Movie Review: Dear Zindagi

Dear Zindagi: Dear Actors make it Dear to watch

“Dear Zindagi” has a fabulous set up, a stellar ensemble cast led by none other than Shahrukh Khan & Alia Bhatt who come together for the first time, a director like Gauri Shinde whose last outing as a director was “English Vinglish” which was both critically acclaimed and a box office success and a good concept…dear_zindagi_movie_review

“Dear Zindagi” is a movie from the eyes of the principal character Kaira (Alia Bhatt), who has issues with her love relationships as she is commitment phobic, this leads to turmoil in her life, at this juncture she meets a shrink Dr Jehangir Khan a.k.a Jug (Shahrukh Khan) who shows a different perspective of life. Is Kiara able to fight her inner demons and comes out clean is what the movie is all about….

Concept wise “Dear Zindagi” gets ten on ten, but it is the screenplay which becomes the Achilles heel for the movie. The first half is spent on delving on Kiara’s life and just like her life the screenplay by Gauri Shinde also does not go anywhere and it picks up a bit just pre interval when Dr Jehangir Khan enters, and you feel now the movie is going to pick up, but sadly the movie just looses the plot in the second half and becomes a drag. The biggest problem of the writing is that it never peaks and is monotonous throughout. The pace is another hindrance especially in the second half where the numerous psychiatric sessions just becomes too much and you as an audience start feeling to go to a shrink. The biggest drawback of the screenplay is that there is no entertainment quotient which could enhance the overall viewing experience; rather it is more cerebral without any outcome. The writing fails to live up to the entire set up..

Where “Dear Zindagi” scores is its performance from the entire ensemble cast, Alia Bhatt as Kaira is a huge revelation; she carries the complex character on her young shoulders with ease and gives a crackling performance. Alia overshadows everybody including Shahrukh Khan in her portrayal. As an actress Alia’s performance in “Dear Zindagi” is another feather in her cap. Shahrukh Khan as Dr Jehangir Khan plays his age and gives his best after “Chak De”, a very subtle yet impactful performance. We need more such performances from the brilliant Shahrukh Khan. Amongst the host of male leads,  Kunal Kapoor as Raghuvendra, Angad Bedi as Sid and Ali Zafar as Rumi, it is Kunal Kapoor who creates an impact, definitely a good actor who has been under rated and not utilized by Bollywood that much. Angad Bedi after the impactful performance of “Pink” just fizzles out as Sid in the crowd can’t blame him completely but even the writing needs to be blamed. Ali Zaffar as Rumi looks appealing only in the songs and not much can be said about his acting, he remains an eye candy in the movie. Kaira’s friends Fatima a.k.a Fatty played by Ira Dubey and Jackie played by Yashaswini Dayama support Alia Bhatt aptly with their natural and sincere performance, without which Alia’s performance would have looked out of place. Kaira’s Brother played by Rohit Saraf as Kiddo, though not a prominent role and character but still he leaves his mark and his chemistry with Alia as brother and sister is believable. Rest of the cast live up to the expectations and add up in making “Dear Zindagi” bearable…

As the captain of the ship we had huge expectations from Gauri Shinde as a director, especially after the impressive “English Vinglish”, but to our disappointment she falls flat in her second outing whether it is her writing or story telling capabilities. The only department Gauri scores is the concept and above all the performances from each and every actor, I think these are the only two elements which redeems her as a director. But we still believe in Gauri Shinde as a director and would wait for her next with equal anticipation…

Amit Trivedi’s music just does not match the standard of “English Vinglish”, though a few songs like the title track sung by Jasleen Royal & Amit Trivedi and “Just Go to Hell” sung by Sunidhi Chauhan & Amit Trivedi stand out. Was disappointed to see the rip off version of Ilaiyaraja’s “Ae Zindagi Gale laga le” from Sadma sung by Arijit Singh in this movie is left out, it was definitely a track worth to be incorporated…

Laxman Utekar’s camera work makes you fall in love with Goa yet again, and you wanna pack your bags and go for a holiday to Goa…

“Dear Zindagi” unfortunately fails to deliver, it is Shahrukh Khan & Alia Bhatt’s performance which makes it worth a watch…I will go with Two and a Half Star…

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Force 2

Force 2: Forceful Action with Less Impact

force-2-review“Force” the prequel to “Force 2” directed by Nishikant Kamat which released in 2011 which was a remake of a Tamil Movie, established John Abraham as out and out action hero, since then John Abraham has not looked back. Every movie of John is packed with high octane action and show of muscle, and “Force 2” is no less…

“Force 2” starts 5 years hence from where the prequel ended in China where 3 RAW agents are killed, out of which is Harish (Freddy Daruwala), ACP Yashvardhan’s (John Abraham) childhood buddy. It is discovered by Yashvardhan that the leak of RAW agents operating in China has been leaked by the Indian Embassy at Budapest…Yashvardhan along with RAW officer Kamaljeet Kaur a.k.a KK (Sonakshi Sinha) are sent on a mission to Budapest to unveil the reason and the man responsible for the leak….whether Yash & KK are able to crack the conspiracy and find out the guy is what the movie is all about….

“Force” concentrated more on the operations of the Mumbai police and the script and writing had a lot of impact as a thriller and was high on emotional quotient. Well it is the emotional quotient which is almost absent in “Force 2”. The story and screenplay written by Jasmeet K. Reen and Parvez Sheikh is in a espionage format, but after a brilliant espionage movie like “Baby”, even this genre in Bollywood has a high standard now and unfortunately the writing fails to match those standards. The script has loop holes galore like how did Yash understand to decode the code sent by his friend, or how the antagonist has a army of men working for him or how did he crack the list of RAW agents in China which is supposed to be Top secret. Due to these loopholes the story falls through and looks amateurish. The hero is given too much of importance and the RAW people look like idiots. The script right from the word go was to cater to the masses and no importance is given to the finer details of the script. The duo of Yash & KK is on a killing spree and the Hungarian Govt. is not bothered, even in the climax where it shown that there is a Indo-Hungarian Summit happening it is the duo (Yash & KK) who are the crusaders and there is no Hungarian police in site. What is good about the writing is its pace which is very fast and too much time is not spent on romance etc…Otherwise the sequel does not match its predecessor in its writing…

The mounting of “Force 2” is much higher as compared to “Force” and so is the action, the chase sequences and the action are of international standards…thanks to action director Allan Amin and the international action crew which makes the movie worth a watch. Definitely it is the action which redeems the movie…

There is nothing in performance to write home about, John Abraham has the same expression which he had for the last few movies but he looks comfortable only when he has to show his muscles…otherwise John is losing as an actor with each consecutive movie. Sonakshi Sinha is becoming the female action queen of Bollywood and she does not disappoint us on the action front but if we talk of performance, well she did not have too much scope for histrionics, but she still looks and acts like a RAW agent well. It is again Tahir Raj Bhasin who steals the show from under the nose of the lead pair. After “Mardaani”, Tahir again gets his mean act perfect. Narendra Jha as the RAW Chief looks confused throughout the movie and has no clue whether he is coming or going. Adil Hussain as the HRD minister has very less screen time but he still excels in a minuscule role. Raj Babbar is wasted in cameo. The two scene appearance of Genelia D’Souza just warms your heart and you feel she should make a comeback soon. The international cast just manage the show, nothing impressive…

Cinematography by Imre Juhasz and Mohana Krishnan captures Budapest beautifully, even in action sequences…

Abhinay Deo , after an impressive “Delhi Belly” and hindi version of “24”, gives us an average fair. The idea had a lot of scope as a good espionage movie but Abhinay falls prey to the trappings of Bollywood and looses the plot. He needs to thanks the action crew who make the movie a worth watch. But I must mention “Force 2” is a better movie than “Game”…

“Force 2” fails to be forceful and ends up becoming any other action movie…I will go with Three Stars (1 star for its action)

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

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Movie Review: Rock On 2

Rock On 2: Nothing rocking about it…

Excel Entertainment, co-partnered by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani has always tried in re-inventing content in Bollywood, starting from their first “Dil Chahta Hai”. “Rock On” which released in 2008, introduced rock music to Bollywood and each and every song became popular taking the music directors Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to a different level, and so were the movie which was based on a rock band “Magik” and its team members. “Rock On” was not only received critical acclaim but it was a box office hit…So naturally when its sequel “Rock On 2” happens the expectations are naturally sky high…

“Rock On 2” takes you 10 years hence from where the prequel ended, it tells the story of each band member and their respective struggles and how they come together to make music again is what the movie is all about…rock-on-2-review

Story written by the erstwhile director of “Rock On”, Abhishek Kapoor and Pubali Chaudhuri and screenplay by Pubali Chaudhuri, completely looses the plot right from the word go. The movie just does not have any high at all, it is flat all throughout. There is not a single scene which makes you sit up. The screenplay is painstakingly slow and fails to create any interest whatsoever. Even the characters from the prequel Adi (Farhan Akhtar), Joe (Arjun Rampal) and KD (Purab Kohli) look bored and completely exhausted, and their beard look endorses the same. The characters from the prequel which were so interesting, the script fails to take them to the next level rather the writing turns them into a complete bore. Even the introduction of new characters like Jia (Shradha Kapoor) and Uday (Shashank Arora) does not help. The writing is too morose and fails miserably…

Surprisingly the dialogues by Farhan Akhtar which is otherwise witty just sounds mundane and does not help the otherwise bland script a wee bit..

But kudos to the performances, Farhan Akhtar as Adi again gives a honest and impactful performance but it is the writing which overshadows his sincere act. Arjun Rampal as Joe again plays the subtle act well, rather I must say Arjun has become a restrained actor in all these years and it shows well, so another good performance by Arjun. Purab as KD again reprises the role of the chirpy band member again but somewhere he overdoes it and it looks and sounds cheesy. Shradha Kapoor as Jia is her most restrained performance till date where she goes beyond playing a chirpy girl, and she does well but again the writing fails to do justice to her earnest and sincere performance, but whatever said Shradha shows that she can do serious role with equal ease. Shashank Arora and Prachi Desai are wasted in uninspiring roles. Kumud Mishra as Vibhuti Charan Sharma a sarod guru and Jia’s father is a one dimensional character and he has the same morose expression throughout the movie, and is Kumud’s weakest portrayal in recent time. But I must say one of the saving grace of the movie is its performances…

The prequel “Rock On” was success due to its amazing music, somewhere this movie just fails to create that impact with its music. None of the songs in the movie created by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is noteworthy that to in musical is a huge let down..I think it is Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s weakest album till date…A complete let down…

Debutant director Shujaat Saudagar, fails completely in his first outing and does not any spark as well…I must say one of the weakest debut as director in this year…

The other good thing about the movie other than the performance is its cinematography by Marc Koninckx, it captures the natural beauty of Meghalaya like a dream and the movie looks more like a promotion for Meghalay Tourism than a feature film. I am sure after watching the movie visiting Meghalaya would be in the wish list of many…

“Rock On 2” fails at various levels barring the performances and the cinematography, and in a nut shell “Rock On 2” is a promotion for Meghalaya Tourism and nothing beyond that…I will go with two and a half stars…

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

 

Movie Review: Shivaay

Shivaay: Too much ado about nothing

Ajay Devgn always had a penchant for extravagance; remember “Raju Chacha” or even his first directorial venture “U Me Aur Hum”, “Shivaay” is ten steps ahead as far as the mounting of the movie and extravagant production value is concerned…

“Shivaay” traces the journey of a Himalayan mountaineer Shivaay (Ajay Devgn) who runs a business of taking shivaay-movie-reviewtourists for trekking on the Himalayas. In one such trekking expedition he meets Olga (Erika Kaar) a Bulgarian national who loves India. They fall in love and Olga becomes pregnant, but Olga does want to stay in India and has plans in Bulgaria, so she leaves the kid with Shivaay and returns to Bulgaria. Shivaay takes care of his daughter Gaura (Abigail Eames), but things change for them when Gaura expresses her desire to meet her mother. So Shivaay and Gaura go to Bulgaria in search of Olga, whether they are able to find Olga and what happens to them in Bulgaria is what the movie is all about…

Written by Sandeep Srivastava & Robin Bhatt, the movie lacks newness and the story waivers from being a father daughter movie to human trafficking movie and the writing does not justify any of the track. The major issue of the movie is that every sequence just goes on and on as if the writer did not know when to cut the scene. The first half drags incessantly and you lose interest half way through the movie. The second half is heavily inspired by Leeam Neeson’s “Taken” and that to half baked. Another issue is that all the characters look too plastic to be true, and there is absolutely no chemistry amongst the characters, whether it is Shivaay Olga Love Story or the father daughter relationship, it is completely devoid of emotions. The emotional quotient is not present throughout the movie, which is the biggest drawback and in the bargain the audience are disconnected throughout the movie. The run time of 172 minutes is the biggest hindrance that to for a movie that is so mediocre, the writing is absolutely below average…

The same can be said about the dialogues which are very ordinary and old fashioned and adds up to the boredom…

The performances also do not help the movie, starting with Ajay Devgn who plays the titular role, is too banal and early 90’s like. It seems Ajay just sleep walks through his role maybe due to his additional responsibility of direction as well. Another problem Ajay looks too old for the role especially when he is paired with girls half his age. Sayesha Saigal who plays Anushka the official at Indian Embassy, is the only bright spot, her performance in her debut role shows spark and confidence; she is definitely a actor to watch out for. The polish actor Erika Kaar who plays Olga, is another foreign actress trying to make it big in Bollywood after Katrina Kaif made it big, but she is hardly impressive, I may say she was average in the movie, can’t blame her solely as the writing was also at fault. The child artist from Britain Abigail Eames who plays Gaura tries hard to portray the character and she is impressive in bits and pieces but not completely, well blame it on below average writing. Girish Karnard as Anushka’s handicapped father is wasted in a badly written character which makes him look more comic than serious. Vir Das as the geeky hacker Wahab, is irritating mouthing chaste Urdu dialogues, you can make out that he is visibly uncomfortable doing so, and his performance is below average, Vir Das needs to understand that Stand up comedy and acting in a movie are two different ball  games. Saurabh Shukla as the Indian Diplomat who is a Bihari looks more like a caricature. Rest of the international actors look completely lost and they overdo in expressions… Overall all the performances including Ajay Devgn’s are below average…

It is the technical aspect which scores high, whether it is Aseem Bajaj’s cinematography which is brilliant in capturing the snow capped mountains of Bulgaria or the beautiful locations of Musoorie all are spot on. The action sequences are to die for especially the mountain climbing sequences, hence kudos to the action department comprising of Peter Fernandes & Junaid Sheikh, but some sequences are stretched unnecessarily like the car chase sequence or some of the mountain climbing sequences which look super humanly.

The VFX is just too good and is at par with Hollywood and is the highlight of the movie. It is the editing department which falters and impacts the movie, the editing by Dharmendra Sharma could have been much more crisp, more so when the movie was supposed to be an thriller cum action flick…

Music by Mithoon is another highlight, the title song sung by Sukhwindara Singh, Mohit Chauhan  & Badshah haunts you even when the movie is over, it has such an impact, the love duet “Darkhast” sung by Arijit Singh & Sunidhi Chauhan is melodious, the lullaby “Raatein” sung by Jasleen Royal is soothing to the ears, in a nutshell all the tracks are melodious…

Ajay Devgn showed his emotional side with his first directorial venture “U Me Aur Hum”, in “Shivaay” Ajay emphasizes more on the technical aspect than on the script which falls flat and the movie lacks emotional quotient completely. Definitely NOT Ajay Devgn’s best…but I still have faith in him as a director; he just needs a fantastic script to show his mettle as a director….

“Shivaay” does not live up to its expectations due to its average writing and non-existent Emotional Quotient… I will go with Two & Half Stars….

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil: Ranbir wins Dil without any Mushkil

ADHM-movie-reviewKaran Johar movies are essentially escapist cinema which is more of candy floss with beautiful actors wearing high end clothes, amazing locations and high profile song sequences, with a story of the rich and the famous. Barring “My Name is Khan” all his other movies till date have the above formula.

“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” the much awaited Diwali release tells the story of Ayan Sengar (Ranbir Kapoor) who is a rich brat from London who is doing his MBA (Mere Baap Ki Aarzoo)but who wants to be a singer . Things change for him when he meets Alizeh Khan (Anushka Sharma) a free spirited girl who does not live her life by the rules. Both forge a strong friendship, but things get complicated when Alizeh’s ex lover DJ Ali (Fawad Khan) enters their life and Alizeh decides to marry Ali, not knowing that Ayan has started loving her. After Alizeh’s marriage Ayan distances himself from Alizeh’s life and starts life a fresh with Saba (Aishwarya Rai) a Shayara, what happens next as to whether Ayan is successful in forgetting Alizeh and whether Ayan & Saba take their relationship to next level is what the rest of the movie all about…

Written by Karan Johar, the movie celebrates friendship and love with equal fervour, it defines the relationship between a girl and a boy in today’s world. It explores the pain and tribulations of unrequited love through its main protagonist Ayan. Karan in the first half pays tribute to Bollywood with various hit Bollywood songs and gives us many sequences which give us hearty laugh. What Karan gets bang on is the crackling chemistry of Ayan and Alizeh right from the first frame. Some sequences are beautifully written and executed like the Alizeh’s marriage sequence or the dinner table sequence between Ayan, Alizeh and Saba, Karan uses only expressions of these characters to convey the message. The twist at the end just puts the story in a different pedestal. Overall Karan with ADHM tries to drop the candy and keeps the floss intact rather for the first time you see some matured writing from Karan. It is undoubtedly a brave attempt to break the clichés of a love story and presenting a completely different perspective of love, the matured love and the platonic love. The script borders between being chic and modern to melodramatic but with equal balance.

Dialogues in ADHM by Karan and Niranjan Iyengar lifts the script, the first half speaks more of an urban language of youngsters whereas the second half takes a 360 degree and the dialogues are more of shayari and matured.

Well is won’t be wrong to say that ADHM is a Ranbir Kapoor show all the way, and he does not disappoint a wee bit, rather his earnestness in his performance wins your heart as Ayan. Whether the gawky act in the first half to a heart broken and matured lover in the second half, Ranbir does complete justice and carries the movie on his shoulders brilliantly, definitely an actor par excellence. Anushka Sharma as Alizeh brings the required freshness and madness to the character and gives a brilliant performance. Rather it the chemistry between Ranbir and Anushka is what makes ADHM worth a watch. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Saba, the poetess and seductress shows shades of Rekha in her performance, but she holds her own and does complete justice to the character, rather she brings stability to the madness of Ranbir and Anushka. Fawad Khan in a special appearance as DJ Ali rocks. Lisa Haydon as Lisa, Ayan’s girl friend brings the required quirkiness which was required for the character with élan, but at times you feel she overdoes it. Imran Abbas as Faisal looks lost in the bunch of brilliant actors. Shahrukh Khan in a cameo just melts your heart. Overall the performances of the cast do complete justice…

Anil Mehta’s cinematography is like a poem which captures every nuance beautifully, whether it is the picturesque locations of London, Vienna, Paris, Austria or Rajasthan or the emotions portrayed by the actors. Production design by Amrita Mahal was apt as per the premise of the movie.

In a Karan Johar movie costumes play a vital role and ADHM is no exception, the clothes in the movie would easily be a trendsetter, what with some brilliant work by Manish Malhotra, Anahita Shroff Adajania and Samidha Wangnoo…

Another highlight of any KJo movie is its music and Pritam scores some really soulful music for this movie, namely the title song, Bulleya & Channa Mereya, some peppy numbers like the now hugely popular Break Up Song and Cutie pie. All the songs are melody with the superb lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya especially for the title song, Bulleya & Channa Mereya….Music is definitely a high point of ADHM…

Karan Johar has been a king of candy floss in Bollywood but he shows depth in the emotions in ADHM, so in a nut shell the candy is out and the floss remains intact. He makes us laugh even in morbid scenes which shows his inherent humour that he posses and he also shows how big Bollywood fan he is. Portraying unrequited love with entertainment intact and celebrating friendship and platonic relationship with such vigour, kudos to Karan for doing so…

ADHM may not be Karan Johar’s best and may not be a classic but ADHM definitely has its soul intact which is important, I will go with 4 stars….

Movie Rating: (4 / 5)