Movie Review : Pataakha

Pataakha is Vishal Bharadwaj directed comedy based on a short story by Charan Singh Pathik’s “Do Behne”…The story is of two warring pataakha movie reviewsisters played by Radhika Madan as Champa Kumari a.k.a Badki and Sanya Malhotra as Genda Kumari a.k.a Chutki based in a small village in Rajasthan.

The movie starts on a high note and you soak into the world created by Vishal with crackling performances by both Sanya and Radhika supported aptly by Vijay Raaz as Bapu and Sunil Grover as Dipper.

The first half goes like a breeze and the intermission point leaves you on a high…But it is the second half where the movie is stretched and you start loosing interest as it becomes repetitive.

Pataakha could have been easily 20 mins shorter as the story looses steam as there is hardly any content to showcase.

Pataakha is worth a watch for the commendable performances and the rustic world that Vishal creates with panache.

Bollywood has definitely never seen its heroines the way it is portrayed in this movie. You love them, you hate them but you cannot ignore them. Both Sanya and Radhika are a complete revelation in the movie.

Watch it for them…they deserve a watch….

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.

 

Movie Review : Talvar

Talvar: The naked truth of justice

There are just movies and there are some movies which shows you the stark reality of society and judiciary system and you question WHY….IF ONLY…and it stays in your lingering thoughts long after the movie is over….”Talvar” is one such movie….

Based on the Arushi murder case…”Talvar” written by Vishal Bharadwaj tells the story of the complete investigation Talvar Reviewof a 14 year old girl Shruti, and the prime suspects being her parents, Father Ramesh Tandon (Neeraj Kabi) and mother Nutan Tandon (Konkona Sen Sharma). It captures how incompetent behaviour of our judicial system completely destroys the truth and to cover the incompetency how things are twisted and in the bargain justice is denied….

Vishal Bharadwaj very beautifully writes the various aspects and theories behind the murder as per various investigations and people. Almost on the format of Akiro Kurusawa’s “Roshomon” the screenplay is tight and griping and its pace does not slip even for a second. The sequences depicting the various theories of the murder is interwoven beautifully and it shows how much research has gone behind writing the screenplay. Some sequences are just brilliant like the way the investigation is conducted for the first time by the Police when the murder is conducted or the pre climax sequence of the CBI department meeting when both the theories are discussed. It also shows how in today’s world media plays a vital role in building our perceptions and we believe it too the way it is presented in the media. The writing is undoubtedly the highlight of the movie but it is the dialogues which takes the script to the next level…

Next highlight of the movie is the brilliant ensemble cast and their performances. Irrfan Khan as Ashwini Kumar the Investigating officer from CBI is brilliant and gives a crackling performance of an honest and righteous officer who will go to any lengths to prove the truth. Neeraj Kabi as Ramesh Tandon (based on Dr Rajesh Talwar) had the most difficult role but he does it like a cake walk and yet again shows what a brilliant actor he is, the pathos and helplessness of a father is portrayed by Neeraj Kabi brilliantly. Konkona Sen Sharma as Nutan Tandon (based on Dr. Nupur Talwar) gives a crackling performance yet again; the mystery that she brings to the character is just brilliant. The rest of the cast Gajraj Rao, Sohum Shah, Atul Kumar, Sumit Gulati & Prakash Belawadi are all brilliant. Tabu in cameo is good….

The camera work by Pankaj Kumar is as realistic as the subject and maintains the mystery with the correct visuals. The production design Subrata Chakraborty & Amit Ray is so realistic that you get the feeling that the film is shot at the locations where the murder happened. Costume design by Abhilasha Sharma keeps the costume true to life and complements the realistic theme….

The last Highlight and definitely not least is the captain of the ship director Meghna Gulzar, who comes to her own with “Talvar”. She shows what she is actually is capable of and kudos to her for taking up such a subject about which a lot has been written. The brilliance in which she has directed and presented the movie it is as if it is directed by a seasoned director “Talvar” can be easily put as one of the best of thrillers in Bollywood and the first for a woman director in Bollywood….

I will go with 4 and a half stars…..

Movie Rating: (4.5 / 5)

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)

Trailer Haider

Vishal Bharadwaj is back with his adaptation of William Shakespeare Hamlet ……..”HAIDER” based on the backdrop of Kashmir this drama has a impressive ensemble cast of Tabu, Shahid Kapoor, Shradha Kapoor, Kay Kay Menon, Ashish Vidyarthi & Irrfan Khan in a cameo……the first look is mighty impactful…..presented by UTV the movie releases on 2nd Oct’14….

Review : Ek Thi Daayan

Ek Thi Daayan: A Khichdi of Super natural & Horror

ETD Kanan Iyer the debutant director’s first offering holdspromise…not to ignore the strong backing of Ekta Kapoor & Vishal Bharadwaj.

The story of ETD revolves around Bobo (Imran Hashmi) who isan illusionist and is haunted by his childhood memories of his sister’s andfather’s death due to a woman ETDDiana (Konkona) who he suspects to be the WITCH.He is supported by his girlfriend Tamra (Huma Qureshi), but things take anunusual turn when a girl named Lisa Dutt (Kalki Koechlin) enters their life.The rest of the story uncovers the mystery of the WITCH in Bobo’s life.

The story & screenplay by Vishal Bharadwaj & Mukul Sharma starts well and keeps you at the edge of the seat in the first half,second half the screenplay starts losing its fizz and the climax completelygoes into a typical masala horror movie mould. What starts as a promisingconcept somehow ends at a low note, but overall it does not disappoint.

The ensemble cast does a brilliant job, starting with EmraanHashmi as “Bobo the Baffler” who under plays his character and does justice tohis role, Huma Qureshi as Tamra is natural, Kalki though she does well but hasnothing much to do, but it is Konkana Sen Sharma who steals the show with her brilliantportrayal of Diana, her body language her expressions give you the chill andnot to forget the child actor Vishesh Tiwari who play the kid Bobo is just tooimpressive. Rest of the cast like Pawan Malhotra , Rajatava Dutta areimpressive.

The camera work by Saurabh Goswami gives the right ambience,Editor Sreekar Prasad keeps the pace with his tout editing. Background score byClinton Cerejo is impactful adding the spooky quotient to each scene. Music by Vishal Bharadwaj & lyrics by Gulzar is the high point especially the song“Yaram” sung by Sunidhi Chauhan & Clinton Cerejo is brilliant.

Kanan Iyer ends the movie with a lot of questionsunanswered, do we see a Part II happening???…Kanan Iyer does impress andshows promise…I will go for 3 stars (One for Konkana Sen Sharma)