Movie Review: Banjo

Banjo:  Music which could have been Better

banjo-movie

Banjo Movie Review

Ravi Jadhav after his successful stint in Marathi films with Natrang, Balgandharva, Balak Palak, Timepass & Timepass 2, debuts in Bollywood with “Banjo”. Such a high profile director the expectations of “Banjo” automatically go sky high….

“Banjo” tells the story of 4 guys from the slum Tarrat (Ritesh Deshmukh), who works for the local politican as an extortionist, but his heart  is in playing the Banjo, Grease (Dharmesh) a local mechanic but his heart is in playing the drum, Paper a local newspaper wala who plays the Dhol and the other guy who plays the tasha, they have a small band and they play in local Ganpati, Navratri or marriage party, till they are discovered by Luke (Luke Kenny) who records one of their performance and send it to his friend Chris (Nargis Fakhri) in New York. She gets so impressed with the music that she decides to come to Mumbai and search for the group and record two singles for a international Contest…Is Chris able to find the group and whether her dream gets fulfilled is what the movie is all about…

Written by Ravi Jadhav himself along with Kapil Sawant & Nikhil Mehrotra, the story and screenplay is an amalgamation of too many sub plots which has no bearing with the main story, and that is the problem as the movie takes the entire first half to set up the story and the second half drags on unnecessary melodrama. The intrinsic problem with the writing is that it is flat throughout and it never peaks neither in pace nor in emotional quotient. The sub plots hamper the pace and the weak characterization and low EQ makes the movie too boring. The characters other than the principal 4 characters which are still well written, rest are too flat without any depth. Sometimes you feel that the comedy has been an afterthought. The dialogues do not help as well, other than the tapori lingo other dialogues sound too banal. Where the writing scores is capturing the struggle and tribulation of the slum dwellers with humour…

Ritesh Deshmukh time and again has tried to prove that he is just not an actor who is good at comedy but as a serious actor he has potential, what with Naach, Ek Villain and Lai Bhaari previously; in “Banjo” he tries again and comes out in flying colours with his sincere performance of Tarrat. Dharmesh Yelande as Grease again proves that he is not only a good dancer but a good actor as well, but somewhere he is getting type cast in a tapori character. Other two actors who played Paper and the Tasha player, unfortunately nothing has been written about them, but they also do a good job. Nargis Fakhri as usual adds the glamour quotient but surprisingly she shows some acting chops in playing the character Chris, but I feel still she needs to go along way. Luke Kenny as the firang music arranger does a good job, good to see him after a long hiatus, we saw him last in “Rock On”. Mohan Kapoor as the club owner Nair does what he does well, mouthing hindi in English accent and somehow his swagger suits the role for a change.

“Banjo” which is based on music, hence we expected some good music what with Vishal Shekhar at the helm, but sadly other than 2 songs “Bappa” and the breezy “Udan Choo” other songs are more of cacophony, even the lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya is average.

Manoj Lobo’s camera work is the most impressive; the contrast of the slum vis-a-vis the high rise buildings is very well captured…

As I mentioned earlier “Banjo” being Raj Jadhav’s debut in Bollywood my expectations were high, but he disappoints, and that to in a department which has been his strength in his previous movies, the wrting. Story & Screenplay falls flat from the word go. Though I must mention that Raj captures the spirit of slum very well and quite realistically but in the bargain fails to tell an impactful story. But I have not lost hope and will await Raj Jadhav’s next Bollywood offering..

“Banjo” had a brilliant idea but somewhere the execution on paper as well as on the Big screen lacked the punch…I will go with Two and a Half stars….

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 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 / 5)

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 / 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…

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…