Movie Review: Neerja

Neerja: A befitting tribute to brave heart Neerja Bhanot

Neerja Movie ReviewMovies based on real life incidents are very difficult to make as the people are aware of most of the facts and to top it all are aware of the outcome in such a scenario it is a challenge for the director and the writers to weave in a screenplay which keeps the audience glued till the end….

“Neerja” is based on the PAN AM plane highjack incident of 1986 in Karachi where the flight purser Neerja Bhanot saved the lives of 329 passengers from the Palestine terrorists. Neerja (Sonam Kapoor) a senior purser of PAN AM and a part time model boards PAN AM Flight 73 on 5th September 1986 to New York via Karachi and Frankfurt. When the flight lands in Karachi early morning 5th Sept’86 it is high jacked by Palestine terrorists, who had a plan to fly the plane to Cyprus and force the Government to free the Palestine terrorists who have been jailed. But their plan hits a road block when the pilot crew of the flight escape from the cock pit. The passengers and the rest of the crew are stranded with the terrorists in the flight not knowing what will happen. How Neerja with her intelligence and bravery is successful in saving the lives of the passengers forms the crux of the story.

One of the biggest highlight of the movie is its story and screenplay by Saiwyn Quadras. The screenplay captures the string of events in a thriller format keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Saiwyn beautifully weaves in back story of Neerja Bhanot’s failed marriage in the screenplay. Where the screenplay scores the highest is its characterization, whether it Neerja Bhanot’s characterization or her mother’s Rama Bhanot’s characterization or her father Harish Bhanot, even the terrorists, every character has been written with utmost precision which eventually elevates the narration. Another highlight of the screenplay is its pace which does not slow even for a moment but still it has the emotional quotient intact. The mother daughter track is the best track of the movie; it gives you the moments and also builds the tension. Saiwyn has been successful in maintaining the tension all throughout the movie without making it melodramatic and keeping it as realistic as possible. Though I felt a back story of why the terrorists high jacked the plane would have been put an extra edge to the narration, but overall the screenplay is the winner….

Dialogues by Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh are real and believable without any melodrama or any discourses on patriotism or bravery. To keep it realistic the dialogues of the terrorists have been kept in their native language with sub titles without trying to explain in Hindi which does not hamper the narration. The best dialogue off course is in the climax which gives the last bit of finishing touch to the story of a brave heart Neerja Bhanot…..

Second highlight of the movie are its performances, Sonam Kapoor as Neerja Bhanot makes it her own and gives a crackling performance, frankly her best till date. To be honest I had written off the movie even before watching “Neerja” as I thought that Sonam Kapoor was a wrong choice for the movie, but I am happy to say that I was wrong. But the best performance has been of Shabana Azmi as Neerja’s mother Rama Bhanot, she underplays her character as a house wife in the beginning but slowly and steadily displays the strength of a tough woman as the movie progresses. Shabana Azmi kills it in the climax with her performance and ends the movie on a high. Yogendra Tikku as Neerja’s father Harish Bhanot also does a brilliant job of a supportive father. Music composer Shekhar Ravjiani debuts in a cameo of Neerja’s lover Jaideep, and he shines in the cameo though there was not much to be done. Jim Sarbh as the hot tempered terrorist Khalil is the most impactful performance of the movie. Jim’s portrayal exudes tension in the narration and the unpredictable streak kept the audience guessing. Rest of the cast also does a commendable job making the movie worth a watch…

Third highlight of the movie is the back ground score by Vishal Khurana which enhanced the tension of the narration. Vishal did not make it jarring or overpowering the sequences, but blended with the narration….

Fourth highlight of the movie it is production design by Aparna Sud and Anna Ipe, recreating the PAN AM flight to Karachi Airport to a middle class house everything is done with precision and with eye on details. Especially the PAN AM flight, no where will you feel that it is a set….

Ram Madhwani  in his first Hindi and second movie as a director (his first movie was the highly acclaimed Boman Irani starrer “Let’s Talk” in 2002) showcases his genius well. Right from the research for the story to extracting brilliant performances from the cast, especially Sonam Kapoor to an engaging narration, Ram has hit the bull’s eye. He really has proved that he is director to watch out for and you do not need to be melodramatic to show bravery or patriotism, it can be subtly done with realism and yet can create an impact….

A movie NOT TO be missed and worth a watch I will go with 4 stars….

Movie Rating: (4 / 5)

Movie Review : Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo: It is only Salman’s Prem all the way

Sooraj Barjatya has always been synonymous with good wholesome family entertainers, thriving on values and traditions of Indian society. The Indian audience whether in India or abroad has always lapped whatever Sooraj has offered, well excluding an exception of “Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon” wherein he diverted a bit and faced a lot of flak. Another highlight of Sooraj’s films has been its screenplays which stick to the basic premise of the story…

Well “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” digresses from a normal Sooraj Barjatya movie, it gives prominence to the star Salman Khan than the basic premise, and this is where actually the movie falters. Whenever a maker gives more prominence to the star than the story and screenplay it becomes an indulgent cinema…

PRDP written by Sooraj Barjatya tells the story of the good Samaritan Pream Dilwala (Salman Khan) from Ayodhya who is a part of the local PRDP ReviewRam Leela as a narrator and who is besotted by princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor). Trouble brews when Maithili’s fiancé Vijay Singh (Salman Khan in a double role) who is reigning the prince of Pritampura falls prey of a conspiracy and meets with an accident and is bed ridden, in order to replace the prince, Diwan Sahab (Anupam Kher) the trusted servant of the royal family replaces Prem Dilwala with the prince. How Prem Dilwala changes the relationship of the otherwise dysfunctional royal family and whether the original prince comes back and who conspires to kill the prince is what the story is all about…..

Sooraj in order to accommodate more of Salman stretches the story for a good 2 hours 55 minutes which is quite a long run, which could have been easily cut by 30 minutes. Another flaw are the song sequences which sprouts out of nowhere and slows down the pace, well song sequence have been Sooraj’s strong point somehow becomes his weak point in PRDP. Another flaw of PRDP is the screenplay which never peeks and maintains a monotonous pace both in the first half as well as the second half. The first half is dedicated to setting up the story, and second half is dedicated half to the love story of Prem and Maithili which falls flat due to lack of any chemistry between the lead pair Salman Khan & Sonam Kapoor, and rest in reconciliation of the brother and sisters of the royal family which looks too rushed and abrupt. The climax is quite weak and you feel the whole action to be forceful rather than being part of the flow. But trust Sooraj with his touch of emotional moments, and he does not falter here, some sequences especially the brother sister sequences are touchy and you feel from the heart, rather the sequences between Prem and Chandrika (Swara Bhaskar) the princess of Pritampura or the relationship between Diwan Sahab & Prem are very well written and are the emotional highlights of the movie. But overall the story and screenplay fails neither to peak emotionally neither entertains completely….

PRDP is a Salman Khan movie and he is there in every frame playing dual role of Prem Dilwala and Prince Vijay Singh, and he makes both the characters his own. He performs both the characters with panache and with complete sincerity and you can differentiate between the two characters even when they are in the same frame. Salman nails the innocence for Prem Dilwala and the arrogance of Prince Vijay Singh very well. Sonam Kapoor as Maithili looks good as the royal princess with her looks but yet again fails in histrionics and again has the same expression throughout the movie, quite a disappointment I must say which also hampers the love story of the movie due to lack of chemistry. Anupam Kher as Diwan Sahab does complete justice to his role of the confidant of the royal family; I must say an earnest performance. Swara Bhaskar as Chandrika, Vijay Singh’s sister is the strongest female role of the movie, and she gives a crackling performance. Neil Nitin Mukesh as Ajay Singh the younger brother does not have much to do, though he suits the role as far as the look goes but the same cannot be said about his performance which gets overshadowed completely. Armaan Kohli who plays the scheming villain does complete justice. Deepak Dobriyal as Kanhaiya is wasted in a half baked role, though he does complete justice to whatever was given. Rest of the cast like Sanjay Mishra, Suhasini Mulay, Sucheta Khanna, Manoj Joshi are wasted in inconsequential roles….

Technically PRDP stands high what with the excellent camera work by V Manikandan, it is a riot of colors giving an ode to the festival season and the royal theme. Production Design by Nitin Chandrakant Desai is the biggest highlight of the PRDP; the royal palaces have been mounted with perfection and become a character of the movie. Another highlight of the movie is the costumes by Alvira Khan & Ashley Rebello, the royal touch in the clothes cannot be missed and especially the jewellery was a real stand out….

Music by Himesh Reshammiya has the impeccable Sooraj Barjatya touch which is melodious yet rich in lyrical value, but top two are the title song and Diye Jalte…

This is the first time when I felt Salman dominating Sooraj Barjatya, which was not the case with their previous ventures. Sooraj rests his magnum opus on the broad shoulders of Salman Khan which will definitely bring in the moolah for the Rajshri’s
I will go with 2 and a half stars (1 extra for Salman Khan)

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

Official Trailer: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

The hit combination of Sooraj R Barjatya & Salman Khan is back after 16 years. Both of them last worked in “Hum Saath Saath Hain” in 1999….and now they have come together with “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”

The story written by Sooraj Barjatya himself  is loosely based on the “The Prince & the Pauper” Salman plays a double role of Prem & Vijay. It is a typical Rajshri family saga full of songs and dances….

Salman Khan last played a double role in “Judwaa” (1997)….the rest of the ensemble cast comprises of Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anupam Kher, Deepak Dobriyal, Swara Bhaskar, Armaan Kohli, Sucheta Khanna, Sanjai Mishra, Bina Kak & Manoj Joshi….well I must say the cast looks impressive…

PRDP

Music has been a strong point for any Sooraj Barjatya movie. This time for “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” the music has been scored by Himesh Reshammiya and lyrics by Irshad Kamil….

“Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” has been produced by Rajshri Productions and distributed by Fox Star Studios…

Whether “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” would repeat the success of “Hum Aapke Hain Koun!!”what with the hit combination of Salman Khan & Sooraj Barjatya….well we have to wait till Diwali and 12th Nov’15 to know the verdict…

Till then enjoy the Official Trailer….

 

 

 

Official Trailer : Dolly Ki Doli

Sonam Kapoor is back with yet another light hearted comedy “Dolly Ki Doli” after her not so successful “Khoobsurat”….

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Written By Umashankar  Singh and debutant director Abhishek Dogra, it tells the story of a con girl “Dolly” who gets married  and loots the house at night and flees…

Well premise sounds interesting with an impressive cast of Rajkummar Rao, Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma (Fukrey Fame) & Saif Ali Khan in a special appearance. Mallaika Arora Khan does yet another item number for her husband Arbaaz Khan’s production.

Produced by Arbaaz Khan, this is his first non Salman Khan starrer after Dabangg & Dabangg 2. Abhishek Dogra debuts as the director with this movie.

Music is by Khan’s regular Sajid-Wajid….

The movie releases on 23rd Jan’15…the trailer looks interesting only time will tell whether Arbaaz Khan will be third time lucky without his bade bhaiya Salman Khan….till then enjoy the Trailer….

 

Movie Review : Khoobsurat 2014

Khoobsurat: A Beautifully gift wrapped Bland Story

Khoobsurat_Poster_2“Khoobsurat” is the first Offering of Disney in India in association with Anil Kapoor Productions. The producers claimed that it was the remake of Hrishikesh Mukerjee’s 1980’s classic of the same name.

So a fantastic script and a reputed banner which is famous worldwide for making fairy tale romances, you expect a beautiful fairy tale saga. But alas that did not happen. The original story of D.N Mukherjee is adapted and contemporized by Indira Bisht. The story shifts from an upper middle class set up as per the original to a Royal Family of Sambhalpur. The Queen Nirmala Devi is a strict disciplinarian and no nonsense woman whose life is like a time table and she expects the same from her son Vikram Rathod (Fawad Khan), her daughter and her husband the King of Sambhalpur (Aamir Raza Hussain). Things become topsy turvy for them when Dr Milli Chakravorty (Sonam Kapoor) a physiotherapist enters their life.

The screenplay by Indira Bisht lacks the soul which was the main attraction of the original; instead what we get is a run down version of the original. One of the flaw is the pace, it is too lethargic and slow. Secondly the love story between the Prince and Milli just does not pick up. Thirdly most of the characters look unreal and cardboard like. The only good thing about the screenplay is the interactions of Milli with her mother Manju on Skype. In a nutshell till the end the script does not pick up and lacks depth.
Dialogues by Juhi Chaturvedi make the narration a bit interesting with some witty and funny dialogues but even she could not salvage a weak script.

It is the performances by the ensemble cast that keeps the interest level to some extent. Ratna Pathak Shah as Rani Nirmala Devi, a role which was enacted by her mother Dina Pathak in the original, gives a good performance. Kirron Kher as Manju Chakrovorty, Milli’s mother gives a crackling performance and is the highlight of the movie; she makes you laugh and keeps the interest intact. Aamir Raza Hussain as the King does a decent job but his character falls flat because of the weak writing. Fawad Khan the heartthrob of Pakistan who debuts in this movie and plays the Prince, Vikram Singh Rathod, does a good job and shows the spark albeit in his case as well the writing pulls down his performance, but his charm does the job. Now the main character Dr Milli Chakravorty played by Sonam Kapoor is the most inconsistent performance of the movie, in some sequences she goes overboard in her goofy acts, and after some time you are tired. I do not blame her completely but the script pulls her down as well. I think she was a miss cast as Dr Milli Chakravorty.

Shashanka Ghosh after an impressive “Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II” and the quirky over the top movie “QuiK Gun Murugan” gives us an unimpressive remake of “Khoobsurat”. I think he went overboard in making this movie into a fairy tale but lost the plot in the bargain.

Sneha Khanwalkar’s music is different but I thought that it did not gel with the concept of the movie; the music should have been frothier for such a movie. Production Design by Shruti Gupte is good and gives a fairy tale touch to the narration. Costumes by Uma Biju, Karuna Laungani and Raghavendra Rathore is spot on, especially Raghvendra Rathore’s designs for the royal family.

Only if a look of a movie was enough for a interesting watch but unfortunately you need a tight script to make the narration interesting, and “Khoobsurat” lacks an interesting script I will go with 2 and a Half stars (Half additional for Kirron Kher’s performance)…..

Trailer Khoobsurat (2014)

Sonam Kapoor is back with “Khoobsurat”…..a remake of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movie of the same name……It introduces Pakistan’s latest heartthrob Fawad Khan….directed by Shashank Ghosh the movie releases 19th Sept’14… [su_youtube url=”http://youtu.be/1em8DBrqCck” width=”500″ height=”300″]

Khoobsurat Cast & Crew: Banner : Walt Disney Pictures,Anil Kapoor Films Company Release Date : 19 Sep 2014 Genre: Comedy Director : Shashank Ghosh Star Cast : Sonam Kapoor,Ratna Pathak,Prosenjit Chatterjee,Fawad Khan,Kirron Kher,Aamir Raza Hussain

Review : Raanjhnaa

Raanjhnaa: A confused Love Story

RaanjhnaaAfter the successful “Tanu Weds Manu” Anand L Rai comes with his next “Raanjhnaa” a launch pad for the debutant actor Dhanush (Son-in-law of Rajanikanth).

“Raanjhnaa” tries to portray the strengths of Dhanush as an actor and in the bargain the movie loses its plot completely in the second half.

The story revolves around the main protagonist Kundan (Dhanush) and his love for a Muslim girl Zoya( Sonam Kapoor). His dedication for his lady love forms the crux of the story wherein he waits for his lady love for 8 years much to the dislike of his friends. His blind love for Zoya creates havoc in Zoya and his fiancé’s Jasjeet’s (Abhay Deol) life leading it to the climax.

The movie fails as the screenplay tries to highlight the actor than the story. The Story & Screenplay by Himanshu  Sinha starts with a fresh approach but by second half when the political angle is introduced in the story the movie goes downhill. The first half is fresh and frothy and the second half is tedious. It almost seems that the first & the second half are two separate movies. The strong point of the movie is the dialogues again written by Himanshu Sinha.

Varanasi is shot beautifully by Natarajan Subramaniam & Vishal Sinha. Editing by Hemal Kothari lacks the finesse especially in the second half.

Dhanush’s  work shows the sincerity but he lacks the charisma of a leading man. Sonam Kapoor is much better than her previous movies but falls flat in the high octane sequences. But the main highlight performances are of the supporting cast especially Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, who plays Kundan’s friend Murari and Swara Bhaskar, who plays Bindu the secret lover of Kundan. Abhay Deol in a special appearance shines.

Music by A R Rahman is melodious, a good come back after the not so impressive “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics is poetic and riveting.

Anand L Rai’s narration is confusing of whether he wanted to make a love story or a political drama. Overall “Raanjhna” could have been poetic but unfortunately it is tedious. I will go with TWO & A HALF STARS.