Movie Review : M. S. Dhoni

M. S. Dhoni-The Untold Story: Sushant makes Dhoni his own & shines…

Cricket & Movies are a religion in India; hence a movie on cricket is always something looking forward to. The curiosity increases if the movie is based on the most successful captain of the Indian Cricket Team Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the director is Neeraj Pandey who has proved his credentials with his last three impressive outings A Wednesday, Special 26 and Baby…

Well “M S Dhoni-The Untold Story” gives a peek on the life of Dhoni before he became the sensation, ms-dhoni-moview-reviewfrom a school boy who was more interested in football and who is pushed to play cricket, from a TC to playing International cricket, to becoming the captain of the Indian cricket team and winning the T20 World Cup and the World Cup in 2011….

Story by Neeraj Pandey and screenplay by Neeraj Pandey & Nandu Kamte, the story emphasizes more on the struggle and tribulations of a young Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his journey from a humble background to becoming a cricket sensation and then the Captain of the Indian Cricket team. It also gives a peek on Dhoni’s personal life and the women who came in his life. The story and screenplay is too staright jacketed and has no layers to it, it barely touches the controversies and the altercations of Dhoni with other team members, it just shows a brief sequence wherein Dhoni as a Captain decides to drop some senior players from ODI, beyond which nothing is explored. In short the story refrains from touching any negative about Dhoni which makes the movie as a fan boy account than a realistic account. Neeraj Pandey shows the various events one after another as sequences in a chronology without giving too much insight, which robs the nuance from the story resulting in a mundane narration. Though the first half manages to capture the emotional quotient very well and thus is highlight of the movie, the narration starts loosing it in the second half when the story delves on Dhoni’s personal life and his women, the climax of the World Cup suddenly comes in the narration and looks as if the writers did not know what to do next and hence bought the climax to end the movie. The script does not have any conflict to spice up the narration; it seems too good to be true. The biggest drawback of the movie is the run time of 190 minutes, which makes it tedious especially in the second half. The beauty of the writing lies is its simplistic style of narration, but I still felt that the writing could have been much better.

Dialogues by Dilip Jha are natural and realistic and lend the required support to lift the otherwise flat script…

It is the performance of the cast which is the highlight of the movie, starting with Sushant Singh Rajput who plays the title role does a smashing job of portraying the legend. It is very difficult to portray a character which is so well etched in the minds of the audience and who is still alive. Sushant gets his act bang on right from getting mannerism of the cricketer absolutely correct to his cricketing style including Dhoni’s famous helicopter shot. It shows how much effort and dedication was put by Sushant to get his act right, undoubtedly Sushant’s best performance till date. Anupam Kher as Dhoni’s father again proves why he is considered an actor par excellence. Anupam underplays his character still shines. Kumud Mishra as the head of CCL who helps Dhoni in playing professional cricket shines, with every movie Kumud is becoming stronger and better. Rajesh Sharma, another brilliant actor who plays Dhoni’s teacher Mr Banerjee who pushes young Dhoni to shift from Football to Cricket, gives a crackling performance. Bhumika Chawla as Dhoni’s elder sister does not have much of a role but whatever brief role she has, she justifies her character well. The two actresses who play Dhoni’s love interest Disha Patani as Priyanka and Kiara Advani as Sakshi also do a commendable job, but it is Disha who scores over Kiara and impresses more… Rest of the cast also do a fantastic job…

Cinematography by Sudhir Palsane is simple as per the narration but yet effective..
Amongst the songs the two soundtracks which impress the most are “Besabriyaan” & “Kaun Tujhe” composed by Amaal Mallik and sung by Armaan Mallik & Palak Munchal respectively….

Neeraj Pandey takes a break from thrillers and tries a different genre for this movie and that to a biopic which in itself is a difficult genre and if the person on whom the movie is based is well known and alive it becomes more difficult, so kudos to Neeraj Pandey for taking that risk with “M S Dhoni”. Neeraj’s style of film making is to make it simple and as realistic as possible and he does not change the style in this movie, but where he falters is the writing which is straight jacketed and a flat script with no variation what so ever. But where Neeraj scores, is getting crackling performance by the entire cast which is commendable. Well this may not be Neeraj’s best movie but it is not that bad either…

If you are a diehard cricket or Dhoni fan and do not mind to sit through 190 minutes of screen time then it is a movie for you, or if not it is worth a watch at least for Sushant Singh Rajput… I will go with 3 stars (One star extra for Sushant Singh Rajput)…

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

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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 / 5)

Official Trailer: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

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

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

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

PRDP

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

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

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

Till then enjoy the Official Trailer….

 

 

 

Movie Review : Baby

Baby: Definitely not a Baby step but a giant leap in Espionage genre

Baby PosterThere are few movies which break the mould of your quintessential Bollywood movie and Neeraj Pandey has done it successfully with his previous movies “A Wednesday” & “Special 26”. With “Baby” he takes huge leap with a genre that has not been explored too often in Bollywood, the espionage genre.

“Baby” as a movie has a huge canvas spread across countries like Turkey (Istanbul), Nepal (Katmandu), Saudi (Abu Dhabi) and Story & Screenplay written by Neeraj Pandey himself, tells the story of a secret Intelligence cell “Baby” headed by Firoz Ali Khan (Danny Denzongpa) and with the help of his trusted lieutenant Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar) he unveils a plot of terrorist attack on India planned by the international terrorist group headed by Maulana Mohammed Rehman (Rashid Naz).

The screenplay is gripping and fast paced with every sequence flowing smoothly to other. The characters are well defined and have a purpose in the story. The screenplay is patriotic without being preachy. The “Argo” style climax is nail biting. It keeps you at the edge of the seat throughout its run time of 159 minutes. Where it fails albeit in a small proportion is that it took the complete first half to set up the base and it is only in the second half when the real plot commences. The dialogues are smart and at the same time witty adding to the entertainment quotient.

There are very few films which boast of the fact that it was aptly cast, in “Baby” the biggest highlight is perfect casting done by Vicky Sidana. Akshay Kumar as Ajay Singh Rajput the leader of the mission fits the bill completely. His agility, his demeanor everything is spot on and this performance is one of his best performances as well. Danny Denzongpa as Firoz Ali Khan is brilliant as the head of secret service team. It was good to see Danny after a gap in a role which complements his persona and stature completely. Tapsi Pannu in a small role as Agent Priya Suryavanshi is impressive and creates an impact. Rana Dagubatti as Jai Singh Rathore is good but he does not get a chance to show his histrionics in a brief role. Anupam Kher as Shuklaji gives the necessary punch to the proceedings. Rashid Naz as Maulana the head of the terrorist group gives the necessary chill with his presence. Kay Kay Menon as Bilal shines in a brief role. Another cracker performance was of Sushant Singh as Wasim, he created an impact in a brief role. The rest of ensemble cast Madhurima Tuli, Jameel Khan, Murli Sharma, Mikal Zulfikar do a brilliant job.

Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is another highlight of the movie; he has captured Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Katmandu, Mumbai and Delhi to perfection. Background score by Sanjoy Chowdhury enhances the sequences and adds to the impact. Abbas Ali Moghul’s action is spot on especially the chase sequences, the action is realistic and without the unnecessary frills. Good Editing is one of the pre-requisite of a good thriller and Shree Narayan Sigh does not disappoint, every sequence blends easily to other. Sanjeev Ravade’s production design is realistic and blends with the narration beautifully. Costume design by Falguni Thakore again blends with the narration which is commendable. In a nutshell the technical team put a brilliant effort which enhances the movie watching experience.

“Baby” is another feather on Neeraj Pandey’s cap, making him a well sought out film maker and I feel Akshay Kumar should do more such movies which compliment his persona perfectly…

Kudos to team “Baby”, I will go with 4 stars….

Movie Rating: (4 / 5)

Official Trailer : Baby

After the successful “A Wednesday” & “Special 26” Writer Director Neeraj Pandey comes  with his new offering, Baby-movie-First-Lookanother Thriller “BABY”.

It has an ensemble cast of Akshay Kumar, Rana Daggubati (last seen in Dum Maro Dum), Taapsee Pannu, Anupam Kher, Madhurima Tuli, Kay Kay Menon, Sushant Singh (will be seen after a long time), Danny Denzongappa, Mikaal Zulfiqar (British Pakistani Actor) & Rasheed Naz (Pakistani Actor of Bol fame)

BABY tells the story of the a group of Officers headed by Ajay Singh Rajput who go on a mission to stop a major terrorist attack on the nation masterminded by a International Terrorist group.

It has music by MM Kreem & Meet Bros….

Baby is being produced by T-Series in association with Crouching Tiger, Friday Filmworks & Cape of Good Films

The official Trailer looks promising and looks like a complete action flick. Will Neeraj be third time lucky at the Box Office for that we have to wait till 23rd January 2015…when the movie opens in theatres…till then enjoy the Trailer…..

 

Official Trailer : The Shaukeens

“The Shaukeens” is a remake of Basu Chatterjee’s 1982 movie “Shaukeen” staring Ashok Kumar, A K Hangal, Utpal Dutt, Rati Agnihotri and Mithun Chakravorty in a cameo.

After the successful “Tere Bin Laden” this is Abhishek Sharma’s second directorial venture. It has the story adapted by Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sai Kabir and Screenplay by Tigmanshu Dhulia which like the original tells the story of three old men Lali, KD and Pinky who are friends and want to re-live their lives and have fun so they decide to go to Mauritius where they meet Ahana and all three of them try to woo her resulting in comic situations.

The ShaukeenThe movie stars Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor, Piyush Mishra & Lisa Hayden. Akshay Kumar plays himself in a cameo and Rati Agnihotri who was the heroine of the original is in a special appearance.

A lot of musical chair happened for casting the female lead, the original choice was Nargis Fakhri but she gave preference to her Hollywood venture after which the movie was offered to Shradha Kapoor but things did not work out, ultimately Lisa Hayden was chosen for the female lead.

This movie re-unites three real life friends from NSD Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor and Piyush Mishra. The cast is interesting and the promo looks like a sex comedy.

The movie has been produces by Ashwin Varde and Murad Khetani and the movie releases on 7th November 2014….

Movie Review : Daawat-E-Ishq

Daawat-E-Ishq: A undercooked story with tangy tadka of good performance

For the last few movies YRF has painstakingly tried to break the mould of the quintessential YRF movieDaawat
format and gone ahead in making movies which are based in smaller towns and stories which are more
realistic and says the stories of the common man.

“Daawat-E-Ishq” is on the similar lines with Habib Faisal, YRF’s in- house writer director. Habib’s
previous movies like “Do Dooni Chaar” and “Ishaqzaade” explores the middle class and the small town
sensibilities with élan. In “Daawat-E-Ishq” he tries it again with a social message on dowry and Section
498 (A) which is law against people who take dowry.

Story and screenplay by Habib himself in association with Jyoti Kapoor explores the story of Gulrez Qadir
(Parineeti Chopra) a sales girl in a shoe store and her father Abdul Qadir (Anupam Kher). Abdul’s attempt
to get his daughter married fails every time due to the dowry demand from the prospective groom’s.
Completely disillusioned the father daughter duo take up an unusual route to solve their issue and go to
Lucknow where they meet Tariq Haider, owner of the famous Haidiri Kebab Restaurant in Lucknow. What
culminates between these three is the crux of the rest of the story.

The weakness of the script is the beginning and the climax. The narration in the beginning takes time to
build up till the action shifts to Lucknow and the climax looks too hurried without any emotional quotient
or depth. Habib tries to keep the narration simple but it becomes too simple at times. The con acts in the
movie looks a bit too farfetched. The main attraction of the script are its three principal characters
Gulrez, Tariq and Gulrez’s father Abdul, these characters have been written with full conviction but the
other characters are neglected as more screen time is given to the principal chracters and the outcome is a
half baked story with some beautiful moments.

The dialogues again by Habib himself are witty and comic and he gets the dialects of both Hyderabad and
Lucknow spot on. Elahe Hiptoola’s contribution to the Hyderabadi accent cannot be ignored.

It is the performances by the principal cast which lifts the movie. Parineeti Chopra as Gulrez yet again
gives a sparkling performance especially her Hyderabadi dialect is so convincing. Aditya Roy Kapur was a
surprise packet for me; his portrayal of Tariq Haider is brilliant; right from his body language to his
dialect everything is spot on. Anupam Kher strikes back again with his portrayal of Gulrez’s meek and not
so confident father Abdul Qadir, watching Anupam after “Special 26” in his elements was a treat. Television
actor Karan Wahi debuts in this movie but is least impressive. Rests of the cast do not have much to do in
this movie.

Himam Dhanija’s cinematography is good and captures the by lanes of Hyderabad and Lucknow well. Production
design by Mukund Gupta is well done which complements the narration.

Music by Sajid Wajid is just a wee bit more than average, the title song and Mannat are the two
compositions which stand out, but unfortunately the filming of both the songs are average.

Habib could have made it better with some strong writing but he misses the plot. An attempt which is half
baked, I will go with 3 stars…

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

Review : Singham Returns

Singham Returns: A complete Rohit Shetty masala fare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)