Movie Review : Sultan

Sultan: A GOOD blend of Bollywood Masala with a hint of Realism

Since the last few years Eid is not only the celebration of the festival but also a celebration of Salman Khan’s films, and Salman’s fans have not disappointed him, and given him a 100 Crs Eidi every year….

sultan MovieBut since last year the trend of Salman Khan’s Eid releases have seen a sea change in the genre, last year it was “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and this year it is “Sultan”, a genre which was alien to Salman and his movies. Normally Salman Khan Movies were light comedies with some typical Salman Khan histrionics which would hardly qualify as good acting and music played a vital role in their successes. But last year “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” changed it all, it was sensitive subject with prime focus on the child artist and this change was accepted by Salman fans whole heartedly. This year “Sultan” carries the baton forward.

“Sultan” tells the story of an underdog village ruffian Sultan (Salman Khan) who falls in love with Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) a women wrestler and just to woo her Sultan takes up wrestling under the guidance of Aarfa’s father Barkat (Kumud Mishra). Sultan not only wins heart of Aarfa but also his village by winning the local, district competition and also wins the Olympic Gold Medal. So much adulation goes to Sultan’s head and in the bargain loses his fame and his family more prominently his love Aarfa. But destiny knocks his door in the form of “PRO Take Down” Competition, a martial arts mixed fight competition. Whether Sultan agrees to join the competition and what happens to him is what the rest of the movie is all about…

Story wise “Sultan” does not offer anything new, rather the story is quite predictable, but we need to give writer and director Ali Abbas Zafar credit for an engaging screenplay. Again the screenplay also does not give you anything new but it is the way the movie is presented, is what stands out. Ali has written the female character of Aarfa extremely strong who kind of compliments the strong headed Sultan. The love story has some cute moments which adds the charm due to Salman’s performance. Where Ali scores is getting the emotional quotient right. Though the movie is predictable but still the audience flows with the narration which not a mean achievement for Ali. Though I felt the run time of the movie of 3 hours could have been cut short by good 30 minutes. The training sequence becomes a bit repetitive and some songs just did NOT gel with the narration. Ali does a brilliant job in the dialogues segment, he gets the dialect correct and has used the colloquial language in his dialogues which elevates the screenplay and also increases the entertainment quotient. Some dialogues are inspiring but not preachy…In a nut shell a decent job in writing…

Salman Khan just elevates “Sultan” in different level with his portrayal of a village simpleton who attains success and becomes cocky headed and falls miserably and again rises, in short his underdog act just gels with the audience expectations. It is quite evident to see how much preparation Salman did for playing Sultan, right from gaining weight to learning the Haryanvi dialect, which is a refreshing change for all Salman fans and others as well. Salman just carries the 3 hour movie on his shoulders and never falters a wee bit. Definitely one of Salman’s finest performance. Anushka Sharma as Aarfa the female wrestler compliments Salman’s portrayal. It was good to see an actress as strong as Salman in a Salman Khan movie which was missing in the last few Salman Khan outings. Anushka gets her character bang on right from the first frame and never leaves the character till the end, I must say another feather on Anushka’s cap. Another actor who did a brilliant job is Anant Sharma who plays Sultan’s closest pal Govind. Anant shines even in frames which has the mega star Salman in it, really a performance worth a mention. Another actor who is gaining prominence and proving himself with every movie is Kumud Mishra who plays Barkat, Sultan’s coach and Aarfa’s father, and again Kumud does not disappoint rather his acting is underplayed yet impactful, not a mean task to achieve for sure. Amit Sadh as Akash the wrestling championship’s owner does a decent job but in some sequences you feel that Amit is in awe of Salman which results in his performance getting diluted in some sequences.Randeep Hooda in a guest appearance as Sultan’s Coach for the PRO Take down Competition creates an impact in his brief role. Rest of the actors like Parikshit Sahani, Farruk Jaffer, Naveen Kumar also do a splendid job…

Just wanted to mention the casting director Shanoo Sharma who got correct actors for the roles which helped the movie to get the realistic feel, definitely a wonderful job done by Shanoo…

Ali Abbas Zafar after “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” and “Gunday” gets it right with “Sultan”, he not only scores as a director but also as a writer especially the screenplay and dialogues. Where he scores is getting some brilliant performances by the cast and second getting the emotional quotient right with the writing. I would not say “Sultan” being a classic but definitely an entertaining movie with some heartwarming story…and the credit goes to Ali Abbas Zafar….

Music by Vishal-Shekhar is a good mix of masala quirky songs which is staple in a Salman Khan movie and the soothing romantic numbers. One thing I must admit that Vishal-Shekhar scored the music with the local flavor which was apt for the movie. Two songs which stand out from the album is “Jag  Ghomeya” sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and “ Sachi Muchi” sung by Mohit Chauhan and Harshdeep Kaur… and not to mention the party song “Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai”….

The production design by Rajnish Hedao is so real that it blends with the narration effortlessly. Artur Zurawski gets the earthiness of Haryana, the flavor of Purani Delhi and the glamour quotient of the competition spot on with his cinematography…

“Sultan” is the right blend of Bollywood Masala and realistic cinema, I will go with Three had a Half Star….

Movie Rating: (3.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Sarbjit

Sarbjit: An Inspiring Story, But Falls short to Impress

It is raining biopic this month first it was “Azhar” and now “Sarbjit”. “Azhar” failed to impress the critics and audience alike, will “Sarbjit” be successful in winning the hearts is the big question…

“Sarbjit” tells the heart wrenching story of Dalbir Kaur (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and her struggle to get her brother Sarabjit Singh (Randeep Hooda) back to India, who by mistake crosses the LOC and is arrested by Pakistani soldiers and is falsely convicted for terrorist activities in Pakistan. The movie chronicles Dalbir’s fight of 23 years to get her brother justice.Sarbjit Movie Review

Written by Uttkarshini Vashishtha and Rajesh Beri, the screenplay tries to capture the sorrow and pain that Dalbir and her family went through for 23 years to get Sarabjit back to India, but fails to be realistic in the bargain the so called sorrows and pains look forced and plastic. Another problem with the writing is the flow which is not very smooth it just jumps from one year to another not specifically capturing the real struggle which Dalbir Kaur went through, it just puts the incidents in a chronological order as far as the happenings are concerned. The writing is hell bent on only getting the emotional quotient right whereas in a biopic or for a real life incident it is essential to capture the facts correct, but unfortunately the writing just does not do so. It is clear the script lacks research and is written from a single point of view. But there are few sequences which do touch your heart, like when Sarabjit’s family visits him in the Pakistan or all the moments of Dalbir and Sarabjit does make your eyes misty. Other than a few sequences the overall writing is very average and “Sarbjit” misses the mark due to this. The dialogues written by Uttkarshini Vashishtha are apt but fail to uplift the scenes other than a few….

“Sarbjit” boasts of some earnest performances, starting with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who plays the central character of Dalbir Kaur with earnestness, but as an audience you will not connect with her, first her Punjabi dialect sounds forced and second you feel it is Aishwarya all the way and Dalbir gets lost in the persona called Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. I would say the casting goes completely wrong, frankly speaking missed Vidya Balan, I think she should have been the best suited for this role. Randeep Hooda who plays Sarabjit steals the show and how, every scene he is perfect, from a mischievous youngster to a convict to a frail old man especially in the jail sequences, your heart just goes out to him. In every scene he gives 100% and it shows thanks to the transformation he has gone through for the role, it won’t be a too much if I say it is Randeep Hooda’s show all the way. Richa Chadha who plays Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet does not have much to do but where ever she gets a chance she shines and makes her presence felt, she shows a few scenes are enough to make your presence felt for a good actor Darshan Kumaar as lawyer Awais Sheikh from Pakistan has a brief role but he impresses in his few scenes. Rest of the cast also do a good job…

Omung Kumar in his second biopic seems more in control but the script just fails him. He does get the emotional quotient correct which was somehow missing in his first “Mary Kom” but fails to impress overall. The biggest mistake was casting Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Dalbir Kaur, her star presence just steals the real essence of the story, and it just does not work. Another issue is lack of research which blatantly shows as it lacks realism, I think Omung Kumar should have done some more research on the subject which is needed in a biopic or real life incident. Overall Omung Kumar should take a break from biopic and try to get the finesse in his direction…

Music does not play much importance in the movie but it fails to impress as well. Though there are a list of composers like Jeet Ganguli, Amaal Mallik, Tanishk Bagchi, Shashi-Shivam and Shail-Pritesh but the songs just do not touch your heart, a simple case of too many cooks spoil the broth…

Cinematography by Kiran Deohans is good and captures the nuances well from the Paddy fields of Punjab to Govt Offices of Delhi to the grim of a jail.

Production design by Vanita Omung Kumar is impressive and gets the details correct right from the Punjab village house to the jail, all are well designed…well Omung Kumar could not have got this wrong…knowing his past experience with set design…

Costume Design by Shahid Amir & Neetu Singh helps to build the characters well with their eye for details from the Phulkari to the Prison clothes all are done well…

“Sarbjit” could have been an inspiring story but it falls short….I will go with 3 stars…one extra star for the brilliant performance of Randeep Hooda and the story of inspiring story of Dalbir Kaur & Sarabjit Singh…..

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

Movie Review: Main Aur Charles

Main Aur Charles: Half Baked Thriller without the thrill

Main Aur Charles posterCharles Sobraj was one of the most celebrated serial killer during 70’s and 80’s, known for his shrewd mind and smooth style of doing crimes….

Well Prawaal Raman tries to portray a certain phase of Charles Sobraj’s life when he was arrested by the Delhi Police and he fled from Tihar Jail only to be re-captured again but with a different motive….

Prawaal Raman has tried to make a thriller but the screenplay turned out to be more of an erotic movie than a thriller what with Prawaal emphasising on Charles liaisons with various women rather than how his jail break was planned and executed. The first half the screenplay just looks like a collage of incidents with no cohesiveness whatsoever. You just cannot make any sense of what is happening and by the time the movie reaches the interval point you have lost interest in the movie. Second half is dedicated to putting the puzzle in place but again Prawaal just does not manage to put cohesiveness to the narration and the outcome is too shallow and lifeless. In his attempt to show Charles as the smooth operator with women he ends up spending more time in his affairs with various girls. Actually the base of the story is through various articles and police investigation etc which shows clearly as the screenplay is equally indecisive….In a nutshell the writing fails to create any impact which further makes the overall movie look weak….

It is the performances which makes the movie a bit watchable…. Randeep Hooda as Charles Sobraj gets his act right what with the way he changed his dialect, his body language etc., my heart goes out to him, as he puts in so much of effort and hard work but somehow the movies which he is part of fails him. The best performance off course is of Adil Hussain who plays inspector Amod Kant….he captures your attention the moment he is on screen and gives a smashing performance even overshadowing Randeep Hooda who plays the lead. Richa Chadha as Meera, Charles accomplice does a good job but the sketchy writing of her character pulls down her performance. Alexx O’Nell as Richard has the same expression on his face throughout the movie and looks utterly confused just like the screenplay. Tisca Chopra & Vipin Sharma are wasted in a small cameos….Rest of the cast look as confused as the director was….

Other than the performances three things that stands out in the movie would be the Production Design by Jitendra Kawa who re-created the 70’s and 80’s with perfection, second being costume design by Salim Asgar Ali who styled the characters to perfection that the audience is transported to 70’s & 80’s and third being the brilliant camera work of Anuj Rakesh Dhawan, which complements the production design and costumes and successfully re-creates 80’s….

Other than the script the other biggest flaw is the editing by Nipun Gupta. In a thriller the editing plays a crucial part but unfortunately in this movie it totally destroys the movie….

Prawaal Raman in his attempt to make the movie with a realistic twist fumbles and the outcome is a half baked thriller which lacked the thrills….I will go with Two & a Half Star….

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

 

Official Trailer : Ungli

Ungli_2Dharma Productions new offering “Ungli” is something completely different from their usual Candy Floss love stories and Rom com…

Directed by Rensil D’Silva, it tells us the story of a group of five who rebel against corruption and start a group called Ungli, whose main motto is exposing the corrupt and teaching them a lesson…

Rensil D’Silva has earlier directed “Kurbaan” in 2009 for Dharma Productions which bombed at the box office.

The ensemble cast comprises of Sanjay Dutt, Emraan Hashmi, Kangana Ranaut, Randeep Hooda, Neil Bhoopalan, Angad Bedi, Neha Dhupia & Arunoday Singh. I must say quite an interesting cast…

The movie was initially scheduled to release last year but the movie got delayed due to Sanjay Dutt’s arrest and later Karan Johar thought of introducing songs which was not there in the original script. Shradha Kapoor is doing an item number in this movie.

The promo is looking promising. The movie releases on 28th Nov 2014…let’s see whether Rensil gets a hit with this one….