Movie Review : Robert Akbar Walter

Robert Akbar Walter: Too RAW to be served

Lately Bollywood has been in a mood of espionage thrillers, a genre which has been successfully dealt in movies like BABY (2015), D-Day (2013) and Raazi (2018), and not so successfully in Phantom (2015) and Agent Vinod (2013) both staring Saif Ali Khan.

Robert Akbar Walter belongs to the same genre, set in 1971 it tells the story of Romeo Ali (John Abraham) a bank teller whose life changes when RAW Chief Shrikant Rai (Jackie Shroff) approaches him for a covert mission in Pakistan. The rest I don’t want to reveal as it will steal the fun from the movie.

Written by the director Robbie Grewal in association with Ishraq Eba andRAW Moview Shreyansh Pandey, RAW starts on a wobbly ground, as the first half is outright flat and does not give you any thrill which is a must with an espionage thriller. It takes the complete first half to set up the story and by the intermission moment you have already lost interest in the proceedings. The second half does have its moments with some twists which look half baked. It is only in the last 30 minutes that the movie really does justice to its genre but it is too late to salvage. The twists are too less and too convenient. The edge of the seat moments are also few, unlike in Raazi which kept you invested and on the edge of the seat. The characters other than the two principal characters of RAW Chief and Romeo Ali look as if written in a hurry or no thought has been invested behind building these characters. The character of Parul (Mouni Roy) looks written in a haste and you never really get to see the real character, similar is the case with other characters. Another problem is the pace, it is so slow with screen time of 139 minutes, that at the end you just want the movie to end. The screenplay is the biggest drawback of the movie. The premise was promising and interesting but the screenplay just doesn’t pick up and remains flat throughout barring the last 30 minutes.

Performance wise John Abraham in the titular role tries hard and it shows on screen but somehow does not convince us as an intelligent spy. John being a weak actor somehow burdens the movie which already has a weak screenplay. Jackie Shroff as the RAW chief Shrikant Rai looks too stylish for the character he plays, but frankly he is the only actor who does justice to his role. Mouni Roy as the love interest of Romeo remains a decorative piece in the movie with nothing meaty to do. Performance wise Mouni falters big time and the sketchy character does not help either. Sikander Kher as Col Khan, tries to look menacing but fails, his dialect is also inconsistent. Rest of the actor like Raghuvir Yadav who is wasted, Suchitra Krishnamurty, Rajesh Shringarpure, Alka Ameen do not create any impact.

Director Robbie Grewal whose Samay (2003) was very impressive and his best till date, again fails to impress just like his previous movies like Aloo Chaat (2009) and MP3 (2007). Robbie Grewal picks up an interesting premise but fails to stich a consolidated screenplay which is edge of the seat. Though he does not fail with the look and the tone of the movie but execution wise he fails. Give me Samay any day, I guess one of the best performance of Sushmita Sen till date.

It is the cinematography by Tapan Tushar Basu that makes the movie a visual treat, he get the tonality of the premise bang on. The second department which scores big is the production design by Swapnil Bhalerao & Madhur Madhavan, every nitty gritty has been taken care of to the point of perfection. The third department which scores high is the costume design by Ameira Punvani, she gets the time correct with her costume and nothing looks out of place.

Overall Robert Akbar Walter remains RAW throughout, I will go with TWO Stars.

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

Movie Review: Force 2

Force 2: Forceful Action with Less Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Movie Review : Dishoom

Dishoom: An Extremely Average Punch with No Impact

Rohit Dhawan came up with a decent fair with “Desi Boyz” in 2011 wherein he explored the world of Gigolos, but with “Dishoom” Rohit explores the thriller genre…

“Dishoom” is primarily set in Middle East where an Indian cricketer Viraj Sharma (Saqib Saleem) is abducted 36 hours before the final between India & Pakistan. The Indian Govt sends a Special Task Force official KabirShergill (John Abraham) for the mission of getting back Viraj. Kabir teams up with aDishoom Review rookie inspector Junaid (Varun Dhawan) from the police department in Middle East and starts his hunt for the cricketer. Whether Kabir successfully finds out Viraj Sharma is what the story all about…

Story & Screenplay written by Rohit Dhawan himself and Tushar Hiranandani takes a predictable path for a thriller. The suspense is revealed too soon in the movie and the nuances of a thriller just evaporates. There are too many unwanted characters who do not have any relevance to the actual story like the character of Khabri Chachu or Akshay Kumar’s cameo as Sameer Gazi or Nargis Fakhri’s cameo as Samaira. Both the writers fail to give an edge of the seat thriller which was possible looking at the concept. Unnecessary comic sequences marred the overall impact of the story, like the track where Satish Kaushik’s voice speaks to Junaid telling him that they did not like his photo in the matrimonial site, this is repeated many times and it hardly looks funny. Junaid’s character looks a replica of Varun Dhawan’s character in “Main Tera Hero”. There is nothing new in the writing and you feel that the writers are in the 80’s zone wherein the heroine used to dance at the villain’s den. The main antagonist Wagah (Akshay Khanna) looks meek and there is no element of fear in his character, and if the character of the antagonist is weak in a thriller then the movie falls flat and that is exactly what happens with “Dishoom”….

Even the dialogues written by Hussain Dalal does not help, the dialogues especially the comic once sound too forced and hardly make you laugh…

Performances by the ensemble cast does not create any impact whatsoever… John Abraham as Kabir Shergill again repeats his macho act with a frown all throughout the movie, so if you have seen Welcome 2 &Rocky Handsome then you have seen John’s performance in “Dishoom”, and it is absolutely not up to the mark. John has the same expression throughout the movie and you feel that John really needs a crash course in acting. Same goes with Varun Dhawan who has been stuck to his “Main Tera Hero” demeanor in all his films except “Badlapur”, so Varun does not offer anything new in this movie which we have not seen in his earlier films. It is high time for Varun to stop imitating Govinda because he ends up hamming instead of entertaining, and his act gets on to your nerves after sometime. Jacqueline Fernandez repeats her glamour act yet again and ends up being a show piece in the movie. Akshay Khanna is back with his mean act of Wagah in “Dishoom” and fails in his portrayal of an antagonist. He ends up being more of mockery than the dreaded villain, well blame is half on the writing and half on Akshay who failed to get the act right. Saqib Saleem as Viraj Sharma the cricketer in the only one who impresses a bit. The cameos of Akshay Kumar & Nargis Fakhri are a waste….

Rohit Dhawan instead of going a step forward with is second film has slipped. The movie has a very amateurish feel overall and as a viewer you feel that the director has no control on the proceedings. Rohit completely fails as a director whether it is in the writing department or acting department or music department…he was confused whether he should make an action comedy or a taut thriller… and he ends up making a mish mash of the two genres. Overall a very average effort from Rohit Dhawan…
There are only two aspects wherein “Dishoom” redeems itself, first being the cinematography by Ayananka Bose which captures each frame whether it is the city life of Middle East or the sand dunes with perfection, and second being action direction Allan Amin, the bike chase the helicopter chase all has been perfectly shot and are of international standards…

Music by Pritam yet again disappoints, would love to have our old Pritam back…

Overall “Dishoom” is an extremely average fair and fails to connect…I will go with TWO stars….

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

Review : Madras Cafe

Madras Café: A complete Political Thriller

Madras Café on the onset is a Political Thriller which does complete justice to the genre. There are very few films in Bollywood which is of this genre and ‘Madras Café ‘will be remembered as one of the cult movies in this genre.

The story is set in 1994 when the civil war between in Sri Lanka between Sinhalis MCand Tamils was at its peak and Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is sent to Jafna to start peace talks between LTF chief Anna (Ajay Ratnam) and Sri Lankan Govt. The peace mission goes horribly wrong, and the mission is aborted resulting in a conspiracy to kill the Ex PM by LTF. The story captures how the conspiracy is hatched and the outcome thereafter.

The story & screenplay by Somnath De & Subendu Bhattacharya is very well written and extremely fast in pace not giving any moment for the pace to drop. The characters are very well written and realistic. Dialogues by Juhi Chaturvedi gels well with the screenplay.

The editor Chandrashekhar Prajapati has done a splendid job in keeping the pace on the edge. Cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi is brilliant setting the mood of the movie well. The war sequences are shot well by Manoher Verma.
Shoojit Sircar has again proved his versatility with ‘Madras Café’. It was a difficult movie to be made without being preachy and not taking sides and Shoojit has done a brilliant job at that. His command on the medium is amply clear with this movie.

Performance wise John Abraham shines in this movie (after Force), he is convincing and suits the role to the T. Nargis Fakhri who plays a war journalist ‘Jaya’ has a brief role but she does well (maybe because she had all English dialogues). But one actor who shines is Prakash Belawadi who plays ‘Bala’, he actually outshines the rest of the cast with his portrayal. Rest of the support cast like Sidharth Basu, Piyush Pandey etc .also does well.

Overall an entertaining political thriller, I will go with 4 stars…