Movie Review: Khandaani Shafakhana

Khandaani Shafakhana: A Khandaani Take on a Taboo subject

On the onset I must congratulate debutant director Shilpi Dasgupta and writer Gautam Mehra for trying such a taboo subject.

Khandaani Shafakhana based in Hoshiyarpur, Punjab, tells the story of Bobby Bedi (Sonakshi Sinha) who is medical representative in an Herbal Medicine Company and trying to make ends meet, suddenly has a change of luck when she is informed that Hakim Tarachand a.k.a Mamaji (Khulbhushan Kharbanda) has willed her his entire property and his sex clinic with some pre-requisite conditions which she needs to fulfill in six months. Whether Bobby accepts the will and what she goes through for running a sex clinic is what the story is all about.

Writer Gautam Mehra takes an interesting premise of sex clinic run by a female and spins the story and screenplay around the premise. One thing I would give a thumbs up to the writer is the way he has written the characters. Each character is well etched and you do not feel any character is out of place. But where Gautam misses the mark is getting the emotional quotient correct. He scores brilliantly in the comic sequences but when it comes to emotions the script does not do justice. Some sequences between Bobby and her mother does show a spark of emotion, but then these are too few. The problem with the screenplay is that it is brilliant in patches and some scenes look disjointed, which fails to keep the audience invested. As far as the dialogues are concerned they are funny and gives you laugh out loud moments but in emotional scenes the dialogues fails to create the requisite emotion.

Well Khandaani Shafakhana is a Sonakshi Sinha movie throughout, and she does a brilliant job as Bobby Bedi. I think after Lootera this is Sonakshi’s best till now. Varun Sharma as Bobby’s brother yet again repeats his Choocha act, but is still affable and you do not feel bored when he is on screen. The surprise is Badshah who debuts as an actor in the movie as pop singer Gabru Ghataak, his chill out performance comes as a necessary breather in the movie. Nadira Babbar as Bobby’s mother as usual does complete justice to her role especially in emotional sequences between Sonakshi and her. Actor Priyansh Jora who is popular in television, debuts as a lead in this movie as Bobby’s love interest, does an impressive debut and is easy to your eyes. Annu Kapoor as advocate Tagra, seems to be enjoying his role to the fullest and yet again proves that he is an actor par excellence. It was such a treat to see veteran actor Kulbhushan Kharbanda on screen after a long time as Hakim Tarachand, he did complete justice to his role. Rest of the cast Rakesh Sharma, Rajiv Gupta and the support cast do a brilliant job.

Debutant Director Shilpi Dasgupta does a brilliant job in extracting excellent performances from the cast. And I have to give it to Shilpi who balances such a taboo subject so well that it never feels vulgar, whereas it could have gone that path. You can see the brilliance of Shilpi in patches, especially with comic sequences where she scores high, I really want to mention comic court room sequence in the climax. It is the emotional quotient where she misses the mark. But definitely with this movie Bollywood has got another women director who has the spark, looking forward more from Shilpi Dasgupta
I need to mention Abhishek Nailwal who gives a brilliant background score, especially in comic sequences. Cinematograper Rishi Punjabi does a brilliant job in setting the atmosphere with the requisite colors in each frame.

Khandaani Shafakhana is good in patches and it is the performances and the treatment that makes it worth a watch, I will go with Three stars.

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review: Judgementall Hai Kya

Judgementall Hai Kya: Too mental to be Judgemental

On the onset let me warn “Judgementall Hai Kya” is not your regular Bollywood movie which follows a set pattern. Well I may say with this movie it is really DIFFERENT. Right from the concept to the presentation to the performance all are nothing that you may have seen in Bollywood Judgementall Hai Kyabefore.

“Judgementall Hai Kya” tells us the story of Bobby Batliwala Garewal (Kangana Ranaut) who suffers from mental issues due to what she went through during her childhood. A dubbing artist by profession, things change for her when young married couple Keshav (Rajkumar Rao) and Reema (Amyra Dastur) come to live as her tenant. Things gets more complicated when there is murder and both stand as a prime suspect.

Written by Kanika Dhillon, the story delves into the complexities that come with mental illness in a serious way, and the dark comedy cum whodunit screenplay goes extremely well in the first half and sets the tone, but it is the second half what you get is run down, extremely sluggish narration leading us to a shoddy and hurried climax. Rather the climax is so hurried that you feel that a lot of questions remain unanswered. Especially the last 30 minutes of pre climax and climax ,is so all over the place that you start feeling Mental and you want it to get over as soon as possible. Kanika’s inclusion of the Ramayan angle felt forced and the whole “Birdman” kind of narration takes you nowhere. The 2 hour long movie seems extremely stretched and too long because of a faulty second half.

Where the movie scores the highest is the performance by the lead pair, Kangana as Bobby is just so brilliant that you start empathizing with her though you know the character is doing wrong, she gets the beat bang on from the first frame. Rajkumar Rao as Keshav tends to retain the mystery of his character till the very end, which I thought was commendable and a performance par excellence. Another actor who creates an impact is Hussain Dallal as Varun, Bobby’s virgin desperate boyfriend cum manager. He just grabs the attention whenever he is on screen and gives you the required laughs, rather I must admit he had some of the funniest lines in the movie. Jimmy Shergill, Amyra Dastur, Amrita Puri, Satish Kaushik and Brijendra Kala though good, but could hardly create any impact due to their brief and not so well written characters.

Pankaj Kumar’s brilliant cinematography lifts the movie and adds to the mystery and quirkiness of the treatment. Another aspect which creates the magic for the movie is its background score by Daniel B George which accentuates the scene and gives the required impact.

This is Prakash Kovelamudi’s first Bollywood movie after his stint in South. Prakash really tries hard to be different, and I applaud him for the same, but you cannot justify a different concept without a strong script and this where Prakash fails. Though he does a brilliant job in getting a top notch performance from the principal cast and also in presenting the movie in a completely different mold, but he fails miserably to connect with the audience and goes haywire in the second half of the movie. This could have been a path breaking movie but alas it was not meant to be.

Judgementall Hai Kya is like a dish which looks great in presentation and look, with the correct ingredients, but when you eat it, you cannot make up your mind whether it was good or bad. This is the same feeling I got when I came out of the theatre completely confused whether I liked it or I hated it.

I will go with two and a Half Stars.

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

Movie Review : Article 15

Article 15: The Bitter Truth of our Society

On the onset I would say kudos to Anubhav Sinha, for attempting such a subject and that to in a commercial format. I don’t remember any main stream director even trying to do something on the subject of caste divide in our Indian society.

The movie which is inspired the Badaun Rape of 2014, tells the story of Article15Ayan Ranjan (Ayushman Khurana) a new recruit as DCP, who goes for his first posting at Lalgaon a small district in Uttar Pradesh.In his very first assignment he has a case of two dalit girls who are hanged to death and a missing girl.What unfolds in Ayan’s quest for resolving the case is what the movie is all about.

Written by Anubhav Sinha himself and Gaurav Solanki the movie does not waste any time and throws you in to harsh reality of caste system which still prevails in modern India. The writers very smartly weave the movie with a social message in a crime thriller format with enough twists and turns which eventually makes it worth a watch. There is not a single frame where you are not engrossed. Every character in the movie is fleshed out well and has something to contribute in the whole scheme of things.

The movie is a compilation of some memorable and heartwarming sequences like the sequence when Ayan Ranjan enquires his team about their caste, it was hilarious yet it was extremely hard hitting and drives home the message how we follow a shallow system in our society. You will also cringe in some sequences like the sequence when a Dalit scavenger dips himself in the man hole and cleans the gutter without any precaution and he is covered with filth. Both Anubhav and Gaurav make us uncomfortable from the word go and I am sure we will all relate to one or the other incident in our lives when our families also discriminated between us and the low caste. Definitely a fabulous script in recent times.

Another ace for Anubhav was the ensemble cast, starting with Ayushman Khurana who plays Ayan Ranjan with so much conviction and sincerity that he creates the requisite impact and how. We have seen Ayushman in comic frothy roles, this movie establishes him as a serious actor. Manoj Pahwa as
Brahmadutt Singh is another actor who creates a great impact and establishes again that he is a brilliant actor. Kumud Mishra as the low caste constable Jatav brings the caste divide beautifully in the movie
and yet again proves his mettle. Sayani Gupta as Gaura brings that fire and frustration of the low caste so effortlessly that you are drawn towards her performance from the word go. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as the torch bearer and the leader of the low caste in brief role creates the requisite impact. Even the other actors like Ashish Verma, Shubrajyoti Bharat, Rojini Chakraborty, Sushil Panday, Nassar in a special appearance all do a brilliant job.

The two other technicians who make the movie impactful, first being the cinematographer Ewan Mulligan who creates the grimness through his camera so brilliantly that you are drawn to every frame and the mystery that he creates also gives the movie the edgy look, second the background score by Mangesh Dhakde which again accentuates the impact of every scene. After a long time the background music actually added value to every frame and gave the feeling of eeriness and discomfort.

Anubhav Sinha after his last outing Mulk yet again proves that with Article 15 that he can handle topical and sensitive subjects with élan. Though subtlety his not Anubhav’s strong point but still he drives home
the message with a sledge hammer and forces you to think and make you uncomfortable in some way.Looking forward for more such topical movies from Anubhav Sinha.

Article 15 is NOT your regular popcorn fluffy movie which you see to entertain yourself, but a hard hitting griping saga which shows us the mirror of our Indian society and how we follow shallow caste system, definitely a MUST WATCH, I will go with 4 stars.

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review : Bharat

Bharat: An Extraordinary journey yet NOT so extraordinary

“Bharat” as the name suggests has patriotic theme throughout. Based on the 2014 Korean movie “Ode To My Father” the movie traces the journey of an ordinary man Bharat (Salman Khan) through the various events of India, right from partition till 2010.

Original Story written by Su-jin Park and adapted screenplay by Varun V Sharma and director Ali Abbas Zafar, could have been an emotional joy ride of only they had stuck to the original format. But Varun and Ali choose an alternative wherein they try to mix humour with the emotional content, and that is where somewhere the content loses its steam.


It starts with the event of partition and how Bharat is separated from his father and sister, makes an emotional and a perfect beginning. The movie progresses to Bharat in his young age wherein he works in a circus to fend for his family, the sequence is weak and ends abruptly making no sense to the overall story. The third sequence of Bharat joining the oil field in UAE where he meets Kumud (Katrina Kaif) does pull your heart strings and keeps you engaged till Intermission. The next sequence of Bharat joining the merchant Navy is the weakest and just does not make any sense to the overall proceedings, rather you feel impatient in this sequence as it goes on with no specific agenda. The movie again gets a boost in the sequence wherein “Bharat” goes in search of his father and lost sister. This sequence is the strongest and does make you choke. But again the movie dips at the climax sequence giving it a shoddy finish.

The problem with the movie is the events in Bharat’s life is not stitched properly and Emotional Quotient which is so important in a Drama dips at times. Though Varun and Ali try to make it entertaining by putting comic elements but they fail miserably. Some of the characters are not fleshed out properly and the focus is on the central character Bharat throughout. The emotion of other characters are not catered at all and you do not feel connected due to this reason. Bharat as a character is forcefully shown as a messiah. Well such characters were fine in the 80’s, but in today’s world of
realistic cinema the character looks dated. The pre climax fight sequence and the only fight sequence looks out of place and suddenly an ordinary man becomes a superman, it was just not needed. The major issue of the smovie is that, it is NOT a typical Salman Khan movie, which his fans would have been expecting. Though the movie has its moments but only moments cannot define an entire movie of 167 minutes. The biggest problem of the movie is its run time which could have been trimmed. The songs just does not gel with the story and it looks forced in the movie.

Performance wise Salman Khan as Bharat revisits his Sooraj Barjatya Prem act which is so dated in today’s time. Salman really needs to rethink his strategy if he wants to be in this race of content oriented cinema. Katrina Kaif as Kumud, Bharat’s boss and love interest still creates an impact, ignoring her accent overall she does a good job. Katrina for a change is more of histrionics and less of glamour, but I still didn’t understand the horrendous curly hair style. Disha Patani is exactly there for 5 to 8 minutes, and is there for a slight glamour. Sunil Grover as Vilaiti, Bharat’s best friend does do a good job. Jackie Shroff as Bharat’s father does shine. But the real surprise is Tabu as Meher, Bharat’s sister whose guest appearance makes you choke for sure, again confirming what brilliant actress she is. Other actors like Sonali Kulkarni, Shashank Arora, Aasif Sheikh, Kumud Mishra, Ayesha Raza Mishra are wasted in not so well written characters.

Some of the major highlights of the movie are the production design by Rajnish Hadeo, Snigdha Basu & Sumit Basu which is completely in sync with the times portrayed in the movie, Cinematography by Marcin Laskawiec adds on to the overall appeal. Though the same cannot be said about the costume design by Ashley Rebello, Alvira Agnihotri, Veera Kapur and Leena Bains as it looks inconsistent. Music is the key for any Salman Khan movie but unfortunately Bharat cannot boast of that, other than “Chashni” the rest of the songs do not create any impact whatsoever.

Director Ali Abbas Zafar wanted to make a movie which was hugely mounted and larger than life but what he gives is a mish mash of some impactful and some not so impactful sequences which looks disjointed and does not gel on an overall scheme of things. Another decision of casting Salman Khan as Bharat I thought was not a good decision, as it required a good actor and Salman maybe a star but an actor well less said the better.

There are some movies which is neither BAD nor so GOOD and you feel it could have been better well I had the same feeling after watching “Bharat”….I will go with Three Stars…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review : Robert Akbar Walter

Robert Akbar Walter: Too RAW to be served

Lately Bollywood has been in a mood of espionage thrillers, a genre which has been successfully dealt in movies like BABY (2015), D-Day (2013) and Raazi (2018), and not so successfully in Phantom (2015) and Agent Vinod (2013) both staring Saif Ali Khan.

Robert Akbar Walter belongs to the same genre, set in 1971 it tells the story of Romeo Ali (John Abraham) a bank teller whose life changes when RAW Chief Shrikant Rai (Jackie Shroff) approaches him for a covert mission in Pakistan. The rest I don’t want to reveal as it will steal the fun from the movie.

Written by the director Robbie Grewal in association with Ishraq Eba andRAW Moview Shreyansh Pandey, RAW starts on a wobbly ground, as the first half is outright flat and does not give you any thrill which is a must with an espionage thriller. It takes the complete first half to set up the story and by the intermission moment you have already lost interest in the proceedings. The second half does have its moments with some twists which look half baked. It is only in the last 30 minutes that the movie really does justice to its genre but it is too late to salvage. The twists are too less and too convenient. The edge of the seat moments are also few, unlike in Raazi which kept you invested and on the edge of the seat. The characters other than the two principal characters of RAW Chief and Romeo Ali look as if written in a hurry or no thought has been invested behind building these characters. The character of Parul (Mouni Roy) looks written in a haste and you never really get to see the real character, similar is the case with other characters. Another problem is the pace, it is so slow with screen time of 139 minutes, that at the end you just want the movie to end. The screenplay is the biggest drawback of the movie. The premise was promising and interesting but the screenplay just doesn’t pick up and remains flat throughout barring the last 30 minutes.

Performance wise John Abraham in the titular role tries hard and it shows on screen but somehow does not convince us as an intelligent spy. John being a weak actor somehow burdens the movie which already has a weak screenplay. Jackie Shroff as the RAW chief Shrikant Rai looks too stylish for the character he plays, but frankly he is the only actor who does justice to his role. Mouni Roy as the love interest of Romeo remains a decorative piece in the movie with nothing meaty to do. Performance wise Mouni falters big time and the sketchy character does not help either. Sikander Kher as Col Khan, tries to look menacing but fails, his dialect is also inconsistent. Rest of the actor like Raghuvir Yadav who is wasted, Suchitra Krishnamurty, Rajesh Shringarpure, Alka Ameen do not create any impact.

Director Robbie Grewal whose Samay (2003) was very impressive and his best till date, again fails to impress just like his previous movies like Aloo Chaat (2009) and MP3 (2007). Robbie Grewal picks up an interesting premise but fails to stich a consolidated screenplay which is edge of the seat. Though he does not fail with the look and the tone of the movie but execution wise he fails. Give me Samay any day, I guess one of the best performance of Sushmita Sen till date.

It is the cinematography by Tapan Tushar Basu that makes the movie a visual treat, he get the tonality of the premise bang on. The second department which scores big is the production design by Swapnil Bhalerao & Madhur Madhavan, every nitty gritty has been taken care of to the point of perfection. The third department which scores high is the costume design by Ameira Punvani, she gets the time correct with her costume and nothing looks out of place.

Overall Robert Akbar Walter remains RAW throughout, I will go with TWO Stars.

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Movie Review : Badla

Badla: A twisted tale of Human Psyche

“Badla” is the official remake of Spanish blockbuster “The Invisible Guest”. Straight up I must confess that I have not seen the original so my review would be what director Sujoy Ghosh has to offer to us.

Sujoy Ghosh has this uncanny ability to dish out thrillers which are layeredBadla and well made, take his previous “Kahani”, “Kahani 2” or the web short film “Ahilya”. In all his previous movies you get layered characters who are not exactly black or white but a shade of grey. Well Sujoy continues with his endeavor and gives us another crime thriller “Badla”.

“Badla” adapted by Sujoy Ghosh from its original screenplay written by Oriol Paulo for “The Invisible Guest”. “Badla” is a whodunit genre of movie which primarily revolves around a conversation between a murder convict Naina Sethi (Tapsee Pannu) and her lawyer Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) and events are played as a flash back. The best thing about the screenplay is that there is not a single dull moment and the proceedings keeps you glued to the edge of the seat till the big reveal in the climax. What is commendable about the writing is, that the characters are layered of both Naina and Badal, and as an audience you keep on guessing what will happen next. Though to be very frank in the last 30 minutes you do get an idea but still it is worth a wait. I guess Sujoy Ghosh has been true to the original with a slight tweak to make it relevant in India. The dialogues written by Sujoy Ghosh and Raj Vasant is gripping with apt references to Mahabharata making it more interesting.

The combo of Amitabh Bachchan and Tapsee Pannu after “Pink” again shines. Amitabh Bachchan as the advocate Badal Gupta is a delight and you can see that he is enjoying, his piercing eyes and his baritone voice are an icing on the cake for the character of Badal Gupta. Definitely one of his best performance after “Piku” and “Pink”. Tapsee Pannu as the businesswoman Naina Sethi is a revelation, she kills it with her portrayal of an unpredictable character, keeping the audiences guessing of her next action. Another brilliant performance is by Amrita Singh who plays the role of Rani Toor, an old woman in search of her missing son. Amrita Singh’s performance is both heart breaking and strong, definitely one of her finest
performances till date, Bollywood should utilize this brilliant actress more often. Debutant Malayalam actor Tony Luke as Arjun is a discovery, though hindi language is not his strong point but he manages to capture your attention with his nuanced performance. Manav Kaul in a brief role of Naina’s lawyer and friend is impressive. So is Tanveer Ghani as Nirmal, an international actor not often seen in Bollywood.

Though the entire movie is heavily burdened on both Amitabh Bachchan and Tapsee Pannu still it is the other actors who also make a mark and take the movie to another level.

The cinematography by Avik Mukopadhyay is another highlight of the movie. He captures the nuances and the landscape of Glasglow so well that it becomes a character with the proceedings.

Sujoy Ghosh again strikes gold with this crime thriller as well, though a bit predictable at the end unlike Kahani, still it is an impressive presentation.

If you are an avid whodunit genre lover don’t waste time and head for “Badla”, I will go with 4 stars.

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review : The Accidental Prime Minister

The Accidental Prime Minister: Too Accidental to be a wholesome Movie

Bollywood has never had a decent political thriller till date. Every time it tries it has fallen flat excluding one exception which was Prakash Jha’s “Rajneeti”.

“The Accidental Prime Minister” is one such attempt based on the book written by Sanjaya Baru of the same name which chronicles Dr Manmohan Singh’s journey as a Prime Minister from the eyes of Sanjaya when he was the Media Advisor in the PMO.

This movie is unabashedly a strategic move before the election as the movie is complete anti Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. It basically shows how Sonia had the leash of the UPA government and how she manipulated various decisions making Dr Manmohan Singh just a puppet in the hands of the party.


Adapted screenplay has been credited to a group of writers including director Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, Mayank Tewari (Newton Fame), Karl Dunne and Aditya Sinha. The problem is, that there is no screenplay whatsoever, and you feel the scenes have been directly taken out from the book and the dialogues written on set. Another problem of the movie is the format, as it is neither a docudrama nor a full-fledged movie. The screenplay goes back and forth with no reference point. It deals with a lot of issues like the nuclear deal, the 2G scam but none is shown with a precision and left half baked. More emphasis is given on the various political big wigs who play the power game than to the happenings. The central character or the narrator Sanjaya Baru keeps on talking to the audience, somewhat like House of Cards wherein Kevin Spacey speaks to the viewers, but that concept is stretched so much that you tend to feel irritated after some time. An extremely shoddy work in writing. The dialogues also sounds forced.

If there is anything working for the movie it is the performance of Akshaye Khanna who plays Sanjaya Baru convincingly and earnestly. I truly feel Akshaye Khanna is the most under rated actor of Bollywood. Anupam Kher as Dr Manmohan Singh tries hard to copy his mannerisms and also succeeds, but in copying Dr Manmohan Singh’s mannerisms Anupam Kher forgets to give some depth to his character. Though we cannot blame Anupam Kher entirely because the writing was so shoddy, but somehow Akshaye Khanna rose up to the shoddy writing which Anupam couldn’t. Other actors like Suzanne Bernet, Arjun Mathur, Aahana Kumra, Divya Seth and the rest of the cast look and sound like caricatures.

Technically also the movie is extremely shoddy, especially the VFX. The VFX is so substandard that you can make out that the actors are actually standing in front of a Green Screen.

Director Vijay Ratnakar Gutte whose previous movies Badmashiyan and The Film Emotional Atyachar was nothing to write home about comes back with another shoddy product. He definitely needs to hone his directorial skills to take up such a subject.

It is so sad that such a good content went waste and what we are given is a half-baked, half done movie. You really feel that the movie was made in a hurry with the election in mind, I will go with TWO STARS.

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

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 : Thugs Of Hindustan

Thugs Of Hindustan the much awaited movie of the year released today with a lot of anticipation….But what we get is an extremely averageTOH Review movie which is high on spectacular Action (Most of it is mindless) and amazing CGI.

Vijay Krishna Acharya the director spent more on the technical aspect of the movie to make it a spectacle…the action is world class, the CGI is Hollywood Standard, the cinematography by Manush Nandan is top notch and the Production Design is out of this world but unfortunately the STORY is missing…written by Vijay himself the movie has a very 80’s revenge drama feel what with a climax song as well, which was so rampant in the 80’s…the plot is immensely predictable and the characters extremely clichéd and the movie just goes down the drain in the second half…even the dialogues feels dated…

Other than Aamir Khan rest of the ensemble casts performance seems forced and average, even of Amitabh Bachchan, who seems repeating his Khuda Gawah act…Aamir Khan saves the day with his performance as Firangi as the character is extremely edgy and unpredictable and Aamir seems to be enjoying the act….The second actor who kind of manages her own in the mayhem is Fatima Sana Shaikh as Zafira….Katrina Kaif is there just to add the glamour quotient, she is precisely there for 2 songs.

The movie is devoid of any emotional quotient and you never connect to the movie till the end which was so essential for a patriotic driven theme…the other problem of the movie is the run time of 2 hrs 45 mins…it could have been easily 30 mins less…Vijay had such brilliant opportunity of fabulous ensemble cast, excellent technical team and a banner like Yashraj to back his vision but alas as his previous outing Tashan and Dhoom3 this movie also is a dud…I would say an opportunity lost….I will go with 2 stars…watch it at your own risk…

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

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 : Sui Dhaaga

Sui Dhaaga Made In India is an inspiring story yet predictable….where the movie stands out is in the simplicity of the characters whom we see sui dhaagain our day to day life and also in the way Sharat Kataria creates humour as well as drama from day to day life.

You fall in love with the characters Mauji brilliantly and earnestly played by Varun Dhawan and Mamta played superlatively by Anushka Sharma the moment the movie starts and keep your smile intact throughout the movie

The other two actors who make a mark are Raghubir Yadav who plays Mauji’s father and Yamini Das who plays Mauji’s mother, the rest of the ensemble cast also do a brilliant job.

The first half is just brilliant but it is the second half where the movie falls in the trap of predictability…yet it is the performances which keeps you invested.

Kudos to Sharat Kataria for choosing a subject which shows the state of our handloom workers and why they are leaving their ancestral work due to plausibility of opportunities and resources.

Sui Dhaaga- Made or is it Mad in India makes you laugh, cry and cringe as well, but at the end puts a smile on your face…

Movie Review : Sanju

Sanju: A Heart Warming Blend of Reality & Fiction

“Sanju” was in limelight from the day the movie was launched, the reason, the talented combination of Rajkumar Hirani and Ranbir Kapoor Sanju Movie Reviewcoming together for the first time and above all the man on which the movie is based Sanjay Dutt, whose life has been nothing more of a blockbuster movie.

“Sanju” largely captures two very eminent chapters of Sanjay Dutt’s life, one his struggle during his drugs days and how he rose like a phoenix and re-started his life, and second his brush with law for possession of arms first under TADA and next under Arms Act. It also captures his relationships with his parents and his friends with the most emphasis on his relationship with his father Sunil Dutt.

The deadly combination of Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi again weaves in the magic as their previous movies (Munnabhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munnabhai, 3 Idiots and PK). The screenplay is the strongest point of the movie wherein Sanjay Dutt is not shown holier than thou and is shown as human with all the shortcomings and shown more as a victim of circumstances, which may not be completely true but we are not complaining. The movie primarily captures what the Dutt household went through during Sanjay’s Drugs days and later his case for keeping AK 56, what the common people do not know and how media played havoc in their lives. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry and it makes you think whether all is true that is circulated in the form of news. The screenplay very smartly blends the melodrama to heighten the emotional quotient but still it keeps you entertained and does not look over the top. The father son scenes are the highlight of the movie and stays with you long after the movie is over.

Even the best of screenplay cannot shine without the right set of actors and the casting by Mukesh Chabra is apt. Ranbir Kapoor as Sanjay Dutt just kills it by living the role and gets everything correct, right from the mannerism to the swag and the way he looks from being a 20 year old to a man of 50 years, even the way he talks, all is so apt that 10 minutes into the movie and you forget the real Sanjay Dutt and start thinking Ranbir as Sanjay Dutt. Ranbir Kapoor will definitely sweep all the awards for this year in all award functions. We can say Ranbir Kapoor is back. Vicky Kaushal as Sanju’s friend Kanhaiyalal Kapasi does a brilliant job, he is not only good in comic sequences but raises the bar in emotional scenes, especially that one scene when he confronts Paresh Rawal who plays Sunil Dutt. Vicky after “Raazi” re-iterates his calibre and credential with “Sanju”. Vicky will sweep all the awards for “Best Supporting Actor” category this year. Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt gives a crackling performance; especially his scenes with Ranbir Kapoor are a delight to watch. Manisha Koirala who plays Nargis Dutt brings the breath of fresh air in her performance of an ailing mother who is spirited and loves his son to death, a brilliant come back I must say. Anushka Sharma as the biographer Winnie Diaz, though a relatively small role but she makes an impact nonetheless. Dia Mirza as Manyata Dutt does not have much to do. Jim Sarbh as the drug pedlar Zubin Mistry continues with his mean act with élan. Sonam Kapoor brings the glamour quotient to the movie. Rest of the cast like Boman Irani, Karsihma Tanna, Sayaji Shinde and Anjan Shrivastav do a good job.

Rajkumar Hirani does not lose his Midas touch in “Sanju”. His simplistic way of narration strikes the chord, making it relatable and connecting with the audience well. The beauty of Rajkumar Hirani is that he keeps the melodrama intact without making is jarring and even in serious scenes he has the element of humour which makes it entertaining. Hirani has this knack of creating the right ambience for his scenes whether it is a comic sequence or an emotional scene which does the magic. Yet again Rajkumar Hirani proves his worth as a fabulous film maker.

A movie cannot be what it is without its technical crew who make the vision of the director live. Starting with the cinematography by S Ravi Varman, who presents Hirani’s vision with the right colour and texture to the scenes through his camera, Production Designer Shashank Tere accentuates visual appeal of the movie with the right props as per the time which is being presented in the scene.

There are precisely 4 songs in movie starting with “Main Bhi Bandhiyaan” by Rohan-Rohan which is beautifully sung by Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan and is a fun song, which will play in the party circles for long, Ruby Ruby by A R Rahman is melodious but I thought that song was not given its due credit in the execution, the third song “Kar Har Maidan Fateh” is a motivational song by Vikram Montrose and sung hauntingly by Sukhwindara Singh and Shreya Ghoshal is the best track of the movie and even in the movie it comes at the right time and the last song which is in the credits “Baba Bolta Hain Bas Ho gaya” is again a fun song by Vikram Montrose and sung by Papon and Ranbir Kapoor has an element of surprise in the movie.

In a nutshell “Sanju” strikes the right chord, thanks to the magic created by Rajkumar Hirani and the fabulous performance by Ranbir Kapoor and rest of the cast, making it one of the best biopic of Bollywood, I will go with 4 stars.

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review: Hichki

Hichki: Predictable yet Heart Warming

“Hichki” is a true example of safe film making; it is moulded in an existing mould taking inspirations from various movies international and Bollywood exploring the theme of teacher and student bonding. Starting from Jagruti to Imtehaan to Taare Zameen Par, this theme has been used successfully, and “Hichki” takes the same path, though primarily it is an adaptation of the book, “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had” by Brad Cohen.

“Hichki” tells the story of Naina Mathur (Rani Mukherjee) who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome (a neurological disorder which forces the hichki movieindividual to make sounds as and when there is an obstruction in the nerves) who being a part time graphic designer aspires to be a teacher. After a struggle for 5 years she ultimately gets a job at a prestigious school St. Notekar’s as a teacher, wherein she is assigned class 9F which comprises of kids from the nearby slums as per Indian Govt’s right to education. These kids are seen as an outcast who does not blend with rest of the students from elite families which make the kids feel unwanted and they become rebels. Whether Naina is able to regain the kids trust and able to tame them is what the movie is all about.

“Hichki” is written by a team of writers comprising of the director Sidharth Malhotra, Ankur Choudhary, Ambar Hadap and Ganesh Pandit. Though the writing team comprises of five writers still there is nothing new about “Hichki”, and right from the word go you will exactly know how will the movie progress and end. Where the movie redeems itself are a few moments between Naina and her students that make you really emotional. Though the story and screenplay does not anything new but still it makes you smile and cry along with it, in short the premise and writing successfully connects emotionally because it is the characters and their equation, like the father daughter relationship, the mother daughter relationship, Naina’s relationship with her students that makes the difference. Overall the writing is decent but not extraordinary.

“Hichki” is a Rani Mukherjee’s movie throughout, she is in every frame and she just kills it with her performance, again showing what an actress par excellence she is. Rani internalizes Naina and almost lives her on screen, especially when she has bouts of Tourette. Rani carries the entire movie on her able shoulders and does not disappoint us even in a single frame. Rest of the cast like Neeraj Kabi as Wadia does a good job but I felt that his character was too one dimensional for a brilliant actor like him. Amongst the kids it is Harsh Mayar as Aatish who leaves the maximum impact, rest of the supporting cast does a good job.

Though “Hichki” has songs but none of the songs creates any impact.
Cinematography by Avinash Arun captures the moments well and creates the apt premise for the story.

Siddharth P Malhotra, after an unsuccessful “We Are Family” plays it safe this time around, and the best decision me makes is to cast Rani Mukherjee in the lead role, which was half the battle won. Though he gets the emotional quotient bang on but still we want to see more dimensions in his direction.

“Hichki” is a Rani Mukherjee movie throughout and she does not disappoint, I will go with 3 stars.

Movie Review: Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety

“Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety” is a typical Luv Ranjan genre of film which seems like an extension of his previous outing “Pyar ka Punchnama” 1 & 2, wherein the men are the victims and the women are the scheming lot. Well what is different about this movie is the heightened bromance which was otherwise subtle in the previous movies.

The story of SKTKS is of Sonu and Titu who are childhood buddies. Titu is a emotional sucker who leans on Sonu whenever he breaks up with SKTKS reviewhis girlfriends, and Sonu always protects Titu. Problem starts when Titu decides to go for an arranged marriage with Sweety, who seems too good to be true. Sonu has his suspicion about Sweety, and he goes all out to expose Sweety, and Sweety challenges Sonu that he cannot break her alliance with Titu. The rest of the story consists of the one upmanship of Sweety and Sonu.

Written by Luv Ranjan and Rahul Mody, from the word go it is an anti feminist movie. Every sequence makes it a point to show women to low light and as Sonu says that women are only for one thing that is sex, the premise justifies the same. The good news is that the characters are relatable and you can connect with them instantly. The sequence of one upmanship between Sonu and Sweety seem funny initially but as the movie progresses it seems repeated, but thanks to the smart and witty dialogues you do not feel bored even for a second. Where the screenplay falters is the half baked characters especially of Sweety, wherein till the end you never come to know her real motive to marry Titu and why is she portrayed as cunning by Sonu. Titu’s character is too naive to be true and his decision in the climax does not hold too well and looks forced. Overall like his previous movies Luv Ranjan keeps the premise relatable but stretches the screenplay a bit and looks too biased. But the entertainment quotient is intact and there is never a dull moment in the movie.

Performances are the highlight of the movie. Kartik Aaryan as Sonu steals the show with his earnest performance; I just wonder why Bollywood has not given him more chances that he deserves. Nushrat Barucha as Sweety had an uphill task to convincingly portray a character which was half baked. But she shines with flying colours and does a brilliant job as the conniving Sweety, another underutilized actor. The weakest link in the trio is Sunny Singh who the ultra naive Titu, he seems somehow sleep walking through his role; even during the sequences when he is supposed to be angry he does not look convincing. It is Alok Nath as Ghasitalal, Titu’s grandfather who steals the show in every frame that he is in. Ghasitalal is far from the Sanskari characters that Alok Nath has played in Sooraj Barjatya movies. But it seems the actor was enjoying every bit of the boozing cursing grandfather, that you enjoy it as well. To support Alok Nath is Virendra Saxena who plays Ghasitalal’s best buddy Lalu Kaka, the combination of these two actors strikes the right chord for the audience to enjoy their camaraderie. Rest of the cast like Ayesha Raza, Deepika Amin, Ishista Raj Sharma, Madumalti Kapoor and Pritam Jaiswal do a good job as supporting actors.

The Music of the movie is nothing to write home about, it is rehash of old Honey Singh and other Punjabi Songs but hardly impressive. The lyrics by a list of lyricist are bad to atrocious, what will you say about lyrics which go by “Bom Diggy Diggy” by Zack Knight.

Luv Ranjan has created a niche for himself and SKTKS consolidates his place. Though the script and screenplay is full of flaws but it is the performances of the ensemble cast especially of Kartik Aaryan and Nushrat Barucha that makes SKTKS a must watch I will go with 3 stars.

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review: Meri Pyaari Bindu

Meri Pyaari Bindu: Not So Pyaari After All…

As the name suggests the movie is of the principle character Bindu (Parineeti Chopra) through the eyes of her childhood friend cum admirer cum lover Boobla (Ayushman Khurana).

The story primarily set in North Kolkata oscillates not only as far as location goes but also in overall graph of the story. So the movie is of the friendship cum love of Boobla a.k.a Abhimanyu Roy, a C grade cheap pulp novelist who re-visits his memories with her next door neighbour Bindu, an extremely vivacious, fickle minded and extremely bindass girl who brings the necessary thrill to the typical bong guy Boobla. Things change for them when they grow up and Boobla realizes his love for Bindu, and things get complicated, whether Boobla gets Bindu is what the story is all about.

Written by Supratim Sengupta, the story unfolds through the eyes of Boobla and how he perceives Bindu, his friend, confidant, love etc. The story evolves as a modern day love story of complicated youth, not knowing what they want and how life teaches them to be more mature. Well the premise seems too familiar; well that is where the flaw lies. The overall skeleton of the story does not offer anything new, but where it scores a bit are some moments of Bindu and Boobla that warms your heart and you identify it with your life. The whole story is interwoven with some Bollywood classic melodies which puts a smile on your face, especially if you have grown up in the 80’s and the 90’s when the cassettes and the two in one where the only ways to listen to music other then the radio. Supratim holds your interest all throughout the first half and during interval time you look forward what happens to both Boobla and Bindu, but what unfolds in the second half just does not match the build up of the first half, it becomes a drag and the story just does not move and is stuck in a time wrap. The over stretched climax tests your patience and you wonder what the heck is happening. One of the biggest flaw in the writing has been that it is through the eyes of the Male protagonist Boobla, you are never get to know the real Bindu , as to why is she behaving the way she is, what actually happens to Bindu, the back story of Bindu is completely missing which makes you feel that the writing is half baked and you do empathise with either of the characters.

It is the dialogues which somehow try to undo the lack of cohesive script. The spunky and funny dialogues give you the necessary entertainment.

Ayushman Khurana as Boobla is the best thing of the movie, he portrays his character with complete sincerity and it shows, keeping up the pace is Parineeti Chopra as Bindu, who has proven her acting capabilities time and again, and she does not disappoint you as Bindu as well, it is the chemistry between Ayushman and Parineeti that holds your attention throughout the movie and you would remember long after the movie is over. Aparajita Auddy as Boobla’s mother gives a crackling performance of a typical bong mother, I am sure every bong will identify with this character. Rest of the cast also give a good performance. Overall after dialogues it is the performance of the cast which stand out.

Akshay Roy who is not new to film medium thanks to his many short films that he directed, but this is his first foray to mainstream cinema, and he does not completely disappoint, though the script let’s him down but he is successful in getting some crackling performances, especially by Ayushman Khurana. He keeps it subtle, I am sure given a good script Akhay will shine..

Sachin Jigar charter a different territory with the music of this movie, “Mana Ki Hum Yaar Nahin” stays with you even after the movie is over thanks to the beautiful lyrics by Kausar Munir and Sonu Nigam and Parineeti Chopra’s vocals, “Haareya” is another feather in Arijit’s cap, “Khol de Baahein” sung by Monali Thakur is soft to your ears…

“Meri Pyaari Bindu” oscillates from being good to bad and sums up as average…I will go with 3 Stars..

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review: The Ghazi Attack

The Ghazi Attack: A befitting salute to The Indian Navy

The Ghazi Attack Movie ReviewWar movies are very few in Bollywood, and there are very few directors like J. P. Dutta in 90’s or Chetan Anand in 60’s who take the pain to explore the subject. War movie genre that is inspired by real life incident was last seen in “LOC” in 2003.

“The Ghazi Attack” dares to explore the genre, but this time it is the Indian Navy which is explored which I think is for the first time in Bollywood that a movie on Indian Navy has been made, so apt tag line “First Under water War Movie”…

“The Ghazi Attack” is inspired by a classified mission of the Indian Navy in 1971, which resulted in destroying the submarine from Pakistan named Ghazi.

Written by Sankalp Reddy, Niranjan Reddy & Gunnam Gangraju, “The Ghazi Attack” has been written in a thriller format which keeps you engaged throughout the run time of 2 hours and 5 minutes. The script is full of twists and turns, though we all know the end but hats off to the writing team who keep the surprise element intact. A proper study has gone behind writing of the script which comes out quite obvious as most part of the movie the procedures, the discipline and code of conduct of the Navy is correctly portrayed. Each character has its significance in the script and no time is wasted on unnecessary sequences which are irrelevant to the subject. Though at the end there is a bit of chest thumping patriotism which as per my opinion was not required in such a realistic theme. The dialogues written by Azad Alam is apt and to the point which consolidates the crisp narration. The writing creates the required patriotism without going overboard on emotion and melodrama.

Other than the writing the ensemble cast adds up to the movie watching experience. Rana Daggubati as Lt Commander Arjun Varma looks and acts like a naval officer, his looks blends with the character and he acts well. The crackling performance comes from Kay Kay Menon who portrays Captain Ranvijay Singh, a straight forward and extremely ruthless captain. Kay Kay Menon lives the character throughout the narration and never goes overboard which was risk for such a character, but he fares with flying colours as Captain Ranvijay Singh. Another performance which creates an impact is of Atul Kulkarni who plays Executive officer Devraj, his underplayed portrayal wins the hearts of the audience, this is the second winner for Atul after a brilliant performance in “Raees”. You would end up remembering both Kay Kay Menon and Atul Kulkarni after the movie gets over. Taapsee Pannu as a Bangladeshi refugee has a miniscule role and her presence does not make any difference to the narration. Rahul Singh as the Pakistani commander Razaq Khan, brings the required cunningness and shrewdness in the character and never goes overboard with his menacing act. Rest of the cast Om Puri, Nassar, Milind Gunaji , Bikramjeet Kanwarpal and many other actors who play soldiers do a brilliant job making the movie a delight to watch.

Debutant director Sankalp Reddy hits the bull’s eye with his first movie. He keeps the narration as realistic as possible with a thriller edge which keeps you glued till the end. Such movies have the risk of looking like a documentary, but Sankalp makes the movie as entertaining as possible. He has extracted some brilliant performances from the ensemble cast. Welcome Sankalp Reddy to Bollywood, we look forward for more such riveting cinema.

Amongst the technical side there are Five things that stand apart, one the production design by Shivam Rao, who has successfully created the set of the submarine so well that you feel that you are inside a real submarine and not a make believe. Second is the editing by A. Sreekar Prasad, which is so razor sharp that you never have a dull moment throughout the movie. Third is the VFX, which is the biggest star of the movie, it is not completely at par with Hollywood but still it does not disappoint, and makes your experience memorable. Fourth being the costume design by Ashwanth Byri, he gets the men in uniform bang on without any frills. And last not the least is the cinematography by Madhie, which adapts to the mood and the narration of the movie well.

“The Ghazi Attack” is a salute to the Indian Navy and a must watch for every Indian, I will go with Four Stars…

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review: Irada

Irada: Fails in its IRADA to Entertain

Brilliant Concept and a compelling cast are two ingredients of a good movie, but if the screenplay and execution falters both the ingredients is just a waste. Well “Irada” is such a catastrophe.

Irada-movie-review“Irada” tells the story of small town of Punjab where a PPFL, a  Pharma company owned by businessman Paddy Sharma (Sharad Kelkar) has a supremacy in the city and the state, having the CM Ramandeep Braitch (Divya Dutta) under his influence. The company does reverse boring to dispose the chemical waste, wherein the chemical waste of the Pharma Company is drilled inside the ground which in return has contaminated the water and soil. Unaware of all this ex armyman Prabjeet Singh Walia (Naseeruddin Shah) and his daughter Riya (Rumana Molla) lead a normal life until Riya is diagnosed of cancer and she dies. On the other hand a journalist who has evidence of PPFL polluting the city is killed and Maya (Sagarika Ghatge) his girlfriend goes pillar to post to unravel the mystery of the killing of his boyfriend. In the meantime there is a blast in PPFL and the reverse boring plant gets destroyed, to investigate a NIA officer Arjun Mishra (Arshad Warsi) is sent for investigation. What does Arjun find in his investigation and who is responsible for the blast is what the movie is all about.

The concept of Eco terrorism has been explored first time in Bollywood, and it has an element of novelty, but the screenplay unfortunately fails to live up to the novelty. The movie could have been a great thriller but the sequences look scattered and has no logical graph in the events depicted. How the blast was planned and executed is completely written in haste. The characters are also not fleshed out properly and they end up looking like mindless caricatures. The pace is also an issue; it has a lazy demeanour to the pace. Some shocking facts have been highlighted like the cancer train or the reverse boring etc, but a weak narration loosens its impact. The climax looks too amateurish to be true. Overall the script is only able to scratch the surface of the issue, unlike “Udta Punjab” where the issue was researched and presented well. Somehow it is the dialogues which are so well written that it somewhere redeems the bad writing. But the overall script fails miserably.

“Irada” has an impressive cast and their performances do not disappoint. Naseeruddin Shah as Pramjeet Walia does a brilliant job with all earnestness. Arshad Warsi as the NIA Officer Arjun Mishra yet again proves that he is a brilliant actor but it is teh movies that fail him. He is definitely an underutilized actor who has been ignored by Bollywood. Divya Dutta as the CM does her first negative character with brilliance and her cold demeanour gives her character the depth required. Sagarika Ghatge as Maya is good but she gets overshadowed being surrounded by such brilliant actors. Sharad Kelkar as the shrewd businessman Paddy is excellent, another actor who trying to make his mark slowly and steadily. Rajesh Sharma as Jeetu the GM of the company yet again gives a brilliant performance, but I feel somewhere Rajesh is getting type cast in the roles that he is doing, he needs to do some different roles as well. Rumona Molla as Riya has a brief role but she successfully portrays her character with near perfection and could stand up to the stature of Naseeruddin Shah with whom she had all her scenes. It is the performances which redeems the movie to an extent.

Debutant director Aparnaa Singh takes a topical subject and a brilliant cast but fails in execution which hampers the movie completely. I would say Aparnaa loses a brilliant opportunity in creating a riveting cinema, due to its faulty script.

“Irada” fails to live up to its expectation but the performances save the day to an extent; I will go with Two and a Half Stars…

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


Movie Review: Jolly LLB 2

Jolly LLB 2: Right Mix of Realistic & Commercial Cinema

“Jolly LLB” released in 2013, set a trend for court room drama genre. Based on the real life incident of hit and run, the movie was a commercial and critical success.

“Jolly LLB 2” is a sequel of the same, but with an absolutely new story of police fake encounters which are rampant nowadays. The story shifts to Lucknow for the sequel, and tells the story of yet another lawyer Jagdishwar Prasad Mishra a.k.a Jolly (Akshay Kumar) who though a LLB, but works as a Man Friday for the renowned lawyer Rizvi (Ram Gopal Bajaj), doing odd jobs for him. In course of things Jolly comes across Hina (Sayani Gupta) who is struggling to get a lawyer for her husband’s fake encounter case and she wants Rizvi to fight the same. Jolly gives false promises to convince Rizvi to fight her case and takes money from her. On knowing that she has been duped by Jolly, Hina commits suicide. All hell breaks loose on Jolly, whether he redeems himself as a lawyer and a human being is what the rest of the movie is all about.

Written by the director Subhash Kapoor himself, the story is engaging and the screenplay fast paced. Subhash definitely has studied the law practice very closely, as he gets the nuances of law and its practice absolutely bang on. One the biggest plus for the script are its well defined characters. Each character no matter how small it is has been included for a reason. Another plus is the pace of the movie; it does not have any dull moment and keeps you glued on till the end with twist and turns thrown in to pep up the narration. What Subhash gets absolutely right from his writing is the emotional quotient, it is neither too overpowering with melodrama, neither it is too subtle for a commercial movie; the balance is absolutely in right proportion. The script has the right mix of realistic and commercial cinema. Though I thought the movie could have been concluded with more finesse, as there are a few loose ends which are not addressed. Another dampener is the songs which slows the pace a bit. The dialogues also are apt as per the narration.


With a good script it is absolutely essential to compliment it with strong performances, and “Jolly LLB 2” does not disappoint, rather it fares with flying colours. Akshay Kumar who played Jagdishwar Prasad Mishra, gets his act bang on from the first frame, his dialect his body language suits the character to the T. Akshay Kumar yet again proves that as an actor he has grown tremendously and his endeavour for doing good impactful roles has paid off. Annu Kapoor as lawyer Sachin Kantilal Mathur, gives a crackling and memorable performance. I would request Annu Kapoor to do more movies so that we can see the glimpse of his brilliance. Saurabh Shukla reprises his role from the prequel as Justice Sunderlal Tripathi, and yet again gives an impactful performance justifying his National Award for the prequel. Another performance which stands out though being a small role is of Sayani Gupta’s portrayal of Hina Siddiqui, her portrayal consolidates the narration and her presence is felt even when her role is over. Kumud Mishra who plays the cunning and shrewd Inspector Suryaveer Singh, does justice to his character of an antagonist. Huma Qureshi as Pushpa, Jolly’s wife does well, though her character does not create any impact on the narration. Rest of the cast comprising of Vinod Nagpal, Vishwa Mohan Badola, Manav Kaul, Ram Gopal Bajaj, Sanjay Mishra, Gurpal Singh and Brijendra Kala do an excellent job.

Subhash Kapoor proves that the success of “Jolly LLB” was not a fluke and that content is the king. Subhash not does an exemplary job as a writer but also as a director for extracting some brilliant performances from the cast. Though “Jolly LLB 2” may not be a movie with technical finesse, but overall Subhash has a winner, which will impress the classes and the masses alike.

Music of “Jolly LLB 2” is nothing to write home about. Editing by Chandrashekhar Prajapati needs a special mention, as his razor sharp editing keeps the pace in check, though the songs could have been edited. Production design by Gautam Sen, keeps the aesthetics as realistic as possible, especially the court room set.

“Jolly LLB 2” pulls the right strings and eventually entertains as well as addresses some stark realities with ease… I will go with FOUR stars….

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 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)



Movie Review: Raees

Raees: Old Wine in Old Bottle

Shahrukh Khan’s “Raees” created a buzz the day the teaser was launched in 2015. Cut to 2017 when the movie released on 25th Jan’17, whether it really lived up to the excpectations???

“Raees” revisits the 80‘s genre of Hindi movies where the whole story revolved around the main protagonist and he is capable of doing anything and everything. Well the storyline of “Raees” follows the similar pattern, set in the 80’s it tells the story of an underdog Raees Khan (Shahrukh Khan) a bootlegger in organized crime scene of illegal liquor trade in Gujarat, since he was a kid under Jairaj (Atul Kulkarni). “Raees” essentially shows the meteoric rise of Raees Khan in the crime scene and ultimately his fall which is inevitable.Raees-New-Movie-Review

“Raees” essentially does not offer anything new; it is blatantly inspired by the Amitabh Bachchan genre of movies like Deewar, Agneepath with a dash of Scarface. Written by a group of writers which includes the director Rahul Dholakia himself along with Ashish Vashi, Harit Mehta & Niraj Shukla, ”Raees”  falls prey to the movies that it is inspired from and does not rise above it. The plot and screenplay is extremely predictable and you can actually guess what will come next. The inconsistencies in the screenplay is on your face, for instance the visual impairment of Raees Khan, it is used on the convenience of the writers where ever it is needed, like he goes and kills the entire army of Jairaj without his glasses, or the moharram sequence when he is chasing his assassin without his glasses, whereas in the beginning in one of the fight sequence Raees cannot see without his glasses. Secondly whenever he is shown on a killing rampage he does it alone without any help, well a super hero I may say so. “Raees” starts off on a high note and somehow keeps the tempo till intermission, but in the second half the movie nose dives and it goes nowhere. The writers are not clear what to show of Raees, a ruthless and scheming criminal or a messiah of the poor, and that is where the movie looses the plot. The love story is extremely weak and you feel that the love angle is introduced only for song sequences. Even the camaraderie of Raees with his friends like Sadiq is not explored well. The only character which looks strong in front of Raees is of the police inspector Jhatak Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), other characters look like sitting ducks, so in short the story lacks strong characters which would have eventually elevated the script. The lack of sensitivity in the writing is so obvious that you just do not sympathies with Raees Khan as a character. Overall a below average attempt as far as the script goes.

Dialogues is the high point of the movie, it is impactful yet realistic. Somewhere the weak writing is redeemed a bit with the dialogues, but if only dialogues can create an impact on a weak script. So the impactful dialogues fail to salvage the weak script.

Performance wise Shahrukh Khan as Raees Khan tries his best in enacting the character with complete earnestness, but somewhere the larger than life persona of Shahrukh Khan steals the authenticity of the character and you see SRK and NOT Raees Khan in the movie. Shahrukh tries to look like the character but his portrayal is SRK written throughout, which is something which in today’s scenario is not acceptable. The last earnest attempt of Shahrukh wherein he played the character and was successful was “Chak De India”. Shahrukh is an extremely good actor but somehow the movies that he is choosing off late is only portraying SRK the STAR and not SRK the ACTOR. Nawazuddin Siddiqui yet again proves his mettle with his portrayal of the policeman Jhatak Majmudar, he is spontaneous, witty and brilliant. Rather whenever Nawazuddin comes on screen you can feel the impact. He even overshadows Shahrukh in a few scenes. The debutant from Pakistan Mahira Khan as Aasiya does justice to whatever is given to her, but she fails to rise above the weak writing and hence fails to create any impact. Brilliant actors like Atul Kulkarni, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Raj Arun, Sheeba Chadha and Lovleen Mishra are wasted in weakly written character roles. But one actor who creates impact even in a small role is Narendra Jha as Musa Bhai, after Nawazuddin it is Narendra Jha whose character stays with you even after the movie gets over, definitely an actor to watch out for.

K U Mohanan’s camera work strikes the right balance between the ruggedness of Gujarat and the colours of Gujarat. Production design by Anita Rajagopalan and Donal Reagen successfully creates the 80’s look to perfection. Costume Design by Sheetal Sharma blends with the characters well and does not look too jarring or out of place.

Music wise “Raees” scores high with the romantic “Zaalima” by Aheer and “Udi Udi Jaaye” by Ram Sampath which has a garbha feel to the song. The re-created “Laila mein Laila” is foot tapping and has enough beats to make you dance. Rest of the tracks fails to impress.

Rahul Dholakia who impressed us with his sensitive “Parzania” and “Lamha”, takes a detour with “Raees” and tries to attempt a mainstream commercial movie, but fails to balance between the arty and the commercial sensibilities. Rahul looks confused as to where to draw the line in being arty and being commercial, and in the bargain the movie gets affected. Surprisingly the sensitivity which Rahul showed us in previous two movies is completely missing in “Raees”, and hence it fails miserably in the emotional quotient. Rahul please give us another “Parzania”, we still have faith in you as a director.

“Raees” fails to live up to sky high expectations and delivers an ordinary fare… I will go with Two & a Half Stars..

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


Movie Review: Ok Jaanu

Ok Jaanu: Sweet but NOT Impactful

Love Stories are a tight rope to walk on, it either can be extremely engaging and cathartic or it can be flat and boring.

Ok Jaanu is a remake of 2015 Tamil Hit “O Kadhal Kanamai” written & directed by Mani Ratnam, an ace in love stories, hit the bulls eye..Ok-Jaanu-movie-Review

“Ok Jaanu” is an urban love story of a couple Adi (Aditya Roy Kapoor) and Tara (Shradha Kapoor) who does not want to get married and settle for a live- in relationship as they do not want to commit for long term as they have their respective careers to take care of. They stay with an older couple Gopi (Nasseruddin Shah) and Charu (Leela Samson), Charu suffers from an advanced stage of Alzheimer. Will Adi & Tara be serious and commit themselves to matrimony or do they go their separate ways, well that is what the movie is all about..

Written by Mani Ratnam, the story is an amalgamation of sweet and bitter moments of the couple Adi & Tara. Well there is where the problem lies in the writing; it remains sweet throughout the movie without too much of conflict. The screenplay remains flat throughout and never picks up either emotionally or otherwise. The older couple was meant to show the real meaning of a relationship, but somewhere even that track lacks conviction. There are moments but it stops at that, and only a few moments cannot give pace to a run time of 137 minutes. The screenplay is painstakingly slow, till the interval nothing really happens. The climax looks a bit hurried and abrupt. In a nutshell not a great script, hence this love story falls in the other category of flat and boring..

Dialogues by Gulzar do not make any impact either, and it sounds very average coming from an ace writer like him.

Performances of the cast try to salvage the script, the chemistry between Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shradha Kapoor as Adi & Tara makes you sit through the movie. Aditya Roy Kapoor as Adi is almost like Aditya playing himself, he breezes through the role and looks and acts well. Shradha Kapoor as Tara on the other hand again gives a remarkable performance, a slight notch higher that Aditya. Nasseruddin Shah as Gopi, the retired judge, tries hard to make sense through his performance, for a half baked character, but still creates an impact. Leela Samson as Charu, Gopi’s wife does not have much to do but still does a decent job. Kitu Kidwani as Tara’s Mother is wasted. Rest of the cast also do a good job..

Ravi K Chandran’s camera captures Mumbai so beautifully that it becomes a character in the narration. Production Design by Sharmistha Roy is chick, urban and modern, apt for the movie. Costumes by Eka Lakhani suits each character to the T…

Shaad Ali yet again fails to impress, all the departments compliment the movie, other than the script which falls flat. Shaad has been missing the bus for the last few outings because of its writing which is underwhelming. But kudos to Shaad for extracting some good performances, but overall Shaad fails to deliver…

The chemistry between Aditya & Shradha is the only saving grace for the movie; I will go with Three Stars…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)


Movie Review: Dangal

Dangal: Movie of the year 2016

Some movies just entertain and some movies inspire along with entertaining, “Dangal” is one such a movie, which is emotional and inspiring yet entertaining.

“Dangal” is based on the true story of Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) and his journey in making his daughters Geeta (Fatima/Zaira) and Babita(Sanya/Suhani) international wrestlers. The movie encapsulates the struggle, the tribulations of Mahavir and his daughters in a male dominated society and to top it all in a male dominated sport wrestling.

The biggest highlight of the movie is its screenplay which keeps you spellbound in the entire run time of 160 minutes. Every character is well etched and defined and none of the characters look out of place or not needed. The emotional moments just lifts the emotional quotient to a different level, especially the sequence when Geeta calls her father Mahavir, there are no dialogues just the crying of Geeta on one side of the call and Mahavir’s silence on the other, but the impact is so strong that you eyes also get moistened. Every sequence is carefully and articulately written keeping teh realism intact yet making it entertaining. The humour is very smartly included in the voice over which takes the narration forward. The beauty of the movie is that it makes you laugh, cry, inspires and give a sense of patriotism without being preachy.

The dialogues are another brilliant writing. Though in Haryanvi language but still the dialogues are heartfelt and creates the necessary impact as and when. The dialogues just increase the emotional quotient to the exact level without being mushy or dramatic. Kudos  to Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain & Nikhil Mehrotra for such a brilliant writing.

The next highlight of the movie is its performances, starting from Aamir Khan, the beauty of all Aamir’s performances are that he owns the character, and the actor and the character blends, erasing the divide,  the same can be said about his portrayal of Mahavir Singh Phogat,. Aamir lived the character through the movie and it cannot be missed in his performance, I must say another feather in Aamir’s cap and another strong contender for the next award season. Sakshi Tanwar as Daya Shobha Kaur, Mahavir’s wife gives us a riveting performance and compliments Aamir’s performance. Her silence and her expressions just speak louder than words, definitely the best choice to play this role. Fatima Sana Shaikh as grown up Geeta Phogat, is definitely the debut of the year, a brilliant performance and her hard work just shows through. Her nuances in the wrestling matches will make you believe that she is a wrestler. Fatima is ably supported by another brilliant debutant Sanya Malhotra as grown up Babita Phogat, she gives the emotional balance to Geeta’s character brilliantly, and she makes Babita’s character a lot stronger than Geeta’s. These two girls are definitely the best debutants of 2016. To give a heads start to the character of Geeta, Zaira Wasim who plays young Geeta creates the right and perfect impact in the first half, definitely a brilliant performance. Suhani Bhatnagar as young Babita ably supports Zaira with her earnest performance. Aparshakti Khurrana as Mahavir Phogat’s nephew and the narrator does an outstanding job and gives the comic relief to the otherwise emotional movie. Rest of the cast also do a brilliant job.

A brilliant job done by casting director Mukesh Chabra for getting the right and apt actors for each role which accentuates the movie watching experience

Cinematography by Setu captures the rawness of a Haryana village and the wrestling matches well, and blends and compliments the narration. Production Design by Laxmi Keluskar & Sandeep Meher is realistic and does not jar the narration. Costumes by Maxima Basu are so realistic that every actor looked the part that he/she was playing, the whole look of the movie blends beautifully with the narration. Editing by Ballu Saluja is crisp and keeps the pace intact throughout the run time.In short brilliant job done by the technical team as well.

Now the captain of the ship the director Nitesh Tiwari, who did a splendid job in getting the right output from each department whether it was writing or acting or the technical aspect. Nitesh never goes overboard with his narration and keeps the emotional quotient exactly at the right level without being melodramatic. He does a brilliant job in creating moments especially in the father daughter sequences. Best work by Nitesh till date and this movie will make him one of the elite directors of Bollywood…

“Dangal” is a must watch for every age and section of the society for the social message that it gives albeit subtly… I will go with Four and a Half Stars…

Movie Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Wajah Tum Ho

Wajah Tum Ho: Absolutely No Wajah of Watching

It is said that you need a good story & screenplay to make a good movie, but you also need good cast to execute the good script. “Wajah Tum Ho” is exactly a case of a good story but bad set of actors spoil the movie…

Wajah Tum Ho Movie Review“Wajah Tum Ho” tells the story of a news channel whose broadcast is hacked to show case Live murders. The CEO of the news channel Rahul Oberoi (Rajneish Duggal ) is convicted by Mumbai Police headed by Inspector Kabir (Sharman Joshi). Is Rahul the real culprit? Who is the hacker and why is he doing so? , well this is what the rest of the movie shows…

Story & Screenplay by Sameer Arora & Vishal Pandya go the Abbas-Mustan genre of thriller and to some extent they are successful as well especially the last half hour of the movie when the secrets are revealed. The first half show us the gruesome live killings by a hacker, which makes it interesting but the songs slow the pace and hinders the narration. Second half is filled with twists which you cannot anticipate, so in a nutshell Sameer & Vishal is able to hold the story till the end. There are loop holes galore but it can be passed. So the writing was good but could have been better. Too much time is spent on erotic sequences.

It is the lousy dialogues by Virag Mishra which pulls down the script, dialogues like “Main Barsaat hoon mujhe barasne do” are outright cheesy and unintentionally funny. Rather the dialogues take away the seriousness of the sequence. Unnecessary English dialogues have been used to showcase the higher strata but unfortunately it sounds too forced. Overall a shoddy job on dialogues…

The Achilles heel of “Wajah Tum Ho” are its performances, it is so bad that it is not funny. Sharman Joshi as Inspector Kabir is the only saving grace, though he hams as well in some sequences, but compared to other actors he is way better. Gurmeet Choudhary as advocate Ranvir Bajaj is a complete wash out, he looks good only in songs being shirtless and doing erotic scenes, but when it comes to acting he fails miserably and falls flat. Rajneish Duggal as media baron Rahul Oberoi, firstly does not look the part, secondly being arrogant does not mean you have to have a constipated expression throughout the movie, another wash out performance. Sana Khan as Sia the legal advisor, is a complete miss cast, she looks more like a pretty damsel in distress from Big Boss than a legal advisor. Sana with her perfect clothes make up and manicured nails looks more like a glamour doll, who looks good only in songs; she is a disaster when it comes to performing. Rajneish, Gurmeet & Sana should take a break and do some acting course before torturing us further. The rest of the cast also make it worse…

Most of the songs are a rehash of older hits and their presentation is just for skin show and erotic stuff…

Vishal Pandya somehow impressed us with Hate Story 2 but his last two outings Hate Story 3 and Wajah Tum Ho, is bent more on erotic undertones. With WTH Vishal gets his casting completely wrong and to top it the acting by the ensemble cast is more of hamming. Vishal needs to realize that just a good story cannot suffice, to execute you need a cast who can act and just skin show cannot make a movie HIT…

“Wajah Tum Ho” is a case of good premise but spoilt by bad actors and their performance….I will go with One & Half Star….

Movie Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Befikre

Befikre: A caricature in the name of Modern Love Story

Befikre-Movie-ReviewAditya Chopra tries to break his mould of a conventional love story maker to a contemporary love story maker with “Befikre”; well there is no problem in that but we have misconceptions of a modern or contemporary love story that it needs to be bereft of any emotions and passion, and that a modern day couple are only there for fun…

Taking that concept Aditya Chopra weaves in the quirky love story of Dharam (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra (Vaani Kapoor) who are two modern day individuals. Dharam the latest export from India who lands in the romantic city of Paris and meets Shyra, a free spirited Indian girl born and brought up in Paris, who calls herself a French girl, both start a casual fling which then gets converted to a live in and then a break up and then good friends, but do they ever find their real feelings for each other is what the movie explores…

Story by Aditya Chopra & Sharat Kataria and screenplay by Aditya Chopra himself takes inspiration from whole lot of Hollywood and Bollywood movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding, No strings Attached, YRF’s own Shudh Desi Romance or Band Baaja Baraat and Tamasha. In a nutshell there is nothing new in the premise neither in the screenplay, wherein a boy and a girl start a relationship with no strings attached and eventually they fall in love with each other and life gets complicated. Rather to add to the modernism the couple start making out at the drop of a hat as if they are sex maniacs, even the casting shows people kissing throughout. Where the story fails miserably is the lack of any emotional quotient in the scenes, rather the graph remains flat throughout the movie and never peaks and in the end you hardly care whether girl and the boy eventually remain happy ever after. The characters including the leads look like caricatures with no depth what so ever. In short the movie just falls flat and right from the word go and Aditya Chopra looses the plot with “Befikre”…

The dialogues by Sharat Kataria are the only saving grace in the scenes which makes you smile. The dialogues are cute, funny and at the same time contemporary, not heavy duty.

In a love story the most essential component is the chemistry, well unfortunately there is NO chemistry between Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor, though Ranveer Singh is in a comfortable space with the character where the fun part is concerned, but then it is a repetition of what he did in “Band Baaja Baraat” and it was novel at that time. Where Ranveer struggles in bringing the passion in emoting love, he is fine till the fun element is intact but when it becomes serious emotion Ranveer fails. Vaani Kapoor also gives a sincere performance but the chemistry with Ranveer. Debutant  Armaan Ralhan as Anya, Shyra’s fiancé gives a inhabited performance, being his first movie he looks and acts well, though it is the script which pulls him down.  Akarsh Khurana and Ayesha Raza who play Shyra’s parents do a good job, but they have nothing much to do. Rest of the foreign cast try to fit in but look confused.

Music by Vishal Shekhar is average and none of the songs have a recall value, something which is so opposite to an Aditya Chopra movie. Choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant has nothing new and original it is typical run of the mill…

It is the camera work by Kaname Onoyama which makes the movie worth a watch; he has captured Paris and France like poetry…

Aditya Chopra in his previous movies has shown brilliance in creating moments in his moments, who can forget the mother daughter scene or the pre climax sequence of DDLJ, or all the sequences of Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan in Mohabbatein, or the cute yet uncomfortable chemistry of the leads of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, but that brilliance is completely missing in “Befikre”. Rather you feel Aditya has made the movie in a rush and missed on all the crucial elements which have a USP of his movies. Aditya Chopra disappoints us with “Befikre” and it is definitely his weakest film till date. Rather after watching “Befikre”, you doubt whether it is the same director who directed DDLJ….

A huge let down by Aditya Chopra, I will go with Two Stars…

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Movie Review: Kahaani 2-Durga Rani Singh

Kahaani 2-Durga Rani Singh: A Kahaani too Predictable

kahaani-2-movie-reviewIt is always a hard luck for a sequel to be compared to its prequel which cannot be changed and “Kahaani 2” without doubt will be compared to “Kahaani”, though both the movies are different and has no bearing with each other, other than the genre. The comparison is inevitable since Sujoy Ghosh teams up again with Vidya Balan after “Kahaani” and that to in a thriller..

“Kahaani 2” commences with the story of a middle class working woman Vidya Sinha(Vidya Balan) who has a spastic daughter Mini (Tunisha Sharma) who is wheel chair bound. One day when Vidya returns home she finds Mini missing and she receives a call that her daughter has been kidnapped and she needs to come to a place if she wants her daughter alive. Vidya meets with an accident when trying to reach the destination as mentioned by the kidnapper and goes in coma. Inspector Inderjeet Singh (Arjun Rampal) is given the charge of investigating the accident. Inder discovers that Vidya looks like Durga Rani Singh, who is wanted for kidnapping and murder in Kalinpong. As evidence Inderjeet just has a diary written by Vidya. Is Inderjeet able to solve the mystery of whether both Vidya and Durga Rani Singh are same or whether they are two different individuals is what the movie is all about..

Story by Sujoy Ghosh and Suresh Nair has an interesting premise, and screenplay by Sujoy Ghosh holds the story from beginning till the end, but still there was something missing which was the biggest draw of its prequel “Kahaani”. Sujoy tries to imbibe enough twists and turns in the script but half hour into the movie and you can make out the story. “Kahaani 2” misses the shock element which “Kahaani” had and for which it became a milestone movie. The climax looked weak as there was no novelty at the end. There are enough loopholes in the script in the form of co-incidences which is quite blatant to be ignored. Dialogues by Sujoy Ghosh & Ritesh Shah are realistic and to the point, not beating around the bush. “Kahaani” scored due to the unpredictability factor where “Kahaani 2” fails miserably, as it is too predictable…

Performance was the highlight of “Kahaani” and “Kahaani 2” does not disappoint us in that department, Vidya Balan as Vidya Sinha /Durga Rani Singh gives us a believable and honest performance as usual, but looks extremely tired and worn out throughout the movie which steals the spark off her performance, but overall she does not disappoint. Arjun Rampal as Inspector Inderjeet Singh gets the nuances of his character bang on, his laid back demeanour suits the character. Kharaj Mukherjee as Prabal Haldar, gives the much needed comic relief in the proceedings and his typical bong accent adds on to the humour. Child actor Naisha Khanna as child Mini is the highlight performance. Being a child Naisha gets the act right from the word go and she impresses the most with her vulnerable act. Tunisha Sharma as the Teen Mini as nothing much to do but still does a decent job. Jugal Hansraj as the antagonist Mohit Dewan tries very hard to be mean but yet is not completely convincing, rather the female actor who played the Nepali woman police constable gives more chills than Jugal. Bengali actors Tota Roy Choudhury & Kaushik Sen are wasted in inconsequential roles. Another actor who steals the show is Manini Chadha who plays Rashmi Singh, Inderjeet Singh’s wife; she is so easy in her portrayal that the acting and reality blend beautifully, definitely an actor to watch out for. Amba Sanyal as Mini’s Dadi gets the mean and prudish act bang on…Rest of the cast also do a competitive job…

It is camera work by Tapan Basu that lifts the movie. Whether it is the by lanes of Chandan Nagar or Kolkata or the beautiful Kalimpong, Tapan’s cinematography blends with the narrative beautifully. Each frame has been meticulously shot keeping in mind the premise of the movie.

Sujoy Ghosh got the premise correct but fails in bringing in the novelty and ends up making “Kahaani 2” predictable, which becomes the biggest flaw of the movie. After “Kahaani”, a lot was expected from Sujoy Ghosh but he does not match the expectations completely and misses it a wee bit, I hope it does not cost him grave. We still believe in Sujoy Ghosh as a director, give us “Jhankar Beats” any day….

“Kahaani 2” is good as a standalone movie and watchable, but if compared to “Kahaani” it is average.. I will go with 3 stars…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review: Dear Zindagi

Dear Zindagi: Dear Actors make it Dear to watch

“Dear Zindagi” has a fabulous set up, a stellar ensemble cast led by none other than Shahrukh Khan & Alia Bhatt who come together for the first time, a director like Gauri Shinde whose last outing as a director was “English Vinglish” which was both critically acclaimed and a box office success and a good concept…dear_zindagi_movie_review

“Dear Zindagi” is a movie from the eyes of the principal character Kaira (Alia Bhatt), who has issues with her love relationships as she is commitment phobic, this leads to turmoil in her life, at this juncture she meets a shrink Dr Jehangir Khan a.k.a Jug (Shahrukh Khan) who shows a different perspective of life. Is Kiara able to fight her inner demons and comes out clean is what the movie is all about….

Concept wise “Dear Zindagi” gets ten on ten, but it is the screenplay which becomes the Achilles heel for the movie. The first half is spent on delving on Kiara’s life and just like her life the screenplay by Gauri Shinde also does not go anywhere and it picks up a bit just pre interval when Dr Jehangir Khan enters, and you feel now the movie is going to pick up, but sadly the movie just looses the plot in the second half and becomes a drag. The biggest problem of the writing is that it never peaks and is monotonous throughout. The pace is another hindrance especially in the second half where the numerous psychiatric sessions just becomes too much and you as an audience start feeling to go to a shrink. The biggest drawback of the screenplay is that there is no entertainment quotient which could enhance the overall viewing experience; rather it is more cerebral without any outcome. The writing fails to live up to the entire set up..

Where “Dear Zindagi” scores is its performance from the entire ensemble cast, Alia Bhatt as Kaira is a huge revelation; she carries the complex character on her young shoulders with ease and gives a crackling performance. Alia overshadows everybody including Shahrukh Khan in her portrayal. As an actress Alia’s performance in “Dear Zindagi” is another feather in her cap. Shahrukh Khan as Dr Jehangir Khan plays his age and gives his best after “Chak De”, a very subtle yet impactful performance. We need more such performances from the brilliant Shahrukh Khan. Amongst the host of male leads,  Kunal Kapoor as Raghuvendra, Angad Bedi as Sid and Ali Zafar as Rumi, it is Kunal Kapoor who creates an impact, definitely a good actor who has been under rated and not utilized by Bollywood that much. Angad Bedi after the impactful performance of “Pink” just fizzles out as Sid in the crowd can’t blame him completely but even the writing needs to be blamed. Ali Zaffar as Rumi looks appealing only in the songs and not much can be said about his acting, he remains an eye candy in the movie. Kaira’s friends Fatima a.k.a Fatty played by Ira Dubey and Jackie played by Yashaswini Dayama support Alia Bhatt aptly with their natural and sincere performance, without which Alia’s performance would have looked out of place. Kaira’s Brother played by Rohit Saraf as Kiddo, though not a prominent role and character but still he leaves his mark and his chemistry with Alia as brother and sister is believable. Rest of the cast live up to the expectations and add up in making “Dear Zindagi” bearable…

As the captain of the ship we had huge expectations from Gauri Shinde as a director, especially after the impressive “English Vinglish”, but to our disappointment she falls flat in her second outing whether it is her writing or story telling capabilities. The only department Gauri scores is the concept and above all the performances from each and every actor, I think these are the only two elements which redeems her as a director. But we still believe in Gauri Shinde as a director and would wait for her next with equal anticipation…

Amit Trivedi’s music just does not match the standard of “English Vinglish”, though a few songs like the title track sung by Jasleen Royal & Amit Trivedi and “Just Go to Hell” sung by Sunidhi Chauhan & Amit Trivedi stand out. Was disappointed to see the rip off version of Ilaiyaraja’s “Ae Zindagi Gale laga le” from Sadma sung by Arijit Singh in this movie is left out, it was definitely a track worth to be incorporated…

Laxman Utekar’s camera work makes you fall in love with Goa yet again, and you wanna pack your bags and go for a holiday to Goa…

“Dear Zindagi” unfortunately fails to deliver, it is Shahrukh Khan & Alia Bhatt’s performance which makes it worth a watch…I will go with Two and a Half Star…

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

Movie Review: Force 2

Force 2: Forceful Action with Less Impact

force-2-review“Force” the prequel to “Force 2” directed by Nishikant Kamat which released in 2011 which was a remake of a Tamil Movie, established John Abraham as out and out action hero, since then John Abraham has not looked back. Every movie of John is packed with high octane action and show of muscle, and “Force 2” is no less…

“Force 2” starts 5 years hence from where the prequel ended in China where 3 RAW agents are killed, out of which is Harish (Freddy Daruwala), ACP Yashvardhan’s (John Abraham) childhood buddy. It is discovered by Yashvardhan that the leak of RAW agents operating in China has been leaked by the Indian Embassy at Budapest…Yashvardhan along with RAW officer Kamaljeet Kaur a.k.a KK (Sonakshi Sinha) are sent on a mission to Budapest to unveil the reason and the man responsible for the leak….whether Yash & KK are able to crack the conspiracy and find out the guy is what the movie is all about….

“Force” concentrated more on the operations of the Mumbai police and the script and writing had a lot of impact as a thriller and was high on emotional quotient. Well it is the emotional quotient which is almost absent in “Force 2”. The story and screenplay written by Jasmeet K. Reen and Parvez Sheikh is in a espionage format, but after a brilliant espionage movie like “Baby”, even this genre in Bollywood has a high standard now and unfortunately the writing fails to match those standards. The script has loop holes galore like how did Yash understand to decode the code sent by his friend, or how the antagonist has a army of men working for him or how did he crack the list of RAW agents in China which is supposed to be Top secret. Due to these loopholes the story falls through and looks amateurish. The hero is given too much of importance and the RAW people look like idiots. The script right from the word go was to cater to the masses and no importance is given to the finer details of the script. The duo of Yash & KK is on a killing spree and the Hungarian Govt. is not bothered, even in the climax where it shown that there is a Indo-Hungarian Summit happening it is the duo (Yash & KK) who are the crusaders and there is no Hungarian police in site. What is good about the writing is its pace which is very fast and too much time is not spent on romance etc…Otherwise the sequel does not match its predecessor in its writing…

The mounting of “Force 2” is much higher as compared to “Force” and so is the action, the chase sequences and the action are of international standards…thanks to action director Allan Amin and the international action crew which makes the movie worth a watch. Definitely it is the action which redeems the movie…

There is nothing in performance to write home about, John Abraham has the same expression which he had for the last few movies but he looks comfortable only when he has to show his muscles…otherwise John is losing as an actor with each consecutive movie. Sonakshi Sinha is becoming the female action queen of Bollywood and she does not disappoint us on the action front but if we talk of performance, well she did not have too much scope for histrionics, but she still looks and acts like a RAW agent well. It is again Tahir Raj Bhasin who steals the show from under the nose of the lead pair. After “Mardaani”, Tahir again gets his mean act perfect. Narendra Jha as the RAW Chief looks confused throughout the movie and has no clue whether he is coming or going. Adil Hussain as the HRD minister has very less screen time but he still excels in a minuscule role. Raj Babbar is wasted in cameo. The two scene appearance of Genelia D’Souza just warms your heart and you feel she should make a comeback soon. The international cast just manage the show, nothing impressive…

Cinematography by Imre Juhasz and Mohana Krishnan captures Budapest beautifully, even in action sequences…

Abhinay Deo , after an impressive “Delhi Belly” and hindi version of “24”, gives us an average fair. The idea had a lot of scope as a good espionage movie but Abhinay falls prey to the trappings of Bollywood and looses the plot. He needs to thanks the action crew who make the movie a worth watch. But I must mention “Force 2” is a better movie than “Game”…

“Force 2” fails to be forceful and ends up becoming any other action movie…I will go with Three Stars (1 star for its action)

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)




Movie Review: Rock On 2

Rock On 2: Nothing rocking about it…

Excel Entertainment, co-partnered by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani has always tried in re-inventing content in Bollywood, starting from their first “Dil Chahta Hai”. “Rock On” which released in 2008, introduced rock music to Bollywood and each and every song became popular taking the music directors Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to a different level, and so were the movie which was based on a rock band “Magik” and its team members. “Rock On” was not only received critical acclaim but it was a box office hit…So naturally when its sequel “Rock On 2” happens the expectations are naturally sky high…

“Rock On 2” takes you 10 years hence from where the prequel ended, it tells the story of each band member and their respective struggles and how they come together to make music again is what the movie is all about…rock-on-2-review

Story written by the erstwhile director of “Rock On”, Abhishek Kapoor and Pubali Chaudhuri and screenplay by Pubali Chaudhuri, completely looses the plot right from the word go. The movie just does not have any high at all, it is flat all throughout. There is not a single scene which makes you sit up. The screenplay is painstakingly slow and fails to create any interest whatsoever. Even the characters from the prequel Adi (Farhan Akhtar), Joe (Arjun Rampal) and KD (Purab Kohli) look bored and completely exhausted, and their beard look endorses the same. The characters from the prequel which were so interesting, the script fails to take them to the next level rather the writing turns them into a complete bore. Even the introduction of new characters like Jia (Shradha Kapoor) and Uday (Shashank Arora) does not help. The writing is too morose and fails miserably…

Surprisingly the dialogues by Farhan Akhtar which is otherwise witty just sounds mundane and does not help the otherwise bland script a wee bit..

But kudos to the performances, Farhan Akhtar as Adi again gives a honest and impactful performance but it is the writing which overshadows his sincere act. Arjun Rampal as Joe again plays the subtle act well, rather I must say Arjun has become a restrained actor in all these years and it shows well, so another good performance by Arjun. Purab as KD again reprises the role of the chirpy band member again but somewhere he overdoes it and it looks and sounds cheesy. Shradha Kapoor as Jia is her most restrained performance till date where she goes beyond playing a chirpy girl, and she does well but again the writing fails to do justice to her earnest and sincere performance, but whatever said Shradha shows that she can do serious role with equal ease. Shashank Arora and Prachi Desai are wasted in uninspiring roles. Kumud Mishra as Vibhuti Charan Sharma a sarod guru and Jia’s father is a one dimensional character and he has the same morose expression throughout the movie, and is Kumud’s weakest portrayal in recent time. But I must say one of the saving grace of the movie is its performances…

The prequel “Rock On” was success due to its amazing music, somewhere this movie just fails to create that impact with its music. None of the songs in the movie created by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is noteworthy that to in musical is a huge let down..I think it is Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s weakest album till date…A complete let down…

Debutant director Shujaat Saudagar, fails completely in his first outing and does not any spark as well…I must say one of the weakest debut as director in this year…

The other good thing about the movie other than the performance is its cinematography by Marc Koninckx, it captures the natural beauty of Meghalaya like a dream and the movie looks more like a promotion for Meghalay Tourism than a feature film. I am sure after watching the movie visiting Meghalaya would be in the wish list of many…

“Rock On 2” fails at various levels barring the performances and the cinematography, and in a nut shell “Rock On 2” is a promotion for Meghalaya Tourism and nothing beyond that…I will go with two and a half stars…

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


Movie Review: Shivaay

Shivaay: Too much ado about nothing

Ajay Devgn always had a penchant for extravagance; remember “Raju Chacha” or even his first directorial venture “U Me Aur Hum”, “Shivaay” is ten steps ahead as far as the mounting of the movie and extravagant production value is concerned…

“Shivaay” traces the journey of a Himalayan mountaineer Shivaay (Ajay Devgn) who runs a business of taking shivaay-movie-reviewtourists for trekking on the Himalayas. In one such trekking expedition he meets Olga (Erika Kaar) a Bulgarian national who loves India. They fall in love and Olga becomes pregnant, but Olga does want to stay in India and has plans in Bulgaria, so she leaves the kid with Shivaay and returns to Bulgaria. Shivaay takes care of his daughter Gaura (Abigail Eames), but things change for them when Gaura expresses her desire to meet her mother. So Shivaay and Gaura go to Bulgaria in search of Olga, whether they are able to find Olga and what happens to them in Bulgaria is what the movie is all about…

Written by Sandeep Srivastava & Robin Bhatt, the movie lacks newness and the story waivers from being a father daughter movie to human trafficking movie and the writing does not justify any of the track. The major issue of the movie is that every sequence just goes on and on as if the writer did not know when to cut the scene. The first half drags incessantly and you lose interest half way through the movie. The second half is heavily inspired by Leeam Neeson’s “Taken” and that to half baked. Another issue is that all the characters look too plastic to be true, and there is absolutely no chemistry amongst the characters, whether it is Shivaay Olga Love Story or the father daughter relationship, it is completely devoid of emotions. The emotional quotient is not present throughout the movie, which is the biggest drawback and in the bargain the audience are disconnected throughout the movie. The run time of 172 minutes is the biggest hindrance that to for a movie that is so mediocre, the writing is absolutely below average…

The same can be said about the dialogues which are very ordinary and old fashioned and adds up to the boredom…

The performances also do not help the movie, starting with Ajay Devgn who plays the titular role, is too banal and early 90’s like. It seems Ajay just sleep walks through his role maybe due to his additional responsibility of direction as well. Another problem Ajay looks too old for the role especially when he is paired with girls half his age. Sayesha Saigal who plays Anushka the official at Indian Embassy, is the only bright spot, her performance in her debut role shows spark and confidence; she is definitely a actor to watch out for. The polish actor Erika Kaar who plays Olga, is another foreign actress trying to make it big in Bollywood after Katrina Kaif made it big, but she is hardly impressive, I may say she was average in the movie, can’t blame her solely as the writing was also at fault. The child artist from Britain Abigail Eames who plays Gaura tries hard to portray the character and she is impressive in bits and pieces but not completely, well blame it on below average writing. Girish Karnard as Anushka’s handicapped father is wasted in a badly written character which makes him look more comic than serious. Vir Das as the geeky hacker Wahab, is irritating mouthing chaste Urdu dialogues, you can make out that he is visibly uncomfortable doing so, and his performance is below average, Vir Das needs to understand that Stand up comedy and acting in a movie are two different ball  games. Saurabh Shukla as the Indian Diplomat who is a Bihari looks more like a caricature. Rest of the international actors look completely lost and they overdo in expressions… Overall all the performances including Ajay Devgn’s are below average…

It is the technical aspect which scores high, whether it is Aseem Bajaj’s cinematography which is brilliant in capturing the snow capped mountains of Bulgaria or the beautiful locations of Musoorie all are spot on. The action sequences are to die for especially the mountain climbing sequences, hence kudos to the action department comprising of Peter Fernandes & Junaid Sheikh, but some sequences are stretched unnecessarily like the car chase sequence or some of the mountain climbing sequences which look super humanly.

The VFX is just too good and is at par with Hollywood and is the highlight of the movie. It is the editing department which falters and impacts the movie, the editing by Dharmendra Sharma could have been much more crisp, more so when the movie was supposed to be an thriller cum action flick…

Music by Mithoon is another highlight, the title song sung by Sukhwindara Singh, Mohit Chauhan  & Badshah haunts you even when the movie is over, it has such an impact, the love duet “Darkhast” sung by Arijit Singh & Sunidhi Chauhan is melodious, the lullaby “Raatein” sung by Jasleen Royal is soothing to the ears, in a nutshell all the tracks are melodious…

Ajay Devgn showed his emotional side with his first directorial venture “U Me Aur Hum”, in “Shivaay” Ajay emphasizes more on the technical aspect than on the script which falls flat and the movie lacks emotional quotient completely. Definitely NOT Ajay Devgn’s best…but I still have faith in him as a director; he just needs a fantastic script to show his mettle as a director….

“Shivaay” does not live up to its expectations due to its average writing and non-existent Emotional Quotient… I will go with Two & Half Stars….

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

Movie Review: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil: Ranbir wins Dil without any Mushkil

ADHM-movie-reviewKaran Johar movies are essentially escapist cinema which is more of candy floss with beautiful actors wearing high end clothes, amazing locations and high profile song sequences, with a story of the rich and the famous. Barring “My Name is Khan” all his other movies till date have the above formula.

“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” the much awaited Diwali release tells the story of Ayan Sengar (Ranbir Kapoor) who is a rich brat from London who is doing his MBA (Mere Baap Ki Aarzoo)but who wants to be a singer . Things change for him when he meets Alizeh Khan (Anushka Sharma) a free spirited girl who does not live her life by the rules. Both forge a strong friendship, but things get complicated when Alizeh’s ex lover DJ Ali (Fawad Khan) enters their life and Alizeh decides to marry Ali, not knowing that Ayan has started loving her. After Alizeh’s marriage Ayan distances himself from Alizeh’s life and starts life a fresh with Saba (Aishwarya Rai) a Shayara, what happens next as to whether Ayan is successful in forgetting Alizeh and whether Ayan & Saba take their relationship to next level is what the rest of the movie all about…

Written by Karan Johar, the movie celebrates friendship and love with equal fervour, it defines the relationship between a girl and a boy in today’s world. It explores the pain and tribulations of unrequited love through its main protagonist Ayan. Karan in the first half pays tribute to Bollywood with various hit Bollywood songs and gives us many sequences which give us hearty laugh. What Karan gets bang on is the crackling chemistry of Ayan and Alizeh right from the first frame. Some sequences are beautifully written and executed like the Alizeh’s marriage sequence or the dinner table sequence between Ayan, Alizeh and Saba, Karan uses only expressions of these characters to convey the message. The twist at the end just puts the story in a different pedestal. Overall Karan with ADHM tries to drop the candy and keeps the floss intact rather for the first time you see some matured writing from Karan. It is undoubtedly a brave attempt to break the clichés of a love story and presenting a completely different perspective of love, the matured love and the platonic love. The script borders between being chic and modern to melodramatic but with equal balance.

Dialogues in ADHM by Karan and Niranjan Iyengar lifts the script, the first half speaks more of an urban language of youngsters whereas the second half takes a 360 degree and the dialogues are more of shayari and matured.

Well is won’t be wrong to say that ADHM is a Ranbir Kapoor show all the way, and he does not disappoint a wee bit, rather his earnestness in his performance wins your heart as Ayan. Whether the gawky act in the first half to a heart broken and matured lover in the second half, Ranbir does complete justice and carries the movie on his shoulders brilliantly, definitely an actor par excellence. Anushka Sharma as Alizeh brings the required freshness and madness to the character and gives a brilliant performance. Rather it the chemistry between Ranbir and Anushka is what makes ADHM worth a watch. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Saba, the poetess and seductress shows shades of Rekha in her performance, but she holds her own and does complete justice to the character, rather she brings stability to the madness of Ranbir and Anushka. Fawad Khan in a special appearance as DJ Ali rocks. Lisa Haydon as Lisa, Ayan’s girl friend brings the required quirkiness which was required for the character with élan, but at times you feel she overdoes it. Imran Abbas as Faisal looks lost in the bunch of brilliant actors. Shahrukh Khan in a cameo just melts your heart. Overall the performances of the cast do complete justice…

Anil Mehta’s cinematography is like a poem which captures every nuance beautifully, whether it is the picturesque locations of London, Vienna, Paris, Austria or Rajasthan or the emotions portrayed by the actors. Production design by Amrita Mahal was apt as per the premise of the movie.

In a Karan Johar movie costumes play a vital role and ADHM is no exception, the clothes in the movie would easily be a trendsetter, what with some brilliant work by Manish Malhotra, Anahita Shroff Adajania and Samidha Wangnoo…

Another highlight of any KJo movie is its music and Pritam scores some really soulful music for this movie, namely the title song, Bulleya & Channa Mereya, some peppy numbers like the now hugely popular Break Up Song and Cutie pie. All the songs are melody with the superb lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya especially for the title song, Bulleya & Channa Mereya….Music is definitely a high point of ADHM…

Karan Johar has been a king of candy floss in Bollywood but he shows depth in the emotions in ADHM, so in a nut shell the candy is out and the floss remains intact. He makes us laugh even in morbid scenes which shows his inherent humour that he posses and he also shows how big Bollywood fan he is. Portraying unrequited love with entertainment intact and celebrating friendship and platonic relationship with such vigour, kudos to Karan for doing so…

ADHM may not be Karan Johar’s best and may not be a classic but ADHM definitely has its soul intact which is important, I will go with 4 stars….

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review: Mirziya

Mirziya: A Beautiful Canvas with bland colours of emotions



“Mirziya” , a lot is at stake, first it is the debut movie of Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor, second Gulzar returns as a writer after 17 year, thirdly it is being directed by the ace director Rakesh Omprakash Mehra…Well with so much happening whether the movie was worth a watch let us see…

“Mirziya” is a contemporary take on the folk lore love story of Mirza Sahibaan, it tells the story of Munish (Hrashvardhan Kapoor) and Suchitra (Saiyami Kher), two star crossed lovers who get separated during their childhood when young Munish is convicted of murder…Years later Suchitra returns from London to India, now she is engaged to get married to the prince, but fate has some other plans because Munish who has changed his name to Adil works in the stable of the prince and is given the responsibility of teaching Suchi to ride the horse, whether Suchi finds out that Adil is actually Munish her childhood love and what happens to star crossed lovers is what the movie is all about….

Well story wise there is nothing new as the story of Mirza Sahibaan follows the same mould as the other love stories of star crossed lovers. Where Gulzar tries to be different is presenting two tracks of the story, one the folk lore story of Mirza Sahibaan and the other the contemporary take on the story, and both the tracks are simultaneously narrated. The narration also follows a semi Broadway musical format. Well it is these two experiments which fail miserably. The two tracks of the story has no relevance to each other, apart to show the similarity of the stories, which just does not come out clearly and at the end you wonder whether the two tracks were really required. The Broadway musical format also hampers the narration due to too many songs to justify the musical format. Normally in a musical the songs take the story forward but here it hampers the pace, rather you feel whether so many songs were required at all. There are many things which remain unanswered till the end like what happened to Munish’s mom or what happened in the fateful night at the jungle when the tiger attacks Munish and how he gets saved, or what was the relationship between the iron smith and Munish.“Mirziya” is primarily a love story but it is the love story which is weak, and the writing fails to establish the chemistry between the two principal characters. The childhood track fails to establish the love between the two characters, they seem more like friends, hence when the characters grow up and Suchitra who is getting married to the prince and is shown that she loves the prince suddenly falls head over heels with Munish, which looks a bit hurried and the emotional quotient is so low in the writing that you fail to sympathize with the lovers at the end.. The dialogues also do not help to raise the otherwise weak script… Definitely “ Mirziya” is Gulzar’s weakest writing till date…

Debutants Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher who play the title role of Mirza/Munish and Sahibaan/Suchitra show the spark but fail miserably to rise above the weak script; rather there was absolutely no chemistry between Harshvardhan and Saiyami, which is the most important aspect in a love story. Another debutant Anuj Choudhary who plays the prince Karan impresses the most amongst the debutants and he looks apt as the suave royal prince. K K Raina as Raja Sahab has a small role but does justice whatever is given him to do. Art Mallik who plays Suchi’s father goes overboard with his histrionics and hams nonstop; such performance was not expected from an international actor of his calibre. Anjali Patil who plays Zeenat does justice to whatever is given to her. Om Puri is wasted in a cameo.

It is the Cinematographer Pawell Dyllus who the real stars of the movie; he captures each frame like a poem and makes “Mirziya” a visual delight to watch. The second star of the movie is its action, especially the action in the Mirza Sahibaan track, the action director team comprising of Allan Amin, Danny Baldwin & Manoher Verma do a splendid job…

The music which consists mainly of traditional and folk tunes is another highlight of the movie, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy do a spectacular job with the music, each and every track is a gem in itself. The background score by Tubby is also worth a mention especially the symphony piece used during the action sequences were a highlight…

Rakesh Omprakash Mehra in his first full on love story fails miserably both in concept and execution. Rakesh falls flat in the musical format and the experiment of two parallel tracks which he did brilliantly in “Rang De Basanti” fails in “Mirziya”….I think “Mirziya” is Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s weakest film till date…

Sad to see that so much of talent going waste in a average movie… I will go with Two and a Half Star…

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

Movie Review : M. S. Dhoni

M. S. Dhoni-The Untold Story: Sushant makes Dhoni his own & shines…

Cricket & Movies are a religion in India; hence a movie on cricket is always something looking forward to. The curiosity increases if the movie is based on the most successful captain of the Indian Cricket Team Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the director is Neeraj Pandey who has proved his credentials with his last three impressive outings A Wednesday, Special 26 and Baby…

Well “M S Dhoni-The Untold Story” gives a peek on the life of Dhoni before he became the sensation, ms-dhoni-moview-reviewfrom a school boy who was more interested in football and who is pushed to play cricket, from a TC to playing International cricket, to becoming the captain of the Indian cricket team and winning the T20 World Cup and the World Cup in 2011….

Story by Neeraj Pandey and screenplay by Neeraj Pandey & Nandu Kamte, the story emphasizes more on the struggle and tribulations of a young Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his journey from a humble background to becoming a cricket sensation and then the Captain of the Indian Cricket team. It also gives a peek on Dhoni’s personal life and the women who came in his life. The story and screenplay is too staright jacketed and has no layers to it, it barely touches the controversies and the altercations of Dhoni with other team members, it just shows a brief sequence wherein Dhoni as a Captain decides to drop some senior players from ODI, beyond which nothing is explored. In short the story refrains from touching any negative about Dhoni which makes the movie as a fan boy account than a realistic account. Neeraj Pandey shows the various events one after another as sequences in a chronology without giving too much insight, which robs the nuance from the story resulting in a mundane narration. Though the first half manages to capture the emotional quotient very well and thus is highlight of the movie, the narration starts loosing it in the second half when the story delves on Dhoni’s personal life and his women, the climax of the World Cup suddenly comes in the narration and looks as if the writers did not know what to do next and hence bought the climax to end the movie. The script does not have any conflict to spice up the narration; it seems too good to be true. The biggest drawback of the movie is the run time of 190 minutes, which makes it tedious especially in the second half. The beauty of the writing lies is its simplistic style of narration, but I still felt that the writing could have been much better.

Dialogues by Dilip Jha are natural and realistic and lend the required support to lift the otherwise flat script…

It is the performance of the cast which is the highlight of the movie, starting with Sushant Singh Rajput who plays the title role does a smashing job of portraying the legend. It is very difficult to portray a character which is so well etched in the minds of the audience and who is still alive. Sushant gets his act bang on right from getting mannerism of the cricketer absolutely correct to his cricketing style including Dhoni’s famous helicopter shot. It shows how much effort and dedication was put by Sushant to get his act right, undoubtedly Sushant’s best performance till date. Anupam Kher as Dhoni’s father again proves why he is considered an actor par excellence. Anupam underplays his character still shines. Kumud Mishra as the head of CCL who helps Dhoni in playing professional cricket shines, with every movie Kumud is becoming stronger and better. Rajesh Sharma, another brilliant actor who plays Dhoni’s teacher Mr Banerjee who pushes young Dhoni to shift from Football to Cricket, gives a crackling performance. Bhumika Chawla as Dhoni’s elder sister does not have much of a role but whatever brief role she has, she justifies her character well. The two actresses who play Dhoni’s love interest Disha Patani as Priyanka and Kiara Advani as Sakshi also do a commendable job, but it is Disha who scores over Kiara and impresses more… Rest of the cast also do a fantastic job…

Cinematography by Sudhir Palsane is simple as per the narration but yet effective..
Amongst the songs the two soundtracks which impress the most are “Besabriyaan” & “Kaun Tujhe” composed by Amaal Mallik and sung by Armaan Mallik & Palak Munchal respectively….

Neeraj Pandey takes a break from thrillers and tries a different genre for this movie and that to a biopic which in itself is a difficult genre and if the person on whom the movie is based is well known and alive it becomes more difficult, so kudos to Neeraj Pandey for taking that risk with “M S Dhoni”. Neeraj’s style of film making is to make it simple and as realistic as possible and he does not change the style in this movie, but where he falters is the writing which is straight jacketed and a flat script with no variation what so ever. But where Neeraj scores, is getting crackling performance by the entire cast which is commendable. Well this may not be Neeraj’s best movie but it is not that bad either…

If you are a diehard cricket or Dhoni fan and do not mind to sit through 190 minutes of screen time then it is a movie for you, or if not it is worth a watch at least for Sushant Singh Rajput… I will go with 3 stars (One star extra for Sushant Singh Rajput)…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)


Movie Review: Banjo

Banjo:  Music which could have been Better


Banjo Movie Review

Ravi Jadhav after his successful stint in Marathi films with Natrang, Balgandharva, Balak Palak, Timepass & Timepass 2, debuts in Bollywood with “Banjo”. Such a high profile director the expectations of “Banjo” automatically go sky high….

“Banjo” tells the story of 4 guys from the slum Tarrat (Ritesh Deshmukh), who works for the local politican as an extortionist, but his heart  is in playing the Banjo, Grease (Dharmesh) a local mechanic but his heart is in playing the drum, Paper a local newspaper wala who plays the Dhol and the other guy who plays the tasha, they have a small band and they play in local Ganpati, Navratri or marriage party, till they are discovered by Luke (Luke Kenny) who records one of their performance and send it to his friend Chris (Nargis Fakhri) in New York. She gets so impressed with the music that she decides to come to Mumbai and search for the group and record two singles for a international Contest…Is Chris able to find the group and whether her dream gets fulfilled is what the movie is all about…

Written by Ravi Jadhav himself along with Kapil Sawant & Nikhil Mehrotra, the story and screenplay is an amalgamation of too many sub plots which has no bearing with the main story, and that is the problem as the movie takes the entire first half to set up the story and the second half drags on unnecessary melodrama. The intrinsic problem with the writing is that it is flat throughout and it never peaks neither in pace nor in emotional quotient. The sub plots hamper the pace and the weak characterization and low EQ makes the movie too boring. The characters other than the principal 4 characters which are still well written, rest are too flat without any depth. Sometimes you feel that the comedy has been an afterthought. The dialogues do not help as well, other than the tapori lingo other dialogues sound too banal. Where the writing scores is capturing the struggle and tribulation of the slum dwellers with humour…

Ritesh Deshmukh time and again has tried to prove that he is just not an actor who is good at comedy but as a serious actor he has potential, what with Naach, Ek Villain and Lai Bhaari previously; in “Banjo” he tries again and comes out in flying colours with his sincere performance of Tarrat. Dharmesh Yelande as Grease again proves that he is not only a good dancer but a good actor as well, but somewhere he is getting type cast in a tapori character. Other two actors who played Paper and the Tasha player, unfortunately nothing has been written about them, but they also do a good job. Nargis Fakhri as usual adds the glamour quotient but surprisingly she shows some acting chops in playing the character Chris, but I feel still she needs to go along way. Luke Kenny as the firang music arranger does a good job, good to see him after a long hiatus, we saw him last in “Rock On”. Mohan Kapoor as the club owner Nair does what he does well, mouthing hindi in English accent and somehow his swagger suits the role for a change.

“Banjo” which is based on music, hence we expected some good music what with Vishal Shekhar at the helm, but sadly other than 2 songs “Bappa” and the breezy “Udan Choo” other songs are more of cacophony, even the lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya is average.

Manoj Lobo’s camera work is the most impressive; the contrast of the slum vis-a-vis the high rise buildings is very well captured…

As I mentioned earlier “Banjo” being Raj Jadhav’s debut in Bollywood my expectations were high, but he disappoints, and that to in a department which has been his strength in his previous movies, the wrting. Story & Screenplay falls flat from the word go. Though I must mention that Raj captures the spirit of slum very well and quite realistically but in the bargain fails to tell an impactful story. But I have not lost hope and will await Raj Jadhav’s next Bollywood offering..

“Banjo” had a brilliant idea but somewhere the execution on paper as well as on the Big screen lacked the punch…I will go with Two and a Half stars….

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


Movie Review : Pink

Pink: The New Color of Women’s Liberation

“PINK” as the name suggests is a woman centric theme. But it is far removed from the fun & frolic that you normally associate to the color “PINK”, it is the story of struggles and tribulation of an average Indian women of today…

“PINK” tells the story of three working girls Minal Arora (Tapsee Pannu), Falak Ali (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang) who stay together in PG accommodation in Delhi. Their life takes a 360 degree pink-movieturn when one night they fall prey to a gang of guys comprising of Rajveer (Angad Bedi), Dumpy (Raashul Tandon) and Vishwa (Tushar Pandey) who take them to a resort at Surajkund and there they try to be physical with them and Minal ends up breaking a glass bottle on Rajveer, post which the girls flee. Next how their lives change for the worst is what the movie is all about…

Written by Ritesh Shah, this court room drama is an interesting watch thanks to the taut script. Ritesh keeps the screenplay very straight and to the point, not digressing a wee bit from the main plot which keeps the audience completely engrossed till the end. Each character especially of the three girls are sculpted with immense minuteness and complete precision. The character of advocate Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan) is like a foil on the young helpless girls, I wish Ritesh would have given a bit peep on the Deepak Sehgal’s past but nevertheless the character is so strongly written that it over powers other characters completely.Ritesh does not waste time on clichés and keeps it as realistic as possible. Another character which also impresses throughout, is the character of the defense lawyer played by Piyush Mishra, rather the war of words between Deepak Sehgal and the defense lawyer make the court room proceedings interesting. Another thing which would have made the movie more interesting if Ritesh would have also shown how Deepak Sehgal does his investigation for the case. But overall brilliant writing.

Ritesh Shah’s dialogues lifts the screenplay, especially the court room sequence. The dialogues are taut and gives a message without being preachy. The dialogues have been painstakingly written keeping in mind the character who would say the dialogues making it sound as realistic as possible.
In a nutshell the real hero of the movie is the writing…

Good writing can go down the drain if it is not backed up with some good performances. Amitabh Bachchan as Deepak Sehgal the aging advocate gives a crackling performance, especially in the court room sequences. I must say Amitabh Bachchan is having a blast in his career at this age, first “Piku”, then “Teen” and now “Pink”, all three movies have tapped his potential as an actor to the fullest and you can feel as an audiences that even he is enjoying it….Next actor who impresses and stands high in front of Amitabh Bachchan is Piyush Mishra as the defense lawyer, who successfully makes you hate him, and that I think is no mean task…Piyush Mishra’s verbal war fare with Amitabh’s character are the highlight sequences of the movie. Now the three girls played by Tapsee Pannu as Minal, Kirti Kulhari as Falak and Andrea Tariang as Andrea, all the three do a splendid job but Tapsee Pannu steals the show with her portrayal. After her brief role in “Baby”, Tapsee again shows that she is an actress who should not be taken lightly. Kirti’s character starts as a timid character but later blooms and how, especially her emotional breakdown scene in the court just takes your heart away, definitely a brilliant actress, I hope Kirti gets more opportunities in this glamour stuck Bollywood who give Smita Patil Award to Katrina Kaif (Are we kidding???). Debutant Andrea Tariang has a brief role and not too much of histrionics but her silence says it all and the looks portrays the pathos which a page long dialogue would not justify. Angad Bedi as the spoilt brat Rajveer does his mean act well, though not a longish role but Angad justifies his presence completely. Dhritiman Chaterjee as the judge also does a brilliant job, and brings a meat to a role which in other movie is only confined to saying “Order, Order”. Other actors like Mamta Shankar (Good to see her in a Bollywood Movie), Rushal Tandon, Tushar Pandey, Vijay Verma and Vinod Nagpal also do a brilliant job. Overall the cast justifies the writing to the “T”.

It is said that editing “Makes” or “Breaks” a movie and in “Pink”, Bodhaditya Banerjee’s editing makes the movie taut without any once of sluggishness. Abhik Mukhopadhyay’s cinematography captures vibrancy of Delhi and the grimness of a court room with equal élan.

Now let us talk about the “Captain” of the ship Aniruddha Roy Choudhury, who debuts in Bollywood with “PINK”. After some brilliant movies in Bengali like “Anuranan” & “Antaheen”, Aniruddha does an equally impressive debut with “PINK”. “PINK” not only entertains but also raises a lot of pertinent questions which are like a taboo for a working women, especially if she lives alone, and Aniruddha has very beautifully portrayed a modern day woman and her struggles in a modern yet feudal society of today’s India. Two things that Aniruddha scores as a director, first being straight forward and completely glued to the main plot without falling prey for typical Bollywood trappings and secondly extracting some memorable performances by the entire cast.

A truly brilliant cinema which should not be missed, I will go with Four and a Half stars…

Movie Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Movie Review : Dishoom

Dishoom: An Extremely Average Punch with No Impact

Rohit Dhawan came up with a decent fair with “Desi Boyz” in 2011 wherein he explored the world of Gigolos, but with “Dishoom” Rohit explores the thriller genre…

“Dishoom” is primarily set in Middle East where an Indian cricketer Viraj Sharma (Saqib Saleem) is abducted 36 hours before the final between India & Pakistan. The Indian Govt sends a Special Task Force official KabirShergill (John Abraham) for the mission of getting back Viraj. Kabir teams up with aDishoom Review rookie inspector Junaid (Varun Dhawan) from the police department in Middle East and starts his hunt for the cricketer. Whether Kabir successfully finds out Viraj Sharma is what the story all about…

Story & Screenplay written by Rohit Dhawan himself and Tushar Hiranandani takes a predictable path for a thriller. The suspense is revealed too soon in the movie and the nuances of a thriller just evaporates. There are too many unwanted characters who do not have any relevance to the actual story like the character of Khabri Chachu or Akshay Kumar’s cameo as Sameer Gazi or Nargis Fakhri’s cameo as Samaira. Both the writers fail to give an edge of the seat thriller which was possible looking at the concept. Unnecessary comic sequences marred the overall impact of the story, like the track where Satish Kaushik’s voice speaks to Junaid telling him that they did not like his photo in the matrimonial site, this is repeated many times and it hardly looks funny. Junaid’s character looks a replica of Varun Dhawan’s character in “Main Tera Hero”. There is nothing new in the writing and you feel that the writers are in the 80’s zone wherein the heroine used to dance at the villain’s den. The main antagonist Wagah (Akshay Khanna) looks meek and there is no element of fear in his character, and if the character of the antagonist is weak in a thriller then the movie falls flat and that is exactly what happens with “Dishoom”….

Even the dialogues written by Hussain Dalal does not help, the dialogues especially the comic once sound too forced and hardly make you laugh…

Performances by the ensemble cast does not create any impact whatsoever… John Abraham as Kabir Shergill again repeats his macho act with a frown all throughout the movie, so if you have seen Welcome 2 &Rocky Handsome then you have seen John’s performance in “Dishoom”, and it is absolutely not up to the mark. John has the same expression throughout the movie and you feel that John really needs a crash course in acting. Same goes with Varun Dhawan who has been stuck to his “Main Tera Hero” demeanor in all his films except “Badlapur”, so Varun does not offer anything new in this movie which we have not seen in his earlier films. It is high time for Varun to stop imitating Govinda because he ends up hamming instead of entertaining, and his act gets on to your nerves after sometime. Jacqueline Fernandez repeats her glamour act yet again and ends up being a show piece in the movie. Akshay Khanna is back with his mean act of Wagah in “Dishoom” and fails in his portrayal of an antagonist. He ends up being more of mockery than the dreaded villain, well blame is half on the writing and half on Akshay who failed to get the act right. Saqib Saleem as Viraj Sharma the cricketer in the only one who impresses a bit. The cameos of Akshay Kumar & Nargis Fakhri are a waste….

Rohit Dhawan instead of going a step forward with is second film has slipped. The movie has a very amateurish feel overall and as a viewer you feel that the director has no control on the proceedings. Rohit completely fails as a director whether it is in the writing department or acting department or music department…he was confused whether he should make an action comedy or a taut thriller… and he ends up making a mish mash of the two genres. Overall a very average effort from Rohit Dhawan…
There are only two aspects wherein “Dishoom” redeems itself, first being the cinematography by Ayananka Bose which captures each frame whether it is the city life of Middle East or the sand dunes with perfection, and second being action direction Allan Amin, the bike chase the helicopter chase all has been perfectly shot and are of international standards…

Music by Pritam yet again disappoints, would love to have our old Pritam back…

Overall “Dishoom” is an extremely average fair and fails to connect…I will go with TWO stars….

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Movie Review : Sultan

Sultan: A GOOD blend of Bollywood Masala with a hint of Realism

Since the last few years Eid is not only the celebration of the festival but also a celebration of Salman Khan’s films, and Salman’s fans have not disappointed him, and given him a 100 Crs Eidi every year….

sultan MovieBut since last year the trend of Salman Khan’s Eid releases have seen a sea change in the genre, last year it was “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and this year it is “Sultan”, a genre which was alien to Salman and his movies. Normally Salman Khan Movies were light comedies with some typical Salman Khan histrionics which would hardly qualify as good acting and music played a vital role in their successes. But last year “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” changed it all, it was sensitive subject with prime focus on the child artist and this change was accepted by Salman fans whole heartedly. This year “Sultan” carries the baton forward.

“Sultan” tells the story of an underdog village ruffian Sultan (Salman Khan) who falls in love with Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) a women wrestler and just to woo her Sultan takes up wrestling under the guidance of Aarfa’s father Barkat (Kumud Mishra). Sultan not only wins heart of Aarfa but also his village by winning the local, district competition and also wins the Olympic Gold Medal. So much adulation goes to Sultan’s head and in the bargain loses his fame and his family more prominently his love Aarfa. But destiny knocks his door in the form of “PRO Take Down” Competition, a martial arts mixed fight competition. Whether Sultan agrees to join the competition and what happens to him is what the rest of the movie is all about…

Story wise “Sultan” does not offer anything new, rather the story is quite predictable, but we need to give writer and director Ali Abbas Zafar credit for an engaging screenplay. Again the screenplay also does not give you anything new but it is the way the movie is presented, is what stands out. Ali has written the female character of Aarfa extremely strong who kind of compliments the strong headed Sultan. The love story has some cute moments which adds the charm due to Salman’s performance. Where Ali scores is getting the emotional quotient right. Though the movie is predictable but still the audience flows with the narration which not a mean achievement for Ali. Though I felt the run time of the movie of 3 hours could have been cut short by good 30 minutes. The training sequence becomes a bit repetitive and some songs just did NOT gel with the narration. Ali does a brilliant job in the dialogues segment, he gets the dialect correct and has used the colloquial language in his dialogues which elevates the screenplay and also increases the entertainment quotient. Some dialogues are inspiring but not preachy…In a nut shell a decent job in writing…

Salman Khan just elevates “Sultan” in different level with his portrayal of a village simpleton who attains success and becomes cocky headed and falls miserably and again rises, in short his underdog act just gels with the audience expectations. It is quite evident to see how much preparation Salman did for playing Sultan, right from gaining weight to learning the Haryanvi dialect, which is a refreshing change for all Salman fans and others as well. Salman just carries the 3 hour movie on his shoulders and never falters a wee bit. Definitely one of Salman’s finest performance. Anushka Sharma as Aarfa the female wrestler compliments Salman’s portrayal. It was good to see an actress as strong as Salman in a Salman Khan movie which was missing in the last few Salman Khan outings. Anushka gets her character bang on right from the first frame and never leaves the character till the end, I must say another feather on Anushka’s cap. Another actor who did a brilliant job is Anant Sharma who plays Sultan’s closest pal Govind. Anant shines even in frames which has the mega star Salman in it, really a performance worth a mention. Another actor who is gaining prominence and proving himself with every movie is Kumud Mishra who plays Barkat, Sultan’s coach and Aarfa’s father, and again Kumud does not disappoint rather his acting is underplayed yet impactful, not a mean task to achieve for sure. Amit Sadh as Akash the wrestling championship’s owner does a decent job but in some sequences you feel that Amit is in awe of Salman which results in his performance getting diluted in some sequences.Randeep Hooda in a guest appearance as Sultan’s Coach for the PRO Take down Competition creates an impact in his brief role. Rest of the actors like Parikshit Sahani, Farruk Jaffer, Naveen Kumar also do a splendid job…

Just wanted to mention the casting director Shanoo Sharma who got correct actors for the roles which helped the movie to get the realistic feel, definitely a wonderful job done by Shanoo…

Ali Abbas Zafar after “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” and “Gunday” gets it right with “Sultan”, he not only scores as a director but also as a writer especially the screenplay and dialogues. Where he scores is getting some brilliant performances by the cast and second getting the emotional quotient right with the writing. I would not say “Sultan” being a classic but definitely an entertaining movie with some heartwarming story…and the credit goes to Ali Abbas Zafar….

Music by Vishal-Shekhar is a good mix of masala quirky songs which is staple in a Salman Khan movie and the soothing romantic numbers. One thing I must admit that Vishal-Shekhar scored the music with the local flavor which was apt for the movie. Two songs which stand out from the album is “Jag  Ghomeya” sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and “ Sachi Muchi” sung by Mohit Chauhan and Harshdeep Kaur… and not to mention the party song “Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai”….

The production design by Rajnish Hedao is so real that it blends with the narration effortlessly. Artur Zurawski gets the earthiness of Haryana, the flavor of Purani Delhi and the glamour quotient of the competition spot on with his cinematography…

“Sultan” is the right blend of Bollywood Masala and realistic cinema, I will go with Three had a Half Star….

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

Movie Review: Waiting

Waiting: A beautiful catharsis

Some movies just touch your heart and make a lasting impact, “Waiting” is one such movie which explores the grim reality of life and shows us how we can have a positive outlook in such situation…

“Waiting” is a story of two strangers Shiv Kumar (Naseeruddin Shah) and Tara Deshpande (Kalki Koechlin) who meet in a hospital waiting room, both are in the same situation, Shiv’s wife Pankaja (Suhasini Mani Ratnam) is in coma for last 8 months and Tara who is newly married, her husband Rajat (Arjun Mathur) has met with an accident resulting in coma due to severe head injury. How Shiv and Tara cope up with their respective situation is what the movie is all about….waiting movie

Story & Screenplay written by Anu Menon, Atika Chohan & James Ruzicka beautifully showcases two different generations and their thought process through the two principal characters Shiv and Tara. Shiv represents the older generation, who is more composed and has hope that is wife will recover, because for him the person with whom he has spent 40 years of his life is the most important hence he does not want to let go his relationship. On the other hand Tara who represents the present generation, who is impatient and practical and thinks that if her husband cannot return to normal life then trying to save him is futile. The writing beautifully captures the essence and the ideology of both the generations and justifies the same as well. Both the characters Shiv and Tara are written with a lot of depth which is the highlight of the movie. Other than the principal characters even the supporting characters like the Doctor Nirupam, or the Ishita, Tara’s friend or Girish employee of Tara’s husband’s are very well etched. Where the movie is a bit of a downer is its pace which slows down a bit in the second half. But kudos to the writers they keep the essence of the movie intact without taking the regular Bollywood track as a climax, it may be abstract for many but then it sums up the title and premise of the movie…Overall a good job as far as the writing goes…

Atika Chohan dialogues lifts up the screenplay, she gets the character’s dialogues bang on, whether it is Shiv’s dialogues which is more restrained or Tara’s which is care free and more verbose, or of other characters. Atika has paid special attention to the premise of the characters and then written the dialogues, and kept the language also as per the characters, where the dialogues needs to be in English it is in English, where ever it needs to be in Malayalam it is in Malayalam and where ever it needs to be in Hindi it is in Hindi…and there has been no effort to translate the dialogues to make the audience understand… really a commendable job…

It is the performances which takes the movie to another level. Naseeruddin Shah as Shiv is just PERFECT, there no other word to describe his performance. Naseer yet again proves his brilliance as a performer. Kalki Koechlin as Tara, the free spirited girl in a grim situation gets her act spot on. Tara’s character was a complex one but Kalki just breezes through the portrayal like a fresh air, undoubtedly one of the noteworthy performances of the year so far. With “Waiting” Kalki makes her presence felt in Bollywood. Rajat Kapoor as Dr Nirupam, portrays the cold and calculative doctor with panache, another brilliant performance by the actor. Rajeev Ravindranathan as the simpleton Girish takes your heart away with his underplayed performance.  It was a pleasure to see Suhasini Mani Ratnam after a gap as Pankaja, Shiv’s wife who is in coma, though she has a relatively a small role but she brings a freshness with her performance and her Hindi brings a smile to your face. Arjun Mathur as Rajat, Tara’s husband brings the required chemistry with Kalki as the newlywed, and was a delight to watch… Ishita played by Ratnabali Bhattacharya also does a good job though she does not have much to do in the movie. In a nutshell the performances make the movie a must watch…

Kudos to Anu Menon first for choosing this subject and second for narrating it beautifully with balancing the two points of views portrayed by the principal characters. She balances the emotion quotient well without making it melodramatic or over the top. After her not so successful “London Paris New York” and her short story in “X-Past Is Present”, Anu Menon comes to her own with “Waiting”….impressive job…

The two principal actors Naseeruddin Shah & Kalki Koechlin takes the movie to a different level with their superlative performances…I will go with 4 stars…

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review: Phobia

Phobia: A Phobia which thrills

Phobia Movie ReviewPsychological thrillers are not that common in Bollywood, the last psychological thriller which made some impact was “404” directed by Prawal Raman in 2011…post which there has not been any psychological thriller in true sense in Bollywood until “Phobia” now…

“Phobia” tells us the story of Mahek (Radhika Apte) an artist who after an unfortunate incident suffers from Agoraphobia which starts affecting her life and near & dear ones… so she starts living alone in a flat, where she starts experiencing and seeing weird things…is it some kind of ghost or is it her imagination…well this is what the movie explores…

Written by Viki Rajani, the movie explores the darker side of human psyche and the story borderlines between a horror and a psychological thriller, well hats off to Viki who balances it well. There are enough twists and turns and surprise elements which will make you glued to the seats. The characters are also quite interesting like the weird neighbour Mannu (Ankur Vikal) or the full of life teenager Nikki (Yashaswani Dayama). Viki uses all the elements which can be used for a horror movie to scare you, but slightly falls short. But the movie keeps you guessing right till the end..The main issue with “Phobia” is its wafer thin plot and a climax that is too abstract. There are many questions which remain unanswered or not explored well…In short the movie fails to tie up all the loose end at the end…But it was a brilliant attempt nevertheless…

It is the performances which make the movie a worth watch, beginning with Radhika Apte who plays the title role of Mehak, she does an outstanding job and it is her performance which is responsible keeping the viewers glued till the end. It is a complex character no doubt but Radhika Apte’s effortless performance just makes it realistic. Satyadeep Mishra who plays Mehak’s boyfriend Shaan, plays the perfect foil to Radhika’s complex portrayal. His performance is honest and to top it all believable. Another good performance is by Ankur Vikal who plays the weird neighbour Mannu, his portrayal is so apt that you will keep on guessing his real intentions…Nikki played superbly by Yashaswani Dayama brings the much needed breath of fresh air to the otherwise tense narration, the newcomer does impress and how…Nivedita Bhattacharya as Anu, Mehak’s sister is a brief role but she does complete justice to her character with a performance.. Overall the main highlight of the movie is its performances…

Pawan Kripalani does a decent job for a psychological thriller, which is not a mean task to make to begin with…full marks to him for not going the mundane way and sticking to the concept and format of Psychological thriller. Kripalani creates the necessary tension required in a thriller quite well, but I still think his “Ragini MMS” was his best till date….

“Phobia” is a Radhika Apte show all the way and she will not disappoint you even for a minute…I will go with three stars…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review: Sarbjit

Sarbjit: An Inspiring Story, But Falls short to Impress

It is raining biopic this month first it was “Azhar” and now “Sarbjit”. “Azhar” failed to impress the critics and audience alike, will “Sarbjit” be successful in winning the hearts is the big question…

“Sarbjit” tells the heart wrenching story of Dalbir Kaur (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and her struggle to get her brother Sarabjit Singh (Randeep Hooda) back to India, who by mistake crosses the LOC and is arrested by Pakistani soldiers and is falsely convicted for terrorist activities in Pakistan. The movie chronicles Dalbir’s fight of 23 years to get her brother justice.Sarbjit Movie Review

Written by Uttkarshini Vashishtha and Rajesh Beri, the screenplay tries to capture the sorrow and pain that Dalbir and her family went through for 23 years to get Sarabjit back to India, but fails to be realistic in the bargain the so called sorrows and pains look forced and plastic. Another problem with the writing is the flow which is not very smooth it just jumps from one year to another not specifically capturing the real struggle which Dalbir Kaur went through, it just puts the incidents in a chronological order as far as the happenings are concerned. The writing is hell bent on only getting the emotional quotient right whereas in a biopic or for a real life incident it is essential to capture the facts correct, but unfortunately the writing just does not do so. It is clear the script lacks research and is written from a single point of view. But there are few sequences which do touch your heart, like when Sarabjit’s family visits him in the Pakistan or all the moments of Dalbir and Sarabjit does make your eyes misty. Other than a few sequences the overall writing is very average and “Sarbjit” misses the mark due to this. The dialogues written by Uttkarshini Vashishtha are apt but fail to uplift the scenes other than a few….

“Sarbjit” boasts of some earnest performances, starting with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who plays the central character of Dalbir Kaur with earnestness, but as an audience you will not connect with her, first her Punjabi dialect sounds forced and second you feel it is Aishwarya all the way and Dalbir gets lost in the persona called Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. I would say the casting goes completely wrong, frankly speaking missed Vidya Balan, I think she should have been the best suited for this role. Randeep Hooda who plays Sarabjit steals the show and how, every scene he is perfect, from a mischievous youngster to a convict to a frail old man especially in the jail sequences, your heart just goes out to him. In every scene he gives 100% and it shows thanks to the transformation he has gone through for the role, it won’t be a too much if I say it is Randeep Hooda’s show all the way. Richa Chadha who plays Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet does not have much to do but where ever she gets a chance she shines and makes her presence felt, she shows a few scenes are enough to make your presence felt for a good actor Darshan Kumaar as lawyer Awais Sheikh from Pakistan has a brief role but he impresses in his few scenes. Rest of the cast also do a good job…

Omung Kumar in his second biopic seems more in control but the script just fails him. He does get the emotional quotient correct which was somehow missing in his first “Mary Kom” but fails to impress overall. The biggest mistake was casting Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Dalbir Kaur, her star presence just steals the real essence of the story, and it just does not work. Another issue is lack of research which blatantly shows as it lacks realism, I think Omung Kumar should have done some more research on the subject which is needed in a biopic or real life incident. Overall Omung Kumar should take a break from biopic and try to get the finesse in his direction…

Music does not play much importance in the movie but it fails to impress as well. Though there are a list of composers like Jeet Ganguli, Amaal Mallik, Tanishk Bagchi, Shashi-Shivam and Shail-Pritesh but the songs just do not touch your heart, a simple case of too many cooks spoil the broth…

Cinematography by Kiran Deohans is good and captures the nuances well from the Paddy fields of Punjab to Govt Offices of Delhi to the grim of a jail.

Production design by Vanita Omung Kumar is impressive and gets the details correct right from the Punjab village house to the jail, all are well designed…well Omung Kumar could not have got this wrong…knowing his past experience with set design…

Costume Design by Shahid Amir & Neetu Singh helps to build the characters well with their eye for details from the Phulkari to the Prison clothes all are done well…

“Sarbjit” could have been an inspiring story but it falls short….I will go with 3 stars…one extra star for the brilliant performance of Randeep Hooda and the story of inspiring story of Dalbir Kaur & Sarabjit Singh…..

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review: Azhar

Azhar: A Caricature Than a Biopic

Azhar Movie ReviewBiopics are sensitive themes, if they are not handled with utmost care it becomes a caricature, well “Azhar” falls in that category…”Neerja”, “Mary Kom”, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” are some of the best biopics of Bollywood….

“Azhar” chronicles the life of famous cricketer and ex-captain of India Mohammad Azharuddin from his Hyderabad days to his glory as a cricketer and his fall due to the controversial match fixing case and his lifetime ban from cricket, the movie specifically emphasizes on Azharuddin’s controversial match fixing case and his second marriage to Sangeeta Bijlani. Not much has been explored on his life as a cricketer….

Story & Screenplay by Rajat Aroraa tries to leverage the controversial side of the cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin’s life, the court case in particular for match fixing and his lifetime ban from cricket. Azharuddin’s life had enough happenings for a Bollywood adaptation but Rajat fails to put all the events in a cohesive manner, the screenplay looks like an amalgamation of incidences from the cricketer’s life. The court room sequences which constitute the major part of the movie are the worst written scenes of the movie. Other than cohesiveness the writing fails to connect on an emotional level which is extremely important for a biopic. One of the major issues of the movie is how the characters are written, other than a few characters like the central character Azhar, or his wife Naureen, or the defence lawyer Meera Verma, other character come out more as caricatures than a realistic portrayal. The only good thing about the writing is the love story track of Azhar and his first wife Naureen, it is cute and it pulls your heart strings, albeit briefly. Azhar’s second love story with the Bollywood actress Sangeeta falls flat and looks forced, it just does not delve on the emotional quotient at all and to make the matters worse the actors Emraan Hashmi and Nargis Fakhri who played Azhar and Sangeeta respectively have NO chemistry….Even for the match fixing case the script remains on a superficial level, rather at the end you feel the movie was made to make Azharuddin look like a messiah.. The saving grace of the writing is Rajat’s dialogues which has been his forte and he does not disappoint, but the bad script overshadows the good dialogues…Overall the movie fails in the writing department from the word go…

The performances also does not help the movie, other than Emraan Hashmi who plays the titular role of Azhar, Prachi Desai who plays Azhar’s first wife Naureen and Lara Dutta who plays the defence lawyer Meera Verma, rest of the cast just fail to make any impact. Amongst the three, Emraan Hashmi impresses the most in the way he has copied the body language of the cricketer and does complete justice to his character, he is definitely a good actor which he has proven time and again, remember his performance in “Shanghai”, one of his best, I just hope he gets a better movie where he can showcase his talent well. Prachi Desai brings the poise required in her role extremely well and says a lot through her eyes, another actress whose talent is yet to be exploited fully. Lara Dutta as the fiery defence lawyer Meera Verma does a crackling job, rather I must say in the court room scenes she is the saving grace. Nargis Fakhri as the Bollywood actress Sangeeta only pouts in the name of acting and has the same expression throughout the movie whether she is sad or happy, she looks completely out of place and sleep walks through her role, one of the worst performances of the movie. Kunal Roy Kapoor as Azhar’s lawyer and friend Reddy is a catastrophe, his dialect is the most confusing whether he has a gujrati twang or a hyderabadi twang in the movie, and he looks lost throughout the movie just like his character. Gautam Gulati who debuts in this movie as cricketer Ravi acts as if he is still in “Big Boss” with his over confident swagger. Karanvir Sharma as Manoj with an awkward wig tries hard to play the antagonist, but I must say fails miserably, he hams throughout the movie. Manjot Singh as Navjot looks like a cartoon character thanks to the BAD writing and fails miserably. Good actors like Khulbhushan Kharbanda, Shernaz Patel, Varun Badola and Rajesh Sharma are wasted…

The music of the movie fails to create any impact…

The director Tony D’Souza also known as Anthony D’Souza fails miserably in putting up the biopic…Tony should have stuck to his masala fares like “Boss” & “Blue”…both failed to impress the critics or the box office…

“Azhar” is a bad attempt in creating a biopic and the movie fails in many levels prominent being writing and performances…I will go with 2 stars…

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Movie Review: Baaghi

Baaghi: Nothing Rebellious about this Rebel

Baaghi Movie ReviewSabbir Khan introduced Tiger Shroff to Bollywood in an impressive “Heropanti” which may not be termed as a classic but it was entertaining and an ideal launch vehicle for a newcomer and giving due credit to Tiger Shroff he did not disappoint us. The same director actor duo comes up with “Baaghi”….hence the expectations are high…

“Baaghi” has slim story line of a rebel Ronny who is sent to Kerala by his dying father to Guruswamy (Grandmaster Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj) to be trained in martial arts of Kalaripayattu to discipline his life. On the way to Kerala Ronny meets Sia (Shradha Kapoor) and falls in love. Trouble starts when Raghav ( Sudheer Babu Posani), Guruswamy’s son also falls in love with Sia. Does Ronny get his love and gets tamed by Guruswamy is what the movie is all about….

Story & Screenplay written by Sanjeev Dutta is extremely clichéd and predictable to the core. The love story between the two principle characters which forms the very basis of the story is the weakest without any emotion or chemistry amongst the pair. The love story is filled with clichés and looks dated, and at times the love story is unintentionally funny, like rain being a catalyst to their love. After a point the love story becomes unbearable and the last thing you want to see is the love track. The characters written are extremely sketchy, like why Ronny is rebellious, or why Raghav who is the son of the Trainer Guruswamy becomes so notorious, or the character of Sia’s father who seems to be greedy is never explored properly. The training and action sequences are a direct lift from South Asian movies especially “The Raid”. Rather the training sequences are the only interesting facets of the script but unfortunately it is not explored. Another flaw in the screenplay is, that the sequences are left unfinished, like what happens pre interval or nobody does anything when Guruswamy dies, making no sense. Many characters are introduced but never explored like the child character Subbu who sounded like the child character of “Hatya”. The first half is actually boring and drags….The dialogues also sound very 90’s and dated which pulls down the screenplay yet more….Overall the writing is extremely weak and at the end “Baaghi”  neither is a love story nor a complete action packed movie…

Even the performances do not save the day… Tiger Shroff as Ronny looks like he is repeating his “Heropanti” act, but what worked for him in his debut movie falls flat for him in this movie. He seems extremely uncomfortable in romantic and emotional scenes and looks comfortable only in action sequences. Another flaw is his dialogue delivery which has a heavy English accent; he really needs to brush up his Hindi diction if he wants to survive. Shradha Kapoor as Sia again repeats her “Aashiqui 2”, “Ek Villain” and “ABCD 2” act of a chirpy and girl next door but unfortunately fails this time. I won’t say it was a bad act but then there was nothing new as well, would love to see Shradha in more sensitive roles like that of Arshia in “Haider”. There is absolutely no chemistry between the lead pair… Telegu actor Sudheer Babu who debuts in “Baaghi” as Raghav the antagonist, is the only performance worth watching in the movie, he justifies his menacing act with his portrayal, but it is the writing which pulls down his performance, hope Bollywood gives more chances to Sudheer Babu…Grandmaster Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj the commando trainer of the Indian Army makes his acting debut as Guruswamy in this movie, and he does complete justice to his character and his sequences are few of the worth watching sequences of the movie especially the training sequences but unfortunately the screenplay did not give too much scope to his character. Rest of the cast like Sunil Grover, Sanjay Mishra end up hamming instead of acting and are wasted….

Action is the biggest highlight of the movie; action directors Kecha Kammpakdee and Javed Ejaz choreograph the stunt sequence brilliantly and give an international feel, they exploited the core strength of Tiger Shroff to the fullest…

The Cinematography by Binod Pradhan is one of the highlights of the movie…he captures Kerala and Bangkok like a dream…he gives the dreamy hue in the Kerala sequences and gives the gritty feel while capturing the by lanes of Bangkok….

Music is another highlight of the movie….the top three songs would be “Cham Cham” composed by Meet Brothers and rendered beautifully by Monali Thakur, the love ballad “Sab Tera” composed by Amaal Mallik and rendered by Armaan Mallik & Shradha Kapoor and last being “Girl I Need You” another ballad by Meet Brothers and sung beautifully by Arijit Singh…

Sabbir Khan could not salvage the already weak script with his direction; rather Sabbir is extremely weak in emotional quotient which was evident in his previous movies “Kambakt Ishq” and “Heropanti”. Sabbir looks completely confused what he wanted to make, whether a love story or a martial arts action movie….and the confusion is quite evident in the narration…

“Baaghi” is extremely clichéd and Tiger Shroff’s second outing is a BIG disappointment…the end credits where they show the behind the scenes clippings were more entertaining than the whole movie… I will go with “One and a half stars”….

Movie Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

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 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Movie Review: Fan

FAN: The Jabra FAN shines over SRK

Fan Movie ReviewFor the last few years after “Chak De”, Shahrukh just could not get it right, though his movies did 100 crores but somewhere the actor Shahrukh was camouflaged by the STAR Shahrukh Khan….

Good News is “FAN” brings back the ACTOR Shahrukh Khan on silver screen with the portrayal of Gaurav Chandana who is a BIG fan of Aryan Khanna (Shahrukh Khan) and has a striking resemblance to Aryan. Gaurav is famous amongst his West Delhi locality as the Junior Aryan Khanna. He wins a competition in a local fare and plans to visit Aryan Khanna in Mumbai on Aryan’s birthday and gift the trophy that he has won. But things go out of hand for him in Mumbai and Gaurav finds himself in the receiving end of Aryan Khanna and to his shock his matinee idol refuses to acknowledge Gaurav as his Fan. Dejected Gaurav returns to Delhi but with a vengeance in his heart to teach Aryan Khanna a lesson….is Gaurav able to take revenge from Aryan Khanna is what the movie is all about….

Story & Screenplay by Habib Faisal starts off on a realistic ground and the first half sticks to realism, it is in the second half that the movie takes a complete U turn from Realistic cinema to typical Bollywood masala. The second half is full of glitches and flaws like everybody mistaking Gaurav as Aryan, including Aryan’s guards and wife, whereas in the first half  Gaurav was differentiable, or how did Gaurav end up in London or Aryan a super star taking up on himself to teach Gaurav a lesson looked too farfetched, especially after a realistic start. Another problem with the movie is its screen time of 143 minutes; it could have been easily 30 minutes short. But it is the characterization which stands out in the writing, off course Gaurav’s character is the best written character but even the support characters are also written well, which is Habib Faisal’s forte. The middle class ethos is portrayed brilliantly by Habib Faisal. Another thing where Habib Faisal scores is getting the true feelings of a hard core FAN in his writing. Some sequences do touch your heart and remains with you even after the movie is over, especially the last few scenes in the climax.

Dialogues by Habib Faisal and Sharat Kataria brings the Delhi lingo back and blends with the narration, the words, the pronunciations everything is just apt. It won’t be wrong to say that the dialogues of the movie took the screenplay to a different level….

But what actually makes the movie shine is the performance of Shahrukh Khan, his portrayal of Gaurav Chandana is just brilliant and reminds you of the Shahrukh Khan of “Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa” or “Darr” put together but with a difference, what with him playing a 20 year old at the age of 50 and the complete Delhi mannerism which he nailed with Gaurav. Definitely Shahrukh will be the toast of the awards season for this year. Shahrukh as Aryan gives a restrained performance of cocky headed star, but it is Gaurav’s portrayal which overshadows the entire cast. Deepika Amin as Gaurav’s mother and Yogendra Tikku as Gaurav’s father complement Gaurav’s character beautifully, especially Deepika Amin, good to see that she is getting her due at last. Debutant Shriya Pilgaonkar (Actor Sachin’s daughter) as Neha, Gaurav’s friend is impressive and extremely natural though she has very less screen time, definitely an actress to watch out for. Sayani Gupta as Aryan’s PA, though a small part does complete justice to the character, though her role in the film did not justify her calibre for sure. Debutant Walusha D’Souza as Bela Aryan’s wife, is natural and does a good job, never will you feel that this is her first screen outing, she holds on to her own even in front of the stalwart like Shahrukh Khan. Rest of the supporting cast also do a good job….

Manu Anand’s cinematography gives the extra edge to the movie, whether it is the Delhi by lanes or the beautiful locations of London or Croatia, Manu captures it with brilliance, especially the chase sequences….

Well one of the flaws of the movie is its editing by Namrata Rao, being a thriller it could have been much more crisper but unfortunately some places the movie dips and fails to be a complete thriller…

I give full credit to Maneesh Sharma the director, for digging out the actor Shahrukh Khan for “FAN”. Maneesh successfully brings out the ethos of a FAN brilliantly. Well not to mention his forte in capturing the middle class Delhi brilliantly. Just one complaint Maneesh just looses it a bit in the second half, but extracts brilliant performances from the cast, especially Shahrukh Khan….But I still feel “Band Baja Baraat” as his best till date…

“FAN” is a Shahrukh Khan show all the way, and he does not disappoint with his earnest performance after a long time….I will go with Three and a Half Stars….
Movie Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Ki and Ka: Movie Review

Ki & Ka: Has the Spice but still remains bland…

Ki_and_Ka_Movie_ReviewBeing different is R Balki’s forte, and “Ki & Ka” is no different. It tells us of role reversal of genders in Indian Society. Abroad house husbands are quite common, but not in India, hence a movie on house husband is a novel idea for India….

R Balki tells us the story of Kia and Kabir. Kia (Kareena Kapoor) is a high flying marketing manager who meets Kabir (Arjun Kapoor) son of a reputed builder, in a flight and subsequently they fall in love and get married..But they were a different couple, where Kabir took the responsibility of taking care of the household chores and Kia took the responsibility of being the bread earner. The movie chronicles whether the love of Kia (Ki) and Kabir (Ka) remain intact in a role reversal of sorts in a society where a “Man” is supposed to be the bread earner and the “Woman” to be the support for the “Man”…

Story & Screenplay by R Balki has a new age feel, and depicts the characters accordingly whether it is Kia’s character of a high flying corporate executive who is ambitious and a go getter or Kabir who is today’s youth who does not have any qualms of adapting to the responsibilities of a house maker or Kia’s mothers character a modern day woman who is comfortable of his daughter being an ambitious go getter and her son-in-law being the house maker. Though the characters are extremely well etched but where the writing fails is its screenplay, Balki fails to create an interesting premise for these extremely strong characters. The screenplay is flat throughout the movie not peaking even once. Rather the screenplay looks like a collaborations of incidents in the couple’s life and their tiffs which does not add any meat to the screenplay. There is not a single scene which stands out from cinematic stand point. Overall the screenplay pulls down the film, and the concept loses its inherent novelty….

It is the dialogue which tries pull up the screenplay a bit through its witty and extremely realistic lingo. The dialogues are believable and blend well with the modern theme…especially all the dialogues pertaining to gender equality and relationship sound extremely natural and realistic, something which today’s viewers would connect to…

The biggest highlight of the movie is its crackling performances by the ensemble cast. Starting with Kareena Kapoor who plays the ever ambitious Kia, well it is good to see a remarkable performance from her after a long time. Kareena again proves her mettle with her portrayal of Kia; she keeps the complexity of the character subtle which brings the freshness in her performance. Arjun Kapoor as Kabir is the scene stellar; his portrayal is effortless and makes the character endearing and lovable through his performance. Arjun shows that he can portray a sensitive character even with his rugged look. But one thing that stands out is the apt chemistry of Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor, I just hope that someone should repeat the pair in a matured love story. It was a delight to see Swaroop Sampat after a long hiatus, and mind you she does not disappoint at all, rather she adds the panache to the movie. Swaroop Sampat’s performance is effortless and brings the necessary balance between the two principal characters beautifully; I hope film makers should cast her more often now. Rajit Kapoor as the Kabir’s businessman father has a small role but he shines with his portrayal of high handed businessman who disapproves his son’s approach to life. The cameo by Amitabh Bachchan & Jaya Bachchan is the biggest highlight of the movie, the banter between Jaya and Amitabh was cute, especially Amitabh’s sulking act won our hearts over. Rest of the support cast does not disappoint as well…

P C Sreeram yet again gives us brilliant cinematic visuals through his excellent camera work. Though with this movie which was shot substantially indoors the cinematographer had absolutely no scope to show his talent, but not with P C, he captures the love and chemistry with absolute élan…

Production Design by Rupin Suchak is innovative, especially the flat of the couple which looks like a railway station….something different from the usual home settings….

Music has never been a strong point in Balki’s movies, so is “Ki & Ka”…. Other than “High Heels” which is the revamped version of Yo Yo Honey Singh’s runaway hit and to some extent “Ji Hazoori” by Mithoon, other tracks are easily forgettable…

Just having a good concept does not suffice for a Good movie but it needs to be backed by a equally brilliant writing which unfortunately is the biggest flaw in R Balki’s screenplay, which is flat throughout the movie…But where Balki scores his getting some brilliant performances from the lead pair and other cast, something which he has been doing brilliantly in his previous movies as well. But Balki’s writing which was brilliant in “Cheeni Kum” and “Paa” was unfortunately seen missing in “Shamitabh” and in “Ki & Ka”, but knowing Balki we are sure he will bounce back with an excellent story again… till then give me “Paa” or “Cheeni Kum” anyday….

For its novel idea and brilliant performances I will give “Ki & Ka”….3 stars…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)


Movie Review: Rocky Handsome

Rocky Handsome: Too Brawny Less Brainy

Nishikant Kamat is recognized as a film maker who makes sensible cinema what with “Domibivili Fast”, “Mumbai Meri Jaan”, “Force”, “Lai Bhari” and “Drishyam” remake. “Force” was undoubtedly one of the most stylish and path breaking films of 2011, it actually established John Abraham as an action hero…Rocky Handsome Movie Review

With “Rocky Handsome”, Nishikant Kamat again comes together with John Abraham to re-create the magic of “Force” again. This time they choose to adapt the 2010 Korean hit “The Man From Nowhere”…. It tells the story of Kabir Ahlawat (John Abraham) a man with a past and who runs a Pawn shop in the by lanes of Goa, the only person he is close to is Natalie (Baby Divya Chalwad) a child who is his neighbour. Problem starts when the drug gang lord Kevin (Nishikant Kamat) kidnap Natalie and kills her mother Anna (Nathalie Kaur). Kabir goes onto a rampage against Kevin to find out Natalie, whether Kabir is able to find Natalie is what the story is all about….

Adapted by Ritesh Shah, the screenplay relies heavily on the action sequences, and fails in content. The first half struggles to set up a story and the movie oscillates from being a thriller and action movie. The back ground story of the principal character Kabir is never explored properly right till the end of the movie. Another issue of the movie is it tries to explore all crimes, right from Drugs to illegal organ trade to child trafficking and fails to focus on one making it a jamboree box. One of the main issues of the movie is that none of the characters are very well defined and hence the portrayal looks superfluous. It is said that the antagonist needs to be strong in any action packed movie, unfortunately the antagonist in “Rocky Handsome” look meek and the main protagonist looks like a super hero who can do anything. All the antagonists in the movie look like psychos, and it becomes dawn irritating after a point. Overall the screenplay looks more like a relay of action sequences placed one after another with no relevance to story or content…The dialogues unfortunately remain average keeping the movie flat….

Unfortunately the performances also lack the punch. John Abraham as Kabir Ahlawat has only one expression all throughout the movie and looks convincing only in action sequences where he is punching baddies black and blue. John just sleepwalks through his role making no impact. Nishikant Kamat as the baddie Kevin oscillates being serious and quirky at the same time and ends up half of the time hamming. Sharad Kelkar as the ANC officer impresses must say the actor has come a long way from TV soap operas to silver screen and making an impact as well. The one actor who melts your heart with her cute performance is Baby Divya Chalwad as Natalie, she actually overshadows John Abraham in a few scenes. Divya is definitely a impressive child protégé who has been introduced in Bollywood after a long time. Shruti Hasan in a song cameo looks beautiful…Rest of the cast like Nathalie Kaur, Kazu Patrick Tang, do an average job making no impact what so ever….

Well the real Hero of the movie is its action sequences by Kaecha Kampakdee & Sunil Rodrigues. The stunts are international quality with a lot of finesse though it quite gory at times… Cinematography by Shankar Raman is another highlight, he captures the action sequences as well as teh beautiful locales of Seychelles with equal finesse making the movie look good…

As far as the music goes there is only one song “Rehnuma” sung by Shreya Ghoshal & Inder Bawra and music scored by Sunny & Inder Bawra which is melodious….

Nishikant Kamat with “Rocky Handsome” gets the technical the technical aspect right with larger than life action sequences and an international look but fails in telling a story with finesse which has been his forte till now…

“Rocky Handsome” is your quintessential action saga which has more punches in the action sequences than in the content or performances…. I will go with 2 stars….

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Movie Review: Jai Gangaajal

Jai Gangaajal: Old wind in a new Bottle

Prakash Jha has been synonymous with realistic cinema especially with political background of Bihar. Prakash Jha did a comeback of sorts with “Gangaajal” in 2003 which was based on Bhagalpur blinding incidents and which became a big hit establishing Prakash Jha as a commercial film maker….Jai Gangaajal Movie Review

Jai Gangaajal is an extension of his “Gangaajal” which is based on the same premise of Police Force against corrupt politicians. But the main protagonist is now a female SP Abha Mathur who gets her first big posting in Bankipur district where the local politician Babloo Pandey (Manav Kaul) and his younger brother W Pandey (Ninad Kamat) rule and their atrocities are on the high what with the local police like B N Singh (Prakash Jha debuts in the film) who are hand in gloves with the local politician. The politician is into land mafia due to which the farmers are committing suicide. Is Abha Mathur able to bring justice to the people of Bankipur is what the rest of the movie all about…

Story & Screenplay written by Prakash Jha looks like a mesh mash of his previous films. The major issue of the movie is the main protagonist Abha Mathur’s character which is the weakest in the film and the supporting characters especially Inspector B N Singh over shadows the main protagonist. Rather the character Abha Mathur looks more like a supporting character. The first half is spent on establishing the story wherein there a flashes of some good sequences but in the second half the movie just looses itself and becomes more of sequence of killing and revenge with no concrete story line. The climax is so abrupt that you feel the writer Prakash Jha just wanted to end the movie somehow letting a lot of questions unanswered. Though the screenplay has its moments but it gives just a momentary high to the screenplay and it becomes flat again. One of the biggest flaw of “Jai Gangaajal” is that there nothing new and the movie is predictable. Another flaw is its run time of 158 mins which was too long for a predictable movie….

The dialogues also do not offer anything new and does not show any newness. The dialogues just like the screenplay remains flat. Overall a very disappointing effort in writing…

Maybe the writing is weak but Priyanka Chopra as SP Abha Mathur does complete justice to her character. At times she looked lost due to weak characterization. It is Prakash Jha as B N Singh who steals the show with his realistic portrayal and cool demeanour. Manav  Kaul as Babloo Pandey again repeats his act of “Wazir”, I think somewhere he is replicating his act which may lead to him being type cast. Ninad Kamat as W Pandey gives a brilliant performance of a tyrant who will not stop to get things done his way. Ninad get the rawness of his character right, definitely one of the best performances of the movie. Rest of the ensemble cast comprising of Kiran Karmakar, Murali Sharma, Jagat Singh Solanki, Vega Tamotia, Rahul Bhatt and the child actor Ayush Khedekar do a good job but it is the writing which pulls them down…

Somehow Prakash Jha the actor over shadowed Prakash Jha the director and writer. Somewhere you would feel that Prakash Jha’s intention to make “Jai Gangaajal” was more to launch himself as an actor. His brand of movies is getting repetitive and he needs to rediscover himself. His brilliance was at its peak with “Damul”, “Mrityudand”, “Gangaajal” & “Rajneeti”; we would love to see the same Prakash Jha again…

“Jai Gangaajal” deserves Two and a Half Stars….

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

Movie Review: Zubaan

Zubaan: Glitzy & Sparkling without A Soul

Zubaan Movie ReviewOff late “Coming of Age” theme movies have been quite common, “Zubaan” is an addition to that list of movies, and where “Zubaan” is different is its musical format…

Story of Mozez Singh narrates the story of Dilsher (Vicky Kaushal) who is the son of a singer who used to sing Gurubani in a gurudwara in Gurdaspur. Dilsher leaves music after his father’s untimely death and goes to Delhi to earn money and work under his idol, construction magnate Gurpreet Sikand (Manish Choudhary). Dilsher joins Sikand’s construction company which irks his son Surya Sikand (Raaghav Chanana) as Guru Sikand starts giving more importance to Dilsher than Surya. Dilsher meets Ameera (Sarah Jane Dias) in a party who is a free spirited girl and who is a proficient singer. They have instant liking for each other which upsets Surya more. Whether Dilsher achieves success against Surya’s wishes and becomes like his idol or does he re-discovers his love for music is what the movie all about…..

Screenplay by Mozez Singh & Sumit Roy tries a musical format as a narration for a story of ambition and greed but results in two tracks one a story of ambition and other the “Coming of Age” story which does not blend till the end which is the biggest flaw of the writing. The story of ambition and greed with construction as the background has more impact than the “Coming of Age” track. The writing comes out as confused as the lead character Dilsher. The characterization of the main lead Dilsher and Ameera is flawed due its inconsistency. Though other characters like Guru Sikand, Surya Sikand even Mandira Sikand are defined well. Another issue of the movie is its pace which is slow, especially due to the songs which does not blend with the narration and looks as if it has been added as an afterthought. The weakest is the love track of Dilsher and Ameera which is void of any chemistry. In one word the writing is very average without a soul…

Sumit Roy’s dialogues are also not that impactful which could have helped the otherwise flawed screenplay.

The biggest highlight of the movie is its performances, especially of Vicky Kaushal who plays Dilsher. Vicky proves that “Masaan” was not a fluke and that he is an actor to look forward to. His Punjabi dialect to his stammer is perfect, and his innocent yet shrewd portrayal is a cracker. Sarah Jane Dias as Ameera does not have much to do, other than adding the glamour quotient, but she does justice to whatever is given to her. Manish Choudhary, an actor who has been under utilized by Bollywood shows off his histrionics as Guru Sikand a shrewd businessman brilliantly. Another highlight performance of the movie is that of Raaghav Chanana as Surya Sikand, his not so confident and a perpetual loser, yet vulnerable portrayal takes your heart away at the end of the movie. Meghna Mallik as Mandira Sikand has a small but an impactful role which she does complete justice to. Rest of the cast also does a good job…

The second highlight of the movie is its music which is composed by an ensemble of music directors  Ashu Pathak, Ishq Bector, Shree D, Manraj Patar especially the tracks “Music is my Art”,“Ajj Saanu O Mileya” & “Kori Pukaar”….

The third highlight of the movie is its choreography by Uma Shankar & Gaiti Nair, special mention of “Music Is my Art”, “Kori Pukaar” which had the international dancers Les Twins, “Dhruvtara” & “Tu Hain Tera Khuda”…

The fourth highlight of the movie is its cinematography by Swapnil Sonawane which captures the country side of Punjab, the high society of Delhi and the barren desert of Rajasthan with equal finesse, making each frame picture perfect…

The Fifth highlight is Aki Narula’s costume design, which is subtle to over the top depending on the characters….

Mozez Singh gives us a technically brilliant movie with some great performances, soulful music, amazing cinematography, imaginative choreography but somewhere all this does not blend together due to its weak writing. Mozez Singh packages the movie well but misses the soul hence does not touch the hearts of the viewers….

Nevertheless a good effort….I will go with Three stars…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review: Tere Bin Laden Dead Or Alive

Tere Bin Laden Dead Or Alive: A half baked satire which could have been better

Tere-Bin-Laden-Dead-or-Alive Movie ReviewBollywood has not been too successful with sequels, excluding an off case of Munnabhai series wherein “Lage Raho Munnabhai” was better than the prequel…

“Tere Bin Laden” in 2010 was a surprise hit, wherein a satire was presented extremely well by director Abhishek Sharma. Actor Pradhuman Singh became famous as a Osama Bin Laden look alike…

I guess it was the success of the prequel which motivated the film maker to make a sequel. “Tere Bin Laden Dead or Alive” starts with the making of “Tere Bin Laden” by director Sharma (Manish Paul) who meets Paddi Singh (Pradhuman Singh) and decides to make a movie on Osama Bin Laden. The movie becomes a hit but all the accolades are taken by Ali Zafar the lead of the movie. Sharma & Paddi Singh is left high & dry. In the mean time America kills Osama Bin Laden and the world media ask its President (Iman Crosson) for the proof of Osama death. The president asks his associate David (Sikander Kher) to look out for a solution. David stumbles upon a video of the movie “Tere Bin Laden” and he comes up with an idea of shooting a video with the Osama look alike Paddi Singh wherein the entire sequence of Osama’s killing is shot. In the mean time an arms dealer in Pakistan Khaleeli (Piyush Mishra) whose business is down due to the killing of Osama Bin Laden also stumbles upon the video of “Tere Bin Laden” and he wants to kidnap Paddi Singh to make a video and show the world that Osama is alive. So what happens to Paddi Singh whether the Americans get him or the terrorists is what the movie is all about…

Story written by director Abhishek Sharma himself is a half baked satire and more of a mockery. The screenplay again written by Abhishek Sharma with Neha Sharma looks more like a mesh mash of sequences put together as a screenplay. The main issue of the writing is its flow which is not cohesive and every sequence looks dis-jointed. But we have to give to Abhishek & Neha who have been successful in putting in some punches which make you laugh like the “Olympia E Dahshat” sequence or the whole kidnapping sequence is hilarious. The first part excluding the beginning wherein too much time is spent on the making of “Tere Bin Laden” still holds on and you have enough laughs. It is the second half where the movie slips and the punches look repetitive and monotonous. The climax is actually extremely clumsy and does not end on high as its prequel. After the movie only three characters remain with you Paddi Singh, David and Khaleeli, rest of the characters does not have enough meat in the writing to create an impact. Overall a very average writing…

The dialogues by actor Pradhuman Singh try to lift the screenplay. I must say it is the dialogues which is the saving grace of the movie, especially that of Paddi Singh which gives you the laughs…

It is actor Pradhuman Singh as Paddi Singh who creates the maximum impact in the movie, though it is repeat act from the prequel but it does not look monotonous even a wee bit, all thanks to Pradhuman’s excellent performance. Another actor who makes an impact is Sikander Kher as David Chaddha, I think this is Sikander’s best film till date. Sikander gets enough screen time and does justice to it as well. Manish Paul as director Sharma fails to create an impact and looks lost, though he tried very hard but you can feel that his spontaneity which is seen more in his hosting is missing. Piyush Mishra as Khaleeli yet again proves what a brilliant actor he is, and also shows that he can excel in comedy as well. Rest of the cast like Sugnadha Garg, Iman Crosson, Rahul Singh, Chirag Vohra does not create too much of an impact. Ali Zaffar hams in his cameo which was completely not needed.

The production design by Wasiq Khan looks a tad shoddy and at times amateurish, I may say a bit over the top especially the choppers look like cardboard boxes… Cinematography by Amalendu Chaudhary also was inconsistent. Chandan Arora’s editing could have been better. Overall the technical aspect of the movie could have been better…

Music by Ram Sampath & Ali Zaffar fails to impress….

Abhishek Sharma had a brilliant concept and idea but somehow fails to implement both in the sense of engaging script and technical finesse, but where he wins brownie points is getting crackling performance by Pradhuman Singh, Sikander Kher & Piyush Mishra…

It won’t be too much to say that the movie is worth a watch for Chaddi Singh a.k.a Pradhuman Singh, I will go with Two & Half a stars….

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