Movie Review: Shandaar

Shandaar: No Story makes Shandaar a dull movie

shaandaarIn Bollywood we have seen a trend in most of the cases wherein  a director after giving an immensely successful and path breaking movie gives a dud in his subsequent movie like Sujoy Ghosh after giving the spectacular “Jhankaar Beats” gave us “Home Delivery” , or Anurag Kashyap after giving the path breaking “Gangs Of Wasseypur 1 & 2” gave us “Bombay Velvet”, Vikramaditya Motwane after giving “Udaan” gave us “Lootera” and it is so true for Ram Gopal Varma who during his hey days used to always give a dud after a path breaking movie….Well another name has been added in the list and it is none other but Vikas Bahl, who after giving an immensely successful and critically acclaimed “Queen” can give us something like “Shandaar”…

For Vikas Bahl the set up was apt, what with a stellar ensemble cast wherein both father and son, Pankaj Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor were acting together for the first time, or the fresh pairing of Shahid Kappor & Alia Bhatt. Three big names associated with the movie Fox Star, Dharma Productions along with Phantom Films. Big Budget with shooting in England….Well nothing could have gone wrong, but unfortunately Vikas forgot the crucial thing, a cohesive story & screenplay which was the highlight of his previous movie.

The Story, or should I say the lack of it has been credited to Vikas Bahl himself and Chaitally Parmar (who also wrote Queen)….so if I have to sum up the story of “Shandaar”, well I am unable to do so as there is none. We only get a screenplay written by Anvita Dutt which is extremely inconsistent and non cohesive as there is no story to fall back to. There is only one line story, that it is based or should I say a spoof of the Big Bang Indian Wedding or destination wedding. All the characters are mad in some or the other way and they end up creating a chaos. I must add that there are so many characters that you get confused who is related to whom and half of them do not make any sense. The sequences look as if it was decided on the set and it was shot. None of the characters have any depth excluding the relationship of Alia (Alia Bhatt) with her father Vipin Arora (Pankaj Kapoor), this is the only relationship which is explored well in the movie. The rest are superfluous, even the lead pair Jagjinder Joginder a.k.a JJ (Shahid Kapoor) or Alia’s relationship looks forced.

The dialogues again by Anvita Dutt sound quite childish at times and even silly in most of the time. In short the writing is the biggest flaw of the movie….

I must say the only saving grace of the movie is a few performances, staring with Pankaj Kapoor, the veteran actor who plays the docile Vipin Arora shines and how….he puts heart and soul to the character to make it look believable but the script pulled him down. Shahid Kapoor as the flamboyant wedding planner Jagjinder Joginder or JJ gives a natural performance and tries to put some sense and dimension to his character, even though the writing had nothing to back him up. The whiff of fresh air is Alia Bhatt who plays Alia with utmost sincerity and brings a certain amount of freshness to the movie with her natural acting. Teh pairing of Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor was super cute and there was a chemistry but unfortunately the writing was mediocre, I just hope somebody should try pairing them up in a better movie. I must mention another highlight performance has been of debutant Sanah Kapoor (Pankaj Kapoor & Supriya Pathak’s daughter) who plays the overweight bride Isha Arora, she gives a confident performance in her debut. Vikas Verma as the groom Robin Fundwani does a good job of an arrogant and narcissist character but gets lost in the plethora of talents in the cast. Sushma Seth as Kamla Arora the dominating and calculative business woman is one dimensional and is wasted in a badly written character. Sanjay Kapoor as Harry Fundwani hams throughout and is loud but and his dialogues are also not that clear. Actors like Niki Aneja, Anjana Sukhani (she does not have a single dialogue), Shibani Dandekar are wasted…..

Amit Trivedi’s music does not impress us completely, other than the foot tapping “Gulabo” and the romantic “Nazdeekiyan” none of the other songs create any impact, not even the title song….which has been choreographed brilliantly by Bosco & Ceaser…..The camera work by Anil Mehta is spot on and gives us the breezy feel of a Rom Com….

Vikas Bahl completely looses it with “Shandaar”…..A movie which Vikas wanted to make on the lines of a Hollywood rom com does not even fit the bill of an Indian rom com….A real waste of a talent…..

I will go with 2 stars….

Movie Rating: (2 / 5)

 

 

Flashback: 20 Years of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

The chemistry of Shahrukh Khan & Kajol was the sole reason for “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” stupendous success…

Even after 20 years the chemistry is still fresh and warming up the cine lovers…..See the unmistakable chemistry of Shahrukh Khan & Kajol celebrating 20 years of DDLJ…. cannot wait for “Dilwale” which releases Dec’15

 

Movie Review : Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2

Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2: This Punchnama is Old wine in a New Bottle

In 2011 when “Pyaar Ka Punchnama” released nobody had any expectations, as it had a brand new cast and a debut director Luv Ranjan….but it became a sleeper hit only because of a strong script, spunky dialogues and a good performances by the cast….
But now the expectations are really high for its sequel… which again tells us the story of 3 friends Anshul a.k.a Gogo (Kartik Aaryan ), Sidharth a.k.a Chauka (Sunny Singh Nijjar) and Tarun a.k.a Thakur (Omkar Kapoor). All three friends fall in love and what price they pay for falling in love is what the movie is all about…

Luv Ranjan’s story in the sequel follows the same concept and track as in the first instalment, and so is the screenplay by Luv Ranjan, Rahul PKP2 Movie ReviewMody & Tarun Jain. There is nothing new in the screenplay and neither does it go beyond the issues shown in the prequel. But still the first half is breezy and entertaining. It is the second half where the plots becomes a drag, especially the Krabi sequence was totally unwanted for, excluding the song there was nothing that was worthwhile. Another issue with the movie is the run time; it could have been easily 15 to 20 mins short. The pre climax sequences are too random and lack cohesiveness. It is the dialogues which creates the impact and overshadows the flaws in the screenplay. It is extremely funny and entertaining at the same time. It won’t be an understatement to say that the dialogues are the real hero of the movie…

There are a few performances which stand out in this movie, Kartik Aaryan as Anshul repeats his act from the prequel with nothing new to offer. In this movie also he is given a monologue about relationships, which is again the highlight as the prequel, and Kartik does not disappoint this time as well in the sequence. Sunny Singh Nijjar as Sidharth is the best amongst the three actors; whenever he is on screen he overshadows other actors completely. Rather I must mention Sunny’s is the best performance of the movie. Omkar Kapoor as Tarun though does well but looks quite restrained in his performance as if he is holding back. As a child artist Omkar was quite natural but the same spark could not be seen in his first matured role. The girls are repeated from the prequel, amongst the girls Nushrat Barucha as Chiku hams nonstop and you feel she has verbal diarrhoea. Sonalli Seygall as Supriya does a good job though her glamour quotient is what is showcased more in the movie. Ishita Sharma as Kusum is the best amongst the female leads, she does absolute justice of an ambitious, opportunist female well… Rest of the support cast do a good job… Overall the performances by the cast were good excluding Nushrat Barucha’s….

The music is one of the weak points of the movie, though there are few music directors who have scored the music like Sharib-Toshi & Hitesh Sonik, but none of the songs could create any impact…..

Luv Ranjan’s direction is good but unfortunately he fails to deliver anything new, but it is the dialogues and the performances which save the day for him and makes the movie worth a watch…I would go with 3 stars….

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

Celebrating 20 Years of DDLJ

I still remember the day 20th Oct 1995 in a small town Jabalpur standing in queue for the tickets of the First Day First Show of “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayege”. I had a friend for company whom I dragged to watch DDLJ as he was keener on Madhuri Dixit starrer “Yaraana” (also released on the same day) was sulking since “Yaraana” was showing in the adjacent theater. The poster was newly pasted and there was not too much of a crowd for 9:30 AM show. Who knew that this movie will make history….

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It was a Shahrukh Khan- Kajol starrer who gave the successful Baazigar and Karan Arjun but as a pair there was nothing to write about then. It was a launch pad for Aditya Chopra, elder son of Yash Chopra and Yashraj Productions was celebrating 25 years with its release.

The movie started and I was transported to a different world of Raj & Simran and before I could realize the 186 mins got over. When I walked out of the theater I wanted scream to the world that this is the best love story ever made in Bollywood.

It had a very different concept, the main lead Raj was hardly anything that the Bollywood Hero was. Raj was a failure, a loser and absolutely nothing that can be idolized. What clicked with the audience was that the characters were realtable. The magic of Raj & Simran was immortalized beautifully by Shahrukh Khan & Kajol making them the next hit Jodi of Bollywood. Later they gave blockbusters like “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”, “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham” & “My Name Is Khan”. People still wait for a movie with Shahrukh Khan & Kajol, a magic which still lasts.

Written by Aditya Chopra himself the screenplay had some extremely riveting sequences, who can forget the “Palat” sequence or the sequence between Farida Jalal and Kajol who played mother daughter wherein she explains to Simran how women need to sacrifice in this world ruled by men or the 10 minute rendition of Raj played by Shahrukh in front of Simran’s family in the climax as to why he cannot elope with her and above all the train sequence in the climax. These sequences are still so fresh in the minds as if it was yesterday. Aditya Chopra not only consolidated his position as a director but as a proficient writer as well with DDLJ. Later he made successful movies like “Mohabatein” & “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi”. We are still waiting for his next venture.

DDLJ started the NRI brand of Bollywood movies and Shahrukh Khan became the favorite of the Indian Diaspora which is true even today. Karan Johar who also acted in the movie as Fonchi, Raj’s friend who later perfected the art of NRI designed movies with “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” and “Kabhi Kushi kabhi Gham”.

DDLJ was the first few films to be mixed in Dolby Sound in India and was released in Dolby SR across India. The video rights of DDLJ were held back for a long time similar to how Rajshri Productions did for “Hum Aapke Hain Koun…”

DDLJ became the biggest grosser of 1995 and till 2015 it is the top 5 highest grosser of Bollywood with a total earning till date of Rs 1.22 billion worldwide. It is still running in Maratha Mandir, Mumbai for matinee show completing 1000 weeks and still has occupancy of 50%.

DDLJ won 10 Filmfare awards that year. DDLJ is one of the 3 Bollywood movies included in “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, the other movies are “Mother India” & “Deewar”.

The music by Jatin Lalit still remains popular especially “Mehendi Lagake Rakhna” which is played in almost all Indian weddings till date.

DDLJ boosted the Europe tourism and travelling by Euro Rail is still considered an option for honey mooners.

20 years is just another milestone for DDLJ but it will remain in the hearts of Bollywood lovers and a classic which re-invented how love stories should be made in Bollywood…..

Movie Review: Jazbaa

Jazbaa: Not too much of Jazbaat…. but only style

JazbaaSanjay Gupta, the name is synonym of movies which are remake of Hollywood and loads of style with a larger than life canvas but less of substance. The two movies which had both style and substance were “Kaante” (2002) & “Zinda” (2006)….

Sanjay Gupta is back with a remake of a Korean movie “Seven Days” for Aishwarya Rai’s comeback vehicle. Aishwaraya is in all the frames of the movie and not for a moment do you forget that this is Ash’s comeback movie. The plot tells the story of Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai) a famous criminal lawyer who has never lost a case and a single mother of a daughter Sanaya (Child actor Sara Arjun). Things take an unexpected turn when her daughter is kidnapped and the kidnapper asks for an unusual ransom by asking Anuradha to fight for the criminal Miyaaz Shaikh (Chandan Roy Sanyal) who has been convicted of rape and murder of a girl Sia and set him free. Is Anuradha able to fulfill the ransom asked and whether she gets back her daughter is what the movie is all about….

The story inspired by the Korean movie, has a screenplay written by Sanjay Gupta himself and Robin Bhatt. On the onset the biggest flaw of the script is its pace which is inconsistent for a thriller, as it lacks edge of the seat moments. Though the screenplay has a lot of twists and turns but none make a mark, except the one in the climax. Another flaw of the screenplay is its loopholes which are disaster for a thriller, like the movie never really concludes as to how the girl was really murdered, or how the kidnappers kept a watch on Anuradha Verma, many such loose ends are kept unresolved. The one thing which could have been the biggest highlight of the movie could have been the court scenes, but the weak writing does not create any impact. Overall the script falters and the concept which could have been a good thriller is wasted.

Though I must say Kamlesh Pandey’s dialogues saves the day to some extent, especially for Yohan’s  (Irrfan Khan) character for which Kamlesh gives Seeti Mar dialogues…

I must say Sanjay Gupta managed to get a crackling cast for the movie and almost everybody did a good job except for the leading lady Aishwarya Rai. Aishwarya’s portrayal of Anuradha Verma is quite inconsistent. On one side Aishwarya had to play a tough lawyer and on the other side she had to play a loving mother, must say an author backed role, but while playing the tough lawyer she comes out as too stiff and for showing the loving mother side she is too melodramatic, hence she completely fails to strike a balance. Irrfan Khan as Inspector Yohan gives a crackling performance in style, what with all the seeti maar dialogues are given to him, but he does complete justice to his new avatar of a typical Bollywood hero. Shabana Azmi as Professor Garima Chaoudhary, the victim’s mother as usual gives a strong performance which was expected from her character. Jackie Shroff as the politician is wasted and he does not have much to do. Other actors like Atul Kulkarni, Chandan Roy Sanyal & Sidharth Kapoor are wasted in small roles which are not too well defined….

One thing which stands out in every Sanjay Gupta movie is the stylized camera work, and even in “Jazbaa” he does not disappoint us, Sameer Arya’s stylized camera work with a green hue captures Mumbai as never before, really a splendid job by Sameer Arya…

Another highlight of any Sanjay Gupta movie is its music, though “Jazbaa” did not have too much of scope for song and dance, but somehow Sanjay created a few brief moments in the movie and the most impressive being the ghazal “Jane tere Shehar ka”…..but the rest just do not gel with the narration…

Sanjay Gupta does not disappoint us on the style quotient, but as in most of the Sanjay Gupta movies style overtakes the content, the same can be said about “Jazbaa”. Though he is successful in extracting some good performances by the support cast and Irrfan Khan but he fails miserably in extracting a crackling performance by the leading lady Aishwarya Rai. Sanjay also fails to create the chemistry between Aishwarya & Irrfan, and the pairing just comes out as too “Thanda”…..

“Jazbaa” is an opportunity lost by Sanjay Gupta and definitely a weak come back movie for Aishwarya….I will go with Two & a Half Stars….

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

Movie Review : Talvar

Talvar: The naked truth of justice

There are just movies and there are some movies which shows you the stark reality of society and judiciary system and you question WHY….IF ONLY…and it stays in your lingering thoughts long after the movie is over….”Talvar” is one such movie….

Based on the Arushi murder case…”Talvar” written by Vishal Bharadwaj tells the story of the complete investigation Talvar Reviewof a 14 year old girl Shruti, and the prime suspects being her parents, Father Ramesh Tandon (Neeraj Kabi) and mother Nutan Tandon (Konkona Sen Sharma). It captures how incompetent behaviour of our judicial system completely destroys the truth and to cover the incompetency how things are twisted and in the bargain justice is denied….

Vishal Bharadwaj very beautifully writes the various aspects and theories behind the murder as per various investigations and people. Almost on the format of Akiro Kurusawa’s “Roshomon” the screenplay is tight and griping and its pace does not slip even for a second. The sequences depicting the various theories of the murder is interwoven beautifully and it shows how much research has gone behind writing the screenplay. Some sequences are just brilliant like the way the investigation is conducted for the first time by the Police when the murder is conducted or the pre climax sequence of the CBI department meeting when both the theories are discussed. It also shows how in today’s world media plays a vital role in building our perceptions and we believe it too the way it is presented in the media. The writing is undoubtedly the highlight of the movie but it is the dialogues which takes the script to the next level…

Next highlight of the movie is the brilliant ensemble cast and their performances. Irrfan Khan as Ashwini Kumar the Investigating officer from CBI is brilliant and gives a crackling performance of an honest and righteous officer who will go to any lengths to prove the truth. Neeraj Kabi as Ramesh Tandon (based on Dr Rajesh Talwar) had the most difficult role but he does it like a cake walk and yet again shows what a brilliant actor he is, the pathos and helplessness of a father is portrayed by Neeraj Kabi brilliantly. Konkona Sen Sharma as Nutan Tandon (based on Dr. Nupur Talwar) gives a crackling performance yet again; the mystery that she brings to the character is just brilliant. The rest of the cast Gajraj Rao, Sohum Shah, Atul Kumar, Sumit Gulati & Prakash Belawadi are all brilliant. Tabu in cameo is good….

The camera work by Pankaj Kumar is as realistic as the subject and maintains the mystery with the correct visuals. The production design Subrata Chakraborty & Amit Ray is so realistic that you get the feeling that the film is shot at the locations where the murder happened. Costume design by Abhilasha Sharma keeps the costume true to life and complements the realistic theme….

The last Highlight and definitely not least is the captain of the ship director Meghna Gulzar, who comes to her own with “Talvar”. She shows what she is actually is capable of and kudos to her for taking up such a subject about which a lot has been written. The brilliance in which she has directed and presented the movie it is as if it is directed by a seasoned director “Talvar” can be easily put as one of the best of thrillers in Bollywood and the first for a woman director in Bollywood….

I will go with 4 and a half stars…..

Movie Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Singh Is Bliing

Singh Is Bliing: Nothing so Blingy, But Akshay Shines

Singh-is-Bliing-PosterAkshay Kumar just like Govinda in the 90’s has created a niche in his kind of comedy and “Singh Is Bling” is a step forward to the same.

Prabhu Deva & Akshay Kumar combo in their last outing “Rowdy Rathore” (2012) was a huge hit. This time Prabhu Deva takes the flavour of “Singh Is King” of an innocent Sardar, Raftaar Singh and mixes it with his kind of masala and presents “Singh Is Bling”. The premise primarily tells us the story of a good hearted but good for nothing Raftaar Singh (Akshay Kumar) who is sent to Goa by his father to work at his friend’s casino. Things change for him when he is given the task of taking care of Sarah (Amy Jackson), daughter of a don Rana (Kunal Kapoor) who comes to Goa from Romania in search of her mother. The comedy of errors which entails constitutes the rest of the movie….

Story & Screenplay by Shiraz Ahmed is like a series of events interwoven into a script, with lack of consistency and cohesiveness. Though the comic sequences does give you enough laughs and keeps you entertained. The first half is breezy and keeps you entertained; it is the second half when the script starts to slip when unnecessary characters are introduced and little bit of emotions is thrust on us. The emotional sequence fails to connect. Some of the sequences are put with no relevance to the overall story like Emily’s sleep walking sequence takes up screen time for no rhyme or reason, or the Punjab sequence when Raftaar takes Sarah to his home, which is stretched with unnecessary song sequence. The climax is a bit over the top what with a single man fighting with dozen men, too farfetched to be true. But overall Shiraz tries to keep the entertainment quotient intact and is successful partially.

It is Chintan Gandhi’s dialogues which are like the cherry on the cake, which complements the screenplay which is essential for a comic caper. Rather it is the dialogues which make a few mundane sequences in different light, especially the sequences when Emily is translating the English to Hindi for Raftaar Singh….

Akshay Kumar is the star of “Singh Is Bliing” and his portrayal of Raftaar Singh, is the reason to watch the movie, it is funny, it is witty and full of paisa vassol entertainment. Akshay again proves that amongst his contemporaries he is the best in comic timings. He yet again proves his verstatlity, whether it is the undercover agent in “Baby”, or an emotional man in “Brothers” or the crusader in “Gabbar Is Back”, or a naive Sardar in “Singh Is Bliing”, he is impressive in each and every role that he has done, kudos to Akshay Kumar for choosing such versatile roles and doing justice to them. Another good performance is by Lara Dutta as Emily the geeky translator; she yet again proves her penchant for comic timings and does an excellent job. Amy Jackson as Sarah has nothing much to do in histrionics department, she just looks good and does some amazing stunts, which is all that she does. Rati Agnihotri as Raftaar Singh’s mother does her bit well. Arfi Lamba & Anil Mange as Raftaar Singh’s friends is very good and they compliment Akshay’s act. Yograj Singh as Raftaar Singh’s father is very good and does complete justice. Kunal Kapoor who appears in Bollywood after a long hiatus as Sarah’s father is impressive but sounds too much like his grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor. Kay Kay Menon as Mark hams unnecessarily all throughout the movie and is one of the worst performances of movie. Rest of the cast like Murli Sharma & Pradeep Rawat do a good job…Overall it is the performance of the ensemble cast which makes the movie a worth watch…

Dudley’s cinematography captures Punjab, Goa and Romania beautifully and gives that glamour quotient to the movie.

Music is another highlight of the movie, but Sneha Khanwalkar’s “Tung Tung Baje” which has the feel of Punjab throughout the song and “Aaja Mahi” the love song by Manj Musik are the best tracks of the movie….

Prabhu Deva breaks his mould of south Indian masala Bollywood movie maker and tries it differently with a bit of more northern touch and it works to some extent, but it is Akshay Kumar who shines through and makes the movie his own with his sheer enthusiasm and dedication….I will go with 3 stars (One additional star for Akshay Kumar)

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

Official Trailer: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

The hit combination of Sooraj R Barjatya & Salman Khan is back after 16 years. Both of them last worked in “Hum Saath Saath Hain” in 1999….and now they have come together with “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”

The story written by Sooraj Barjatya himself  is loosely based on the “The Prince & the Pauper” Salman plays a double role of Prem & Vijay. It is a typical Rajshri family saga full of songs and dances….

Salman Khan last played a double role in “Judwaa” (1997)….the rest of the ensemble cast comprises of Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anupam Kher, Deepak Dobriyal, Swara Bhaskar, Armaan Kohli, Sucheta Khanna, Sanjai Mishra, Bina Kak & Manoj Joshi….well I must say the cast looks impressive…

PRDP

Music has been a strong point for any Sooraj Barjatya movie. This time for “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” the music has been scored by Himesh Reshammiya and lyrics by Irshad Kamil….

“Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” has been produced by Rajshri Productions and distributed by Fox Star Studios…

Whether “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” would repeat the success of “Hum Aapke Hain Koun!!”what with the hit combination of Salman Khan & Sooraj Barjatya….well we have to wait till Diwali and 12th Nov’15 to know the verdict…

Till then enjoy the Official Trailer….