Movie Review: Hichki

Hichki: Predictable yet Heart Warming

“Hichki” is a true example of safe film making; it is moulded in an existing mould taking inspirations from various movies international and Bollywood exploring the theme of teacher and student bonding. Starting from Jagruti to Imtehaan to Taare Zameen Par, this theme has been used successfully, and “Hichki” takes the same path, though primarily it is an adaptation of the book, “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had” by Brad Cohen.

“Hichki” tells the story of Naina Mathur (Rani Mukherjee) who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome (a neurological disorder which forces the hichki movieindividual to make sounds as and when there is an obstruction in the nerves) who being a part time graphic designer aspires to be a teacher. After a struggle for 5 years she ultimately gets a job at a prestigious school St. Notekar’s as a teacher, wherein she is assigned class 9F which comprises of kids from the nearby slums as per Indian Govt’s right to education. These kids are seen as an outcast who does not blend with rest of the students from elite families which make the kids feel unwanted and they become rebels. Whether Naina is able to regain the kids trust and able to tame them is what the movie is all about.

“Hichki” is written by a team of writers comprising of the director Sidharth Malhotra, Ankur Choudhary, Ambar Hadap and Ganesh Pandit. Though the writing team comprises of five writers still there is nothing new about “Hichki”, and right from the word go you will exactly know how will the movie progress and end. Where the movie redeems itself are a few moments between Naina and her students that make you really emotional. Though the story and screenplay does not anything new but still it makes you smile and cry along with it, in short the premise and writing successfully connects emotionally because it is the characters and their equation, like the father daughter relationship, the mother daughter relationship, Naina’s relationship with her students that makes the difference. Overall the writing is decent but not extraordinary.

“Hichki” is a Rani Mukherjee’s movie throughout, she is in every frame and she just kills it with her performance, again showing what an actress par excellence she is. Rani internalizes Naina and almost lives her on screen, especially when she has bouts of Tourette. Rani carries the entire movie on her able shoulders and does not disappoint us even in a single frame. Rest of the cast like Neeraj Kabi as Wadia does a good job but I felt that his character was too one dimensional for a brilliant actor like him. Amongst the kids it is Harsh Mayar as Aatish who leaves the maximum impact, rest of the supporting cast does a good job.

Though “Hichki” has songs but none of the songs creates any impact.
Cinematography by Avinash Arun captures the moments well and creates the apt premise for the story.

Siddharth P Malhotra, after an unsuccessful “We Are Family” plays it safe this time around, and the best decision me makes is to cast Rani Mukherjee in the lead role, which was half the battle won. Though he gets the emotional quotient bang on but still we want to see more dimensions in his direction.

“Hichki” is a Rani Mukherjee movie throughout and she does not disappoint, I will go with 3 stars.

Movie Review: Befikre

Befikre: A caricature in the name of Modern Love Story

Befikre-Movie-ReviewAditya Chopra tries to break his mould of a conventional love story maker to a contemporary love story maker with “Befikre”; well there is no problem in that but we have misconceptions of a modern or contemporary love story that it needs to be bereft of any emotions and passion, and that a modern day couple are only there for fun…

Taking that concept Aditya Chopra weaves in the quirky love story of Dharam (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra (Vaani Kapoor) who are two modern day individuals. Dharam the latest export from India who lands in the romantic city of Paris and meets Shyra, a free spirited Indian girl born and brought up in Paris, who calls herself a French girl, both start a casual fling which then gets converted to a live in and then a break up and then good friends, but do they ever find their real feelings for each other is what the movie explores…

Story by Aditya Chopra & Sharat Kataria and screenplay by Aditya Chopra himself takes inspiration from whole lot of Hollywood and Bollywood movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding, No strings Attached, YRF’s own Shudh Desi Romance or Band Baaja Baraat and Tamasha. In a nutshell there is nothing new in the premise neither in the screenplay, wherein a boy and a girl start a relationship with no strings attached and eventually they fall in love with each other and life gets complicated. Rather to add to the modernism the couple start making out at the drop of a hat as if they are sex maniacs, even the casting shows people kissing throughout. Where the story fails miserably is the lack of any emotional quotient in the scenes, rather the graph remains flat throughout the movie and never peaks and in the end you hardly care whether girl and the boy eventually remain happy ever after. The characters including the leads look like caricatures with no depth what so ever. In short the movie just falls flat and right from the word go and Aditya Chopra looses the plot with “Befikre”…

The dialogues by Sharat Kataria are the only saving grace in the scenes which makes you smile. The dialogues are cute, funny and at the same time contemporary, not heavy duty.

In a love story the most essential component is the chemistry, well unfortunately there is NO chemistry between Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor, though Ranveer Singh is in a comfortable space with the character where the fun part is concerned, but then it is a repetition of what he did in “Band Baaja Baraat” and it was novel at that time. Where Ranveer struggles in bringing the passion in emoting love, he is fine till the fun element is intact but when it becomes serious emotion Ranveer fails. Vaani Kapoor also gives a sincere performance but the chemistry with Ranveer. Debutant  Armaan Ralhan as Anya, Shyra’s fiancé gives a inhabited performance, being his first movie he looks and acts well, though it is the script which pulls him down.  Akarsh Khurana and Ayesha Raza who play Shyra’s parents do a good job, but they have nothing much to do. Rest of the foreign cast try to fit in but look confused.

Music by Vishal Shekhar is average and none of the songs have a recall value, something which is so opposite to an Aditya Chopra movie. Choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant has nothing new and original it is typical run of the mill…

It is the camera work by Kaname Onoyama which makes the movie worth a watch; he has captured Paris and France like poetry…

Aditya Chopra in his previous movies has shown brilliance in creating moments in his moments, who can forget the mother daughter scene or the pre climax sequence of DDLJ, or all the sequences of Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan in Mohabbatein, or the cute yet uncomfortable chemistry of the leads of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, but that brilliance is completely missing in “Befikre”. Rather you feel Aditya has made the movie in a rush and missed on all the crucial elements which have a USP of his movies. Aditya Chopra disappoints us with “Befikre” and it is definitely his weakest film till date. Rather after watching “Befikre”, you doubt whether it is the same director who directed DDLJ….

A huge let down by Aditya Chopra, I will go with Two Stars…

Movie Rating: (2 / 5)

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 / 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…

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

 

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…..

Trailer Mardaani

Rani Mukherjee is back with YRF’s “MARDAANI”……Directed by Pradeep Sarkar (Of Parineeta Fame) this is his second movie with Rani after “Laaga Chunri Mein Daag”released in 2007…..the movie is based on the organized crime of Human Trafficking and Rani plays a tough cop Shivani Shivaji Roy a departure from her previous roles….the movie releases 22nd Aug’14….Below is the trailer which looks interesting…