it shows. Farhan blends into the character of Milkha Singh so well that you will not find any traces of Farhan Akhtar of his previous films. His body language, his dialect and especially in the sequences where he is shown running, he is so convincing that you feel some real athlete has done these sequences. Farhan will be the top contender for the “Best Actor” this year. Divya Dutta as Milkha’s sister is excellent and so is Pawan Malhotra  who plays Milkha singh’s coach. Jabtej Singh who plays young Milkha is the best discovery this year; he gets the nuances correct and is brilliant.

Review : Lootera

Lootera: A beautiful canvas without a soul

“Lootera” is a movie set in 1950’s India. An India which was young as a nation and there were many changes which took place ending the Zamindari system.

LooteraThe story starts with the Zamindar of Manikpur Roy Chaudhuri who has a huge estate and the only heir to this is her daughter Pakhi Roy Chaudhuri (Sonakshi Sinha). Enter an archeologist Varun Srivastav (Ranveer Singh) and his friend Devdas (Vikrant Massey) who comes to Manikpur for excavation near the Zamindar’s 300 years old ancestral temple and becomes their house guest. The story unfolds with Pakhi & Varun falling in love which each other with a decision to get married. Pre Interval a twist leaves Pakhi and her father heartbroken and they are robbed of their ancestral wealth. One year hence the lovers re-unite in Dalhousie. The story unfolds as to how Pakhi & Varun re-discover their love for each other taking it to a tragic climax.

The Story (inspired by O’Henry’s short story “The Last Leaf) & Screenplay by Vikramaditya Motwane and Bhawani Iyer captures the 50’s India well but fails miserably in the pace. Though the movie is a love story but somehow it does not connect and the soul is missing. The story has some good moments between the lead pair Pakhi & Varun but these moments are stretched and you start thinking when it would end. Being a bit of a thriller it lacks the drama and at the end it becomes predictable. Dialogues by Anurag Kashyap brings the crispness in the otherwise morbid pace.

The technical departments are the stars of the movie. Camera work by Mahendra Shetty is superb, each shot looks like a painting. Dalhousie is captured beautifully. Production Design by Aditya Kanwar compliments Mahendra’s camera work in creating the 50’s look. Every detail is taken care of starting with the props, the location etc, creating a riveting image. Another brilliant work has been by Costume director Subarna Ray Chaudhuri. She has done a remarkable job in creating the correct clothes of that period. Right from the clothes to the accessories has been brilliantly created. Overall the camera, Production design & Costume design has made “Lootera” a beautiful painting.

Editing by Dipika Kalra has been a letdown as the pace is too slow and the movie could have been 15 to 20 minutes short.

Amit Trivedi’s music is the biggest highlight of the film. The music reminds you of the music of S D Burman & R D Burman. Special mention for “Sawar Loon” which has rendered by Monali Thakur is brilliant. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics is poetic and blends well with the mood of the film.

Director Vikramaditya Motwane who gave us the brilliant “Udaan” creates a riveting painting but it does not have the soul. Vikramaditya stresses more on the expressions of the actor rather than the dialogues. Some sequences are directed well like the chase sequence. But movie fails to capture the attention of the viewer  because of the pace.

“Lootera” has some good performances; Sonakshi Sinha proves that she can portray sensitive roles well. Ranveer Singh is a bit stiff in the first half but slowly and steadily by the second half he shows why is he the most sought after newcomer in the current lot of new actors. But Vikrant Massey who plays Ranveer’s friend Devdas in the movie, shines with his easy performance, an actor who shows the spark. Rest of the cast like Adil Hussain & Divya Dutta do justice to their miniscule role. Rather Divya Dutta is completely wasted in a 2 minute role.

Overall “Lootera” could have been a classic but falls flat due to its pace, I go with 2 & a half stars.