Movie Review : Uri – The Surgical Strike

Uri: The Surgical Strike: Homage to the Indian Army

On the onset I must say “Uri:The Surgical Strike” is a befitting homage to the Indian Army. Debutant Director Aditya Dhar explores the struggles of a soldier to keep our borders safe and the sacrifices his family does to keep us safe. Aditya takes the 2016 surgical attack on POK as the premise and weaves in a story which not only delves on the profession but also the personal life of a soldier.

Aditya mixes fact and fiction in re-creating the events of the surgical strike and molds it in a thriller format which is interesting. The movie starts with a combat sequence and slowly goes to the personal life of the lead protagonist Major Vihaan Shergill (Vicky Kaushal), wherein the movie slows down a bit and you start wondering where the movie is headed, but somehow it recuperates after the Uri incident and the second half is completely dedicated in showing the preparation and finally the execution of the surgical strike.

The story has some adrenaline rush moments and some really emotional moments. All the combat sequences are nail biting and extremely well executed. Amongst the emotional scenes there is one scene wherein Vihaan’s sister Neha (Manasi Parekh Gohil) gets a dead husband’s soiled shirt and asks her brother what she should do as she neither wants to wash it or throw it as it has the fragrance of her dead husband, it was indeed emotional. Aditya tries to be realistic in most parts and in some he just goes the filmi way, especially with some dialogues wherein you really cringe. But overall Aditya manages not to go the chest thumping war drama way or a Pakistan bashing movie. Though I felt where Aditya failed in the writing department is weaving the sequences seamlessly, as it looks a bit scattered and disjointed. I really thought the dialogues could have been better.

It is the performance of Vicky Kaushal as Major Vihaan Shergill that takes the movie into a different level. Vicky proves yet again what a superlative actor he is and he gets into the character so well that you can never imagine any other actor doing that part. Another actor who nails his character is Paresh Rawal who plays the National Security Advisor Govind Bharadwaj modeled on National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval, truly well played. Television actor Mohit Raina makes a solid debut as Major Karan Kashyap, I wish he was given more screen time. Manasi Parekh Gohil as Neha, Vihaan’s sister brings the emotional quotient well as she effortlessly plays her character. Yami Gautam as Intelligence Agent Pallavi Sharma does well in her limited role and does show her mettle. Kirti Kulhari as air force pilot Seerut Kaur has precisely 4 to 5 scenes and I thought she was wasted. Rajat Kapoor as PM Modi looks a bit odd in his white beard make up, but somehow he redeems himself with his earnest performance. Swaroop Sampat as Vihaan’s mother suffering from Alzeimers does her act of a fragile mother well. Rest of the cast also do a good job.

One of the highlight of the movie is the brilliantly executed and choreographed combat sequences, I must mention two technicians who did the good job, one being the cinematographer Mitesh Mirchandani and the second the action director Stefan Richter. The sequences are edge of the seat and nail biting. I will not say it is at par with Hollywood War movies like Zero Dark Thirty or Hurt Locker, but at least it is there, that in itself is no mean achievement.

I must mention the debutant director Aditya Dhar makes an impressive debut, though his product is not flawless but at least the attempt to do something like this and that to convincingly is quite an achievement.

The audience literally stood up at the end of the movie with an applause and slogan of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” that kind of summarizes how the movie connected with the audience. My review or any other critics review just does not matter. It is a must watch movie at least for the sake of our soldiers who lay their lives without a complaint. I will go with Three & a Half Star.

Movie Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Kaabil

Kaabil: A Revenge Saga with a Twist

Kaabil Movie Review“Kaabil” as any other Sanjay Gupta movie is an inspired piece work, the movie takes cues from 1990 movie “Blind Fury” and the 2014 Korean movie “Broken”, but still stands out as an original overall.

“Kaabil” tell us the story of a blind couple Rohan Bhatnagar (Hrithik Roshan) a dubbing artist and Supriya (Yami Gautam) who works for a NGO, they meet and decide to spend the rest of their lives in blissful matrimony, but destiny has other plans and their lives get shattered when the local corporator’s brother Amit Shellar (Rohit Roy) plays havoc in their lives. Whether Rohan stands up against the bad guys even with his blindness is what the movie is all about..

“Kaabil” plot wise is your regular revenge drama wherein the main protagonist takes vengeance against the wrong doers, but where Vijay Kumar Mishra’s story stands out, it is the blind angle. Beginning with the love story of the couple who are not ordinary, Vijay creates enough impact with his writing that you have a smile on your face when you see the love story of the blind couple. Small instances are incorporated to make the love story warm and heartfelt, connecting the audience with the two main characters, which creates the base. So when things start going wrong for the couple you as an audience start feeling the pain of being helpless like the couple, Vijay gets that bang on. Then the complete preparation and planning of the main protagonist to avenge the bad is meticulously shown with surprise elements thrown in for the requisite twists. Vijay Mishra takes care of not showing the protagonist Rohan as a super hero, but puts elements of vulnerability in the sequences. Vijay Kumar Mishra gets the premise, the plot and the entire screenplay right from the word go, but where the script falls short is its pace. At times the screenplay slacks a bit in pace especially due to the song sequences, too many songs just slackens the pace. Being a thriller the screenplay could have been a bit tighter and run time could have been reduced by 15 minutes. But overall the script works, ignoring the cinematic liberties taken and the pace..

Dialogues by Sanjay Masoom are modern yet impactful and it is not on your face. Though a revenge drama Sanjay refrains from the run of the mill “Maar Daloonga” dialogues and keeps it understated as much as possible.

It is the performances which elevates the movie, especially of Hrithik Roshan who plays Rohan the blind dubbing artist, Hrithik gets the character bang on from the first shot till the end. The mannerisms to the look everything is apt and Hrithik elevates the character with his brilliant portrayal. Yami Gautam as Supriya compliments Hrithik’s act and the chemistry between both the actors makes the love story warm and appealing. Yami after “Mickey Virus” gets her due in “Kaabil” and she does not disappoint, definitely a feather in her cap. Ronit Roy as the corporator Madhavrao Shellar is just a delight to watch; with every performance Ronit is upping his game. Ronit gets the dialect to the mannerism bang on, and most of the time his eyes plays the terror brilliantly. In contrast Ronit’s real life brother Rohit Roy who also plays the reel life brother Amit, somehow does a satisfactory job, not creating too much of an impact, rather his act looks forced and enacted instead of being natural, definitely not Rohit’s best. Narendra Jha as the scheming Police Officer Chaubey does a brilliant job, his voice and his persona suits the role and his portrayal creates the requisite impact. Girish Kulkarni as the corrupt cop impresses with his irritating act, you hate him for his portrayal, which means he gets his act correct. Rest of the cast do not create too much of an impact..

Ayananka Bose and Sudeep Chatterjee’s cinematography goes from colourful to gritty as the movie progresses as per the narration. Avik Ali’s editing though manages well but could have been better..

Rajesh Roshan yet again proves that he cannot be ignored even in today’s music scenario. What is impressive about Rajesh Roshan is that he has changed with time and “Kaabil” proves that. His soulful “Kaabil Hoon” and pulsating “Mon Amour” impress and stay with you. The re-created “Haseeno Ka Zamana” which is from his own track from “Yaarana”, comes out as a completely different track with techno beats, definitely a party favourite. Kudos to Rajesh Roshan for his persistency in the ever changing music scenario, when most of his contemporaries have hung their boots, Rajesh Roshan still goes on.

At last Sanjay Gupta gets it right with his script. Technically there is no doubt that Sanjay is a brilliant director, it was the content which lacked the punch, but with “Kaabil” he proves his point that he can also get emotional quotient right. Definitely “Kaabil” sees Sanjay Gupta in a new avatar as a director.

But it is Hrithik Roshan who carries the movie on his able shoulders and proves his “Kaabiliyat” with “Kaabil”…I will go with Three and a Half Stars…

Movie Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movie Review : Badlapur

Badlapur: A lukewarm revenge drama

Shriram Raghvan’s fascination for dark thrillers is a known fact what with his previous movies Ek Hasina Thi & Jhonny Gaddar. He continues his fascination for the same with Badlapur.

The basic premise has many layers and Shriram Raghvan along with writer Arijit Biswas try to show the psychological side of revenge as to Badlapur Movie Reviewhow a Advertising Professional Raghav (Varun Dhawan) becomes psychotic after his wife Misha (Yami Gautam) and kid Robin get killed in a bank robbery and he plans to avenge the killers.

The basic message that Shriram wanted to portray was how revenge makes a normal human being act like an animal and in his rage he commits crimes which he does not want. This he portrayed through his two principal characters Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who commits the bank robbery and kills Raghav’s wife and kid and on the other side Raghav who in his madness to take revenge commits a crime which was not intended.

Every character in the movie is very well etched and very complex, but where the movie looses is its weak narration and slow pace. The 134 mins movie could have been trimmed at least by 15 to 20 mins to create more impact. Though the climax has a message but the overall narration does not create an impact. The first half shows promise and you expect some twist in the second half which unfortunately does not come and results in a half baked second half. I felt in some sequences the blood quotient was too stark than required.

It is the performances which is the biggest highlight of the movie, Varun Dhawan as Raghav tries to do a role which was different from his previous movies and succeeds to a large extent especially in sequences where he underplays his anger. The best performance is undoubtedly of Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays the antagonist Liak with such perfection that he overshadows everybody in the frame. Huma Qureshi as the prostitute Jhimli gives another riveting performance. Yami Gautam as Misha has nothing much to do. Radhika Apte as Kanchan is good but could have been better, rather she looks quite jaded. Divya Dutta as Shobha the social worker has nothing much to do but still she shines in her brief role. Kumud Mishra, a brilliant actor but underrated by Bollywood shines in the role of the inspector who investigates the bank Robbery. Rest of the cast like Ashwini Kalsekar, Pratima Kazmi, Vinay Pathak do a brilliant job in their brief roles and makes the movie a worth watch.

Music by Sachin Jigar is melodious, especially Jeena Jeena & the rock Jee Karda. Anil Mehta’s brilliance shines through the magical cinematography which captures the suburbs well….

Shriram Raghavan gets the premise right but fails in making it an impactful narration which was the biggest flaw. The pace in the second half is so slow that you want the movie to end.

I will go with Two & a Half stars….

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Review : Vicky Donor

Vicky Donor: An Entertaining Donor

Shoojit Sircar is back after a long hiatus after “Yahaan”, with “Vicky Donor”, the story focuses on the infertility clinics which are mushrooming and becoming a huge business giving hope to the modern day couples who cannot conceive due to stress or should I say “strass” (Punju lingo).

Story is of such an infertility clinic run by Dr Chaddha (Anu Kapoor) who is in look out of a good Sperm Donor which will help his patients conceive. Vicky DonorEnter Vicky Arora (Ayushman Khurana, VJ MTV) a happy go lucky guy from Delhi who has big dreams but does not have the inclination to work hard, so Dr Chaddha convinces him to be the Sperm Donor for his clinic and thus get paid easy money, the rest of the story deals as to what happens after he falls in love with Aushima Roy (Yami Gautam) and eventually gets married leading to a climax which has a message on the taboo subject of sperm donation.

This is another movie based on Delhi and the Delhiwallas. The story, screenplay & dialogues by Juhi Chaturvedi  is first rate and captures the dialect and the mood of Delhi well. The first half is humorous and light whereas the second half is serious and a bit slow in places, but Juhi keeps the essence of the subject intact throughout. The characters are very well etched and do not look out of place. Camera work by Kamaljeet Negi is good and captures Delhi well.

The biggest highlight of the movie is its performances. Anu Kapoor (One of the most underrated actors) does a splendid job as Dr Chaddha. The other two actors who were just brilliant were Dolly Ahluwalia as Vicky’s mother and Kamlesh Gill as Vicky’s grandmother, they just stole the show with their riveting performance and their sequences together are the highlight of the movie. Coming on to our debutants Ayushman Khurana & Yami Gautam, both are good and confident but Ayushmaan is a few notches above Yami.

Overall a complete entertaining fare with a subject which is still a taboo in India, but nowhere does the film get preachy. Shoojit Sircar yet again proves that he is not only a good Ad maker but a good director as well; he takes a taboo subject like Sperm Donation and makes a simple entertaining fare or as Dr Chaddha would sum it up as “Entertaining Sperm”.

Worth a watch, 3 stars from me….