Movie Review : Raja Natwarlal

Raja Natwarlal : A Con Act which fell short

Kunal Deshmukh and Emraan Hashmi combo is back after their successful association in Jannat & Jannat 2.

This time Kunal chooses a subject of a con man Raja (Emraan Hashmi) who after doing small con jobs with the help of his mentor Raghav (Deepak Raja Natwarlal ReviewTijori) wants to do a big con job so that he can fulfill his dream of marrying the bar dancer Ziya (Humaima Malik). The con job goes wrong and Raghav is killed by businessman cum mafia don Vardha Yadav’s (Kay Kay Menon) men. Raja sets out to take revenge from Vardha Yadav by coning him with the help of famous con artist Yogi (Paresh Rawal) and sell him a fake cricket team worth One Fifty crores. The rest of the movie covers how Raja and Yogi execute their con act…

Story by Parvez Sheikh is promising but where the movie loses its grip is with Parvez’s screenplay with too many sub plots of hit man, corrupt police and the love angle which actually poses a hindrance in the narration and slows down the pace with its songs which look out of place especially the first half. The screenplay also has too many loopholes; some con acts look too convenient to be true. It is the climax which is impressive and brings the sub plots together. But it could have been better paced. The script had all the makings of a good con movie but falls short as most part of the movie the screenplay looks scattered and lacks cohesiveness.

Dialogues by Sanjay Masoom complement the genre and narration well with subtle humor and are realistic.

Emraan Hashmi has improved tremendously especially after “Shanghai” he does complete justice to his character Raja. It is Paresh Rawal who steals the limelight with his fantastic portrayal of Yogi; it is always a delight to watch such a brilliant actor perform. Kay Kay Menon is back with his impressive portrayal of the cunning and shrewd Vardha Yadav, he gives face to a true villain of Bollywood who is menacing as well as unpredictable, a true delight. Humaima Mallik’s debut act is nothing to write home about but she somehow does a decent job. Deepak Tijori makes a comeback with Raghav and he creates an impact with his brief role. Rest of the cast also does a good job.

Music by Yuvaan Shankar Raja is average and does not create too much of an impact. Cinematography by Raaj Chakravarti is good but nothing out of the world.

Kunal Deshmukh tries to balance between being realistic and fictional, but fails a bit on the realistic front and goes a bit overboard with cinematic liberties becoming too fictional. Nevertheless Kunal’s attempt is good and better than many movies which released in the recent past. Do not expect a “Special 26” and you won’t be disappointed. I will go with Two & A Half Star….

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

Flashback : Do Bigha Zameen

“Do Bigha Zameen” released in 1953 and is considered as one of the early movies in the parallel cinema genre in Indian Cinema. Bimal Roy got so impressed after watching Vittorio De Sica’s, 1948 classic “Bicycle Thieves” that he also decided to make a neo-realistic cinema and that is how “Do Bigha Zameen” was conceptualized. Based on the problems of farmers and their struggle to survive “Do Bigha Zameen” became a cult classic.

The casting of the movie was also unique, Balraj Sahani who was a handsome polished guy and so was his image in Indian cinema, Bimal Roy cast Do Bigha Zameenhim as the poor farmer Shambhu Mahato. Nirupa Roy who only played Goddess in every movie was chosen to play the poor farmer’s wife Parvati, a complete change in the image that Nirupa Roy had. It is said that to get his act of a Rickshaw Puller Balraj Sahani actually practiced pulling a rickshaw in the city of Calcutta and interacted with the local rickshaw pullers to get the body language correct, he even lost weight to look authentic as a starving farmer.

It had a story of a farmer Shambhu Mahato (Balraj Sahani) who due to famine had to mortgage his land to the Zamindar Thakur Harnam Singh (Murad) in lieu of money. Harnam Singh wants to start a factory on the agricultural lands of the village and Shambhu’s land poses a problem since it is in the middle of the plan of the factory, in order to confiscate his land the Thakur wants his money knowing that Shambhu cannot pay. But Shambu as a last attempt to save his land goes to Calcutta to earn money to pay back the Thakur. He becomes a rickshaw puller, and how he and his wife Parvati (Nirupa Roy) struggle to save money forms the rest of the story.

The movie had Jagdeep as a child artist playing the role of a polish boy; it had Mehmood as a background artist or extra playing candy vendor and Meena Kumari in a cameo as a Thakurian. Though it was a realistic movie but still Bimal Roy gave songs and the music was composed by Salil Choudhury and it had some memorable songs like, “Dharti Kahe Pukar ke” sung by Manna De and the famous lullaby sung beautifully by Lata Mangheshkar “Aaja ri Aa nidya tu aa”.

Bimal Roy had shot the climax wherein the farmer’s wife Parvati dies at the end and Shambhu gets back his land. But after watching the preview Bimal Roy’s wife thought that the climax was too brutal and morose and the audience will not accept the end, so Bimal Roy reshot the climax wherein Parvati recovers from the accident and Shambhu loses the land.

The movie was a moderate success but critically acclaimed. It won many awards like the Filmfare Award for best film and Best Director and the National Award for Best Film. Internationally it won the Prix International Award for Best Film in Cannes Film Festival making it the second Indian Film to win an award in Cannes Film Festival after Neecha Nagar.

Though the movie was released in 1953 which is 61 years back, but the subject still has relevance in today’s India what with village youth migrating from villages to city to earn and farmers committing suicide as they are unable to pay the debts due to famine and the farmers are still dependant on rains for their crops.

This is one of Bimal Roy’s best work, and the performances by both Balraj Sahani and Nirupa Roy is to watch out for. “Do Bigha Zameen” is definitely a must watch for a true movie buff.

Movie Review Mardaani

Mardaani: A Celebration of Woman Power

There are some movies which are made just to entertain but there are some which makes you think, Mardaani falls in the latter genre.

Human Trafficking is a business which is growing at an alarming rate worldwide and India is a hub of Child Movie Review MardaaniTrafficking and Mardaani deals with this topical subject.

Gopi Puthran chooses a controversial topic of Human Trafficking for his story and the risk with such subjects is that it becomes preachy. But thankfully Gopi’s screenplay refrains from doing so and tells the story in a thriller format of a crime branch Inspector Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukherjee) who has a soft spot for an orphan Pyari (Debutant Priyanka Sharma). Life takes a turn for Shivani when Pyari goes missing, how Shivani busts the Human Trafficking nexus and finds Pyari constitutes the rest of the story.

Gopi’s screenplay captures the modus operandi of how human trafficking is done in a thriller format which is engaging and keeps you at the edge of the seat; not much time is spent on the emotional quotient. It is the climax which looks a bit too convenient. The characters are realistic and so are the dialogues. But I thought the Thriller quotient could have been much better as the surprise element is missing in most part of the movie.

The performances are the biggest highlight of the movie. Rani as Shivani gives a crackling performance, everything from her body language to the way she speaks everything is spot on. Rani Mukherjee again proves that you cannot keep a good actor away for too long. Another brilliant performance is of the debutant Tahir Raj Bhasin who plays the antagonist Karan, he is so good that you start hating him, truly a brilliant debut. Tahir’s portrayal of Karan is a perfect complement to Rani’s portrayal of Shivani. Mona Ambegoankar gives a superb performance, though her role is small but she shines even in a brief role, sad to see that a brilliant actress like her is underutilized. Another debutant Priyanka Sharma as Pyari shows spark. Jishu Sengupta the Bengali actor is wasted in a brief role. Rest of the cast is cast well and they do a good job. I should mention Shanoo Sharma the casting director who has done a brilliant job of casting.

The second highlight is the cinematography by Artur Zurawski who captures the bylanes of Mumbai and Delhi well and keeps the tone as realistic as possible in lieu of the narration.

With “Mardaani” Pradeep Sarkar resumes his original form which was seen in “Parineeta” (2005). Though a dark and sensitive subject, but Pradeep handles it well and keeps the narrative simple though a bit of twists would have been better. But Pradeep is successful is extracting some brilliant performances from the cast which is commendable.

Kudos to Pradeep Sarkar for taking up such a sensitive issue for a movie and showing how women can defend themselves against odds. This movie is a true celebration of woman power, I will go with 3 and a half stars…

Movie Rating: (3.5 / 5)

Trailer : Happy New Year

Happy_New_Year_Poster_(2014_film)Actor Shahrukh Khan and Director Farah Khan combo is back. After their successful collaboration with their previous two movies “Main Hoon Naa” (2004) and “Om Shanti Om” (2007) they come together this Diwali with “Happy New Year”. The movie has an ensemble cast of Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah and Jackie Shroff.

Farah Khan wanted to make this movie in 2005 after “Main Hoon Naa” but due to various constraints the project got shelved and the Shahrukh- Farah combo made “Om Shanti Om”in 2007. “Happy New Year” as a project was revived in 2012 when the script got finalized and after many casting glitches the principal shooting commenced from Aug 2013 in Dubai.

Whether “Happy New Year” repeats the same success of Shahrukh-Farah’s previous association is yet to be seen….Music is by Vishal-Shekhar and knowing Farah’s penchant for grand song and dance sequences looking at the Trailer she will not disappoint us…..

“Happy New Year” is produced by Shahrukh Khan’s home production “Red Chillies Entertainment”,the movie releases on 24th October 2014…..

Review : Singham Returns

Singham Returns: A complete Rohit Shetty masala fare

There are some movies which defy all logic but still you enjoy it and “Singham Returns” is one such movie…
The movie begins with a startling message “There are only 47000 people employed in the Mumbai Police force to protect 1.85 cr civilians of Mumbai”, Review Singham Returnsthis message actually started me thinking. Well this movie is Rohit Shetty’s tribute to Mumbai Police.

This time Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn) is posted in Mumbai where he finds himself in between political tussle between Guruji’s (Anupam Kher) party and their coalition party headed by Prakash Rao (Zakir Hussain). Prakash Rao has a strong backing in the form of Baba (Amol Gupte) who runs an Ashram which finances Prakash Rao’s party. Things turn worse for Singham when a constable of his team is found dead in an ambulance with heaps of cash. How Singham solves the mystery of his constable’s death and brings law and order in Mumbai forms the rest of the movie.

Story by Rohit Shetty tries to touch upon issue from corrupt politicians with black money to God man and politician nexus, and the role of a policeman and their sacrifices which keep the civilians safe. Screenplay by Yunus Sajawal is packed with clichéd situations of how police are puppets in the hands of the politicians, but where Sajawal’s screenplay differs is the way the police is shown to solve the issue, though a bit too farfetched especially the climax, still it conveys a very strong message. Some sequences stand out like the dead constable’s wife is forced to work as a domestic help to run the household expenses or when a women lambasts Singham when he beats his son for taking money from the corrupt politician. I thought the villain’s characters were too much of a caricature especially Baba’s. Overall the screenplay is tight and crisp but with enough cinematic liberties.

What elevates the screenplay are the impactful dialogues by Sajid-Farhad, some of the dialogues are clearly for the gallery and gets enough whistles.

Ajay Devgn as Bajirao Singham again gives an impactful performance or should I say a seeti maar performance with his trademark dialogue from the previous Singham “Atta Mazhi Satakli”, well in some scenes Ajay goes a bit overboard but looking at the response of the crowd I should say it was worth it. Kareena as Avni has nothing much to do other than looking pretty and mouthing some comic dialogues, I think Kareena should take a break from the bubbly roles that she is portraying since “Jab We Met” days. Amol Gupte’s portrayal as Baba goes overboard and he hams all throughout the movie. Zakir Hussain as Prakash Rao is a caricature, which even an actor of his caliber could not salvage as the writing is weak. The rest of the ensemble cast Anupam Kher, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ashwini Kalsekar, Dayanand Shetty, Sharat Saxena, Savita Joshi do a good job, though I felt Govind Namdeo as Singham’s father is wasted.

Action is a highlight of all Rohit Shetty movies, and this movie does not disappoint. Action designed by Rohit himself in collaboration with Jai Singh Nijjar and Suneil Rodrigues is filled with cars being blown, people flying and enough fisticuffs to keep the adrenalin rush and Dolby Sound blaring. Overall the action is typical Rohit Shetty style which an audience expects from his movies.

Cinematography by Dudley captures Mumbai well and the aerial shots and action sequences are worth a mention. Music is a big disappointment although it had an impressive lineup of composers from Jeet Ganguli, Ankit Tiwari, Meet Bros and Yo Yo Honey Singh. Rather Yo Yo Honey Singh’s song “Atta Majhi Satakli” sounds like a rip off from “Lungi Dance”.

Rohit Shetty clearly plays to the gallery and the masses and gives a paisa vasool entertainer worth an addition to the 100 crore club. I will go with 3 stars….

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

Flashback : Celebrating 21 years of Hum Aapke Hain Koun!

21 Years Of Hum Aapke Hain Koun!

Hum Aapke Hain Koun

After “Maine Pyar Kiya”, Sooraj Barjatya had a writer’s block and could not decide on his next film, as per his father’s suggestion he started watching Rajshri Production’s earlier films. Sooraj Barjatya was impressed by Rajshri’s previous blockbuster “Nadiya Ke Paar” and he decided to adapt this movie in a contemporary way and that is how “Hum Aapke Hain Koun!” was written. Sooraj Barjatya wrote the screenplay as a musical, which resulted in 14 songs.

“Hum Aapke Hain Koun!” created history for Hindi cinema, and it saw a change in the way Film distribution was done in Bollywood. During the 90’s there was a drop in theater viewing due to cable network, video and piracy. Rajshri Productions wanted the audience to experience the movie in the Theaters hence theater owners who wanted to show “Hum Aapke Hain Koun!” had to upgrade their theaters like installing Optical Stereo sound system.

The film released on 5th Aug 1994 with only 26 prints all over India and Rajshri Production made adequate arrangements to avoid piracy of the movie. Later due to word of mouth and immense popularity of the movie, many other theater owners agreed to upgraded their theaters in order to exhibit the movie. The cost of the tickets were increased, but it did not deter people to watch the movie in the theater, this gave around 50% spike in audience coming to theaters to watch the movie.

“Hum Aapke Hain Koun!” also opened the potential of Bollywood movie in international market and catering to the NRI Diaspora. In London the movie ran for a year. The film gave way for glamorous family dramas.

The movie earned a gross revenue of over 1 billion making “Hum Aapke Hain Koun!”the first Indian movie to earn such high revenue . People flocked to see the movie multiple times and most of its revenue came from repeat business. The famous Painter M F Hussain saw the movie 85 times.

“Hum Aapke Hain Koun!” will always be remembered as a trendsetter for Indian Cinema…

Trailer : Rang Rasiya

“Rang Rasiya” is a cinematic adaptation of Ranjit Desai’s biographical novel on the famous painter Raja Ravi Varma who gave faces to our Hindu Gods & Godesses…..starring Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen, Paresh Rawal, Ashish Vidyarthi……directed by Ketan Mehta, the movie has been in cans since 2008…..at last the movie will see a commercial release this Diwali on 23rd Oct’14….the movie will also release in English as “Color Of Passion”…

Review : Entertainment

Entertainment: Not Much of an Entertainment

entertainmentAfter a successful stint as writers of Golmaal series, Bol Bachchan, Housefull etc the brother duo Sajid-Farhad debut as directors with “Entertainment”.

For the last few movies that I watched in the comedy genre there has been a flaw, in the second half the comedy becomes a mundane caricature and there are hardly any laughs, the same flaw is pertinent in “Entertainment” as well.

Story by K Subhash tells us the story of Akhil Lokhande (Akshay Kumar) who is struggling to make his ends meet, suddenly has a strike of luck when he discovers that he is the son of multi millionaire Pannalal Johri (Dalip Tahil) who is dead. When he reaches to claim his fortune he comes to know that his father has willed his entire property to his favorite pet dog Entertainment (Junior). The rest of the movie tells us how Akhil & Entertainment fight for the fortune.

Well the story premise sounds silly but the screenplay by Sajid-Farhad makes it completely chaotic. The first half still has some laughs but in the second half the screenplay falls completely flat with mundane sequences and forced situations which look completely out of place. Overall the screenplay’s funny quotient depletes in the second half and looks kiddish.

Dialogues by Sajid-Farhad themselves sound funny initially but it gets repetitive and starts irritating. Sajid-Farhad dialogues have too much emphasis on rhyming of dialogues, which initially brings some laughs but later becomes too repetitive and sounds jarring.

Hamming is passed as acting in this movie. Akshay Kumar as Akhil the main protagonist tries hard to act funny but is successful initially but later he becomes repetitive and hams incessantly. Krushna hams all throughout the movie. Johnny Lever still is successful is bringing some laughs. Tamanah Bhatia is the decorative piece of the movie. The two villains played by Prakash Raj & Sonu Sood add up to the buffoonery. Cameos by Reteish Deshmukh, Shreyas Talpade & Choreography Remo D’Souza are wasted. Mithun Chakraborty in a guest appearance has nothing much to do in this maddness. The real hero is the dog Junior, whenever he is on the screen it is a delight but unfortunately the screen time of Junior is in the first half and then in the climax.

Music by Sachin-Jigar is nothing to write home about, rather the tunes seems a rehashed version of their previous movie “FALTU”. Even the choreography by Remo D’Souza is average. Cinematography by Manoj Soni looks too artificial, what with too much of color being used in VFX.

Sajid-Farhad’s debut does not create any impact and they come up with a below average fare. If you are a dog lover you may like the movie in bits and pieces but overall it is below average, I will go with Two & a Half Stars (Half star extra for the Dog Junior)

Trailer : Roar- Tigers Of the Sundarbans

A film based on Wild Life “Roar-Tiger Of Sundarbans” is a movie directed by actor Kamal Sadanah….it stars Abhinav Shukla and Kingfisher Calendar girl Himarsha V……the movie releases 19th Sept’14…