Movie Review : Nil Battey Sannata

Nil Battey Sannata : Passed with distinction….

Some movies entertain you and you tend to forget them, but some movies are very simple but yet they  entertain you but also tend remain in your mind long after the movie gets over…”Nil Battey Sannata” is one such movie.

The story of “Nil Battey Sannata” captures the trials and tribulations of a mother who has high expectations and big dreams for her daughter. It also captures the strata of the society who need to earn on a daily basis to run their kitchens, our domestic help… Chanda (Swara Bhaskar) is one such domestic help in a small city of Agra who dreams to educate her daughter Apeksha a.k.a Apu (Ria Shukla) and has big dreams for her for which he works in two to three places in shifts in order to educate and give her daughter a different life so that her daughter does not end up becoming a domestic help….But her adolescent daughter lives a care free life devoid of any dreams and is a complete zero in maths… so Chanda’s main concern is to make her pass the 10th Board exam, whether Chanda is able to fulfil her dream of making her daughter pass the 10th Board exam is what the movie is all about…

In the last few reviews I have been emphasizing on the strength of a good script and screenplay and “Nil Battey Sannata” scores full marks for nil-battey-sannata-reviewthe same… The story by Nitesh Tiwari  & screenplay written by Nitesh Tiwari, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Pranjal Choudhary & Neeraj Singh is the biggest highlight of the movie….The relationship of the mother & the daughter is so heart wrenching that you would identify the sweet & sour relationship that we share with our mothers… every single sequence between the mother and daughter is brilliant… another relationship well explored is Chanda’s relationship with Dr Diwan where she works as a domestic help, the bond and relationship between these two characters is believable. To be very frank every character has its special place in the movie whether it is the principal or Apu’s friends, every character is very well written and justifies their presence in the story. Well it may not be too much to say that the writing is one the best which I have come across after a long time, the last such script was of “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”…

The dialogues written by the same team of writers is another highlight of the movie. It complements the script to the fullest. The diction, the language every word is spot on and you cannot find any blemishes in the dialogues as well. Overall the writing is just brilliant…

After writing it is the performances that makes “Nil Battey Sannata” worth a watch…especially the performance of Swara Bhaskar who plays the main protagonist Chanda, a domestic help…Swara just becomes Chanda and I don’t think so there can be any bigger appreciation for her performance. She owns the character and never ever will you feel the Swara Bhaskar of “Tanu Weds Manu” or “Ranjhnaa” or “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”…she is so natural and everything about her portrayal is just brilliant. Swara would definitely be the favourite contender for awards for this year. Next is debutant Ria Shukla who plays Chanda’s daughter Apu, she complements Swara’s performance with equal vigour and helps to create the right chemistry between the character of the mother and the daughter, definitely another brilliant performance. Ratna Pathak Shah as Dr Diwan, Chanda’s employer, is just amazing, the way she underplays the character becomes the beauty of portrayal and the chemistry of both the characters is full marks to Swara Bhaskar and Ratna Pathak Shah….Another brilliant performance is of Pankaj Tripathi who plays the Principal and the maths teacher of the school, Pankaj yet again proves his brilliance with his realistic portrayal, definitely a actor watch out for….rest of the cast also do a brilliant job….Sanjay Suri in a cameo is adorable….

Cinematography by Gavemic U Ary blends brilliantly with the narration and the beauty is how simply Agra and it’s by lanes having been captured….

The next highlight is the production design by Laxmi Kaluskar, which is so brilliant that you would never feel that it is a movie set….and the another highlight is its costume design by Sachin Lovalekar, the costumes builds the characters and Sachin does a brilliant job in getting the looks of the characters just right…

Will have to mention casting director Mukesh Chabra, who gets the casting, right….

At last and definitely not the least, the director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, first kudos to her for choosing such a topic and second executing such a brilliant script, co-written by her, in a simple yet beautiful way. Ashwiny gets the chemistry of the characters bang on and she gets the emotional quotient just right without any melodrama. Will definitely watch out for Ashwiny’s next….

“Nil Battey Sannata”, is simple yet will pull your heart strings and will make you laugh and cry and at the end will put a smile on your face…will go with FOUR 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)

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.