Movie Review: Raees

Raees: Old Wine in Old Bottle

Shahrukh Khan’s “Raees” created a buzz the day the teaser was launched in 2015. Cut to 2017 when the movie released on 25th Jan’17, whether it really lived up to the excpectations???

“Raees” revisits the 80‘s genre of Hindi movies where the whole story revolved around the main protagonist and he is capable of doing anything and everything. Well the storyline of “Raees” follows the similar pattern, set in the 80’s it tells the story of an underdog Raees Khan (Shahrukh Khan) a bootlegger in organized crime scene of illegal liquor trade in Gujarat, since he was a kid under Jairaj (Atul Kulkarni). “Raees” essentially shows the meteoric rise of Raees Khan in the crime scene and ultimately his fall which is inevitable.Raees-New-Movie-Review

“Raees” essentially does not offer anything new; it is blatantly inspired by the Amitabh Bachchan genre of movies like Deewar, Agneepath with a dash of Scarface. Written by a group of writers which includes the director Rahul Dholakia himself along with Ashish Vashi, Harit Mehta & Niraj Shukla, ”Raees”  falls prey to the movies that it is inspired from and does not rise above it. The plot and screenplay is extremely predictable and you can actually guess what will come next. The inconsistencies in the screenplay is on your face, for instance the visual impairment of Raees Khan, it is used on the convenience of the writers where ever it is needed, like he goes and kills the entire army of Jairaj without his glasses, or the moharram sequence when he is chasing his assassin without his glasses, whereas in the beginning in one of the fight sequence Raees cannot see without his glasses. Secondly whenever he is shown on a killing rampage he does it alone without any help, well a super hero I may say so. “Raees” starts off on a high note and somehow keeps the tempo till intermission, but in the second half the movie nose dives and it goes nowhere. The writers are not clear what to show of Raees, a ruthless and scheming criminal or a messiah of the poor, and that is where the movie looses the plot. The love story is extremely weak and you feel that the love angle is introduced only for song sequences. Even the camaraderie of Raees with his friends like Sadiq is not explored well. The only character which looks strong in front of Raees is of the police inspector Jhatak Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), other characters look like sitting ducks, so in short the story lacks strong characters which would have eventually elevated the script. The lack of sensitivity in the writing is so obvious that you just do not sympathies with Raees Khan as a character. Overall a below average attempt as far as the script goes.

Dialogues is the high point of the movie, it is impactful yet realistic. Somewhere the weak writing is redeemed a bit with the dialogues, but if only dialogues can create an impact on a weak script. So the impactful dialogues fail to salvage the weak script.

Performance wise Shahrukh Khan as Raees Khan tries his best in enacting the character with complete earnestness, but somewhere the larger than life persona of Shahrukh Khan steals the authenticity of the character and you see SRK and NOT Raees Khan in the movie. Shahrukh tries to look like the character but his portrayal is SRK written throughout, which is something which in today’s scenario is not acceptable. The last earnest attempt of Shahrukh wherein he played the character and was successful was “Chak De India”. Shahrukh is an extremely good actor but somehow the movies that he is choosing off late is only portraying SRK the STAR and not SRK the ACTOR. Nawazuddin Siddiqui yet again proves his mettle with his portrayal of the policeman Jhatak Majmudar, he is spontaneous, witty and brilliant. Rather whenever Nawazuddin comes on screen you can feel the impact. He even overshadows Shahrukh in a few scenes. The debutant from Pakistan Mahira Khan as Aasiya does justice to whatever is given to her, but she fails to rise above the weak writing and hence fails to create any impact. Brilliant actors like Atul Kulkarni, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Raj Arun, Sheeba Chadha and Lovleen Mishra are wasted in weakly written character roles. But one actor who creates impact even in a small role is Narendra Jha as Musa Bhai, after Nawazuddin it is Narendra Jha whose character stays with you even after the movie gets over, definitely an actor to watch out for.

K U Mohanan’s camera work strikes the right balance between the ruggedness of Gujarat and the colours of Gujarat. Production design by Anita Rajagopalan and Donal Reagen successfully creates the 80’s look to perfection. Costume Design by Sheetal Sharma blends with the characters well and does not look too jarring or out of place.

Music wise “Raees” scores high with the romantic “Zaalima” by Aheer and “Udi Udi Jaaye” by Ram Sampath which has a garbha feel to the song. The re-created “Laila mein Laila” is foot tapping and has enough beats to make you dance. Rest of the tracks fails to impress.

Rahul Dholakia who impressed us with his sensitive “Parzania” and “Lamha”, takes a detour with “Raees” and tries to attempt a mainstream commercial movie, but fails to balance between the arty and the commercial sensibilities. Rahul looks confused as to where to draw the line in being arty and being commercial, and in the bargain the movie gets affected. Surprisingly the sensitivity which Rahul showed us in previous two movies is completely missing in “Raees”, and hence it fails miserably in the emotional quotient. Rahul please give us another “Parzania”, we still have faith in you as a director.

“Raees” fails to live up to sky high expectations and delivers an ordinary fare… I will go with Two & a Half Stars..

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

 

Official Trailer: Raees

After “Dear Zindagi” which may not be an out and out Shahrukh Khan movie, here comes the long awaited raees-movie-official-trailerSRK movie “Raees”, which was initially slated to be released on Eid 6th July, 2016 but was postponed to avoid the clash with Salman Khan’s movie “Sultan” to 25th Jan’17…

This is Rahul Dholakia’s third outing as a director, first being the critically acclaimed “Parzania” and the second being the topical “Lamha” based on the Kashmir issue which went unnoticed. “Raees” is Rahul Dholakia’s first large scale big budget movie..

“Raees” is a period drama set in 1980’s Gujarat and tells the story of Raees Alam and his illegal business of Liquor which is challenged by ACP Ghulam Patel, the conflict between the two is what the movie is all about…

The titular role as we all know is being played by Shahrukh Khan with Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing ACP Ghulam Patel, the rest of the cast comprises of Pakistani actress Mahira Khan who debuts in Bollywood with this movie along with Atul Kulkarni, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Sheeba Chaddha…

Red Chillies Entertainment & Excel Entertainment has joined hands for this venture and is being produced by Gauri Khan, Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani.

“Raees” has music by Ram Sampath

The teaser of “Raees” which was released with “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” during Eid 2015 became immensely popular; especially the dialogue “Baniye ka Dimaag aur Miyan Bhai ki Daring”…

SRK’s look in the movie is bang on and it would be interesting to see both Shahrukh and Nawazuddin together..

Well only time will tell as to who will win the battle, Hrithik Roshan’s “Kaabil” or SRK’s “Raees” as both the movies are releasing the same day 25th Jan’17, but for cine goers it would be a treat..

Till then watch the Official Trailer of “Raees”…

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….

Movie Review : Badlapur

Badlapur: A lukewarm revenge drama

Shriram Raghvan’s fascination for dark thrillers is a known fact what with his previous movies Ek Hasina Thi & Jhonny Gaddar. He continues his fascination for the same with Badlapur.

The basic premise has many layers and Shriram Raghvan along with writer Arijit Biswas try to show the psychological side of revenge as to Badlapur Movie Reviewhow a Advertising Professional Raghav (Varun Dhawan) becomes psychotic after his wife Misha (Yami Gautam) and kid Robin get killed in a bank robbery and he plans to avenge the killers.

The basic message that Shriram wanted to portray was how revenge makes a normal human being act like an animal and in his rage he commits crimes which he does not want. This he portrayed through his two principal characters Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who commits the bank robbery and kills Raghav’s wife and kid and on the other side Raghav who in his madness to take revenge commits a crime which was not intended.

Every character in the movie is very well etched and very complex, but where the movie looses is its weak narration and slow pace. The 134 mins movie could have been trimmed at least by 15 to 20 mins to create more impact. Though the climax has a message but the overall narration does not create an impact. The first half shows promise and you expect some twist in the second half which unfortunately does not come and results in a half baked second half. I felt in some sequences the blood quotient was too stark than required.

It is the performances which is the biggest highlight of the movie, Varun Dhawan as Raghav tries to do a role which was different from his previous movies and succeeds to a large extent especially in sequences where he underplays his anger. The best performance is undoubtedly of Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays the antagonist Liak with such perfection that he overshadows everybody in the frame. Huma Qureshi as the prostitute Jhimli gives another riveting performance. Yami Gautam as Misha has nothing much to do. Radhika Apte as Kanchan is good but could have been better, rather she looks quite jaded. Divya Dutta as Shobha the social worker has nothing much to do but still she shines in her brief role. Kumud Mishra, a brilliant actor but underrated by Bollywood shines in the role of the inspector who investigates the bank Robbery. Rest of the cast like Ashwini Kalsekar, Pratima Kazmi, Vinay Pathak do a brilliant job in their brief roles and makes the movie a worth watch.

Music by Sachin Jigar is melodious, especially Jeena Jeena & the rock Jee Karda. Anil Mehta’s brilliance shines through the magical cinematography which captures the suburbs well….

Shriram Raghavan gets the premise right but fails in making it an impactful narration which was the biggest flaw. The pace in the second half is so slow that you want the movie to end.

I will go with Two & a Half stars….

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

Review : The Lunchbox

The Lunchbox: A Sumptuous Meal

Ritesh Batra’s first offering is like a three course meal which has all the spices albeit in apt proportion.

The story is of a to be retired Govt Employee Sajan Fernandes (Irfan Khan) a widower and Ila (Namrit Kaur) who is a housewife and whose life exists around her husband Rajeev (Nakul Vaid) and her daughter Yashvi. Ila’s only companion is her neighbor Mrs. Despande (Voice of Bharati Achrekar) who gives her tips how to make her husband happy. One day the lunchbox meant for Rajeev by mistake is delivered to Sajan and it starts a conversation between Sajan and Ila through The Lunchboxletters which they sent to each other in the lunchbox. How the relationship between these two characters blossoms constitutes the crux of the story.

The main hero of the movie is the script and story written by Ritesh Batra. It is poignant, honest and extremely heart wrenching. It captures the loneliness of staying in a big city beautifully. The story is sweet, humorous and at the same time sad, definitely a beautiful mix. The screenplay is slow but the details that it captures somehow compensates to the slow pace. Ritesh has written every sequence with élan. It is undoubtedly one of the best stories of 2013.

Performance wise it is brilliant, what can you expect with Irfan Khan & Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the same frame, it was crackling. But surprise packet is Namrit Kaur as Ila who is relatively new to bollywood but she shines with her riveting performance which matches the likes of Irfan and Nawazuddin, truly brilliant. Her loneliness is depicted quite expressively by her expressions.
Irfan as Sajan is brilliant; his precision in the characterization is to be seen to be believed. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as usual gives another crackling performance. Bharati Achrekar though is only heard as Mrs Deshpande gives a dynamo performance through her voice, she actually gives the comic relief to the proceedings. Another performance by Lilette Dubey who plays Ila’s mother is impactful, though she is actually in two scenes but she does justice to her character.

Cinematography by Michael Simmons captures Mumbai beautifully and gives enough depth to the story. Production design by Shruti Gupte is realistic and minimalistic and does not overcrowd the proceedings of the story.

Ritesh’s direction captures the nuances of the characters correctly and makes the characters believable. He has captured the pains and loneliness of his characters through their expressions.

“The Lunchbox” is a fulfilling meal, the taste of which lingers even after the movie is over. A definite watch. I will go with 4 stars.