Movie Review: Padmaavat

Padmaavat: An Epic made in an Epic Proportion

The second name to Grand and opulent cinema is Sanjay Leela Bhansali. His vision is of a large canvas with larger than life characters and if it is historic then nobody can match Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s finesse today, a true successor to K Asif.

The cinematic adaptation of “Padmaavat” the epic poem written by Mallik Muhammad Jayasi on Queen Padmavati could not have been done by any Padmaavatother film maker other than Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

“Padmaavat” which is based on the epic poem with few tweaks, though story line wise it is wafer thin but the screenplay by Sanjay Leela Bhansali himself and Prakash Kapadia kind of makes up for the thin plot. Every sequence is written keeping in mind the opulence and larger than life presentation on screen. The characters especially the three prime subjects Queen Padmavati, Maharawal Ratan Singh and the antagonist Allauddin Khilji are written with a specific characteristics and it is prevalent in the movie throughout. Even some of the support characters are so beautifully written that they do stay in your mind even after the movie is done and over, like the character of Mehrunisa, wife of Allauddin Khilji or the loyal slave of Allauddin Khilji, Mallik Kafur. Each character is justified in the screenplay. The screenplay is lucid, but where it falters is the connectivity with each sequence. It feels like the screenplay is a series of events put in chronological order with no connection what so ever. This disconnects the emotional connect with the story. Nevertheless the second half and its pace saves the day, especially the climax sequence of Jouhar keeps you invested till the last frame. But I still feel that run time could have been reduced by good 15 minutes. The song sequences hamper the flow and look forced, which is unlike Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s previous movies wherein music has played a pivotal role in the overall screenplay.

Prakash Kapadia again scores high in dialoguebaazi which is again a highlight of any Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie, and Padmaavat keeps the tradition alive. Prakash gives quite heavy dialogues but it does not sound preachy or cheesy, rather it complements with the proceedings on screen.

It is definitely the performances that play a pivotal role in making “Padmaavat” a treat to watch. Starting with the antagonist played by Ranveer Singh, Ranveer plays Allauddin Khilji with panache and effortless fervor. The madness that Ranveer brings to the character adds to the nastiness of the character and the only emotion that comes in your mind is HATE for the character. Ranveer will definitely be the toast of the next award season for sure. Now coming to our main protagonist Queen Padmavati played by Deepika Padukone, Deepika brings the right combination of innocence and brains to the character beautifully. Though in the first half she is more of a beauty but by the second half Deepika with her performance epitomizes Queen Padmavati and kills it in the final sequence. Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh shows a lot of restraint in his performance which was required for the character. Shahid owns the character and gives a convincing performance and mouths the heavy duty dialogues with élan and conviction without sounding cheesy. Aditi Rao Haidri as Mehrunisa looks and acts beautifully. Jim Sarbh as Mallik Kafur the Bisexual Slave, gives the much needed edge to his character. Other actors like Raza Murad, Anupriya Goenka, Veena Mehta, Ayam Mehta and other supporting cast do their best.

Every frame of “Padmaavat” is like a canvas with right colors and opulence, and the complete credit goes to Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee and Production Designers Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty. Sudeep Chatterjee’s genius camera work creates the magic on screen and every frame looks spectacular. Production Design by Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty add the colour to the frames with the detailed and larger than life sets which brings the whole frame lively.

Costume Design by Maxima Basu, Harpreet Rimple and Chandrakant Sonawane bring the characters live with their detailed and intricate costumes. The jewellery needs a special mention, each and every piece of jewellery is apt and does not look jarred and it adds on to the costume.

“Padmaavat” may not be Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s best as far as music goes, other than the “Ghoomar” song; none of the other songs make any impact.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali yet again proves that he is a master of larger than life story telling, though he misses the emotional quotient in this movie but somehow manages it with the grandeur and opulence and justifies the budget completely.

“Padmaavat” is definitely not Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s best but still is better than some of his previous movies. I will go with 4 stars.

Movie Rating: (4 / 5)

Official Trailer : Padmavati

PadmaavatThe much-awaited trailer of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmavati was released today. The Movie features Deepika Padukone in the title role as Rani Padmini, alongside Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, and Aditi Rao Hydari.

Slated for a December 1 release, Padmavati tells the story of Alauddin Khilji who desired a Rajput queen called Padmavati. Padmavati was the queen of Chittor and she is believed to have killed herself rather than letting Khilji capture her.

“Padmavati” releases on 1st December 2017 till then enjoy the Official Trailer…

Save

Save

Movie Review: Rangoon

Rangoon: A Beautiful Canvas without the soul

Rangoon-Official-ReviewVishal Bharadwaj the ace film maker has mastered the art of narrating complex stories on human relations and he is a master in adapting Shakespeare’s work in Hindi movies. All of Vishal’s adaptation of Shakespearian work has been a critical and box office success.

With “Rangoon” Vishal tries to keep it simple with a triangular love story in Broadway style with a back drop of World War 2 and Independence Struggle in 1944. “Rangoon” set in 1944 tells the story of Julia (Kangana Ranaut) a successful actress who is controlled by her mentor Rustom Billimoria a.k.a Rusi (Saif Ali Khan) a movie baron who started as an actor, but due to a fatal accident had to retire as an actor and became a film producer. A much married and pro British, Rusi thinks Julia is his property which he bought when Julia was 14 years from her mother in Rs 1000, in a nutshell he is obsessed with Julia. Julia on the other hand thinks Rusi’s obsession as love and dreams of becoming Mrs Billimoria one day. In the mean time the British Major General Harding (Richard McCabe) comes up with a proposal of sending Julia to the Burma border in order to entertain the soldiers there to Rusi which he agrees. Jamadar Nawab Mallik, a soldier in the British army is given the responsibility of taking care of Miss Julia in her trip to Burma Border. In the course of many events in the journey Julia and Nawab fall in love. What happens to Julia’s love for Rusi, how does Rusi react to the liaison of Julia towards Nawab, and is Nawab hiding a secret, is what the rest of the movie is all about….

Story by Matthew Robbins has too many sub plots namely a triangular love story, the world war, the INA and their Japanese alliance and the freedom struggle. The screenplay by Matthew Robbins, Sabrina Dhawan and Vishal Bharadwaj himself is a case of too many plots spoil the screenplay. “Rangoon” suffers from an identity crisis, neither is it a full blown love story, neither a spy thriller, neither a movie on world war and neither a story a story of INA and freedom struggle. Though primarily more emphasis is given to the triangular love story of the principal characters of Julia, Rusi and Nawab but the sub plot fail to blend with the love story that is intended to narrate, which confuses you what exactly the movie wants to convey. The other problem is the narration; the format is like “Casablance” meets “Chicago” which not only makes the movie leisurely paced due to too many songs but it also stretches till the point of exhaustion. The first half is still tolerant as far as the pace goes but in the second half the songs in a drop of a hat just tests your patience. The worst part of the screenplay is its climax which suddenly goes ballistic and melodrama seeps in and you feel you are transported to the 80’s genre of Hindi movies. In the last 30 minutes of the movie the patriotism is almost thrust down your throat till you scream “Bloody Hell”. One thing that the script gets right is its three principal characters, especially the character of Julia which is the most layered and complexed, it oscillates from being a child woman to a matured woman, next is the character of Nawab which keeps you guessing his moves and motives till the end, the third being the character of Rusi Billimoria, the suave and shrewd movie baron who oscillates from being obsessed  and being in love with Julia, his insecurities and his eccentricities due to Julia are relatable. The worst character of the movie is Major General Harding who becomes more of a caricature than menacing what with his Urdu shayari in British accent, which I thought was entirely unnecessary and extremely out of place. Too many characters also play a spoil sport in the narration; some of the characters just do not make any sense in the overall scheme of things. Overall an extremely average writing, not expected from Vishal Bharadwaj.

The dialogues written by Vishal Bharadwaj oscillates from being serious to funny to out rightly outlandish, especially the dialogues of Major General Harding and his Urdu shaiyari was extremely annoying. The patriotic dialogues sound amateurish.Rangoon-Movie-Review

“Rangoon” is a must watch for the performances of the three principal characters, starting with the portrayal of Julia, the complex of the three has been portrayed beautifully by Kangana Ranaut, she does not only look great as a vintage actress but acts effortlessly, you just cannot take your eyes off from her when she is on screen. Kangana yet again proves she is an actress par excellence. Shahid Kapoor who always does wonders in a Vishal Bharadwaj movie, gives a restrained and impactful performance as Jamadar Nawab Mallik. Shahid acts more with his eyes in this movie and each of his expressions creates more depth for his character. At the end it is Nawab’s character which stays with you, thanks to a brilliant performance by Shahid Kapoor. Saif Ali Khan who did wonders with his last association with Vishal as Langda Tyagi in Omkara, gives yet another riveting performance as Rusi Billimoria, though his screen time is less as compared to the other two characters, but still he shines as the shrewd and obsessive movie baron with flying colours. Richard McCabe as Major General Harding hams and his urdu shaiyari is hardly funny and looks caricaturish, one of the worst performance of the movie. Other actors like Gerson Da Cunha, Shriswara, Rushad Rana, Gajraj Rao, Atul Kumar, Satoru Kawaguchi, Alex Avery do not have much to contribute but they do well in whatever little screen time they have.

It is the technical team which make “Rangoon” a treat to watch. Cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is the best thing to have happened to “Rangoon”, it looks amazing and every frame is a master piece. Production Design by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray is spot on as per the period, right from the re-creating Mumbai or should I say Bombay of 40’s, the buildings to the cars to the train to the match box, the intricate details by Subrata and Amit cannot be missed, undoubtedly award winning. Costume Design by national award winner Dolly Ahluwalia again hits the bull’s eye, from the skirts to the suits to the army uniforms; all are researched and as per the period depicted, brilliant work from Dolly. Overall the magicians at the back ground make “Rangoon” a visual extravaganza.

Vishal Bharadwaj who normally gets it right, just losses it to his indulgence in making “Rangoon” a desi “Casablanca” in Broadway style movie. It is the writing in a Vishal Bharadwaj movie which shines; unfortunately “Rangoon” fails to shine as far as the writing goes. Somewhere you feel that Vishal  is confused what he wants to convey, and the ridiculous climax just destroys the little credibility the movie had. Undoubtedly “Rangoon” is one of the weakest works by Vishal after “Matru ki Bijli Ka Mandola”.

Music which is Vishal Bharadwaj’s forte shines in this movie as well, but too many songs mars the freshness in the narration. Though the choreography of “Bloody hell” and “Mere Piya Gaye England” by Sudesh Adhana and the choreography of “Julia” and “Tippa” by Farah Khan are note worthy. Melody wise and poetry wise “ Alvida”  and “Yeh Ishq Hai” stand out, what with Gulzar’s beautiful lyrics. Again the combo of Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar creates impact.

“Rangoon” is half baked visual treat, with some brilliant performances by Kagana, Shahid & Saif…I will go with Three Stars…

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

Official Trailer: Rangoon

After the critically acclaimed “Haider” in 2014, Vishal Bharadwaj and Shahid Kapoor team up again for “Rangoon”. Shahid Kapoor fetched his first Filmfare Award as an Actor for “Haider”.. Vishal Bharadwaj also teams up again with Saif Ali Khan after “Omkara” in 2006, for “Omkara” Saif Ali Khan’s portrayal of Langda Tyagi bought him acclaim including a Fimfare for Best Actor in a Negative Role.

Rangoon Official Trailer“Rangoon” is a love story based during World War 2 in Burma hence the name “Rangoon”…

Other than Saif Ali Khan & Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut plays the female lead and her character is based on the yesteryear actress Nadia…

It is believed that Vishal Bharadwaj wanted to make “Rangoon” just after “Omkara” but due to period setting and high production cost the movie did not find takers. That time the name of the movie was “Julia”…

Majorly shot in the scenic locations of Arunachal Pradesh the movie promises to be a visual treat. The cinematography is by Pankaj Kumar.

The Story & Screenplay is by Mathew Robbins, Sabrina Dhawan & Vishal Bharadwaj…

The music is by Vishal Bharadwaj, and it is said the song sequences have been shot lavishly by ace choreographer Farah Khan…

The movie is a joint collaboration between VB Pictures, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment.

The movie releases on 24th February 2017…till then enjoy the highly impressive Official Trailer hoping the movie would be as interesting as the Trailer.

 

Official Trailer: Udta Punjab

udta-punjab-official-trailer“Udta Punjab” as the name suggests is based in Punjab and deals with a serious issue of drugs amongst the youth of Punjab….

Directed by Abhishek Chaubey whose earlier movies Ishqiya, Dedh Ishqiya was based in UP and was more of a love story, takes up a serious issue for this movie….

The movie primarily captures the lives of four characters played by Shahid Kapoor who plays Punjabi pop star Tommy Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan who plays Dr. Preet Sahani, Alia Bhatt who plays Kumari Pinky a labour from Jharkhand and Diljit Dosanjh who plays Sartaj Singh a Police Inspector. Diljit who is a super star in Punjabi films debuts in Bollywood with “Udta Punjab”. Satish Kaushik also plays an important role in the movie…

Music has been scored by Amit Trivedi and lyrics by Varun Grover….

The movie has been produced by Balaji Motion Pictures & Phantom Films…

The trailer clearly shows each actor has done a role which they have not tried before and the premise looks interesting, whether this movie which looks and feels different would be appreciated by our audience, well we have to wait till 17th June 2016 when the movie releases. Till then enjoy the Official Trailer…

Movie Review: Shandaar

Shandaar: No Story makes Shandaar a dull movie

shaandaarIn Bollywood we have seen a trend in most of the cases wherein  a director after giving an immensely successful and path breaking movie gives a dud in his subsequent movie like Sujoy Ghosh after giving the spectacular “Jhankaar Beats” gave us “Home Delivery” , or Anurag Kashyap after giving the path breaking “Gangs Of Wasseypur 1 & 2” gave us “Bombay Velvet”, Vikramaditya Motwane after giving “Udaan” gave us “Lootera” and it is so true for Ram Gopal Varma who during his hey days used to always give a dud after a path breaking movie….Well another name has been added in the list and it is none other but Vikas Bahl, who after giving an immensely successful and critically acclaimed “Queen” can give us something like “Shandaar”…

For Vikas Bahl the set up was apt, what with a stellar ensemble cast wherein both father and son, Pankaj Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor were acting together for the first time, or the fresh pairing of Shahid Kappor & Alia Bhatt. Three big names associated with the movie Fox Star, Dharma Productions along with Phantom Films. Big Budget with shooting in England….Well nothing could have gone wrong, but unfortunately Vikas forgot the crucial thing, a cohesive story & screenplay which was the highlight of his previous movie.

The Story, or should I say the lack of it has been credited to Vikas Bahl himself and Chaitally Parmar (who also wrote Queen)….so if I have to sum up the story of “Shandaar”, well I am unable to do so as there is none. We only get a screenplay written by Anvita Dutt which is extremely inconsistent and non cohesive as there is no story to fall back to. There is only one line story, that it is based or should I say a spoof of the Big Bang Indian Wedding or destination wedding. All the characters are mad in some or the other way and they end up creating a chaos. I must add that there are so many characters that you get confused who is related to whom and half of them do not make any sense. The sequences look as if it was decided on the set and it was shot. None of the characters have any depth excluding the relationship of Alia (Alia Bhatt) with her father Vipin Arora (Pankaj Kapoor), this is the only relationship which is explored well in the movie. The rest are superfluous, even the lead pair Jagjinder Joginder a.k.a JJ (Shahid Kapoor) or Alia’s relationship looks forced.

The dialogues again by Anvita Dutt sound quite childish at times and even silly in most of the time. In short the writing is the biggest flaw of the movie….

I must say the only saving grace of the movie is a few performances, staring with Pankaj Kapoor, the veteran actor who plays the docile Vipin Arora shines and how….he puts heart and soul to the character to make it look believable but the script pulled him down. Shahid Kapoor as the flamboyant wedding planner Jagjinder Joginder or JJ gives a natural performance and tries to put some sense and dimension to his character, even though the writing had nothing to back him up. The whiff of fresh air is Alia Bhatt who plays Alia with utmost sincerity and brings a certain amount of freshness to the movie with her natural acting. Teh pairing of Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor was super cute and there was a chemistry but unfortunately the writing was mediocre, I just hope somebody should try pairing them up in a better movie. I must mention another highlight performance has been of debutant Sanah Kapoor (Pankaj Kapoor & Supriya Pathak’s daughter) who plays the overweight bride Isha Arora, she gives a confident performance in her debut. Vikas Verma as the groom Robin Fundwani does a good job of an arrogant and narcissist character but gets lost in the plethora of talents in the cast. Sushma Seth as Kamla Arora the dominating and calculative business woman is one dimensional and is wasted in a badly written character. Sanjay Kapoor as Harry Fundwani hams throughout and is loud but and his dialogues are also not that clear. Actors like Niki Aneja, Anjana Sukhani (she does not have a single dialogue), Shibani Dandekar are wasted…..

Amit Trivedi’s music does not impress us completely, other than the foot tapping “Gulabo” and the romantic “Nazdeekiyan” none of the other songs create any impact, not even the title song….which has been choreographed brilliantly by Bosco & Ceaser…..The camera work by Anil Mehta is spot on and gives us the breezy feel of a Rom Com….

Vikas Bahl completely looses it with “Shandaar”…..A movie which Vikas wanted to make on the lines of a Hollywood rom com does not even fit the bill of an Indian rom com….A real waste of a talent…..

I will go with 2 stars….

Movie Rating: (2 / 5)

 

 

Official Trailer: Shaandaar

After the critically acclaimed and highly successful “Queen”, Vikas Bahl is back with his second venture “Shaandaar”…..

“Shaandaar” is India’s first destination wedding movie, with an impressive ensemble star cast of Shahid Kapoor, shaandaarAlia Bhatt, Pankaj Kapur, Sanjay Kapoor, Sushma Seth, Sanah Kapoor, Diljit Dasanjh, Shibani Dandekar, Anjana Sukhani, Niyati Shah & Karan Johar (In a cameo)…

Story is by Vikas Bahl & Chaitally Parmar and screenplay & dialogues by Anvita Dutt Guptan. Anvita was also the dialogue writer for “Queen”, so we can expect some good writing here….

Vikas repeats his favorite music director Amit Trivedi again, so expect some melodious tunes as well….

“Shaandaar” is jointly being produced by Dharma Productions and Phantom Films, a collaboration which gave us “Hansee Toh Phasee”, so expect the grandeur of Dharma Productions and realism of Phantom Films….

“Shaandaar” looks like light breezy movie from its Official Trailer, but whether will it repeat the critical and box office success of “Queen”…well we need to wait till 22nd Oct’15, the day “Shaandaar” releases…..till then enjoy the trailer

Movie Review : Haider

Haider: A Complex subject handled with care….

Vishal Bharadwaj completes his trilogy with William Shakespear’s adaptation of “Hamlet”, earlier he made” Maqbool”, an adaptation of Macbeth and “Omkara”, an adaptation of Othello.Haider_2014_POSTER

“Hamlet” was a difficult subject to adapt but Vishal Bharadwaj in association with Basharat Meer has adapted it beautifully. Vishal’s “Hamlet” or “Haider” is set in Kashmir, year 1995, and it tells the story of Haider’s (Shahid Kapoor) search for his missing father Dr Hilal Meer (Narendra Jha)who was captured by the army.

“Hamlet” had many layers to its premise and Vishal has tried to stick to the premise and interwoven those layers with élan. Each character right from Haider (Prince Hamlet) to the two Salmans (Courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) who play Haider’s childhood friends who spy on Haider to the Gravediggers has been etched well. Vishal has been true to the play and the writing is so strong that you feel the pain and ethos of Haider. Haider’s relationship with his mother Gazala (Queen Gertrude) has been portrayed with sensitivity and all the sequences between them are the highlight of the movie. It is Gazala’s character which is the best written character in the movie, it is mysterious and unpredictable till the end. It is the second half when the narration slips a bit and slows down the pace; even the climax seems a bit overstretched. It is the 162 mins run time which is a drawback; it could have been 15 mins shorter. Dialogues by Vishal Bharadwaj is witty and at the same time with a lot of depth.

Performances by the ensemble cast are the biggest highlight of the movie. Shahid Kapoor as Haider is one of his best performances till date and you can feel the pain and anguish. In some sequences he surpasses all expectations especially the sequence at Lal Chowk, it tapped his versatility as an actor, he proves that only he could have played Prince Hamlet which is the most complex character in English literature. Tabu as Haider’s mother Gazala is the best performance of the movie; she is brilliant and does justice to Vishal’s writing and vision of Queen Gertrude. Kay Kay Menon as Khurram (Claudius), Haider’s uncle proves again that he is an actor to watch out for; he is the most underutilized actor of Bollywood. Narendra Jha as Haider’s Father (King Hamlet) Hilal Meer is the surprise element of the movie. He does an excellent job considering the strong actors in the cast, still he shines. Lalit Parimoo another brilliant but underutilized actor plays Parvez Lone (Polonius), the army chief of Kashmir, and his portrayal of this conniving character who loves his daughter is another highlight performance of the movie. His portrayal is underplayed aptly and that is the beauty of his performance. Irfan Khan (The Ghost) as Roohdar the Pakistani militant is a cameo but his portrayal makes it a memorable character of the movie. Shradha Kapoor as Arshi (Ophelia) Haider’s love interest is good but her performance gets lost due to some brilliant performances by the rest of the cast. The two Salmans (Courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) Haider’s childhood friends played by Sumit Kaul & Rajat Bhagat give you the comic relief but are the weakest characters written in this movie. Kulbhushan Kharbanda in a cameo as Gazala’s father-in-law was a delight.

Shot entirely in Kashmir and it has been captured beautifully on celluloid by Pankaj Kumar. Dolly Ahluwalia again creates her impact through her costumes which were well researched and developed. Production Design by Subrata Chakraborthy & Amit Ray again was one of the best aspects of Haider. Music another forte of this movie by Vishal Bharadwaj in haunting, especially the Kashmiri folk inspired Bismil and the sensitive Jhelum sung by Vishal himself.

Vishal Bharadwaj again proves that he is a sensitive film maker and good with complex subjects. He succeeds in extracting some of the best performances of this year from his cast. The length and the overstretched climax make “Haider” a few notches short from being a classic.

This is definitely not an entertainer but if you want to watch a good sensitive movie (which is rare) go for it, I will go with 4 stars….a definite watch…

Movie Rating: (4 / 5)