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 / 5)

In case you have missed the trailer, watch it again

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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: Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Bajrangi Bhaijaan: It is all about “Being Human”

Bajrangi_BhaijaanSalman Khan movies have been quintessential masala movies with punch lines, some item no.’s and lots of chaos in the name of story & screenplay where Salman is the sole selling point of the movie. And we often blame Salman for being repetitive.

But with “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” he breaks his usual mould and he does it with élan. BB is far removed from Salman’s last few movies. It has got a story, it is subtle and Salman takes a break from his buffoonery and attempts to act in a much more defined role and plot.

The story by Vijyendra Prasad is of Munni aka Shaheeda (Harshaali Malhotra) a dumb girl from Pakistan who gets separated from her mother in India when she comes to Delhi to visit Hazrat Nizamuddin. Then she meets Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi (Salman Khan) who is lovingly called “Bajrangi” as he is a Hanuman Bhakt and a staunch shakahari Hindu. How Bajrangi finds out Munni’s actual origin and then how he takes Munni back to Pakistan to re-unite her with her parents forms the crux of the story.

The Screenplay by Vijyendra Prasad, Kabir Khan, Parvez Shaikh & Azad Hussain explores the human emotions very well. All the characters are well etched especially Pawan’s character who is unlike any of Salman’s previous characters. The bond of Bajrangi & Munni is portrayed beautifully making it more endearing to watch. It has a message of India Pakistan bonding and how the political boundaries have played havoc in the lives of both Indians and Pakistanis, but the message is put across very subtlety. It is portrayed   through the growing love and bond of Bajrangi & Munni. The main issue of the script is its pace. The first half is fully spent in setting up the story with some inane songs which could have been avoided; it is in the second half that the screenplay moves forward with various adventures of Bajrangi & Munni in Pakistan. The highlights of the screenplay are the various situations that Munni and Bajrangi go through to reach Munni’s house, there are few sequences which seems too convenient to be true but overall the impact is what matters. Though the climax looks a bit farfetched and a few glitches here and there, but overall the screenplay connects and does complete justice to the Story.

Dialogues by Kausar Munir is heart wrenching at times and comic at times, in a nutshell the dialogues compliment the screenplay and does not sound out of place.

Salman Khan breaks his earlier avatar with his character of Pawan, who is subtle, sensitive yet aggressive when required and Salman does complete justice to this character. He shows that he can portray sensitive characters with élan, and the innocence that he brings to the character makes Pawan endearing. Definitely it is Salman’s better performance in recent time and kudos to him for trying to be different. Kareena as Rasika does not have much to do; with limited screen time whatever she did, she did it earnestly. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the Pakistani reporter Chand Nawab gives a crackling performance and his chemistry with Salman and child artist Harshaali Malhotra is a treat to watch. Nawazuddin undoubtedly is a brilliant actor which he proves with every performance. But the biggest highlight of the movie is the child artist Harshaali Malhotra who plays Munni aka Shaheeda. Since she plays a dumb girl and has no dialogues, she portrays all her emotions through her eyes, and she does it brilliantly and you will fall in love with Munni from the word go. The rest of the cast Om Puri (In a special appearance), Sharat Saxena, Alka Kaushal all do a very good job.

Aseem Mishra’s cinematography is riveting whether it is the busy bylanes of Delhi, or the hills of Jammu & Kashmir (shown as Pakistan in the movie) or the beautiful sand dunes of Rajasthan (again shown as Pakistan). Production design by Rajnish Hedao again blends with the narration, whether re-creating Pakistan in Mandawa in Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir or re-creating the bylanes of Delhi in ND Studio, Karjat.

Pritam returns after a long hiatus and creates an impact with the peppy “Le lele”, the quintessential Salman song, and the pre climax qawalli “Bhar do jholi Meri” sung and enacted by AdnanSami, both being the top two compositions. Other tracks though are melodious but somehow fail to make an impact. The “Chicken Song” is one of the most average compositions of the album and sounds and looks out of place.

Kabir Khan has always picked up political themes be it Kabul Express, New York or even the mainstream Ek Tha Tiger. For BB though he chooses a similar subject but emphasizes more on the human emotions and its bonding. And Kabir’s biggest achievement has been extracting a sensitive performance from Salman Khan and showing him in a new avatar. Another achievement has been extracting a heart wrenching performance from the child artist Harshaali Malhotra. The biggest achievement of Kabir is showing to  the world at large that a Salman Khan movie can also be meaningful with equal dose of entertainment and in mainstream format.

Kudos to Salman who chose such a subject for his first home production and did not take tried and tested formula movie for his production.

Really don’t know whether this movie will do the 100 crore or 300 crores but what is important is that this movie will go in the history of Bollywood as Salman’s brave attempt to do something different. I will go with 3 and a half star…..

Movie Rating: (3.5 / 5)

If you have not seen the trailer yet, click the link below:

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Official Trailer : Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Bajrangi_BhaijaanSalman Khan has never disappointed his fans on EID every year, and this year as well he comes up with his first movie from his own production house SKF (Salman Khan Films), “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”… As the name suggests Salman plays a Bajrang Bali bhakt, Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi a staunch Hindu who comes across a dumb little girl Munni who is from Pakistan. The story & Screenplay by Kabir Khan, V.Vijendra Prasad & Parvez Shaikh charts the journey of Pawan  a.k.a  Bajrangi and Munni, and how Pawan takes Munni back to Pakistan. It has a principal cast of Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Om Puri, Deepti Naval, Sharat Saxena, Ali Quli Mirza and child artist Harshali Malhotra as “Munni”. After their successful outing of “Ek Tha Tiger” in 2012, Kabir Khan & Salman Khan comes together for the second time with “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”. It has Music by Pritam, who is coming after a hiatus. The song “Selfie Le Le Re” is already a rage…. The movie is an EROS presentation and Co-produced by Rockline Venkatesh…. Whether “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” would also be as successful as “Ek Tha Tiger” and whether the Kabir Khan & Salman Khan combo will again bring in the moolah at the box office….well we will have to wait till 17th July’15 when the film releases for the same…..till then enjoy the official trailer….