Movie Review: Azhar

Azhar: A Caricature Than a Biopic

Azhar Movie ReviewBiopics are sensitive themes, if they are not handled with utmost care it becomes a caricature, well “Azhar” falls in that category…”Neerja”, “Mary Kom”, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” are some of the best biopics of Bollywood….

“Azhar” chronicles the life of famous cricketer and ex-captain of India Mohammad Azharuddin from his Hyderabad days to his glory as a cricketer and his fall due to the controversial match fixing case and his lifetime ban from cricket, the movie specifically emphasizes on Azharuddin’s controversial match fixing case and his second marriage to Sangeeta Bijlani. Not much has been explored on his life as a cricketer….

Story & Screenplay by Rajat Aroraa tries to leverage the controversial side of the cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin’s life, the court case in particular for match fixing and his lifetime ban from cricket. Azharuddin’s life had enough happenings for a Bollywood adaptation but Rajat fails to put all the events in a cohesive manner, the screenplay looks like an amalgamation of incidences from the cricketer’s life. The court room sequences which constitute the major part of the movie are the worst written scenes of the movie. Other than cohesiveness the writing fails to connect on an emotional level which is extremely important for a biopic. One of the major issues of the movie is how the characters are written, other than a few characters like the central character Azhar, or his wife Naureen, or the defence lawyer Meera Verma, other character come out more as caricatures than a realistic portrayal. The only good thing about the writing is the love story track of Azhar and his first wife Naureen, it is cute and it pulls your heart strings, albeit briefly. Azhar’s second love story with the Bollywood actress Sangeeta falls flat and looks forced, it just does not delve on the emotional quotient at all and to make the matters worse the actors Emraan Hashmi and Nargis Fakhri who played Azhar and Sangeeta respectively have NO chemistry….Even for the match fixing case the script remains on a superficial level, rather at the end you feel the movie was made to make Azharuddin look like a messiah.. The saving grace of the writing is Rajat’s dialogues which has been his forte and he does not disappoint, but the bad script overshadows the good dialogues…Overall the movie fails in the writing department from the word go…

The performances also does not help the movie, other than Emraan Hashmi who plays the titular role of Azhar, Prachi Desai who plays Azhar’s first wife Naureen and Lara Dutta who plays the defence lawyer Meera Verma, rest of the cast just fail to make any impact. Amongst the three, Emraan Hashmi impresses the most in the way he has copied the body language of the cricketer and does complete justice to his character, he is definitely a good actor which he has proven time and again, remember his performance in “Shanghai”, one of his best, I just hope he gets a better movie where he can showcase his talent well. Prachi Desai brings the poise required in her role extremely well and says a lot through her eyes, another actress whose talent is yet to be exploited fully. Lara Dutta as the fiery defence lawyer Meera Verma does a crackling job, rather I must say in the court room scenes she is the saving grace. Nargis Fakhri as the Bollywood actress Sangeeta only pouts in the name of acting and has the same expression throughout the movie whether she is sad or happy, she looks completely out of place and sleep walks through her role, one of the worst performances of the movie. Kunal Roy Kapoor as Azhar’s lawyer and friend Reddy is a catastrophe, his dialect is the most confusing whether he has a gujrati twang or a hyderabadi twang in the movie, and he looks lost throughout the movie just like his character. Gautam Gulati who debuts in this movie as cricketer Ravi acts as if he is still in “Big Boss” with his over confident swagger. Karanvir Sharma as Manoj with an awkward wig tries hard to play the antagonist, but I must say fails miserably, he hams throughout the movie. Manjot Singh as Navjot looks like a cartoon character thanks to the BAD writing and fails miserably. Good actors like Khulbhushan Kharbanda, Shernaz Patel, Varun Badola and Rajesh Sharma are wasted…

The music of the movie fails to create any impact…

The director Tony D’Souza also known as Anthony D’Souza fails miserably in putting up the biopic…Tony should have stuck to his masala fares like “Boss” & “Blue”…both failed to impress the critics or the box office…

“Azhar” is a bad attempt in creating a biopic and the movie fails in many levels prominent being writing and performances…I will go with 2 stars…

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Movie Review: Baaghi

Baaghi: Nothing Rebellious about this Rebel

Baaghi Movie ReviewSabbir Khan introduced Tiger Shroff to Bollywood in an impressive “Heropanti” which may not be termed as a classic but it was entertaining and an ideal launch vehicle for a newcomer and giving due credit to Tiger Shroff he did not disappoint us. The same director actor duo comes up with “Baaghi”….hence the expectations are high…

“Baaghi” has slim story line of a rebel Ronny who is sent to Kerala by his dying father to Guruswamy (Grandmaster Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj) to be trained in martial arts of Kalaripayattu to discipline his life. On the way to Kerala Ronny meets Sia (Shradha Kapoor) and falls in love. Trouble starts when Raghav ( Sudheer Babu Posani), Guruswamy’s son also falls in love with Sia. Does Ronny get his love and gets tamed by Guruswamy is what the movie is all about….

Story & Screenplay written by Sanjeev Dutta is extremely clichéd and predictable to the core. The love story between the two principle characters which forms the very basis of the story is the weakest without any emotion or chemistry amongst the pair. The love story is filled with clichés and looks dated, and at times the love story is unintentionally funny, like rain being a catalyst to their love. After a point the love story becomes unbearable and the last thing you want to see is the love track. The characters written are extremely sketchy, like why Ronny is rebellious, or why Raghav who is the son of the Trainer Guruswamy becomes so notorious, or the character of Sia’s father who seems to be greedy is never explored properly. The training and action sequences are a direct lift from South Asian movies especially “The Raid”. Rather the training sequences are the only interesting facets of the script but unfortunately it is not explored. Another flaw in the screenplay is, that the sequences are left unfinished, like what happens pre interval or nobody does anything when Guruswamy dies, making no sense. Many characters are introduced but never explored like the child character Subbu who sounded like the child character of “Hatya”. The first half is actually boring and drags….The dialogues also sound very 90’s and dated which pulls down the screenplay yet more….Overall the writing is extremely weak and at the end “Baaghi”  neither is a love story nor a complete action packed movie…

Even the performances do not save the day… Tiger Shroff as Ronny looks like he is repeating his “Heropanti” act, but what worked for him in his debut movie falls flat for him in this movie. He seems extremely uncomfortable in romantic and emotional scenes and looks comfortable only in action sequences. Another flaw is his dialogue delivery which has a heavy English accent; he really needs to brush up his Hindi diction if he wants to survive. Shradha Kapoor as Sia again repeats her “Aashiqui 2”, “Ek Villain” and “ABCD 2” act of a chirpy and girl next door but unfortunately fails this time. I won’t say it was a bad act but then there was nothing new as well, would love to see Shradha in more sensitive roles like that of Arshia in “Haider”. There is absolutely no chemistry between the lead pair… Telegu actor Sudheer Babu who debuts in “Baaghi” as Raghav the antagonist, is the only performance worth watching in the movie, he justifies his menacing act with his portrayal, but it is the writing which pulls down his performance, hope Bollywood gives more chances to Sudheer Babu…Grandmaster Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj the commando trainer of the Indian Army makes his acting debut as Guruswamy in this movie, and he does complete justice to his character and his sequences are few of the worth watching sequences of the movie especially the training sequences but unfortunately the screenplay did not give too much scope to his character. Rest of the cast like Sunil Grover, Sanjay Mishra end up hamming instead of acting and are wasted….

Action is the biggest highlight of the movie; action directors Kecha Kammpakdee and Javed Ejaz choreograph the stunt sequence brilliantly and give an international feel, they exploited the core strength of Tiger Shroff to the fullest…

The Cinematography by Binod Pradhan is one of the highlights of the movie…he captures Kerala and Bangkok like a dream…he gives the dreamy hue in the Kerala sequences and gives the gritty feel while capturing the by lanes of Bangkok….

Music is another highlight of the movie….the top three songs would be “Cham Cham” composed by Meet Brothers and rendered beautifully by Monali Thakur, the love ballad “Sab Tera” composed by Amaal Mallik and rendered by Armaan Mallik & Shradha Kapoor and last being “Girl I Need You” another ballad by Meet Brothers and sung beautifully by Arijit Singh…

Sabbir Khan could not salvage the already weak script with his direction; rather Sabbir is extremely weak in emotional quotient which was evident in his previous movies “Kambakt Ishq” and “Heropanti”. Sabbir looks completely confused what he wanted to make, whether a love story or a martial arts action movie….and the confusion is quite evident in the narration…

“Baaghi” is extremely clichéd and Tiger Shroff’s second outing is a BIG disappointment…the end credits where they show the behind the scenes clippings were more entertaining than the whole movie… I will go with “One and a half stars”….

Movie Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

Movie Review : Nil Battey Sannata

Nil Battey Sannata : Passed with distinction….

Some movies entertain you and you tend to forget them, but some movies are very simple but yet they  entertain you but also tend remain in your mind long after the movie gets over…”Nil Battey Sannata” is one such movie.

The story of “Nil Battey Sannata” captures the trials and tribulations of a mother who has high expectations and big dreams for her daughter. It also captures the strata of the society who need to earn on a daily basis to run their kitchens, our domestic help… Chanda (Swara Bhaskar) is one such domestic help in a small city of Agra who dreams to educate her daughter Apeksha a.k.a Apu (Ria Shukla) and has big dreams for her for which he works in two to three places in shifts in order to educate and give her daughter a different life so that her daughter does not end up becoming a domestic help….But her adolescent daughter lives a care free life devoid of any dreams and is a complete zero in maths… so Chanda’s main concern is to make her pass the 10th Board exam, whether Chanda is able to fulfil her dream of making her daughter pass the 10th Board exam is what the movie is all about…

In the last few reviews I have been emphasizing on the strength of a good script and screenplay and “Nil Battey Sannata” scores full marks for nil-battey-sannata-reviewthe same… The story by Nitesh Tiwari  & screenplay written by Nitesh Tiwari, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Pranjal Choudhary & Neeraj Singh is the biggest highlight of the movie….The relationship of the mother & the daughter is so heart wrenching that you would identify the sweet & sour relationship that we share with our mothers… every single sequence between the mother and daughter is brilliant… another relationship well explored is Chanda’s relationship with Dr Diwan where she works as a domestic help, the bond and relationship between these two characters is believable. To be very frank every character has its special place in the movie whether it is the principal or Apu’s friends, every character is very well written and justifies their presence in the story. Well it may not be too much to say that the writing is one the best which I have come across after a long time, the last such script was of “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”…

The dialogues written by the same team of writers is another highlight of the movie. It complements the script to the fullest. The diction, the language every word is spot on and you cannot find any blemishes in the dialogues as well. Overall the writing is just brilliant…

After writing it is the performances that makes “Nil Battey Sannata” worth a watch…especially the performance of Swara Bhaskar who plays the main protagonist Chanda, a domestic help…Swara just becomes Chanda and I don’t think so there can be any bigger appreciation for her performance. She owns the character and never ever will you feel the Swara Bhaskar of “Tanu Weds Manu” or “Ranjhnaa” or “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”…she is so natural and everything about her portrayal is just brilliant. Swara would definitely be the favourite contender for awards for this year. Next is debutant Ria Shukla who plays Chanda’s daughter Apu, she complements Swara’s performance with equal vigour and helps to create the right chemistry between the character of the mother and the daughter, definitely another brilliant performance. Ratna Pathak Shah as Dr Diwan, Chanda’s employer, is just amazing, the way she underplays the character becomes the beauty of portrayal and the chemistry of both the characters is full marks to Swara Bhaskar and Ratna Pathak Shah….Another brilliant performance is of Pankaj Tripathi who plays the Principal and the maths teacher of the school, Pankaj yet again proves his brilliance with his realistic portrayal, definitely a actor watch out for….rest of the cast also do a brilliant job….Sanjay Suri in a cameo is adorable….

Cinematography by Gavemic U Ary blends brilliantly with the narration and the beauty is how simply Agra and it’s by lanes having been captured….

The next highlight is the production design by Laxmi Kaluskar, which is so brilliant that you would never feel that it is a movie set….and the another highlight is its costume design by Sachin Lovalekar, the costumes builds the characters and Sachin does a brilliant job in getting the looks of the characters just right…

Will have to mention casting director Mukesh Chabra, who gets the casting, right….

At last and definitely not the least, the director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, first kudos to her for choosing such a topic and second executing such a brilliant script, co-written by her, in a simple yet beautiful way. Ashwiny gets the chemistry of the characters bang on and she gets the emotional quotient just right without any melodrama. Will definitely watch out for Ashwiny’s next….

“Nil Battey Sannata”, is simple yet will pull your heart strings and will make you laugh and cry and at the end will put a smile on your face…will go with FOUR stars….

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Official Trailer: Udta Punjab

udta-punjab-official-trailer“Udta Punjab” as the name suggests is based in Punjab and deals with a serious issue of drugs amongst the youth of Punjab….

Directed by Abhishek Chaubey whose earlier movies Ishqiya, Dedh Ishqiya was based in UP and was more of a love story, takes up a serious issue for this movie….

The movie primarily captures the lives of four characters played by Shahid Kapoor who plays Punjabi pop star Tommy Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan who plays Dr. Preet Sahani, Alia Bhatt who plays Kumari Pinky a labour from Jharkhand and Diljit Dosanjh who plays Sartaj Singh a Police Inspector. Diljit who is a super star in Punjabi films debuts in Bollywood with “Udta Punjab”. Satish Kaushik also plays an important role in the movie…

Music has been scored by Amit Trivedi and lyrics by Varun Grover….

The movie has been produced by Balaji Motion Pictures & Phantom Films…

The trailer clearly shows each actor has done a role which they have not tried before and the premise looks interesting, whether this movie which looks and feels different would be appreciated by our audience, well we have to wait till 17th June 2016 when the movie releases. Till then enjoy the Official Trailer…

Movie Review: Fan

FAN: The Jabra FAN shines over SRK

Fan Movie ReviewFor the last few years after “Chak De”, Shahrukh just could not get it right, though his movies did 100 crores but somewhere the actor Shahrukh was camouflaged by the STAR Shahrukh Khan….

Good News is “FAN” brings back the ACTOR Shahrukh Khan on silver screen with the portrayal of Gaurav Chandana who is a BIG fan of Aryan Khanna (Shahrukh Khan) and has a striking resemblance to Aryan. Gaurav is famous amongst his West Delhi locality as the Junior Aryan Khanna. He wins a competition in a local fare and plans to visit Aryan Khanna in Mumbai on Aryan’s birthday and gift the trophy that he has won. But things go out of hand for him in Mumbai and Gaurav finds himself in the receiving end of Aryan Khanna and to his shock his matinee idol refuses to acknowledge Gaurav as his Fan. Dejected Gaurav returns to Delhi but with a vengeance in his heart to teach Aryan Khanna a lesson….is Gaurav able to take revenge from Aryan Khanna is what the movie is all about….

Story & Screenplay by Habib Faisal starts off on a realistic ground and the first half sticks to realism, it is in the second half that the movie takes a complete U turn from Realistic cinema to typical Bollywood masala. The second half is full of glitches and flaws like everybody mistaking Gaurav as Aryan, including Aryan’s guards and wife, whereas in the first half  Gaurav was differentiable, or how did Gaurav end up in London or Aryan a super star taking up on himself to teach Gaurav a lesson looked too farfetched, especially after a realistic start. Another problem with the movie is its screen time of 143 minutes; it could have been easily 30 minutes short. But it is the characterization which stands out in the writing, off course Gaurav’s character is the best written character but even the support characters are also written well, which is Habib Faisal’s forte. The middle class ethos is portrayed brilliantly by Habib Faisal. Another thing where Habib Faisal scores is getting the true feelings of a hard core FAN in his writing. Some sequences do touch your heart and remains with you even after the movie is over, especially the last few scenes in the climax.

Dialogues by Habib Faisal and Sharat Kataria brings the Delhi lingo back and blends with the narration, the words, the pronunciations everything is just apt. It won’t be wrong to say that the dialogues of the movie took the screenplay to a different level….

But what actually makes the movie shine is the performance of Shahrukh Khan, his portrayal of Gaurav Chandana is just brilliant and reminds you of the Shahrukh Khan of “Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa” or “Darr” put together but with a difference, what with him playing a 20 year old at the age of 50 and the complete Delhi mannerism which he nailed with Gaurav. Definitely Shahrukh will be the toast of the awards season for this year. Shahrukh as Aryan gives a restrained performance of cocky headed star, but it is Gaurav’s portrayal which overshadows the entire cast. Deepika Amin as Gaurav’s mother and Yogendra Tikku as Gaurav’s father complement Gaurav’s character beautifully, especially Deepika Amin, good to see that she is getting her due at last. Debutant Shriya Pilgaonkar (Actor Sachin’s daughter) as Neha, Gaurav’s friend is impressive and extremely natural though she has very less screen time, definitely an actress to watch out for. Sayani Gupta as Aryan’s PA, though a small part does complete justice to the character, though her role in the film did not justify her calibre for sure. Debutant Walusha D’Souza as Bela Aryan’s wife, is natural and does a good job, never will you feel that this is her first screen outing, she holds on to her own even in front of the stalwart like Shahrukh Khan. Rest of the supporting cast also do a good job….

Manu Anand’s cinematography gives the extra edge to the movie, whether it is the Delhi by lanes or the beautiful locations of London or Croatia, Manu captures it with brilliance, especially the chase sequences….

Well one of the flaws of the movie is its editing by Namrata Rao, being a thriller it could have been much more crisper but unfortunately some places the movie dips and fails to be a complete thriller…

I give full credit to Maneesh Sharma the director, for digging out the actor Shahrukh Khan for “FAN”. Maneesh successfully brings out the ethos of a FAN brilliantly. Well not to mention his forte in capturing the middle class Delhi brilliantly. Just one complaint Maneesh just looses it a bit in the second half, but extracts brilliant performances from the cast, especially Shahrukh Khan….But I still feel “Band Baja Baraat” as his best till date…

“FAN” is a Shahrukh Khan show all the way, and he does not disappoint with his earnest performance after a long time….I will go with Three and a Half Stars….
Movie Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Azhar: Official Trailer

“Azhar”, is a film based on the Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharruddin. The movie chronicles the cricketer’s journey from being a no one to a renowned cricketer and his controversial life like the famous betting case against him, or his love life with Bollywood actress Sangeeta Bijlani whom he married later or his infamous link up with Jwala Gutta….Azhar Official Trailer

Tony D’Souza, the famous novelist debuts as a director in Bollywood with “Azhar”….

Emraan Hashmi plays the titular role of “Azhar”, for which he almost took a break from other movie assignments to concentrate and prepare for the role of a cricketer. The other cast includes Prachi Desai, Nargis Fakhri, Huma Qureshi, Lara Dutta, Kunal Roy Kapoor, Gautam Gulati, Rajesh Sharma & Manjot Singh…

Written by Rajat Arora the movie expects to explore many facets of the controversial cricketer’s life…

The music has been scored by Pritam & Amaal Mallik…

“Azhar” has been produced by Balaji Motion Pictures, Sony Pictures Networks & Indiana Films Ltd and releases on 13th May 2016….till then enjoy the Official trailer of the movie which provides us the glimpse of what “Azhar” is all about…

Ki and Ka: Movie Review

Ki & Ka: Has the Spice but still remains bland…

Ki_and_Ka_Movie_ReviewBeing different is R Balki’s forte, and “Ki & Ka” is no different. It tells us of role reversal of genders in Indian Society. Abroad house husbands are quite common, but not in India, hence a movie on house husband is a novel idea for India….

R Balki tells us the story of Kia and Kabir. Kia (Kareena Kapoor) is a high flying marketing manager who meets Kabir (Arjun Kapoor) son of a reputed builder, in a flight and subsequently they fall in love and get married..But they were a different couple, where Kabir took the responsibility of taking care of the household chores and Kia took the responsibility of being the bread earner. The movie chronicles whether the love of Kia (Ki) and Kabir (Ka) remain intact in a role reversal of sorts in a society where a “Man” is supposed to be the bread earner and the “Woman” to be the support for the “Man”…

Story & Screenplay by R Balki has a new age feel, and depicts the characters accordingly whether it is Kia’s character of a high flying corporate executive who is ambitious and a go getter or Kabir who is today’s youth who does not have any qualms of adapting to the responsibilities of a house maker or Kia’s mothers character a modern day woman who is comfortable of his daughter being an ambitious go getter and her son-in-law being the house maker. Though the characters are extremely well etched but where the writing fails is its screenplay, Balki fails to create an interesting premise for these extremely strong characters. The screenplay is flat throughout the movie not peaking even once. Rather the screenplay looks like a collaborations of incidents in the couple’s life and their tiffs which does not add any meat to the screenplay. There is not a single scene which stands out from cinematic stand point. Overall the screenplay pulls down the film, and the concept loses its inherent novelty….

It is the dialogue which tries pull up the screenplay a bit through its witty and extremely realistic lingo. The dialogues are believable and blend well with the modern theme…especially all the dialogues pertaining to gender equality and relationship sound extremely natural and realistic, something which today’s viewers would connect to…

The biggest highlight of the movie is its crackling performances by the ensemble cast. Starting with Kareena Kapoor who plays the ever ambitious Kia, well it is good to see a remarkable performance from her after a long time. Kareena again proves her mettle with her portrayal of Kia; she keeps the complexity of the character subtle which brings the freshness in her performance. Arjun Kapoor as Kabir is the scene stellar; his portrayal is effortless and makes the character endearing and lovable through his performance. Arjun shows that he can portray a sensitive character even with his rugged look. But one thing that stands out is the apt chemistry of Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor, I just hope that someone should repeat the pair in a matured love story. It was a delight to see Swaroop Sampat after a long hiatus, and mind you she does not disappoint at all, rather she adds the panache to the movie. Swaroop Sampat’s performance is effortless and brings the necessary balance between the two principal characters beautifully; I hope film makers should cast her more often now. Rajit Kapoor as the Kabir’s businessman father has a small role but he shines with his portrayal of high handed businessman who disapproves his son’s approach to life. The cameo by Amitabh Bachchan & Jaya Bachchan is the biggest highlight of the movie, the banter between Jaya and Amitabh was cute, especially Amitabh’s sulking act won our hearts over. Rest of the support cast does not disappoint as well…

P C Sreeram yet again gives us brilliant cinematic visuals through his excellent camera work. Though with this movie which was shot substantially indoors the cinematographer had absolutely no scope to show his talent, but not with P C, he captures the love and chemistry with absolute élan…

Production Design by Rupin Suchak is innovative, especially the flat of the couple which looks like a railway station….something different from the usual home settings….

Music has never been a strong point in Balki’s movies, so is “Ki & Ka”…. Other than “High Heels” which is the revamped version of Yo Yo Honey Singh’s runaway hit and to some extent “Ji Hazoori” by Mithoon, other tracks are easily forgettable…

Just having a good concept does not suffice for a Good movie but it needs to be backed by a equally brilliant writing which unfortunately is the biggest flaw in R Balki’s screenplay, which is flat throughout the movie…But where Balki scores his getting some brilliant performances from the lead pair and other cast, something which he has been doing brilliantly in his previous movies as well. But Balki’s writing which was brilliant in “Cheeni Kum” and “Paa” was unfortunately seen missing in “Shamitabh” and in “Ki & Ka”, but knowing Balki we are sure he will bounce back with an excellent story again… till then give me “Paa” or “Cheeni Kum” anyday….

For its novel idea and brilliant performances I will give “Ki & Ka”….3 stars…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

Movie Review: Rocky Handsome

Rocky Handsome: Too Brawny Less Brainy

Nishikant Kamat is recognized as a film maker who makes sensible cinema what with “Domibivili Fast”, “Mumbai Meri Jaan”, “Force”, “Lai Bhari” and “Drishyam” remake. “Force” was undoubtedly one of the most stylish and path breaking films of 2011, it actually established John Abraham as an action hero…Rocky Handsome Movie Review

With “Rocky Handsome”, Nishikant Kamat again comes together with John Abraham to re-create the magic of “Force” again. This time they choose to adapt the 2010 Korean hit “The Man From Nowhere”…. It tells the story of Kabir Ahlawat (John Abraham) a man with a past and who runs a Pawn shop in the by lanes of Goa, the only person he is close to is Natalie (Baby Divya Chalwad) a child who is his neighbour. Problem starts when the drug gang lord Kevin (Nishikant Kamat) kidnap Natalie and kills her mother Anna (Nathalie Kaur). Kabir goes onto a rampage against Kevin to find out Natalie, whether Kabir is able to find Natalie is what the story is all about….

Adapted by Ritesh Shah, the screenplay relies heavily on the action sequences, and fails in content. The first half struggles to set up a story and the movie oscillates from being a thriller and action movie. The back ground story of the principal character Kabir is never explored properly right till the end of the movie. Another issue of the movie is it tries to explore all crimes, right from Drugs to illegal organ trade to child trafficking and fails to focus on one making it a jamboree box. One of the main issues of the movie is that none of the characters are very well defined and hence the portrayal looks superfluous. It is said that the antagonist needs to be strong in any action packed movie, unfortunately the antagonist in “Rocky Handsome” look meek and the main protagonist looks like a super hero who can do anything. All the antagonists in the movie look like psychos, and it becomes dawn irritating after a point. Overall the screenplay looks more like a relay of action sequences placed one after another with no relevance to story or content…The dialogues unfortunately remain average keeping the movie flat….

Unfortunately the performances also lack the punch. John Abraham as Kabir Ahlawat has only one expression all throughout the movie and looks convincing only in action sequences where he is punching baddies black and blue. John just sleepwalks through his role making no impact. Nishikant Kamat as the baddie Kevin oscillates being serious and quirky at the same time and ends up half of the time hamming. Sharad Kelkar as the ANC officer impresses must say the actor has come a long way from TV soap operas to silver screen and making an impact as well. The one actor who melts your heart with her cute performance is Baby Divya Chalwad as Natalie, she actually overshadows John Abraham in a few scenes. Divya is definitely a impressive child protégé who has been introduced in Bollywood after a long time. Shruti Hasan in a song cameo looks beautiful…Rest of the cast like Nathalie Kaur, Kazu Patrick Tang, do an average job making no impact what so ever….

Well the real Hero of the movie is its action sequences by Kaecha Kampakdee & Sunil Rodrigues. The stunts are international quality with a lot of finesse though it quite gory at times… Cinematography by Shankar Raman is another highlight, he captures the action sequences as well as teh beautiful locales of Seychelles with equal finesse making the movie look good…

As far as the music goes there is only one song “Rehnuma” sung by Shreya Ghoshal & Inder Bawra and music scored by Sunny & Inder Bawra which is melodious….

Nishikant Kamat with “Rocky Handsome” gets the technical the technical aspect right with larger than life action sequences and an international look but fails in telling a story with finesse which has been his forte till now…

“Rocky Handsome” is your quintessential action saga which has more punches in the action sequences than in the content or performances…. I will go with 2 stars….

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Movie Review: Jai Gangaajal

Jai Gangaajal: Old wind in a new Bottle

Prakash Jha has been synonymous with realistic cinema especially with political background of Bihar. Prakash Jha did a comeback of sorts with “Gangaajal” in 2003 which was based on Bhagalpur blinding incidents and which became a big hit establishing Prakash Jha as a commercial film maker….Jai Gangaajal Movie Review

Jai Gangaajal is an extension of his “Gangaajal” which is based on the same premise of Police Force against corrupt politicians. But the main protagonist is now a female SP Abha Mathur who gets her first big posting in Bankipur district where the local politician Babloo Pandey (Manav Kaul) and his younger brother W Pandey (Ninad Kamat) rule and their atrocities are on the high what with the local police like B N Singh (Prakash Jha debuts in the film) who are hand in gloves with the local politician. The politician is into land mafia due to which the farmers are committing suicide. Is Abha Mathur able to bring justice to the people of Bankipur is what the rest of the movie all about…

Story & Screenplay written by Prakash Jha looks like a mesh mash of his previous films. The major issue of the movie is the main protagonist Abha Mathur’s character which is the weakest in the film and the supporting characters especially Inspector B N Singh over shadows the main protagonist. Rather the character Abha Mathur looks more like a supporting character. The first half is spent on establishing the story wherein there a flashes of some good sequences but in the second half the movie just looses itself and becomes more of sequence of killing and revenge with no concrete story line. The climax is so abrupt that you feel the writer Prakash Jha just wanted to end the movie somehow letting a lot of questions unanswered. Though the screenplay has its moments but it gives just a momentary high to the screenplay and it becomes flat again. One of the biggest flaw of “Jai Gangaajal” is that there nothing new and the movie is predictable. Another flaw is its run time of 158 mins which was too long for a predictable movie….

The dialogues also do not offer anything new and does not show any newness. The dialogues just like the screenplay remains flat. Overall a very disappointing effort in writing…

Maybe the writing is weak but Priyanka Chopra as SP Abha Mathur does complete justice to her character. At times she looked lost due to weak characterization. It is Prakash Jha as B N Singh who steals the show with his realistic portrayal and cool demeanour. Manav  Kaul as Babloo Pandey again repeats his act of “Wazir”, I think somewhere he is replicating his act which may lead to him being type cast. Ninad Kamat as W Pandey gives a brilliant performance of a tyrant who will not stop to get things done his way. Ninad get the rawness of his character right, definitely one of the best performances of the movie. Rest of the ensemble cast comprising of Kiran Karmakar, Murali Sharma, Jagat Singh Solanki, Vega Tamotia, Rahul Bhatt and the child actor Ayush Khedekar do a good job but it is the writing which pulls them down…

Somehow Prakash Jha the actor over shadowed Prakash Jha the director and writer. Somewhere you would feel that Prakash Jha’s intention to make “Jai Gangaajal” was more to launch himself as an actor. His brand of movies is getting repetitive and he needs to rediscover himself. His brilliance was at its peak with “Damul”, “Mrityudand”, “Gangaajal” & “Rajneeti”; we would love to see the same Prakash Jha again…

“Jai Gangaajal” deserves Two and a Half Stars….

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Zubaan

Zubaan: Glitzy & Sparkling without A Soul

Zubaan Movie ReviewOff late “Coming of Age” theme movies have been quite common, “Zubaan” is an addition to that list of movies, and where “Zubaan” is different is its musical format…

Story of Mozez Singh narrates the story of Dilsher (Vicky Kaushal) who is the son of a singer who used to sing Gurubani in a gurudwara in Gurdaspur. Dilsher leaves music after his father’s untimely death and goes to Delhi to earn money and work under his idol, construction magnate Gurpreet Sikand (Manish Choudhary). Dilsher joins Sikand’s construction company which irks his son Surya Sikand (Raaghav Chanana) as Guru Sikand starts giving more importance to Dilsher than Surya. Dilsher meets Ameera (Sarah Jane Dias) in a party who is a free spirited girl and who is a proficient singer. They have instant liking for each other which upsets Surya more. Whether Dilsher achieves success against Surya’s wishes and becomes like his idol or does he re-discovers his love for music is what the movie all about…..

Screenplay by Mozez Singh & Sumit Roy tries a musical format as a narration for a story of ambition and greed but results in two tracks one a story of ambition and other the “Coming of Age” story which does not blend till the end which is the biggest flaw of the writing. The story of ambition and greed with construction as the background has more impact than the “Coming of Age” track. The writing comes out as confused as the lead character Dilsher. The characterization of the main lead Dilsher and Ameera is flawed due its inconsistency. Though other characters like Guru Sikand, Surya Sikand even Mandira Sikand are defined well. Another issue of the movie is its pace which is slow, especially due to the songs which does not blend with the narration and looks as if it has been added as an afterthought. The weakest is the love track of Dilsher and Ameera which is void of any chemistry. In one word the writing is very average without a soul…

Sumit Roy’s dialogues are also not that impactful which could have helped the otherwise flawed screenplay.

The biggest highlight of the movie is its performances, especially of Vicky Kaushal who plays Dilsher. Vicky proves that “Masaan” was not a fluke and that he is an actor to look forward to. His Punjabi dialect to his stammer is perfect, and his innocent yet shrewd portrayal is a cracker. Sarah Jane Dias as Ameera does not have much to do, other than adding the glamour quotient, but she does justice to whatever is given to her. Manish Choudhary, an actor who has been under utilized by Bollywood shows off his histrionics as Guru Sikand a shrewd businessman brilliantly. Another highlight performance of the movie is that of Raaghav Chanana as Surya Sikand, his not so confident and a perpetual loser, yet vulnerable portrayal takes your heart away at the end of the movie. Meghna Mallik as Mandira Sikand has a small but an impactful role which she does complete justice to. Rest of the cast also does a good job…

The second highlight of the movie is its music which is composed by an ensemble of music directors  Ashu Pathak, Ishq Bector, Shree D, Manraj Patar especially the tracks “Music is my Art”,“Ajj Saanu O Mileya” & “Kori Pukaar”….

The third highlight of the movie is its choreography by Uma Shankar & Gaiti Nair, special mention of “Music Is my Art”, “Kori Pukaar” which had the international dancers Les Twins, “Dhruvtara” & “Tu Hain Tera Khuda”…

The fourth highlight of the movie is its cinematography by Swapnil Sonawane which captures the country side of Punjab, the high society of Delhi and the barren desert of Rajasthan with equal finesse, making each frame picture perfect…

The Fifth highlight is Aki Narula’s costume design, which is subtle to over the top depending on the characters….

Mozez Singh gives us a technically brilliant movie with some great performances, soulful music, amazing cinematography, imaginative choreography but somewhere all this does not blend together due to its weak writing. Mozez Singh packages the movie well but misses the soul hence does not touch the hearts of the viewers….

Nevertheless a good effort….I will go with Three stars…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Official Trailer: Fan

Yashraj Films “Fan” as per the promos is a different kind of Shahrukh Khan movie, which is not romance but a thriller wherein Shahrukh Khan plays a double role that of a super star Aryan Khanna & his 20 year old fan Gaurav.

As the name suggests the story written by Habib Faisal is of Gaurav, who is the biggest fan of Aryan Khanna and what conspires due to Gaurav’s madness for Aryan Khanna is what the movie is all about….

Fan-First-Official-Trailer

Maneesh Sharma after his not so successful “Shuddh Desi Romance” (2013) is back with a movie which has a large canvas with super star Shahrukh Khan. Definitely this is Maneesh’s biggest film till date after Band Baaja Baraat, Ladies Vs Ricky Behl & Suddh Desi Romance….

The principal cast of the movie has Shahrukh Khan (In a double role), Shriya Pilgaonkar (Actor Sachin Pilgaonkar’s daughter who is debuting with this movie), Waluscha De Souza, Deepika Amin & Yogendra Tikku….

To get the looks right for the character Gaurav, Academy Award winner makeup artist Greg Cannom (Won Oscar for Mrs Doubtfire, Bram Stocker’s Dracula & The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) has been signed, and I must say he has done an impressive job with Shahrukh’s look for Gaurav…

The movie was launched in Dec’13, but the actual shooting commenced from July’14, and the actual release date was early 2015, but due to Shahrukh Khan injuries teh movie got delayed and the release date was shifted to 14th Aug’15, but again the release got delayed due to post production work of complex computer graphics and now the movie is releasing on 15th April 2016…

“Fan” has been extensively shot in Mumbai, Delhi, London & Croatia…

Music has been scored by Vishal-Shekhar….and the song “Jabra Fan” has been released…

“Fan” is produced and distributed by Yashraj Films….and releases on 15th April’16….Official Trailer below…

Movie Review: Tere Bin Laden Dead Or Alive

Tere Bin Laden Dead Or Alive: A half baked satire which could have been better

Tere-Bin-Laden-Dead-or-Alive Movie ReviewBollywood has not been too successful with sequels, excluding an off case of Munnabhai series wherein “Lage Raho Munnabhai” was better than the prequel…

“Tere Bin Laden” in 2010 was a surprise hit, wherein a satire was presented extremely well by director Abhishek Sharma. Actor Pradhuman Singh became famous as a Osama Bin Laden look alike…

I guess it was the success of the prequel which motivated the film maker to make a sequel. “Tere Bin Laden Dead or Alive” starts with the making of “Tere Bin Laden” by director Sharma (Manish Paul) who meets Paddi Singh (Pradhuman Singh) and decides to make a movie on Osama Bin Laden. The movie becomes a hit but all the accolades are taken by Ali Zafar the lead of the movie. Sharma & Paddi Singh is left high & dry. In the mean time America kills Osama Bin Laden and the world media ask its President (Iman Crosson) for the proof of Osama death. The president asks his associate David (Sikander Kher) to look out for a solution. David stumbles upon a video of the movie “Tere Bin Laden” and he comes up with an idea of shooting a video with the Osama look alike Paddi Singh wherein the entire sequence of Osama’s killing is shot. In the mean time an arms dealer in Pakistan Khaleeli (Piyush Mishra) whose business is down due to the killing of Osama Bin Laden also stumbles upon the video of “Tere Bin Laden” and he wants to kidnap Paddi Singh to make a video and show the world that Osama is alive. So what happens to Paddi Singh whether the Americans get him or the terrorists is what the movie is all about…

Story written by director Abhishek Sharma himself is a half baked satire and more of a mockery. The screenplay again written by Abhishek Sharma with Neha Sharma looks more like a mesh mash of sequences put together as a screenplay. The main issue of the writing is its flow which is not cohesive and every sequence looks dis-jointed. But we have to give to Abhishek & Neha who have been successful in putting in some punches which make you laugh like the “Olympia E Dahshat” sequence or the whole kidnapping sequence is hilarious. The first part excluding the beginning wherein too much time is spent on the making of “Tere Bin Laden” still holds on and you have enough laughs. It is the second half where the movie slips and the punches look repetitive and monotonous. The climax is actually extremely clumsy and does not end on high as its prequel. After the movie only three characters remain with you Paddi Singh, David and Khaleeli, rest of the characters does not have enough meat in the writing to create an impact. Overall a very average writing…

The dialogues by actor Pradhuman Singh try to lift the screenplay. I must say it is the dialogues which is the saving grace of the movie, especially that of Paddi Singh which gives you the laughs…

It is actor Pradhuman Singh as Paddi Singh who creates the maximum impact in the movie, though it is repeat act from the prequel but it does not look monotonous even a wee bit, all thanks to Pradhuman’s excellent performance. Another actor who makes an impact is Sikander Kher as David Chaddha, I think this is Sikander’s best film till date. Sikander gets enough screen time and does justice to it as well. Manish Paul as director Sharma fails to create an impact and looks lost, though he tried very hard but you can feel that his spontaneity which is seen more in his hosting is missing. Piyush Mishra as Khaleeli yet again proves what a brilliant actor he is, and also shows that he can excel in comedy as well. Rest of the cast like Sugnadha Garg, Iman Crosson, Rahul Singh, Chirag Vohra does not create too much of an impact. Ali Zaffar hams in his cameo which was completely not needed.

The production design by Wasiq Khan looks a tad shoddy and at times amateurish, I may say a bit over the top especially the choppers look like cardboard boxes… Cinematography by Amalendu Chaudhary also was inconsistent. Chandan Arora’s editing could have been better. Overall the technical aspect of the movie could have been better…

Music by Ram Sampath & Ali Zaffar fails to impress….

Abhishek Sharma had a brilliant concept and idea but somehow fails to implement both in the sense of engaging script and technical finesse, but where he wins brownie points is getting crackling performance by Pradhuman Singh, Sikander Kher & Piyush Mishra…

It won’t be too much to say that the movie is worth a watch for Chaddi Singh a.k.a Pradhuman Singh, I will go with Two & Half a stars….

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Aligarh

Aligarh: Manoj Bajpai all the way…

Till now Homosexuality or gay characters are shown as caricatures in Bollywood, and gay jokes are used more for comic situations and shown in bad light.

Well “Aligarh” changes it once and for all, Hansal Mehta has taken special care in handling a sensitive subject and done a commendable job. “Aligarh” is based on the true events of Dr. Srinivas Ramchandra Siras, a professor and HOD of Department of Modern Indian Languages in Aligarh University. On 8th Feb 2010 two strangers from local news channel of Aligarh barged into Dr Siras’s (Manoj Bajpai) house and made a video of Dr Siras and a rickshaw puller in a compromising position. On 9th Feb 2010, Dr Siras is suspended from Aligarh University for misconduct. A journalist Deepu Sebastian (Rajkumar Rao) after reading this meets Dr Siras and writes the true story of Dr Siras and raises questions on Aligarh University’s suspension of Dr Siras. The article gets people’s attention and an NGO decides to fight the case of Dr Siras against Aligarh University. Dr Siras wins the case on 1st April, 2010 but is found dead in mysterious circumstances on 7th April 2010….aligarh-movie-review

Story written by Ishani Banerjee explores the events Dr Siras from 8th Feb’2010 and chronicles the events there after with utmost sensitivity and care. Her writing is less judgemental and more factual which raises pertinent questions on Sec 377 and right of an individual to choose his/her sexual preference and whether an individual should be victimised for his sexual orientation. The beauty of Ishani’s writing is its characterization, especially of Dr Siras which tries to explore the real Dr Siras and his pathos…

Screenplay by Apurva Asrani takes a step further with narration of the events on screen. But the pace is an issue, which oscillates from being extremely slow to abrupt. The court case is shown more as a background and ends abruptly, I felt some more screen time should have been given to the court proceedings. The other flaw in the screenplay is the relationship of Deepu and Dr Siras was not explored to the fullest. Otherwise the writing does complete justice to the subject and handles it sensitively….

It is Manoj Bajpai who owns the movie and does a spectacular job of Dr Siras, from his demeanour to his body language to way he speaks, everything is spot on. Manoj speaks a thousand words through his eyes. All the pathos and loneliness is depicted brilliantly by Manoj through his eyes, actually you start feeling his pain that is how brilliant he is. Rajkumar Rao as the journalist Deepu Sebastian complements Manoj’s performance with his carefree portrayal of a rookie journalist. Ashish Vidyarthi as the lawyer Ashish Grover makes an impact with his no nonsense portrayal; rather it is good to see Ashish back in Bollywood. The rest of the cast also does a brilliant job…

For a movie to succeed in connecting with the audience it is essential to have the right ensemble cast and I must mention Mukesh Chabra the casting director for getting it RIGHT as far as the casting is concerned for “Aligarh”.

Cinematography of Satya Rai Nagpaul captures the mood perfectly and blends with the narration. Production design by Indranil Chowdhury is apt and you feel as if the movie has been shot in the real locations. Pia Benegal’s costume design gives the right texture to the characters…

Hansal Mehta yet again proves that he is a pro in handling sensitive subjects with élan. The sensitivity in the subject is dealt; it is beyond doubt the best movie on homosexuality. And his combination with Manoj Bajpai definitely a Director actor combo to look out for in the future…

I will go with Three & a Half stars….

Movie Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

 

Official Trailer: Ki & Ka

Ki_and_Ka_Official_TrailerTrust R Balki to come up with something extremely different right from his first movie “Cheeni Kum” (2007), Paa (2009), Shamitabh (2015) and now “Ki & Ka”….

“Ki & Ka” as the name sounds different so is the plot wherein Kia (Kareena Kapoor) and Kabir (Arjun Kapoor) our quintessential urban modern couple do a role reversal, where Kabir decides to be the house husband and Kia decides to be the career woman who will take care of house hold expenses. So will our Indian society accept this unusual couple is what the movie is all about….R Balki himself has written the script….

R Balki has taken an unusual pairing of Kareena Kapoor & Arjun Kapoor and the rest of the cast comprises of Swaroop Sampat (making a comeback), Rajit Kapoor and Amiabh Bachchan & Jaya Bachchan in a cameo….well quite an interesting cast I must say…

R Balki again teams up with P C Sreeram for cinematography and for music he again teams up with Illaiyaraja, but to give a contemporary sound Balki has also used Mithoon and Meet Bros Anjan to score the music for Ki & Ka…

The movie has been produced by R Balki, Sunil Lulla, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala & R K Damani….under Hope Productions and distributed by Eros International….

The movie releases on “Fools Day”, 1st April’16….till then enjoy the Official Trailer…..

Movie Review: Neerja

Neerja: A befitting tribute to brave heart Neerja Bhanot

Neerja Movie ReviewMovies based on real life incidents are very difficult to make as the people are aware of most of the facts and to top it all are aware of the outcome in such a scenario it is a challenge for the director and the writers to weave in a screenplay which keeps the audience glued till the end….

“Neerja” is based on the PAN AM plane highjack incident of 1986 in Karachi where the flight purser Neerja Bhanot saved the lives of 329 passengers from the Palestine terrorists. Neerja (Sonam Kapoor) a senior purser of PAN AM and a part time model boards PAN AM Flight 73 on 5th September 1986 to New York via Karachi and Frankfurt. When the flight lands in Karachi early morning 5th Sept’86 it is high jacked by Palestine terrorists, who had a plan to fly the plane to Cyprus and force the Government to free the Palestine terrorists who have been jailed. But their plan hits a road block when the pilot crew of the flight escape from the cock pit. The passengers and the rest of the crew are stranded with the terrorists in the flight not knowing what will happen. How Neerja with her intelligence and bravery is successful in saving the lives of the passengers forms the crux of the story.

One of the biggest highlight of the movie is its story and screenplay by Saiwyn Quadras. The screenplay captures the string of events in a thriller format keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Saiwyn beautifully weaves in back story of Neerja Bhanot’s failed marriage in the screenplay. Where the screenplay scores the highest is its characterization, whether it Neerja Bhanot’s characterization or her mother’s Rama Bhanot’s characterization or her father Harish Bhanot, even the terrorists, every character has been written with utmost precision which eventually elevates the narration. Another highlight of the screenplay is its pace which does not slow even for a moment but still it has the emotional quotient intact. The mother daughter track is the best track of the movie; it gives you the moments and also builds the tension. Saiwyn has been successful in maintaining the tension all throughout the movie without making it melodramatic and keeping it as realistic as possible. Though I felt a back story of why the terrorists high jacked the plane would have been put an extra edge to the narration, but overall the screenplay is the winner….

Dialogues by Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh are real and believable without any melodrama or any discourses on patriotism or bravery. To keep it realistic the dialogues of the terrorists have been kept in their native language with sub titles without trying to explain in Hindi which does not hamper the narration. The best dialogue off course is in the climax which gives the last bit of finishing touch to the story of a brave heart Neerja Bhanot…..

Second highlight of the movie are its performances, Sonam Kapoor as Neerja Bhanot makes it her own and gives a crackling performance, frankly her best till date. To be honest I had written off the movie even before watching “Neerja” as I thought that Sonam Kapoor was a wrong choice for the movie, but I am happy to say that I was wrong. But the best performance has been of Shabana Azmi as Neerja’s mother Rama Bhanot, she underplays her character as a house wife in the beginning but slowly and steadily displays the strength of a tough woman as the movie progresses. Shabana Azmi kills it in the climax with her performance and ends the movie on a high. Yogendra Tikku as Neerja’s father Harish Bhanot also does a brilliant job of a supportive father. Music composer Shekhar Ravjiani debuts in a cameo of Neerja’s lover Jaideep, and he shines in the cameo though there was not much to be done. Jim Sarbh as the hot tempered terrorist Khalil is the most impactful performance of the movie. Jim’s portrayal exudes tension in the narration and the unpredictable streak kept the audience guessing. Rest of the cast also does a commendable job making the movie worth a watch…

Third highlight of the movie is the back ground score by Vishal Khurana which enhanced the tension of the narration. Vishal did not make it jarring or overpowering the sequences, but blended with the narration….

Fourth highlight of the movie it is production design by Aparna Sud and Anna Ipe, recreating the PAN AM flight to Karachi Airport to a middle class house everything is done with precision and with eye on details. Especially the PAN AM flight, no where will you feel that it is a set….

Ram Madhwani  in his first Hindi and second movie as a director (his first movie was the highly acclaimed Boman Irani starrer “Let’s Talk” in 2002) showcases his genius well. Right from the research for the story to extracting brilliant performances from the cast, especially Sonam Kapoor to an engaging narration, Ram has hit the bull’s eye. He really has proved that he is director to watch out for and you do not need to be melodramatic to show bravery or patriotism, it can be subtly done with realism and yet can create an impact….

A movie NOT TO be missed and worth a watch I will go with 4 stars….

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Latest Movie Trailers: Kapoor & Sons

Kapoor & Sons- Synopsis

Dharma Production is back with a triangular love story “Kapoor & Sons” which is primarily a story of two brothers Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra) who fall for the same girl Tia (Alia Bhatt). Well you wonder what is new, the new twist is the backdrop of a dysfunctional family of the Kapoors which includes the GrandpaOfficial Trailer of Kapoor & Sons (Rishi Kapoor), the parents played by Rajat Kapoor the father and Ratna Pathak Shah the mother. Written by Ayesha Devitre Dhillon and Shakun Batra “Kapoor & Sons” is a heady mix of a triangular love story with a quirky dysfunctional element makes it a bit different…

The ensemble cast of Rishi Kapoor, Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Rajat Kapoor & Ratna Pathak Shah makes it more compelling…

Shakun Batra is back wearing the director’s hat for the second time after “Ek Main Aur Ek Tum”(2012). Dharma Production’s latest offering has music by a band of music directors Amaal Mallik, Badshah, Fazilpuria, Arko Parvo Mukherjee, Benny Dayal, Nucleya & Tanishka Bagchi, well which makes the music much awaited…

The cinematography is by Jeffery F Bierman and Edited by Shivkumar V Panickar…..

“Kapoor & Sons” is produced by Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar & Apoorva Mehta and distributed by Fox Star Studios and hits theatres 18th March 2016….

Till then enjoy the Official Trailer Below….

Movie Review: Ghayal Once Again

Ghayal Once Again: Hardly anything to be “Ghayal” About

Ghayal Once Again Movie ReviewOnce upon a time in Bollywood there was a genre called the Deol genre which meant shouting in the name of acting and Super human powers accompanied with “Dhai Kilo ka Haath” where people used to fly if Sunny Deol gave them one punch, the adrenalin rush made box office hits. But that was 1990’s but now we are in 2016, and today Bollywood movies have seen a sea change in the way the movies are made and presented….

But unfortunately “Ghayal Once Again” belongs to the 1990’s genre of Bollywood action movies where the hero is the supreme power and has the capacity to change the society single handedly….

So the story of “Ghayal Once Again” starts where “Ghayal” (1990) ends and Ajay Mehra (Sunny Deol) who is out of jail and suffering for nero issues (which is not made clear whether it was mental issue or neuro issue)and runs an honest newspaper “Satyakam” which is famous for its various sting operations and expose. Things changes for Arun when his good friend and confidant Ex ACP Joe D’Souza (Om Puri) gets killed in an accident, but his whole world gets completely changed when a bunch of college kids comprising of Rohan (Shivam Patil), Anushka (Aanchal Munjal), Varun (Rishab Arora)  and Zoya (Daina Khan) accidental shoot the video of Joe D’Souza’s murder by city’s richest businessman Raj Bansal’s( Narendra Jha) son Kabir Bansal (Abhilash Kumar) and the real reason of Joe D’Souza’s death surfaces. Is Arun able to get justice for Joe’s murder is what the movie is all about..

Story written by Shaktimaan Talwar, Sagar Pandya and Sunny Deol himself and screenplay by Sanjay Masoom & Vishal Vijay Kumar tries to re-create “Ghayal” through its main protagonist Arun Mehra, but somehow fails miserably. The main issue of the story & the screenplay is its confused genre whether it is a movie on youth or a revenge drama or a thriller or an out and out action movie, till the end the audience could not make out. Just showcasing technological advancement does not make it a modern and contemporary movie. “Ghayal Once Again” tries to be under the shadow of its original “Ghayal”, but the problem is times have changed and the way a story is narrated is completely different in 2016 than how it was told in 1990. The screenplay follows the age old style of narration which falls flat, especially in the second half when unnecessary emotional twists are introduced which has no relevance what so ever. All the characters including the main protagonist Arun Mehra look like card board characters straight out of a below average Bollywood potboilers from the 80’s….

The dialogues by Vishal Vijay Kumar is too 90’s and sounds artificial. Having some English dialogues does not necessarily mean that it is today’s lingo. None of the dialogues make any impact in this high octane melodrama…

The biggest flaw of the movie are its performances, starting from Sunny Deol as Arun is over the top and repetitive shouting and screaming in the name of acting really bogs you down. The young debutants Shivam Patil, Anchal Munjal, Diana Khan and Rishab Arora are complete wash out as far as their performances goes, they look outright unconvincing. Narendra Jha as Raj Bansal is the only decent performance amongst the entire cast, though weak writing puts his performance down. Soha Ali Khan as Dr Rhea looks perpetually lost throughout the movie. Manoj Joshi as the Home Minister Appa Saheb overacts and hams incessantly. Other actors like Ramesh Deo, Zakir Hussain, Sachin Khedekar, Tisca Chopra, Neena Kulkarni, Nadira Babbar and Om Puri are wasted in small roles.

Sunny Deol as a director has only emphasised on the CGX which I must say is good, but fails to put a soul into the movie neither through its writing nor by extracting good performances from his ensemble cast. Sunny Deol’s first movie “Dillagi” was still better than “Ghayal Once Again”. In this movie Sunny completely looses track of what he intends to show….

Definitely an extremely weak attempt…I will go with One and a Half star….

Movie Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

 

Movie Review : Saala Khadoos

Saala Khadoos: It could have been better if it had been more Khadoos

It is good to see a new trend in Bollywood of sports movies, especially woman oriented sports movies which off course was started with “Chak De India”….Saala Khadoos Movie

But the problem is just having a concept and script of sports movie is not enough, it needs to have the soul at the right place, unfortunately after “Chak De India” none of the movies could create that impact, though “Mary Kom” had some positives…

“Saala Khadoos” takes the concept of “Chak De India” but in Boxing and tries to narrate the story of ex boxer Aditya Tomar (R Madhavan) who falls prey of dirty politics of Deb (Zakir Hussain) his ex coach and now the Head coach of the Boxing academy for Women and transferred to Chennai where he discovers Madhi a fisherman’s daughter and grooms her to be boxer, whether Aditya is able to fight the system and whether he is able to make Madhi a champion, is what the movie is all about…

Sudha Kongara Prasad who debuts as a director in Bollywood with “Saala Khadoos” has also written the story and screenplay. Sudha gets the premise absolutely bang on, the politics, non availability of resources to train the upcoming talents, lack of infrastructure for training and the corruption involved in selection process everything is shown with complete conviction. Where Sudha looses in the narration is the lack of emotional quotient which is extremely important for such movies and unfortunately it lacks throughout the movie, which fails the audience to connect with the movie. Another aspect which could have been better is the writing of the characters, not too much attention is given to the back story of Aditya which should have been the crux of the story justifying his violent behaviour, similarly Madhi’s character could been written better. If the characters were written better the audience would have sympathised and connected with the lead characters. The biggest flaw in the writing is its weak climax, in such movies the climax needs to be emotionally charged so that it ends with a high, but unfortunately it does not. Overall the writing could have been much better so the movie could have ended at a high….

It is the performances of the movie which is the biggest highlight. Madhavan as Aditya is one of his best performance, he gets into the skin of the character right from his body which he has especially build for the movie and his mannerism of a strict disciplinarian coach, definitely the best performance of the movie. Debutant Ritika Singh, who is a professional boxer plays Madhi convincingly right from her tapori act to her boxer act; undoubtedly a good debut. Debutant Mumtaz Sorcar as Laxmi, Madhi’s elder sister also does a good job and does complete justice. Nassar as the junior coach also does a good job. Zakir Hussain as the menacing Head Coach Deb is the second best performance of the movie.

Sudha Kongara’s debut venture as a Bollywood director is first rate but it is the writing which is a downer, but somehow she overcomes the shortcoming of the script by extracting brilliant performance from ensemble cast. Sudha definitely shows the spark and will be a director to watch out for….

The camera work of Sivakumar Vijayan blends well with the narration, by capturing Hisar to Chennai well…

“Saala Khadoos” is good sports movie but definitely could have been better as far the Emotional Quotient is concerned, I will go with Three Stars (One extra star for Madhavan’s performance)

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review: Airlift

Airlift: A story of courage said with perfection

Movie Review of Airlift

Movie Review of Airlift

We always complain about the conditions of our country taking the facilities given to us for granted, well “Airlift” shows us whatever our country has given us should be cherished.

“Airlift” is based on the real life events wherein a Kuwait based Indian businessman with the help of the Indian Government took the responsibility of getting back 1,70,000 Indians from Kuwait when Sadam Hussain invaded Kuwait. It tells the story of Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar) a successful businessman in Kuwait who takes the onus of 1,70,000 Indians stranded in Kuwait to send them back to India, and with the help of the Indian Government succeeds in getting back 1,70,000 Indians from Kuwait….

Written by Raja Krishna Menon, Ritesh Shah, Suresh Nair & Rahul Nangia the screenplay chronicles the events which led to the rescue of the Indians stranded in Kuwait. The writers have been successful in re-creating the events but the biggest plus about the writing is its characterization; each character is written and conceived well. Though there could have been more tension depicted during the attack which is a bit of a downer, the other thing which could have better is the climax, it could have been a bit more nail biting. But otherwise overall the writing does complete justice to the events, especially when the flag is hoisted in the Jordan Airport at the climax, your heart will fill up with emotion….

But the biggest highlight of the movie is its performances. Akshay Kumar’s act as Ranjit Katiyal a shrewd businessman who decides to stand by for his fellow Indians is the best performance of the movie. After “Baby” Akshay yet again proves with his performance in “Airlift” that he is not an actor who can be ignored. With every movie Akshay is raising his bar as an actor showing his versatility. Nimrat Kaur as Amrita Katyal, Ranjit’s better half gives a power packed performance; her whole transformation from a snooty rich house wife to a woman who stands for his man in his endeavour is natural and believable. Nimrat’s performance compliments Akshay’s portrayal, and both look good as a pair, I hope more film makers cast them again. Innamul Haq as the Iraqi major gives a memorable performance, his dialect to his body language everything is perfect to the “T”, definitely an actor to watch out for in future. Prakash Belawadi as George the grumpy old man yet again gives a stellar performance after “Talvar”; he convincingly portrays the irritating character. Purab Kohli also shines in small role of Ibrahim, most of his performance is through his eyes, another actor who has been royally ignored by the industry though he has the talent. Another brilliant actor Kumud Mishra as the External Affairs Joint Secretary Sanjeev Kohli does an exemplary job, yet another actor who has been ignored for long. Rest of the ensemble cast of Nissar Khan, Ninad Kamat, Surender Pal, Kaizaad Kotwal do an excellent job, thus raising the standard of the movie.

Priya Seth’s cinematography complements the narration and brings that extra edge to the proceedings….

Director Raja Krishna Menon after relatively smaller movies like “Bas Yun Hi” & “Bara Anna” comes to his fore with “Airlift”. It is not an easy task to adapt a real life event, but Raja does it with complete conviction and succeeds as well, especially in extracting the performances from the actors. Thanks to Raja that a lot of good actors got a chance to showcase their talent in this movie. Well Raja Krishna Menon is definitely a director to watch out for…

Though Music does not play too much of part in “Airlift” but one song which needs a mention is the song “Tu Bhoola Jise” sung beautifully by KK and music by Amaal Mallik and the romantic “Soch Na Sake” sung by Arijit Singh, Tulsi Kumar and Amaal Mallik and music by Amaal Mallik…

“Airlift” tells the inspiring story of courage with panache, definitely a MUST watch, I will go with 4 stars….

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review : Wazir

Wazir: Not too many thrills as a Thriller

“Wazir” has a fantastic set up, a stellar cast of Amitabh Bachchan & Farhan Akhtar, a good concept and a fantastic set up to mount the movie…..but still “Wazir” makes you feel wanting for more after the movie is over….

The spark that Bijoy Nambiar showed us in “Shaitaan” is missing in “Wazir”….the concept was brilliant with a premise of a crippled Chess player Omkar Nath Dhar a.k.a Pandit ji (Amitabh Bachchan) who meets Danish Ali (Farhan Akhtar) a suspended ATS officer who has lost his daughter for his duty and in bargain his wife Ruhana (Aditi Rao Haidri) leaves him. Pandit ji whose daughter gets killed mysteriously at politician Izaad Qureshi (Manav Kaul) house wants to unravel his daughter’s death, the rest of the movie deals with Panditji and Danish’s struggle to get justice….

The story and screenplay by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi had a good premise but looses the steam as it Wazir Movieprogresses and the second half though full of twists and turns but still it fails to create an impact. And the climax which actually reveals the suspense does not create the impact which should have been created. The whole reference to chess and wazir does not come out that clearly. The screenplay could have been tighter by creating more twists. It is said that the antagonist of the story needs to be strong but somehow the character of Izaad Qureshi seems too weak and is shown as an easy target. Though the principal characters of Panditji and Danish are written well, the writing for the rest of the cast is not upto the mark. Rather the whole suspense of the Wazir just fails to impress making the climax look weak…

It is the performances of the cast that makes the difference especially Amitabh Bachchan who plays Panditji with complete conviction and gives a crackling performance to complement him Farhan Akhtar as Danish Ali as the ATS Officer gives a convincing performance as well, this being one of his first serious action role, he bowls us over with his earnest performance. But it is Amitabh Bachchan’s show all the way. Manav Kaul as Izaad Qureshi the politician gives a good performance but it is the writing which pulls him down. Neil Nitin Mukesh as Wazir has a small but effective role which he does with full conviction. Aditi Rao Haidri as Roohana does not have much to do other than looking beautiful. John Abraham in a cameo is wasted.

The cinematography of Sanu Varghese adds to the darkness to the thriller. The action sequences are a highlight of the movie, every action sequence is convincing…

Music in “Wazir” does not have much to do but some songs remain with you like “Tere Bin” & “Maula Mere Maula” by Shantanu Moitra..

Bijoy Nambiar had a fantastic premise which he fails to utilize completely, and gives us a half baked thriller which could have been better, though he does a splendid job with his direction but it is the writing which fails…..

Definitely a onetime watch, especially for Amitabh Bachchan…. I will go with 3 stars

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review: Dilwale

Dilwale: No heart & Soul in this Dilwale

DilwaleRecipe of a hit movie, sign up a hit pair from the past, sign up two new actors from the current lot, to support sign a bandwagon of comedians, sign up a successful director, shoot in exotic foreign locations, show stylish cars and blow it up and at the end take the story idea from an old Bollywood successful movie and put some scenes in the name of script, and you have a hit Bollywood movie dish ready to earn 300 to 400 crores….

Well I guess this is how “Dilwale” was made. Rohit Shetty completely looses the plot with this movie and attempts a love story which is definitely not his forte and he fails miserably.

With a clichéd story line of two brothers Raj (Shahrukh Khan) and Veer (Varun Dhawan) who own a garage in Goa modifying cars and live a quite life of fun and bhaichara, till Veer falls in love with Ishita (Kriti Sanon) who happens to the sister of Meera (Kajol). Both Meera and Raj who have a history 15 years back when Raj was Kali a gangster in Bulgaria. The young couple Veer and Ishita now need to re-unite the warring lovers Raj and Meera, so that they can get married. How they unite the warring couple is what the movie is all about.

Written by Yunus Sajawal, the screenplay looks too dated and extremely predictable, even the so called twists that have been incorporated. There are glaring loop holes in the movie, like both Veer & Ishita were young enough to understand what was happening 15 years back, but they are shown to be completely ignorant, I guess Yunus took the proverb “Ignorance Is Bliss” too seriously. The whole premise is too much of 80’s masala. Some of the characters like the comedians Mani (Johnny Lever), Oscar (Sanjay Mishra) and the local gangster King (Boman Irani) all look as an afterthought which was put as comedy ka tadka in the otherwise bland story. None of the characters are well etched including the lead pair, rather the characters of Veer and Ishita look like glorified support cast. In the climax Yunus completely looses it with “No punch” at all, something which is expected in a Rohit Shetty movie. Rather the climax looks too rushed as if the makers were in hurry to wrap up the movie or were not sure how to wrap the movie. In a nutshell the writing is extremely weak…

Dialogues by Farhad-Sajid does not help either, rather it is too childish and amateurish. Some of the jokes in the name of comedy are so clichéd that you will hardly laugh. Even the so called love scenes between the lead pair are without the punch and passion.

It is only Shahrukh Khan who carries the movie on his shoulders. His portrayal of Raj/Kali is the only decent act of the movie. Well as in his previous movie, Shahrukh plays himself and NOT the character. Kajol as Meera repeats her act of the vivacious character which she has been doing since her DDLJ days. I still feel Kajol has the talent but she just does not do anything different. Rather I would love to see Shahrukh and Kajol in a matured love story. Varun Dhawan as Veer hams throughout the movie in the name of the comedy. Rather this is Varun’s weakest performance till date. Kriti Sanon as Ishita has nothing much to do other than looking good, but still she registers her presence in the scenes which includes her, with her confidence. I would love to see Kriti in a much more defined role. Johhny Lever as Mani bhai brings some much needed laughs with his mallu act. Sanjay Mishra as Oscar though is completely wasted but still manages some laughs. Varun Sharma as Sidhu is repetitive of his Fukrey act. Boman Irani as King is one of the worst performance of the movie. Both Vinod Khanna and Kabir Bedi are wasted….

Cinamatography by Dudley manages to give the glamour quotient to the movie. Music by Pritam is good with some melodious tracks like “Janam Janam” and immensely popular “Mohe tu Rang De Gerua”…

“Dilwale” is undoubtedly Rohit Shetty’s weakest movie till date; it completely lacks the Rohit Shetty touch and does not look like a Rohit Shetty genre of movie. It lacks in high octane action and it lacks in humour, two of Rohit Shetty’s forte. I think Rohit should stick to his kind of comedy like “Golmaal” which is pure entertainment and not venture in genres like love story which according to me is definitely NOT his cup of tea….

I will go with 2 & a half stars….

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

 

Movie Review: Bajirao Mastani

Bajirao Mastani: Epic Love Story of Epic Proportion

Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies are always larger than life both in scale and grandeur, with “Bajirao Mastani”, Sanjay Leela Bhansali outdid himself in scale, grandeur and histrionics…

Technically this is Sanjay Leela Bhansali first political love story which is straight from history, and such subjects are like walking on tight rope where a slight slip tends to ruin the entire movie. But fortunately Sanjay balances the fact and the fiction very well and does complete justice to the subject…

“Bajirao Mastani” is based on Marathi novel “Rau” written by N.S. Inamdar, which has been adapted by Prakash Kapadia. Prakash’s screenplay keeps the entertainment quotient alive with the right balance fact and fiction. He blends the then political scenario in Peshwa and the love story beautifully. Each character has been chalked out well and has a purpose in the larger scheme of things. The research gone behind the script is quite obvious right from the first frame. Another plus about the screenplay is though the characters are larger than life but still they have been given humane side to it which makes the story more relatable. Each character has been sketched with their shortcomings and vulnerabilities and that makes it more endearing. The pace of the movie is one of its biggest plus for Prakash Kapadia, who did not slow done the pace even once making it worth 2 and half hour. Though one thing I missed in the writing was the passion in the love story, Prakash could have put some more effort on the love story of the Peshwa and Mastani….

One of the biggest highlight of the movie is its dialogues and Prakash has taken special care of making the dialogues sound more relatable though it has heavy duty drama to it. The dialect has been given special emphasis, the characters from the Peshwa, right from Bajirao, to Kashibai, to Bajirao’s mother Radhabai has been given a maharashtrian dialect even when they are mouthing hindi dialogues, and Mastani has been given Urdu dialogues with a Hindustani dialect.

Now the ensemble cast which makes the movie grow above the grandeur and scale. Starting with Ranveer Singh who epitomizes Peshwa Bajirao to the hilt, the body language to his dialect, everything is just apt. It shows that Ranveer has actually lived the character throughout, and off course is one of his best performances till date, and as far as the movie is concerned it is the best. He not only portrays the larger than life Peshwa well but the vulnerabilities of the character has been grasped and performed well by Ranveer, especially the climax sequence. Deepika Padukone as Mastani complements the energy of the Peshwa with a much more restrained and surreal performance, she talks more through her eyes than through words. But where the hit pair of Ranveer and Deepika missed the plot is the chemistry, it was not the same as it was in “Ram Leela”. Priyanka Chopra as Kashibai steals the show and hearts as well; her portrayal of a strong yet shy, vulnerable yet commanding wife of Peshwa just took away all the sympathy. Priyanka acted and looked like Peshwa’s wife and stole our hearts. Radhabai, Bajirao’s mother, a role which was tailor made for Tanvi Azmi, she comes on her own in this movie or rather I must say her true potential has been exploited in this movie. Rest of the cast like Milind Soman,  Aditya Pancholi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Vaibhav Tatwawdi all do a splendid job…

One thing that makes “Bajirao Mastani” a masterpiece is its cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee, every frame is like a painting, there is not a single frame which looks ordinary, every frame is opulent and enhances the visual quotient of the movie. Sudeep has done an excellent bringing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s vision to life on celluloid.

To make the visuals opulent the production design by Salomi Dhatrak, Sriram Iyengar & Sujeet Sawant has played a key role. Re-creating an era gone by was no mean task but sets looks so real as if it has been shot on location.

Another big contributor to create the magic in the movie are its costumes by Maxima Basu and Anju Modi. Every costume is a detailed work on the period the movie is based on and the jewellery just enhances the costumes more, every piece of jewellery shows the research and study that has gone behind it.

The music by Sanjay Leela Bhansali himself brings back the melody in Bollywood, from the classical “Mohe Rang Do Lal” & “Albela Sajan” to the foot tapping “Pinga” & “Malhari” to soft “Deewani Mastani” to “Aayat” which is a sufi song, every track ahs a different flavor and character which complements the era and re-discovers the folk flavor of Maharashtra. Definitely one of the best albums of Bollywood for 2015…

To complement the music the choreography just lifts the songs to a different level, “Mohe Rang De Lal” choreographed by Pt. Birju Maharaj is pure Kathak, “Pinga” choreographed by Remo is in lavani style, “Deewani Mastani” is mujra…in short every song has been shot as a classic….

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has definitely outdid himself with “Bajirao Mastani” as far as the grandeur and scale goes, but he has been successful in keeping the humane touch to the otherwise opulent presentation, definitely a classic which will grow with time….definitely a “MUST WATCH”….I will go with 4 stars….

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review: Tamasha

Tamasha: Ranbir & Deepika crackle in the otherwise confused Tamasha

Imtiaz Ali after a subtle “Highway”, comes back with the big budget love story “Tamasha”, which explores an array of human emotions….

Imtiaz again teams up with Ranbir Kapoor after “Rockstar” and Deepika Padukone after “Love Aaj Kal” and explores the crackling chemistry of Ranbeer Kapoor & Deepika Padukone very well…Tamasha Review

“Tamasha” explores the story of Ved (Ranbir Kapoor) & Tara (Deepika Padukone) who meet in Corsica when both are on a holiday and they promise not to reveal their true identities and will behave as somebody else without any inhibitions. They spend time at Corsica and separate with a promise that they would not meet again. But destiny had different plans as both meet again and plan to have a relationship, but Tara could not fathom the Ved who is more like a corporate machine and in a rat race, what happens to their relationship is what the movie is all about…

Imtiaz Ali’s story & screenplay starts with a lot of colours and develops the lead characters well with a lot of fun sequences in Corsica. The movie looses steam in the second half when the movie becomes predictable and becomes a mish mash of Imtiaz’s previous movie “Jab We Met”, “ Love Aaj Kal” & “Rockstar”. Imtiaz Ali oscillates from effervescent love to dark emotions like “Rockstar”, rather Imitiaz  over does the dark emotion even in sequences where it was not required. One of the major issue of the script was the to & fro of flashback which puts a break to a smooth narration and also dilutes the message of being what we believe we are…..Another part where he falters is to justify the lead Ved’s erratic behaviour time and again. Somewhere I felt Imtiaz was confused on what he wanted to make, a flowery love story or a dark love story which was clear in a not so convincing and predictable climax……

It is the lead pair of Ranbir Kapoor & Deepika Padukone who make the movie a worth watch, especially Ranbir Kapoor who yet again proves his mettle as a class actor, he just lights up the screen and to compliment him is Deepika Padukone who as Tara is like a fresh air and shows immense confidence and maturity in emotional as well as comic scenes. The chemistry of the lead pair just engulfs the entire movie that the other actors just do not matter. Though Piyush Mishra as the story teller and Javed Shaikh as Ved’s father do a brilliant job and make their presence felt….

Ravi Varman’s cinematography elevates the movie by capturing Corsica, Shimla & Delhi like a dream. Aki Narula & Anahita Shroff Adajania’s costumes give the required colour to the characters…

It is the music of A R Rahman which brings another dimension to the movie and elevates the narration in a musical format with the sequential songs, but “Mutturghasti” rendered by Mohit Chauhan tops the chart with its fresh rendition…

Imtiaz Ali tries to play with various emotions in the movie resulting in NOT so consistent narration which ultimately becomes the biggest drawback of the movie….but he successfully renders the message of “Living Life Full size by being what you are”

But the crackling chemistry of Ranbir Kapoor & Deepika Padukone deserves 3 stars….

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

 

Official Trailer: Bajirao Mastani

Official_Trailer_Bajirao_MastaniSanjay Leela Bhasali is back with his new magnum opus “Bajirao Mastani” , based on the book “Baji Rao 1, The Second Hereditary Peshwa of Maratha Empire” which is based on the life of Peshwa Bajirao Peshwa 1 and his second wife Mastani….

Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted to make “Bajirao Mastani” just after “Devdas” (2002) in 2003, and the original cast was Salman Khan & Aishwarya Rai as Bajirao and Mastani respectively, Rani Mukherjee was supposed to play Peshwa’s first wife Kashi Bai. But due to Salman and Aishwarya’s break up, Kareena Kapoor was considered for the role of Mastani, but since they did other movies as a pair Sanjay Leela Bhansali scrapped the idea to make the movie in 2003….

But after the stupendous success of  “Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Ram Leela” , Sanjay Bhansali decided to make “Bajirao Mastani” by casting the successful pairing of Ranveer Singh & Deepika Padukone in the titular role of Bajirao and Mastani respectively, and Priyanka Chopra plays the role of Peshwa’s first wife Kashi Bai….

The rest of ensemble cast comprises of Tanvi Azmi, Sukhanda Khandkekar, Anuja Gokhale, Mahesh Manjrekar, Vaibbhav Tatwawdi, Milind Soman, Ayush Tandon & Sanjay Mishra…

The story has been adapted and screenplay written by Prakash Kapadia. The cinematography is by Sudeep Chatterjee….

The melodious music has been composed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali himself…..all the released three songs Gajanana, Deewani Mastani and Pinga have been a hit….

The movie has been produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Kishore Lulla and distributed by Eros International….

The trailer gives us a peek of the magnum opus, and it looks like the larger than life Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie…from sets to costumes, everything looks spectacular….

The movie releases on 18th Dec’15…

 

Movie Review : Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo: It is only Salman’s Prem all the way

Sooraj Barjatya has always been synonymous with good wholesome family entertainers, thriving on values and traditions of Indian society. The Indian audience whether in India or abroad has always lapped whatever Sooraj has offered, well excluding an exception of “Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon” wherein he diverted a bit and faced a lot of flak. Another highlight of Sooraj’s films has been its screenplays which stick to the basic premise of the story…

Well “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” digresses from a normal Sooraj Barjatya movie, it gives prominence to the star Salman Khan than the basic premise, and this is where actually the movie falters. Whenever a maker gives more prominence to the star than the story and screenplay it becomes an indulgent cinema…

PRDP written by Sooraj Barjatya tells the story of the good Samaritan Pream Dilwala (Salman Khan) from Ayodhya who is a part of the local PRDP ReviewRam Leela as a narrator and who is besotted by princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor). Trouble brews when Maithili’s fiancé Vijay Singh (Salman Khan in a double role) who is reigning the prince of Pritampura falls prey of a conspiracy and meets with an accident and is bed ridden, in order to replace the prince, Diwan Sahab (Anupam Kher) the trusted servant of the royal family replaces Prem Dilwala with the prince. How Prem Dilwala changes the relationship of the otherwise dysfunctional royal family and whether the original prince comes back and who conspires to kill the prince is what the story is all about…..

Sooraj in order to accommodate more of Salman stretches the story for a good 2 hours 55 minutes which is quite a long run, which could have been easily cut by 30 minutes. Another flaw are the song sequences which sprouts out of nowhere and slows down the pace, well song sequence have been Sooraj’s strong point somehow becomes his weak point in PRDP. Another flaw of PRDP is the screenplay which never peeks and maintains a monotonous pace both in the first half as well as the second half. The first half is dedicated to setting up the story, and second half is dedicated half to the love story of Prem and Maithili which falls flat due to lack of any chemistry between the lead pair Salman Khan & Sonam Kapoor, and rest in reconciliation of the brother and sisters of the royal family which looks too rushed and abrupt. The climax is quite weak and you feel the whole action to be forceful rather than being part of the flow. But trust Sooraj with his touch of emotional moments, and he does not falter here, some sequences especially the brother sister sequences are touchy and you feel from the heart, rather the sequences between Prem and Chandrika (Swara Bhaskar) the princess of Pritampura or the relationship between Diwan Sahab & Prem are very well written and are the emotional highlights of the movie. But overall the story and screenplay fails neither to peak emotionally neither entertains completely….

PRDP is a Salman Khan movie and he is there in every frame playing dual role of Prem Dilwala and Prince Vijay Singh, and he makes both the characters his own. He performs both the characters with panache and with complete sincerity and you can differentiate between the two characters even when they are in the same frame. Salman nails the innocence for Prem Dilwala and the arrogance of Prince Vijay Singh very well. Sonam Kapoor as Maithili looks good as the royal princess with her looks but yet again fails in histrionics and again has the same expression throughout the movie, quite a disappointment I must say which also hampers the love story of the movie due to lack of chemistry. Anupam Kher as Diwan Sahab does complete justice to his role of the confidant of the royal family; I must say an earnest performance. Swara Bhaskar as Chandrika, Vijay Singh’s sister is the strongest female role of the movie, and she gives a crackling performance. Neil Nitin Mukesh as Ajay Singh the younger brother does not have much to do, though he suits the role as far as the look goes but the same cannot be said about his performance which gets overshadowed completely. Armaan Kohli who plays the scheming villain does complete justice. Deepak Dobriyal as Kanhaiya is wasted in a half baked role, though he does complete justice to whatever was given. Rest of the cast like Sanjay Mishra, Suhasini Mulay, Sucheta Khanna, Manoj Joshi are wasted in inconsequential roles….

Technically PRDP stands high what with the excellent camera work by V Manikandan, it is a riot of colors giving an ode to the festival season and the royal theme. Production Design by Nitin Chandrakant Desai is the biggest highlight of the PRDP; the royal palaces have been mounted with perfection and become a character of the movie. Another highlight of the movie is the costumes by Alvira Khan & Ashley Rebello, the royal touch in the clothes cannot be missed and especially the jewellery was a real stand out….

Music by Himesh Reshammiya has the impeccable Sooraj Barjatya touch which is melodious yet rich in lyrical value, but top two are the title song and Diye Jalte…

This is the first time when I felt Salman dominating Sooraj Barjatya, which was not the case with their previous ventures. Sooraj rests his magnum opus on the broad shoulders of Salman Khan which will definitely bring in the moolah for the Rajshri’s
I will go with 2 and a half stars (1 extra for Salman Khan)

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Main Aur Charles

Main Aur Charles: Half Baked Thriller without the thrill

Main Aur Charles posterCharles Sobraj was one of the most celebrated serial killer during 70’s and 80’s, known for his shrewd mind and smooth style of doing crimes….

Well Prawaal Raman tries to portray a certain phase of Charles Sobraj’s life when he was arrested by the Delhi Police and he fled from Tihar Jail only to be re-captured again but with a different motive….

Prawaal Raman has tried to make a thriller but the screenplay turned out to be more of an erotic movie than a thriller what with Prawaal emphasising on Charles liaisons with various women rather than how his jail break was planned and executed. The first half the screenplay just looks like a collage of incidents with no cohesiveness whatsoever. You just cannot make any sense of what is happening and by the time the movie reaches the interval point you have lost interest in the movie. Second half is dedicated to putting the puzzle in place but again Prawaal just does not manage to put cohesiveness to the narration and the outcome is too shallow and lifeless. In his attempt to show Charles as the smooth operator with women he ends up spending more time in his affairs with various girls. Actually the base of the story is through various articles and police investigation etc which shows clearly as the screenplay is equally indecisive….In a nutshell the writing fails to create any impact which further makes the overall movie look weak….

It is the performances which makes the movie a bit watchable…. Randeep Hooda as Charles Sobraj gets his act right what with the way he changed his dialect, his body language etc., my heart goes out to him, as he puts in so much of effort and hard work but somehow the movies which he is part of fails him. The best performance off course is of Adil Hussain who plays inspector Amod Kant….he captures your attention the moment he is on screen and gives a smashing performance even overshadowing Randeep Hooda who plays the lead. Richa Chadha as Meera, Charles accomplice does a good job but the sketchy writing of her character pulls down her performance. Alexx O’Nell as Richard has the same expression on his face throughout the movie and looks utterly confused just like the screenplay. Tisca Chopra & Vipin Sharma are wasted in a small cameos….Rest of the cast look as confused as the director was….

Other than the performances three things that stands out in the movie would be the Production Design by Jitendra Kawa who re-created the 70’s and 80’s with perfection, second being costume design by Salim Asgar Ali who styled the characters to perfection that the audience is transported to 70’s & 80’s and third being the brilliant camera work of Anuj Rakesh Dhawan, which complements the production design and costumes and successfully re-creates 80’s….

Other than the script the other biggest flaw is the editing by Nipun Gupta. In a thriller the editing plays a crucial part but unfortunately in this movie it totally destroys the movie….

Prawaal Raman in his attempt to make the movie with a realistic twist fumbles and the outcome is a half baked thriller which lacked the thrills….I will go with Two & a Half Star….

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

 

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 out of 5 stars (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 out of 5 stars (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 out of 5 stars (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 out of 5 stars (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 out of 5 stars (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…

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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….

 

 

 

Movie Review : Calendar Girls

Calendar Girls: A mockery in the name of Realistic Cinema

Madhur Bhandarkar is synonymous with hard hitting realistic cinema in a mainstream format. Starting from Chandni Chowk, Satta, Page 3, Traffic Signal, Fashion, Corporate, Jail all had a premise which basically showed the real picture of our society. But his last offering “Heroine” was not that impactful and it showed how Madhur was losing the plot….

His latest “Calendar Girls” as the name suggests shows the life of 5 aspiring models Sharon Pinto (Kyra Dutt) from Goa, Mayuri Chauhan calendar-girls(Ruhi Singh) from Rohtak, Nandita Menon (Akansha Puri) from Hyderabad, Paroma Ghosh (Satarupa Pyne) from Kolkata and Nazneen (Avani Modi) from Lahore. They get the opportunity to model for annul fashion calendar post which their life changes forever. The film captures the trial & tribulation of each girl and what happens to their life….

“Calendar Girls” written by Madhur Bhandarkar and Anil Pandey looks like a cocktail of Madhur’s previous movies Page 3, Fashion & Heroine. Nothing wrong in that but here the writing is too amateurish and inconsistent. The characters do not have any depth and look lifeless without any emotional content, especially the character of the girls who were supposed to be the back bone of the script, look sketchy. The screenplay looks as if the writers Madhur and Anil have taken snippets of news from dailies and tried to form a story which does not work. To give the movie a realistic twist some sequences are added which falls flat as it lacks in emotional quotient. I felt the movie tried to show too many things but fails miserably and is a complete wash out. Even the climax does not sum up the movie.

Even the dialogues written by Rohit Banawlikar do not create any impact barring a few. Rather the English dialogues are unintentionally funny, and too much usage of words like “Babes”, “Sweet Heart”, irritates you after some time.

After the weak writing the casting goes completely wrong, the 5 girls Kyra Dutt, Ruhi Singh, Akansha Puri, Satarupa Pyne and Avani Modi on which the movie is based fail to impress, rather amongst the lot only Kyra Dutt is satisfactory, rest of the four girls just ham, especially Ruhi Singh whose accent irritates you and Avani Modi whose morose expression is intact all throughout the movie whereas she had the meatiest role as far as histrionics is concerned as compared to the other girls. Satarupa Pyne fails miserably in emotional scenes. Even the support cast of Rohit Roy, Suchitra Pillai, Kiran Kumar, and even Mita Vashishtha fail to impress.

Technically the movie lacks finesse and fails to capture the glamour which should have been the main ingredient of this movie.

Madhur Bhandarkar now needs a reality check; he needs to re-visit how he wants to make his movies as now his genre looks dated. He cannot repeat the same premise of his previous movies and try to present it in a new format.

“Calendar Girls” is a complete mockery in the name of realistic Cinema, I will go with One & a Half Star…..

Movie Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

Official Trailer : Tamasha

Imitiaz Ali after the critically acclaimed “Highway” (2014) is back with a mainstream romantic drama “Tamasha”. As the title suggests it will be drama to its fullest….

The story is of Ved (Ranbir Kapoor) & Tara (Deepika Padukone), Ved who fanaticizes about various characters of the stories that he has Tamasha Trailerheard during his growing up years and Tara who is a huge fan of Asterix comics and lives life on her own terms. Both meet in the beautiful island of Corsica, France and they start living a life that they always wanted with no strings attached just like the story they had heard, post which they go their respective ways only to meet again after many years, but now they meet as what they really are, can they re-connect again is what the movie is all about….

The story premise sounds interesting and Ranbir Kapoor & Deepika Padukone again pair together after the huge box office hit “Ye Jawaani Hain Deewani” (2013).

Imtiaz Ali is working with both the actors for the second time, he has worked with Ranbir Kapoor in “Rockstar” (2011) and with Deepika Padukone in “Love Aaj Kal” (2009), and both the films consolidated the position of the respective actors.

Shot extensively in Corsica the cinematography of Ravi Varman looks appealing in the Official Trailer.

Imtiaz Ali again pairs with A R Rahman for “Tamasha”…..will it again put A R Rahman back in the marquee, well only future will tell once the music releases…..

Produced by Nadiadwala Grandsons (Sajid Nadiadwala) and distributed by UTV Motion Pictures, “Tamasha” releases on 27th November, 2015….

Till then enjoy the Official Trailer which looks appealing…..

 

Movie Review: Katti Batti

Katti Batti: Too much of Katti  & less of Batti makes it dull

Love Stories has a come a long way in Bollywood, from rich girl falling for poor boy or rich boy falling for a poor girl and the opposition of the respective parents, to triangle love stories and at the end love triumphs against all odds.

Well that was 80’s and 90’s or even early 2000, but love stories have changed leaps and bounds in today’s Bollywood, and Nikhil Advani tries such a love story, something which he has been successful previously, remember “Kal Ho Na Ho”…..katti-batti-poster-3

Nikhil Advani tries to capture the love story of a modern couple  Madhav (Imran Khan) and Payal (Kangana Ranaut) who meet in college and fall in love. Both are opposites like cheese and chalk, Payal being a high society bohemian girl and Madhav a middle class seedha sadha guy who falls head over heels for Payal. But suddenly Payal leaves him and Madhav is shattered and is hell bent to know the reason, whether they re-unite and live happily ever after well that is what the rest of the movie is all about…..

Written by Nikhil Advani himself in association with Anshul Singhal, they try to put everything which may look or sound modern like live-in relationship, the girl not being holier than thou as she had relationship prior to meeting the hero or the boozing and the partying, in a nutshell a modern urban couple. The screenplay switches from flashbacks to present day trying to put the various pieces of the love story. First half is breezy and likable and you start expecting a new age love story without any pretentions, but the screenplay suddenly takes a U-turn in the second half when emotions are forcefully put in, which is vaguely inspired by Eric Segal’s “Love Story”. But somewhere the emotion just does not connect in the stylish and glitzy love story. It remains superfluous throughout and that is the main issue of the movie. In the second half unnecessary characters are introduced, like the band that helps Madhav. You feel that the movie is going to end but suddenly a new story or twist is introduced stretching the movie. Unnecessary songs do not help either. Overall the writers fail to grab the attention of the audience for too long….

The dialogues though are peppy and funny and very modern in lingo but then as the movie becomes serious the dialogues start becoming less effective and fail to lift the screenplay.

Imran Khan comes after a long sabbatical, but brings freshness to his character Madhav and is quite likeable, though at times he looks repetitive. Kangana as Payal is almost like she reprising the role of Tannu albeit who is modern and a very elite. I feel now Kangana should look at some really strong and different roles. Rest of the casting is fresh and brings certain amount of freshness as well with their performances. In a nutshell the supporting cast is the real back bone of the movie everybody has done justice to whatever they had been given.

Tushar Kanti Ray’s camera work again creates the magic with every frame. Production Design by Subrata Chakraborty & Amit Ray brings the urban modern feel which was required for the movie. Sheetal Sharma’s costume design is cotemporary yet stylish and apt with the theme.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy after a long time give some memorable tunes, especially the “Sarfira” the peppy no. and sufi inspired “Ove Jaaniya”, both are the highlight of the album.

Nikhil Advani gets the glitz and glamour correct in the movie and tries to put some freshness with the way he has shot the movie. But where Nikhil and “Katti Batti” fail is to connect with the audience and is very low in emotional quotient.

This could have been a different love story but alas it disappoints ……I will go with 3 stars…..

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

Movie Review: Hero

Hero: Not so Heroic about this HERO

HeroIn India when Star Kids are launched, their launch movies are like a talent showcase wherein the actors are presented like super heroes who can dance, do action, look the best in Hip clothes and flex muscles in case of a actor. Acting it seems is the last priority, and in this whole mayhem of showcasing their talent the story somewhere takes a back seat. I guess the last launch movie for a star kid which created a stir was “Kaho Na Pyar Hai” way back in 2000, after which none of the so called launch vehicles created any major impact….

So is the case with “Hero” which is the debut vehicle of Sooraj Pancholi (Aditya Pancholi’s son) and Athiya Shetty (Sunil Shetty’s daughter). Salman Khan decided to launch the star kids in the remake of 1983 Subhash Ghai blockbuster “Hero”, which has been contemporized by director Nikhil Advani.

The original story is by Subhash Ghai and the adapted screenplay has been written by Nikhil Advani and Umesh Bist. The movie is largely true to the original in the first half but it falls flat in the second half when the movie is given a contemporary twist. Rather “Hero” looks like two separate movies, one is the first half which is fast paced and full of action and adventure and second is the second half when the love story becomes a drag which is extremely slow, and you can make out that the writers are going nowhere and the climax being the biggest disappointment when they run out of ideas and try to close the movie somehow. Another major flaw of the screenplay is, that it does not touch you anywhere and the whole movie looks bland without the emotional connect. Even the love story between the newcomers lacks the chemistry which is a must for a love story. Sooraj’s character lacked the depth and Radha’s character had a huge hangover of Poo from Nikhil’s mentor Karan Johar’s  K3G. Another thing which is lacking in this movie is the entertain quotient which is surprisingly missing throughout the movie. Overall the writing especially the second half is extremely weak which proves to be the biggest flaw and the real reason for the movie falling flat….

Umesh Bist’s dialogues is inconsistent, sometimes it sounds too 80’s and sometimes it sounds too modern. The dialogues are not written keeping in mind with the character, like Sooraj’s character is a local Mumbai goon, but he speaks eloquent hindi. Such things are quite vital in today’s movie which may not have been true when the original movie was made way back in the 80’s.

The debutant Sooraj Pancholi as Sooraj the local goon with a heart of gold shows a spark but has a huge hangover of his mentor Salman Khan, his honesty and sincerity shows on screen and he tries hard to be convincing but unfortunately the writing pulls him down. Another debutant Athiya Shetty  as Radha is a natural and it shows on screen as well, but whether she has the tenacity to do different roles is something which we need to see. Tigmanshu Dhulia as IG Shrikant Mathur and Radha’s father gives a restrained performance and yet again proves that he is a brilliant performer. Sharad Kelkar as Radha’s brother Dheeraj Mathur is good but he just could not match Sanjeev Kumar’s histrionics from the original. Aditya Pancholi as the bad man Pasha who is Sooraj’s foster father is impressive, rather in the combo scenes between his son Sooraj and him; he overshadows him with his personality and charm which is still intact. Vivian Bathena as Ranvijay Shekhawat hams incessantly in his bad man act. Rather Sooraj’s friends played by Trishaan, Ashish Verma and Randeep Jha do a good job. Rest of the cast also do a good job….

Nikhil Advani completely looses the plot in making a launch vehicle for the two star kids Sooraj and Athiya. He should have spent more time on the script rather than the presentation and the glamour quotient which is enhanced due to the excellent camera work by Tushar Kanti Ray. Tushar captures Mumbai, Himachal & Paris with equal élan.

Another plus for the movie is the music by motley of composers Sachin-Jigar, Amaal Mallik, Meet Bros Anjaan & Jassi. The one song which creates the biggest impact is the title song “Main Tera Hero” composed by Amaal Mallik and sung by Armaan Mallik and Salman Khan, both are equally impressive. Another song which creates an impact is “Yadaan Teri” composed by Jassi and sung by Rahat Fateh Ali. The foot tapping “Dance Ke Legend” is also impressive, composed by Meet Bros Anjaan. The other love duets by Sachin-Jigar are good but not that impressive to create an impact. The original had some timeless songs by Laxmikant Pyarelal, but the same cannot be said about this “Hero”.

Salman Khan took an original from the 80’s which was a masala entertainer, which he wanted to make it modern with a contemporary twist but unfortunately it failed and Nikhil Advani who is known for frothy modern romantic movies I think was a wrong choice as a director. I felt that Rohit Shetty could have done a better job with the remake as it belonged to his genre.

Nikhil Advani could neither make a masala entertainer nor a modern love story, I will go with Two & a Half stars (One Extra star for the debutants)….

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Welcome Back

Welcome Back: Slap Stick & Brainless comedy is BACK

Statutory Warning: While watching “Welcome Back” please keep your brains aside….Welcome Back Poster

Anees Bazmi is back with the sequel of his 2007 hit “Welcome” and his genre of comedy which is completely over the top, chaotic and off course lack of story….

“Welcome Back” starts again with Uday Bhai (Nana Patekar) and Majnu Bhai (Anil Kapoor) who again fall for the same girl Chandni (Ankita Shrivastava) but they need to get their sister Ranjana (Shruti Hasan) married to a decent guy, but the problem is she is in love with Ajju Bhai (John Abraham) who is Dr Ghungru’s (Paresh Rawal) son. Confused??? Don’t be because there is no cohesive story….

Story (or lack of it) is by Anees Bazmi & Rajeev Kaul and the screenplay is credited to a list of writers Anees Bazmi, Rajeev Kaul, Rajan Aggarwal & Praful Parekh, still the screenplay is inconsistent and looks like various situations have been first written and then all of them have been collectively put to make a screenplay. The emphasis is on Slapstick comedy and bizzare situations in an attempt to make us laugh. To give credit to the writers some of the sequences do make you laugh but then such sequences are limited. The sequences between Uday Bhai and Majnu Bhai are the only once which are worth a laugh rest all is trash in the name of comedy. Rather after certain point of time the sequences are monotonous. The climax is the most bizarre that I have seen for a long time. Overall a very sub standard writing….

The Dialogues by Raaj Shaandilyaa compliments the slap stick comedy theme of the screenplay but is quite irritating as well. The best dialogues are when Uday and Majnu interact…

It is the performances which are the saving grace to some extent. Nana Patekar as Uday Shetty is the best amongst the cast, his straight face portrayal will make you laugh and some of the so called comic moments have been provided by Nana Patekar. Anil Kapoor as Majnu also does complete justice to the character and the combination of both Nana & Anil Kapoor as Uday Bhai & Majnu Bhai is the highlight of the movie as it was in the previous part “Welcome”. John Abraham as Ajju Bhai a.k.a Ajay is a complete misfit, though he tries hard to be the rowdy gangster but fails miserably with only one expression all throughout the movie, honestly speaking John should stop trying comic roles as he is a Disaster, he should stick to action films which suits his physique and his frown face. Paresh Rawal again reprises is his earlier role of Dr Ghungru and he keeps his character exactly the same as it was in the previous movie. Nasseruddin Shah as Wanted Bhai brings some stability to the chaos and proves his mettle yet again by performing well, even though the writing was faulty, in short rising above the writing, a true performer. The girls Dimple Kapadia is utterly wasted as Maharani, Shruti Hasan as Ranjana is there only to look good and newcomer Ankita Shrivastava as Chandni was only there to look sexy and with skimpiest and garish dresses and even more garish make up. Shiney Ahuja as Honey looks confused as if he has landed on the sets by mistake. As for the rest of the cast the less said the better. Frankly speaking I missed Akshay Kumar tremendously….

Though a whole list of music composers have been credited for the music namely Anu Mallik, Meet Bros Anjjan, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Siddhant Madhav & Mika Singh, but unfortunately none of the compositions are worth while…rather some of the songs are outright cheap and so is the choreography by Ganesh Acharya…

Anees Bazmi  seems to be still stuck to his early 2000 formula of slap stick comedy which looks dated today and even if this movie works in the box office, still I think Anees Bazmi should rethink about the kind of script he writes and the kind of movie he makes if he wants to continue making movies in these times.

There is no problem of slap stick but only if it has a cohesive script, which was nonexistent in “Welcome Back”….

I will go with Two & a Half Stars… One additional star for Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor & Nasseruddin Shah

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Movie Review : Phantom

Phantom:  A Thriller I wish had more Punch

Political Thrillers are Kabir Khan’s forte, what with his previous movies “Kabul Express” & “Ek Tha Tiger” both phantom-poster-saif-ali-khan-katrina-kaifwere of the same genre. But his last enormously successful “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” was more of a family drama with Indo-Pak theme. Well the expectations from “Phantom” are sky high…

Taking his love for political thriller Kabir Khan constructs “Phantom” based on Hussain Zaidi’s book “Mumbai Avengers” which is a fiction post 26/11 massacre in Mumbai. The plot is of how an Ex Army Officer Daniel Khan (Saif Ali Khan) is called for a mission by RAW to eradicate the master minds of 26/11 massacre. How Daniel goes ahead with the mission and whether he is successful in completing the mission is what the movie all about.

Adopting Hussain Zaidi’s novel the screenplay by Kabir Khan & Parvez Shaikh is taut but inconsistent. The sequence when Daniel executes his mission one by one is technically brilliant but looks too easy to be true and lacks the edge of the seat moments which is the prime issue with the script. Another issue of the screenplay is that goes back & forth many times adding on to the inconsistency more. The prime sequences especially the Pakistan sequence looks all over place again taking away from the thriller element. The background story of Daniel does not have the impact hence the fallen hero element falls flat. Daniel’s accomplice Nawaz Mistry’s (Katrina Kaif) character is not fully defined till the end, whether she is a RAW agent or whether she is an outsourced resource working for RAW, it is not clear. The forced brewing romance between Daniel & Nawaz is a waste and slows down the pace. Even the climax looks a bit weak for a thriller. And to top it all the significance of the title “Phantom” never comes across in the movie.

The dialogues by Kabir Khan & Kausar Munir are strong at some places and it falls flat in a few. But overall the dialogues make sense.

Another major drawback of the movie is the casting. Saif Ali Khan as Daniel Khan looks a bit too casual for the role, though he tries his best to fit into the mould but is grossly unsuccessful. Rather he looks as if he has just walked out of “Agent Vinod” and entered the sets of “Phantom” as he enacts Daniel Khan with the same tempo. The rugged RAW agent gait just like Akshay Kumar in “Baby” is missed in this movie. Katrina Kaif as Nawaz Mistry looks hardly an agent and looks more like a beautiful Barbie doll who is decked up even in Syrian war sequences. Sometimes she looks confused and out of place in the movie, overall an average performance. Sabyasachi Chakrabarty as the Raw Chief Roy stands out and gives a restrained performance and suits the role to the “T”. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as Mishra a worker in RAW who creates a plan for Daniel is the best performance of the movie; he overshadows everybody including the lead cast. Rest of the cast does the job well.
It is Aseem Mishra’s cinematography which elevates the movie, whether it is London, Chicago, Beirut or Lebanon, all are captured with élan. Rajat Potdar’s production design compliments the story and is also a highlight of the movie. Subarna Rai Chaudhuri’s costume designing is another highlight; it blends with the various countries shown in the movie. Kudos to the technical team of “Phantom” for making it worth a watch.

Music by Pritam gets lost in the proceedings; apart from “Afghan Jalebi” none of the other tracks make any impact.

Kabir Khan is successful in making a technically brilliant movie, but a weak lead pair and a script which has inconsistencies makes “Phantom” an average film. Especially after the brilliant “Baby” by Neeraj Pandey which falls in the same genre, “Phantom” lacks the punch which is required in such thrillers.Definitely not Kabir Khan’s best…

“Phantom” could have been a brilliant spy drama falls short, hence I will go with Three stars…..

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

In case you have missed the trailer, watch it again

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Flashback : Celebrating 40 years of Sholay

15th August 1975, became a Golden date for Indian Film Industry, the date when “Sholay” was released. The history of the Indian Film Industry cannot be complete without mentioning “Sholay”

“Sholay” a movie which not only became the biggest hit for the Indian Film Industry but also became a landmark movie since it had a lot of 40yearsSholayfirsts. It was the first 70 MM movie for Bollywood & it had a stereophonic sound which redefined the way movies were seen.

The biggest plus of the movie was the brilliant story & screenplay written by Salim-Javed which was inspired by Akiro Kurusawa’s 1954 movie “Seven Samurai”. Every character was written well and till today every character is remembered, right from Jai & Veeru to Gabbar to Sambha, who had only one sentence in the entire movie. The screenplay had a huge hangover of Hollywood westerns like “The Magnificent Seven” and “Once Upon A Time in the West”..

The impact of the screenplay was enhanced by crackling dialogues. The dialogues became so popular that later an audio cassette of the entire dialogues were launched, which were sold like hot cakes….creating a trend for dialogue cassettes for future…

Second highlight was the stellar ensemble cast comprising of Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri, Sanjeev Kumar, Amjad Khan, Asrani, Jagdeep, Sachin, A K Hangal, Keshto Mukherjee, Viju Khote, Satyen Kapoo, Leela Mishra & Mac Mohan.

A lot of musical chair happened for the casting. Danny Denzongappa was the first choice for playing Gabbar but due to date hassles as he had to leave for Afghanistan for his prior commitment of “Dharmatma” and had to excuse himself, after which a newcomer Amjad Khan was signed up for the role….who never looked back after “Sholay” ,as Amjad’s performance of Gabbar made the character an iconic villain. It is said that the original choice to play Thakur Baldev Singh was Pran, but it did not work out and later Sanjeev Kumar was signed up to play Thakur, a much older role for Sanjeev Kumar’s age at that time. Dharmendra was keen to play Thakur but settled for Veeru since he was paired opposite Hema Malini, whom he was wooing that time. Shatrughan Sinha was the original choice to play Jai, but Amitabh Bachchan who was not really a big star that time convinced the Sippy’s through the writers Salim-Javed and bagged the role.

G. P. Sippy the producer went all out to fulfill his son Ramesh Sippy’s dream into a blockbuster and was made with a budget of Rs. 30 million. All the action sequences were elaborately shot. The train robbery sequence took 7 weeks to be shot.

Ramesh Sippy had to re-shoot the climax, as per the original climax Thakur kills Gabbar, but the censors thought that the climax was too violent and hence Ramesh had to change the climax.

“Sholay” was panned by the critics and it was written off. Due to the negative feedback and lack of enough visual marketing “Sholay” was a flop in the first 2 weeks and after positive word of mouth, it picked up from the third week. After the third week it was no looking back for “Sholay”, it celebrated Golden Jubilees in 60 theatres across India, a record which still stands undefeated. It also celebrated Silver Jubilee in 100 theatres across India. Minerva Theater in Mumbai ran “Sholay” for 5 years, making it the longest running movie till “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” broke that record.

“Sholay” will always be remembered as the landmark movie which re-defined Bollywood. Even after 40 years the movie still creates an impact which was evident when it was re-released in 3D format on 3rd Jan’14, it was appreciated as it was in 1975….

“Sholay” will be remembered and appreciated by all generations…

Movie Review: All Is Well

All Is Well: All is NOT well about this movie

All is well posterThe 2012 hit “Oh My God”, was very different and questioned many religious beliefs which made Umesh Shukla a name to reckon with.

The expectations with “All Is Well”, Umesh’s second offering was high, though the movie has been in the making for a long time.

“All Is well” is a typical family drama of a dysfunctional family of Mr Bhalla (Rishi Kapoor), his son Inder Bhalla (Abhishek Bachchan) and Inder’s mother Pammi Bhalla (Supriya Pathak), situation forces the family to get scattered, and they come together for a family crisis created by the local goon Chima (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub). How they bond in the time of crisis and how they discover each other is what the story deals with.

The story by Umesh Shukla and screenplay by Sumit Arora & Niren Bhatt, starts with a promise which looks like a road movie of a family but fizzles out completely half hour into the movie. The humor is forced and you get a feeling that you are watching a movie from the 90’s, in short the humor looks quite dated. The reason between the rift between the Bhalla couple does not look very convincing, they are just shown fighting which happens in any couples lives. Inder’s character and his phobia of getting married looks quite meek. Almost all the characters look over the top, especially Cheema’s character the comic villain which was a trend in late 80’s and early 90’s, but unfortunately the villain becomes a joker. The whole sequence of the Mama and the Mami is unnecessary and does not create any impact rather than adding on to the buffoonery. All the characters of Nimmi (Asin) Inder’s girlfriend look like bunch of jokers which hardly make you laugh.

Another flaw in the writing are the dialogues which sound dated and even the comic dialogues are hardly few which make you laugh. Overall the writing of the movie right from the screenplay to the dialogues, it is a big disappointment, whereas it was the strongest point of Umesh Shukla’s previous movie “OMG”.

The movie lacks on the performance front as well. Abhishek Bachchan who is seen on screen after 3 years and who plays Inder Bhalla looks completely disinterested and acts with the same monotonous expression. Rishi Kapoor as Bhalla is tries very hard to give a convincing performance but the weak writing fails him, but yet full credit to him for giving an honest and sincere effort. Supriya Pathak as Pammi is completely wasted with hardly any dialogues and with the same expression throughout the movie. Asin as Nimmi is as irritating as she has been in her previous movies. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as Cheema is the only actor which is successful in making you laugh in a few sequences but he is also pulled down by the poor writing. Rest of the cast perform quite average. So the movie fails in the performance segment as well.

Other technical departments like art direction by Munish Sappel are very average, so is the cinematography by Sameer Arya which is extremely inconsistent and dated. The editing by Sanjay Sankla is not upto the mark…

Music has been given by a plethora of music director’s right from Himesh Reshammiya, Amaal Mallik, Mithoon & Meet Bros…but none of the songs create any impact though they are melodious since none of the songs are placed aptly…

Umesh Shukla fails badly though he had a stellar cast and a good production house backing him. It is absolutely below average attempt from a director who showed promise in his first venture.

Overall “All is Well” is neither a comedy nor a family drama and a below average movie, I will go with One & a Half Stars…..

Movie Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Brothers

Brothers: Emotion & Blood Gore both over the top

Remakes have been a part of Bollywood history since long, rather now it is more of Official remakes. “Brothers” isBrothers Posters one such remake of 2013 Hollywood movie “Warrior”.

“Brothers” is a tale of two half brothers David Fernandes(Akshay Kumar) and Monty Fernandes(Sidharth Malhotra)who due to circumstances get separated only to come face to face as rivals in a Boxing competition.

With the original story of “Warrior” written by Gavin O’Connor & Cliff Dorfman, and adapted screenplay by Ekta Pathak Malhotra “Brothers” is dipped in emotions, especially in the first half when it tells the story of the two brothers David & Monty and their equation with their father Gary Fernandes (Jackie Shroff). Rather the first half is so much soaked in over the top emotion that you start feeling quite uncomfortable 30 minutes into the movie. In the name of emotions all the characters are shown either crying, yelling and shouting (call it emotional outburst) or breaking things which gets on to your nerves after a certain point. Each and every character is one dimensional whether it is the brothers or their father or David’s wife Jenny (Jacqueline Fernandes) without any depth or variation neither in their expression nor in their overall impact. The second half is completely dedicated to the boxing matches which looks quite amateurish and with two extremely irritating commentators leading us to a very predictable climax. The only item song is placed in the most inappropriate of situation. Overall “Brothers” is a very poor adaptation of “Warrior”, which neither impresses as an emotional movie or a sports movie.

Dialogues by Sidharth & Garima are quite clichéd and you feel you are watching a movie from the 80’s, rather in the emotional sequences the dialogues do not create any impact making it fall flat on the face. Especially the dialogues of the two commentators are the most irritable.

Akshay Kumar’s honest and earnest portrayal of David Fernandes is the only saving grace of the movie performance wise. He portrays the Physics teacher turned fighter with gusto and also looks fit and agile like a boxer. Sidharth Malhotra as Monty Fernandes has the same expression all throughout the movie and tries very hard to portray the angry young man act but fails miserably, rather his good looks acts detrimental for the role of the rugged Monty, though credit should be given for the training that he went through to portray the character which shows as well. Even Sidharth’s dialect looks forced. Jackie Shroff’s performance as Gary Fernandes, the estranged father borders between over acting and hamming, in some sequences he is so over the top that you cannot even hear his dialogues properly. Jacqueline Fernandes as Jenny has very little to do other than being moist eyed in every scene of hers. Shefali Shah as Maria, the mother gives us a crackling performance in a cameo. Ashutosh Rana as Pasha is wasted in a not so well written role. Kiran Kumar as Briganza, the businessman is again wasted in a inconsequential role. Kulbhushan Kharbanda in a cameo as the school principle was earnest. The two commentators Raj Zutshi & Kavi Shastri are the most irritating of the lot, rather they looked like a caricature. Rest of the cast does not create any impact.

Hemant Chaturvedi’s cinematography is gritty as per the requisite of the story.

Ajay-Atul’s music is very weak, excluding the item song “Mera Naam Mary”, rest of all the songs below par. Ganesh Acharya’s choreography of “Mera Naam Mary” is extremely cheap and I wonder what prompted Kareena Kapoor to do the song. This is by far the cheapest song that Kareena has done.

Karan Malhotra’s direction is extremely over the top whether it is the emotional sequences or the fight sequences which is outright gory in the name of boxing. The only emotion which is displayed is the emotion of hatred all throughout the movie.
It is Akshay Kumar and his portrayal which makes the movie watchable. Rather the whole movie is rested on Akshay Kumar’s broad shoulders.

I will go with 2 stars…

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Official Trailer: Shaandaar

After the critically acclaimed and highly successful “Queen”, Vikas Bahl is back with his second venture “Shaandaar”…..

“Shaandaar” is India’s first destination wedding movie, with an impressive ensemble star cast of Shahid Kapoor, shaandaarAlia Bhatt, Pankaj Kapur, Sanjay Kapoor, Sushma Seth, Sanah Kapoor, Diljit Dasanjh, Shibani Dandekar, Anjana Sukhani, Niyati Shah & Karan Johar (In a cameo)…

Story is by Vikas Bahl & Chaitally Parmar and screenplay & dialogues by Anvita Dutt Guptan. Anvita was also the dialogue writer for “Queen”, so we can expect some good writing here….

Vikas repeats his favorite music director Amit Trivedi again, so expect some melodious tunes as well….

“Shaandaar” is jointly being produced by Dharma Productions and Phantom Films, a collaboration which gave us “Hansee Toh Phasee”, so expect the grandeur of Dharma Productions and realism of Phantom Films….

“Shaandaar” looks like light breezy movie from its Official Trailer, but whether will it repeat the critical and box office success of “Queen”…well we need to wait till 22nd Oct’15, the day “Shaandaar” releases…..till then enjoy the trailer

Movie Review : Bangistan

Bangistan: Too Lukewarm for a Bang

Sometimes our film makers think that just having a different idea is enough to make a movie, but they forget that there is always a beginning, middle and a climax to a movie and all the three need to gel well to create the required impact. It is more difficult if it is satire.

The issue with the Film Critic turned film maker Karan Anshuman’s debut venture is that the idea was good on Bangistan Reviwpaper but unfortunately the execution was far from being good.

“Bangistan” takes forward the question asked in “PK” whether religion and sect is really essential for survival or is it just a business of various religious leaders, but in the form of a satire. The story unfolds in an imaginary town “Bangistan”, where Hindus live in the south of “Bangistan” and Muslim towards the north, and their tolerance is limited and every now and then there are communal riots. In this whole mayhem two naïve and relatively unknown youth Hafeez Bin Ali (Ritesh Deshmukh) a call center executive and Praveen Chaturvedi (Pulkit Samrat) a struggling actor become pawn and are brain washed by their respective religious leaders Guruji and Abba (Kumud Mishra in a double role) and are convinced to become suicide bombers and sent to Polland to bomb a World Religious meet. The rest of the movie captures their adventure in Polland…

The story & screenplay written by Punnet Krishna, Sumit Purohit & Karan Anshuman himself is a satire and starts off well when Bangistan is introduced with a lot of tougue and cheek moments from the Bangistan Call Center to the Fc Donald’s outlet. It gives an impression that the movie is going to be different but the screenplay just falls flat once the action shifts to Polland introducing unnecessary characters which make no sense to the overall story. The second half is a disaster with an extremely lukewarm climax which becomes too preachy. . The characters are written without any depth. Overall the idea was good but the execution on paper just does not match the idea, and what we get a half baked movie.

The two actors Ritesh Deshmukh & Pulkit Samrat try to salvage with their performance but the weak writing pull down their earnest effort. Ritesh as a staunch Muslim Hafeez Bin Ali, who disguises as Ishwar Chandra, makes an earnest effort and it shows in his performance which does justice to the character. Pulkit Samrat as Praveen Chaturvedi a staunch Hindu who disguises as a Muslim, brings the required energy to the proceedings and gives an honest performance. Kumud Mishra in a double role of Guruji and Abba is one of the best performances of the movie, he yet again proves his mettle as an actor, who is underutilized. Jacqueline Fernandes as Rosy is wasted and you wonder what was she doing in the movie other than for a single song. Chandan Roy Sanyal as Tamim is again wasted due to weak writing. Arya Babbar as terrorist Zulfi tries to be funny but fails miserably. Other than the performances of Ritesh Deshmukh, Pulkit Samrat and Kumud Mishra, rest of the cast fail to create any impression.

Cinematography by Szymon Lenkowski captures the moments well and both in Polland & India. Production design by Amit Ray tries to create the quirkiness of the story through his designs and does well. Editing by Shweta Venkat is very average….

Music by Ram Sampath is extremely forgettable excluding a single song “Hogi Kranti”.

Karan Anshuman’s motive and idea of making the satire was commendable, but the execution was extremely average creating no impact whatsoever….

I will go with Two & a Half Stars…

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Official Trailer: Phantom

Kabir Khan is back what he does best with “Phantom” a political thriller; the story is adapted from the novel “Mumbai Avengers” written by the famous crime author Hussain Zaidi.phantom-poster-saif-ali-khan-katrina-kaif

The story & screenplay has been written by Kabir Khan and Parveez Shaikh, and tells the story of global terrorism after 26/11 attacks in Mumbai wherein the main lead Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif play secret agents who are sent in mission. Not much has been revealed as far as the story goes.

Since the story is on global terrorism hence the Producer Sajid Nadiadwala and Kabir Khan have kept no stone unturned and the film is shot all across the globe from Beirut, Lebanon and the mountains of Kfardebian (shown as Syria) to UK & Canada to Jammu & Kashmir to Punjab and to Mumbai….

The principal cast comprises of Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and many actors from various countries where it was shot.

Cinematography is by Kabir Khan’s regular Aseem Mishra, hence we can expect some splendid visuals.

Releasing on 28th Aug’15 the movie has been produced by Sajid Nadiadwala under his banner Nadiadwala Grandsons and it is being distributed by UTV….

The trailer gives us a glimpse of an action packed thriller shot realistically, a far cry from Kabir Khan’s last blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”…..

Well only time will tell whether “Phantom” will be Kabir Khan’s second blockbuster in 2015…till then enjoy the trailer

Movie Review: Drishyam

Drishyam: A vision which creates an impact

Drishyam posterRemakes in Bollywood have been in vogue since the Black & White era. Some remakes have been apt, some better than the original and some a complete waste which makes you wonder why was the remake made in the first place.

“Drishyam” , a remake of the Mohanlal starrer Malayalam film by the same name does not fit in any of the above categories, to some extent it does justice to the original but not entirely. Nevertheless it does create an impact. Based on the original story by Jeethu Joseph and adapted by Upendra Sidhaye, it narrates the story of a Vijay Salgoankar (Ajay Devgan) an orphan and class 4th fail, who is happy and content with his family comprising of his wife Nandini (Shriya Saran) and two daughters living in a small village in Goa. Fortunes turn when the son of IG Meera Deshmukh (Tabu) goes missing and Vijay and his family becomes the prime suspect. How the family deals with the trials and tribulations is what the movie is all about…

Jeethu Joseph’s story is a sure shot winner and makes for a tight thriller.

Upendra Sidhaye tries to adapt the original in a Bollywood mould which somewhere steals the soul of the original. The first half is wasted in establishing the characters and songs, the movie actually picks up pre interval when the mishap happens making the post interval extremely interesting and edge of the seat. The first half is dedicated to show the loving, happy family, Upendra’s writing lacks a bit in the emotional quotient and does not create any impact. But it is the second half when the screenplay redeems itself and makes you sit up and makes it worth a watch concluding it with a crackling climax. Rather the second half looks like a completely different movie with a much tighter screenplay and at the end creating an impact, but it could have been better with some more twist and if the run time would have been 15 minutes shorter.

The dialogues also written by Upendra are impactful in some sequences and falls flat in some. The dialogues could have been written better with some emphasis on the emotional quotient.

What really makes “Drishyam” worth a watch are its performances. Ajay Devgn as Vijay Salgaonkar, the middle class simpleton who falls in an extraordinary situation, gives a crackling performance and does justice to the character and yet again shows his range as an actor. Tabu as IG Meera Deshmukh, a tough cop and at the same time a loving mother, gives us another award winning performance, proving yet again that is an actress par excellence. Right from her entry she lives Meera Deshmukh’s character to the T, the movie actually picks up after her character is introduced. Shriya Saran as Vijay’s wife Nandini, actually looks a bit miscast and her performance lacks the depth which makes the character fall flat, her performance is the weakest as compared to the rest of the cast. Ishita Dutta who plays Vijay’s elder daughter Anju, does a commendable job in her debut. Pitted against the stalwarts like Ajay & Tabu, Ishita successfully creates an impact which is commendable. Rajat Kapoor as Meera’s Husband has very little to do, but whatever he does, he does justice. Overall it is the performance by the cast which elevates the movie.

Goa has never been captured as beautifully as it has been done by Avinash Arun in this movie. He captures the virgin and serene locations of Goa beautifully, emphasizing more on the green and luscious villages. Editing by Arif Sheikh could have been a bit crisper, especially the first half and being a thriller it the cut needed to be sharper, in a nutshell Arif does a satisfactory job.

The combination of Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar is a cracker, and you expect melodies which stay with you, but unfortunately it fails miserably in this movie, and creates no impact. Rather when the movie gets over you do not even remember a single tune.

Nishikant Kamat, who has been quite successful in making commercial movies in realistic moulds somehow slips a bit with “Drishyam” , it is Jeethu Joseph’s original story and the performances which saves the day for Nishikant. Being a thriller it could have been a bit tighter with some more twists. But overall at the end of the day it does create an impact which is important, but definitely this is not Nishikant’s best work.

The concept, the story and the performances, strictly in that order is what makes “Drishyam”, a must watch. I will go with Three stars.

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)