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Movie Review: xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage
Sat, 14 Jan 17 09:31:18 +0000

<img class="aligncenter wp-image-687498 size-full" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/XXX-1.jpg" alt="XXX-1" width="750" height="450" /> After the initial lull at the beginning of the year, we finally see the release of big ticket films. The first of which for the year being the Vin Diesel actioner XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE. But will the film which is the third instalment in the XXX franchise woo the audience? Will the fact that the film features one of Bollywood most sought after names, Deepika Padukone, top lining its cast entice the Indian audience is what we analyse. XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE starts off with the extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), long thought to be dead coming out of a self-imposed exile to assist the CIA, in tracking down the killer of his erstwhile handler Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson). While on this mission, Cage realizes he is in a race against Xiang (Donnie Yen) to recover a powerful weapon known as ‘Pandora's Box’ which can control military satellites which could cause catastrophic damage. Recruiting a group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself caught up in a deadly conspiracy of corruption among world governments including insiders in his own country's government. Will he manage to recover ‘Pandora’s Box’, will Cage and his motley crew survive the onslaught of government agents sent to kill them, is what forms the rest of the story. First things first, if you expect this film to be anything like the previous ones in the franchise, you will be disappointed. Unlike the previous films that featured action sequences right from the word go, XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE starts off with the introduction of each character that will later play an important role in the film. In fact, though necessary, this introductory sequence that prolongs almost till the interval makes for a rather bland watch with more verbal banter than action. Director DJ Caruso has tried to liven things up a bit with some humour but the dismal screenplay, lacklustre story line and sub-par dialogues severely dent the audiences’ interest. However, coming to the second half, we finally get into action mode that features some high octane stunts, well executed hand to hand combat and of course massive explosions. Though the action keeps you gripped, it is not as impactful as the adrenalin pumping sequences that we saw in the first two films which literally kept the viewer on the edge of his seat. Coming to the performances, XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE mainly focuses on Vin Diesel as the central character Xander Cage. While Cage’s past is already known, Diesel still does a convincing job of following the script that gives a brief of who he really was. In fact, despite the rather bland verbal tack provided, Diesel does manage to make his character enjoyable. As for the rest of the cast, given that the film revolves around one individual mainly, they are relegated to supporting roles. However, from them, Nina Dobrev as Becky Clearidge, the CIA techie, brings in a bit of light-hearted moments. Her portrayal of an endlessly chatty tech genius goes a long way in adding that bit of humour to the script. Ruby Rose as Adele Wolff a sharp shooter who literally never misses is perfect in her limited role. Coming to our very own Deepika Padukone, we must say that though cast in a supporting role, she features from the first opening sequence of the film right till the end. Seen as Serena Unger, a master thief and a rather flexible personality, Deepika does justice to her role. However, there are times when her non-American or English accent literally throws the viewer off. In fact, despite seeing her on screen and knowing fully well that she will not feature the usual accents you hear in an American film, the viewer receives a jolt when she first speaks. DJ Caruso seems to have paid special attention integrating her character well into the story of the film. As for the visuals, like most action films, XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE features quite a bit of the usual fanfare, albeit with that extra bit of spunk to make it look ‘Dope’. However, the slow verbally heavy first half leaves a lot to be desired. On the whole, XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE makes for a good one time watch. At the Indian box office, the film stands a good chance of posting decent box office figures given the action genre, Vin Diesel and Deepika Padukone's star power and the fact that it's releasing in Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu.

Movie Review: Ok Jaanu
Fri, 13 Jan 17 08:52:16 +0000

<img class="size-full wp-image-687234 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Ok-Jaanu-1-1.jpg" alt="Ok Jaanu-1" width="750" height="450" /> With the advent of the year 2017, there have been films which have been queued up for release. This year’s first big release comes in the form of OK JAANU that stars Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor in the lead roles. Will the duo be able to recreate the magic that’s required for the audiences to give thumbs up and say ‘OK’ to the film, or will they fail in their attempt, let’s analyze. OK JAANU is a love story about a young couple’s live-in relationship and the ups and downs that they face in their respective lives. The film starts off with the ‘alighting’ of Aditya Gunjal aka Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and the ‘suicidal threat’ of Tara Agnihotri (Shraddha Kapoor). As luck would have it, these two rank strangers (Adi and Tara) bump into each other at a common friend’s wedding and hit off from there. Right from the word go, both, Adi and Tara are extremely clear about what they want from their respective lives. While Adi wants to make it big as a video game developer, Tara, wants to learn architecture is Paris. Despite being career oriented, Adi and Tara start enjoying each other’s company very much. At the same time, they are in unison with the fact that, despite being in love, they will not get married, for their personal reasons. A few days of knowing each other, Tara moves in to stay with Adi, who is himself living as a house guest with Gopi Shrivastava (Naseeruddin Shah) and his Alzheimer affected wife Charu Shrivastava (Leela Samson) in Mumbai. One fine day, while Adi gets a call to work in USA and Tara decides to go to Paris, they realise that they will be missing each other’s company. On the other hand, when Adi and Tara see the tender love that prevails between Gopi and Charu, the world around them seems to change from practical to emotional. Will Adi and Tara choose love over their careers or will it be the other way round, what happens of Gopi and Charu’s lives in the end, do Adi and Tara change their perspective about marriage and eventually get married or will they remain single throughout, is what forms the rest of the film. When the promos of OK JAANU were released, it gave a feel about the film attempting a modern day love story revolving around the aspect of live in relationships. The sad part is that, in reality, the film's screenplay (Mani Ratnam) turns out to be confusing, extremely plain and going in one direction (read ‘monotonous’) minus any variations. Because of this, the film loses its pace completely. In a nutshell, OK JAANU seems to be riding only on its moments rather than having a definite story. Despite the film being targeted majorly at the young and young at heart, the narrative tends to get confusing at times as it just keeps going round and round in circles. The film’s dialogues (Gulzar) are decent, if not outstanding. Thankfully though, the film’s dialogues do not resort to any over the top dialoguebaazi. OK JAANU, which happens to be the official remake of the hit Tamil film O KADHAL KANMANI, has been directed by Shaad Ali. After having directed the disastrous Ranveer Singh-Ali Zafar-Parineeti Chopra starrer KILL DIL, Shaad Ali returns with OK JAANU. Even though Shaad Ali exhibits sincerity with his direction, one cannot help noticing the fact that the film is many ways seems like a rehash of SAATHIYA. On the whole, Shaad Ali fails to build a convincing story with OK JAANU. However, thanks to Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor’s performances, the audience stays glued to the screen. While the film’s first half sets the ambience and the mood of the film, it’s the film’s second half that actually gets the film going. The flip side of the film’s second half is that, the climax looks way too thrusted and dragged in order to highlight the simple aspect of realisation of love between the lead characters. The biggest letdown, however, is the film’s writing. It’s the film’s writing gets convoluted and confused trying to address the concepts of love, live-in relationships and career. In an attempt to do so, the film goes astray, thus, not doing justice to any of the above-mentioned aspects. <img class="size-full wp-image-687235 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Ok-Jaanu-2.jpg" alt="Ok Jaanu-2" width="750" height="450" /> The film, however, does have its share of funny moments in the form of scenes like Aditya Roy Kapur’s brother’s arrival in Mumbai and his reaction when Shraddha’s mother reaches his house; also Shraddha Kapoor’s pranks of suggesting engagement and the maternity hospital scene. It is moments like these which keep the movie alive. Coming to the performances, OK JAANU portrays a good chemistry between Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor. Readers may recall that, prior to OK JAANU, Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor were paired together in AASHIQUI 2, which was a hit at the Box-Office. OK JAANU only enhances the onscreen chemistry that Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor had shared in AASHIQUI 2. Aditya Roy Kapur plays his part well, though he struggles with the emotional scenes. His portrayal of an urban career oriented boy who is madly in love, is very believable. Shraddha Kapoor, on the other hand, plays her part with extreme conviction and ease. What really takes the cake is the chemistry between Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor. The veteran actors Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson, on the other hand, play their part with utmost ease. Theirs is the old school classic love that lasts forever. In fact there are times when their story overshadows that of Aditya and Shraddha’s even. The casting of the other character actors is equally good. Despite the presence of tracks like <em>‘Humma humma’</em> and the title track, OK JAANU’s music (A. R. Rahman) is extremely average. The picturisation of the 90s hit song ‘<em>Humma humma’</em> seems forced into the film. Ironically, the film’s background music (A. R. Rahman) is impressive and ‘in sync’ with the film’s narrative. The film's cinematography (Ravi K. Chandran) is good. The way in which he has shot the locations of Mumbai is top-notch. The film’s editing (A. Sreekar Prasad) is decent. On the whole, OK JAANU is a decent love story which works only in parts mainly because of the chemistry between Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor. At the box-office, the film will mainly appeal to the youth, as it makes for a decent date movie.

Movie Review: Dangal
Wed, 21 Dec 16 17:44:03 +0000

<p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg"><img class="size-full wp-image-681465 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Review-1.jpg" alt="Review-1" width="750" height="450" /></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">Aamir Khan -- the name is synonymous with dedication, perfection and qualitative cinema… His films have set new benchmarks at the ticket windows: GHAJINI was the first Hindi film to gross Rs 100 cr… 3 IDIOTS created a sensation when it crossed Rs 200 cr mark [it was the first Hindi film to cross the magical figure]… PK, the highest grosser to date in the domestic market [Hindi films], was also the first film to cruise past Rs 300 cr…</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">Obviously, DANGAL carries colossal expectations on its shoulders. The last biggie of the year 2016 is also expected to bail out the industry, since 2016 hasn’t been kind to Hindi cinema. The biz is at an all-time low, with most films sinking faster than Titanic.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">Let’s clarify a pertinent doubt before I proceed ahead… DANGAL is *not* similar to SULTAN. There’s a world of a difference between the two films that eye the same sport: Wrestling. SULTAN was a work of fiction, with focus on the love story, while DANGAL is based on the true story of Mahavir Singh Phogat, who trained his daughters Geeta and Babita and made them world class wrestlers. So there!</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">2016 has witnessed stories based on real-life characters/incidents. In addition, films soaked in reality, generally speaking, take the realistic route without bowing to market diktats or over-stretching realities. DANGAL stays true to the material, yet its efficient storyteller Nitesh Tiwari along with the team of writers [story idea: Divya Rao; writers: Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Mehrotra] ensures that the film connects with every segment of moviegoers. Besides, the writers stay away from the familiar and tried-and-tested tropes to woo Aamir’s legion of fans, which is credible.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">DANGAL is a flawless piece of work -- it’s captivating, unpredictable, spellbinding, entertaining and never overstays its welcome [run time: 2.41 hours]. Most importantly, DANGAL is seeped in Indian ethos. The highs and lows, the triumphs and failures, the laughter and heartbreak… you smile, you laugh, you weep, you cheer, you feel ecstatic… DANGAL encompasses it all adroitly, with the finale leaving you exhilarated.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">The plot: Mahavir Singh Phogat [Aamir Khan] is a wrestler whose sole dream is to win gold for India in the sport of wrestling and since he is unable to do so himself, he decides that he will train his son to become a champion. However, Mahavir is blessed with daughters and feels his dream of winning a medal for India lies shattered.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">One day, Mahavir gets to know that his young daughters have had an altercation with neighbourhood boys and bashed them black and blue. That’s when he realises that his dream of winning a gold medal for the country in wrestling could be achieved by his daughters. Mahavir decides to train his young daughters into world class wrestlers.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">The girls are reluctant initially and find it tough to cope with the gruelling training sessions, but soon become proficient in the sport. Will Geeta and Babita manage to fulfil their father’s dream?</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">After having directed CHILLAR PARTY and BHOOTHNATH RETURNS, Nitesh Tiwari delivers his most accomplished work so far. Most films take a long time to come to the point, but the middle and final acts of DANGAL are as attention-grabbing and enticing as its first act. Tiwari deserves brownie points for narrating the story with flourish and the message that the film conveys resonates loud and clear, without getting preachy at any point. The narrative style is simplistic, yet solid and that’s what catches your eye.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg"><img class="size-full wp-image-681466 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Review-2.jpg" alt="Review-2" width="750" height="450" /></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg"><span class="x_gmail_msg">Emotions have always been the mainstay of Aamir Khan’s films and DANGAL is no exception. They are genuine and relatable. Besides, there’s a strong emotional connect as DANGAL depicts the delicate relationship shared by a father and his daughters most realistically. The drama is spot-on and the emotional quotient is poignant and heartrending. The penultimate moments take the </span><span class="x_gmail_msg">film to an all-time high, imparting the sheen and sparkle that it deserves.</span></p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">Pritam contributes a couple of winning melodies that compliment the goings-on delightfully. ‘Haanikaarak Bapu’, ‘Dhaakad’, ‘Gilehriyaan’ and the title track are already well-liked and the best part is, they have been smartly integrated into the proceedings. The background score is effectual and enhances the impact of the drama. The DoP [Setu] deserves tremendous praise. The frames do complete justice to the vision of the director. Dialogue empowers the film wonderfully and at places, are clap-worthy.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">The wrestling sequences are superbly executed. Be it the training sessions or the <i>dhobi-pachhad</i>s or vanquishing the opponents in the <i>akhada</i> and in the ring, it’s a delight to watch these sequences on screen. Will surely evoke whistles and applause. Editing [Ballu Saluja] is razor-sharp and watertight. There’s no room for restlessness or boredom here.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">DANGAL is, without a shred of doubt, an Aamir Khan show all the way. The supremely skilled actor returns after a hiatus [PK] with yet another sterling act that doesn’t miss a beat. He takes giant strides as an actor and gives the film the much-needed power. His expressions, body language and the much-talked-about transformation from a fit and fine young wrestler to a pot-bellied, middle-aged father speak volumes. Another commanding performance that needs to be highlighted is that of Sakshi Tanwar. She compliments Aamir’s character marvellously, displaying the varied emotions seamlessly.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">Both, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra inject freshness to their respective characters. Fatima is fantastic as Aamir’s daughter, who makes her father and nation proud of her achievements. She is in top form. Ditto for Sanya, who makes her debut with DANGAL. The ease with which she portrays her role is applaud-worthy. As a matter of fact, the relationship that Fatima and Sanya share with their on-screen parents [Aamir and Sakshi] seems straight out of life and identifiable.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">The actors who portray their younger parts -- Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar -- excel. Frankly, one is so invested in the characters that it makes it easy to root for them as they go from strength to strength during the course of the film.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">Aparshakti Khurrana is an actor to watch out for. Enacting the part of Aamir's nephew, the youngster not only contributes immensely to some lively and wonderful moments, but also delivers a first-rate performance. Ritwik Sahore [Aparshakti's younger part] is equally efficient. Girish Kulkarni [coach] is, again, a hugely competent actor, who shines in his part. Vivan Bhathena, in a cameo, is perfect.</p> <p class="x_MsoNormal x_gmail_msg">On the whole, DANGAL is a masterpiece. A terrific film that stays in your heart and remains etched in your memory much after the screening has concluded. A brilliant film that restores your faith in Hindi cinema. Actually, it won’t be erroneous to state that DANGAL is the finest film to come out of the Hindi film industry in a long, long time and mark my words, it will be remembered as a classic in times to come. It blends drama, emotions, sportsmanship and patriotism extraordinarily… the icing on the cake being Aamir Khan’s towering act. This rich-in-merits film has a major advantage too -- the holidays ahead [Christmas and New Year] -- which will ensure a glorious run at the ticket counters. A must, must watch!</p>

Movie Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Fri, 16 Dec 16 09:58:27 +0000

<img class="size-full wp-image-679847 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Rogue-One-A-Star-Wars-Story-1-1.jpg" alt="Rogue One A Star Wars Story-1" width="750" height="450" /> Over the years the STAR WARS franchise has developed a cult fan following across the globe. After last year’s release STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS which was the sixth instalment in the franchise; we see the release of a parallel film in the same segment with ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY hitting screens. But will the new film, whose story runs parallel to the STAR WARS world entice the audience is what we analyse. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, or simply ROGUE ONE, that promises to be an epic space opera film is the first Star Wars Anthology film that features a standalone story set shortly before the events of the original STAR WARS. The story follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), daughter of a high ranking Imperial scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) who hides away as the Imperial forces arrive to recruit her father to help them assemble their weapon. Hidden away from the clutches of the Imperial forces, Jyn is raised by Saw Gerrera (Forrest Whitaker). However given the circumstances Jyn lands up among the prisoners on one of the Imperial labour camps. But fate has much bigger things instore for Jyn as she is rescued by the Rebellion and whisked away to their headquarters. Once there she learns that an Imperial cargo pilot has defected and is being held by Saw Gerrera. Jyn opts to assist the Rebellion seek an audience with Saw, in exchange for her freedom. But on arriving at Saw’s hideout, she learns of a message her father sent, which sets the wheels in motion for a bigger plot that sends a group of Rebel spies on a mission to steal design schematics for the Galactic Empire's new superweapon, the Death Star. ROGUE ONE starts off with an introduction quite like the STAR WARS (SW) franchise that promises the viewers a memorable space odyssey across lightyears. Keeping true to the other SW films, ROGUE ONE too features plenty of things happening on the screen. In fact by the end of the film there are high chances that viewers will be left with a somewhat tired feeling with all the movements. If that wasn’t all, the film also features well executed action sequences across the vast expanse of space and the beautiful beaches with some Jedi action as well. Besides the action ROGUE ONE also boasts of some stunning visual spectacles that will leave the viewer in awe. From massive spaceships suddenly appearing from the void after a hyperspace jump to well executed aerial dog fights between the Rebellion and Imperial aircrafts, the visuals are gripping. Given the performances we have seen in the STAR WARS films, this one too features good performances from the cast. Felicity Jones does a commendable job with her role as Jyn Eros; though her dialogues are limited she manages to make an impact with her characterisation. Diego Luna as Cassian Andor fits his character perfectly, while Forrest Whitaker given his acting prowess is greatly underutilized. But, despite this director Gareth Edwards comes across as a man who clearly understands his craft of what makes for a great film. In fact Edwards brings even Donnie Yen’s supporting character of Chirrut Îmwe alive adding a much needed comedic relief to the plot. On the whole, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY makes for a fun watch, with special introductory scenes of key characters from the main STAR WARS franchise that are definitely not to be missed. Though the film is a bit predictable for those who have followed the franchise and does get a bit draggy in the middle, the short time frame and captivating 3D more than make up for it. At the Indian box office, considering the film's limited release and lack of publicity, it will face an uphill task of recording impressive collections.

Movie Review: Wajah Tum Ho
Fri, 16 Dec 16 08:55:28 +0000

<img class="size-full wp-image-679834 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Wajah-Tum-Ho-1-1.jpg" alt="Wajah Tum Ho-1" width="750" height="450" /> With the year 2016 almost coming to an end, Bollywood has seen films of almost every genre in the year gone by. This week sees the release of WAJAH TUM HO, a film that belongs to the thriller genre. Will this film ‘become the reason’ for its makers to smile their way to the bank, lets analyze. WAJAH TUM HO is a film that mirrors the battle between money and power <em>vis a vis</em> love and emotions. The film starts off with the gruesome murder of a corrupt cop ACP Ramesh Sarnaik. Besides murdering him mercilessly, the entire ‘episode’ of the murder gets telecasted on GTN (Global Times Network), whose CEO happens to be the highly influential Rahul Oberoi (Rajneesh Duggal). As a part of the proceedings, a sincere Inspector Kabir Deshmukh (Sharman Joshi) enters the scene as the Investigating Officer, who spares no space for doubts in the case. Because the entire murder was telecasted live on GTN channel, Kabir suspects it to be a handiwork of Rahul in thirst of TRPs for his channel. On the other hand, Rahul Oberoi’s case gets represented by his extremely able legal head Sia (Sana Khan). Sia happens to be in love with lawyer Ranveer Bajaj (Gurmeet Choudhary), who also happens to be Kabir’s helping hand in the complicated case. After all the hitches and twists, just when Inspector Kabir thinks that he has been able to crack the murder case, two more people get murdered in the similar fashion as ACP Sarnaik. Despite the best of ‘legal brains’ on the job, the case simply refuses to get solved. Day after day, the case gets further complicated. Who are the other two people who get murdered and why, what ultimately happens to the love story between Sia and Ranveer and does Inspector Kabir become successful in solving all the cases is what forms the rest of the film's story. It is the film’s screenplay (Vishal Pandya, Sammeer Arora) which is gripping in parts. The unexpected thrills and chills not just enhance the screenplay, but also elevate the mood of the film. The film's dialogues (Rashmi Virag) are simple and lucid, without resorting to any over-the-top lingo. In the same breath, a handful of dialogues do come across as cheesy and corny. Though one may find humour missing in the film, the film does have its share of (unintentional and situational) comedy, but, in minuscule proportion. After having directed films like HATE STORY 2 and HATE STORY 3, Vishal Pandya returns with a decent product in the form of WAJAH TUM HO. He does a good job in putting together the whodunit murder mystery in WAJAH TUM HO. Without resorting to any beating around the bush tactics, Vishal Pandya dives into the subject from the first scene itself. The film’s tight and gripping first half sets the mood and pace of the film. The film starts sliding down in the second half (specifically in the last 20 minutes) of the otherwise decent film. The film’s mystery remains intact and intriguing till the nail biting revelation. The revelation will keep the audiences guessing about the ultimate mastermind behind all the murders till the end. Even though WAJAH TUM HO may not keep you at the edge of your seat, it does keep you intrigued through its run time. Full points to Vishal Pandya for not just having built the film’s mounting suspense, but also for executing it decently. <img class="size-full wp-image-679835 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Wajah-Tum-Ho-2-1.jpg" alt="Wajah Tum Ho-2" width="750" height="450" /> As for the performances, the film harbours itself on the able shoulders of the ever-so-reliable Sharman Joshi, who forms the pillar of the film. After having done a decent role in 1920 LONDON (which released earlier this year), Sharman Joshi gives yet another good performance in WAJAH TUM HO. While on one hand, he exhibits his toughness as a no-nonsense cop, at the same time, he does full justice to his ‘role’ of a loving and caring single father. He is followed a close second by the beautiful and confident Sana Khan. After having starred in the forgettable JAI HO, Sana Khan bounces back with a poised and dignified performance in WAJAH TUM HO. However, despite having a good and convincing screen presence, Sana does need to rework on her styling and body if she aims to be a Bollywood movie star. With his last film (BEIIMAAN LOVE) not doing well at the Box-Office, Rajneesh Duggal and his fans must have definitely pinned all their hopes on WAJAH TUM HO. Rajneesh Duggal does not disappoint with his role in WAJAH TUM HO. He delivers a restrained performance and does complete justice to what was expected of him in the film. Gurmeet Choudhary, on the other hand does a decent and a ‘more prominent’ job in WAJAH TUM HO. He should be doing more challenging roles like this one in order to be in the Bollywood race. His chemistry with Sana Khan (mostly in the songs) is something that needs to be seen in order to be believed. Even though the entire film rests on the shoulders of the aforementioned cast, other cast members also do a decent job in taking the film forward. The film boasts of some excellent music (Mithoon, Abhijit Vaghani, Meet Bros). Songs like the title track, ‘<em>Dil Mein Chhupa Loonga’ </em>and<em> ‘Dil Ke Paas’ </em>are already a rage all over. The visuals of the film only complement the tracks. One does feel though that the integration of <em>‘Maahi Ve’ </em>is a bit forced in the film’s narrative. The film’s background score is taut and complements the film. While the film boasts of decent cinematography (Prakash Kutty), the film’s editing (Manish More) is decent. The film could have been a tight thriller had the last 20 minutes of the film been chopped off. On the whole, WAJAH TUM HO is a decent whodunit thriller with good amount of oomph, masala and entertainment value.

Movie Review: Befikre
Fri, 09 Dec 16 07:53:26 +0000

<p style="text-align: justify;"><img class="size-full wp-image-678019 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Befikre-1-2.jpg" alt="Befikre-1" width="750" height="450" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Ever since the inception of the Yash Raj Films banner (YRF), almost every film of theirs is a celebration in itself. After having made his debut as a director with the blockbuster film DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE, Aditya Chopra went onto make a handful of films, which too turned out to be box-office successes. After having directed RAB NE BANA DI JODI, Aditya Chopra returns to direction after 8 long years with the coming-of-age film titled BEFIKRE, which releases this week. Will BEFIKRE turn out to be a ‘carefree’ hit at the Box-Office, or will it be a matter to worry about for its makers, let’s analyze.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">BEFIKRE, which celebrates being carefree in love, is a story about a couple’s ups and downs and their ultimate realization of love. The film starts off with a stereotyped break up scene between Dharam (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra (Vaani Kapoor) which ends up with Dharam calling Shyra a ‘slut’, which hurts her the most. This is followed by a flashback of events which mirrors their yesterday and connects it with their today. The flashback sees a young and carefree Dharam landing up in Paris at the behest of his friend, who gives him a job of a stand-up comedian in his night club. On one of the party-hopping spree, Dharam meets a tour guide Shyra, a French girl of Indian origin. A couple of casual encounters later, the strong minded Dharam and Shyra decide to have a live in relationship, vowing not to say ‘stupid’ things like ‘I love you’, because it will put an end to their carefree lives. Even when they break up with each other, they even land up celebrating that as well. All is well till the time a smart and well educated Anya (Armaan Ralhan) enters Shyra’s life. After a few meetings and partying with Shyra, Anya proposes marriage to her. When Dharam gets to know about Shyra’s marriage, he shocks Shyra by announcing his marriage to a French girl Christine. What happens after that, are a series of events that changes everyone’s equation with each other. What are the events that change the course of their lives, do Shyra and Dharam ever break their rule and mouth the three magic words to each other, who does Shyra choose ultimately between Dharam and Anya, is what forms the rest of the story.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">When BEFIKRE’s promos were released, while the film resembled to be a kiss-fest, it did not give out even an ounce of the plot. While BEFIKRE may come across as an original piece of work, one can’t help overlook the similarities with the French film LOVE ME IF YOU DARE. Even though such unusual concepts are unfamiliar to the Indian audiences’ taste and sensitivity, full marks to Aditya Chopra for having presented BEFIKRE in a very novel manner. While it may resonate well with the youth of today, the traditional audiences might find it shocking to digest.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The film's screenplay (Aditya Chopra) is a coming-of-age, fast paced, entertaining and has more to it than just the kisses, dares and frivolous one-night stands. The characterisations in the film are strong and the dares form the highpoint of the enterprise. What keeps the audiences hooked to their seats is the fact that each of the dares keep on becoming more audacious and adventurous than the previous ones (even though they are a part of a song and not the extended screenplay). The film's dialogues (Aditya Chopra, Sharat Katariya) are funny, romantic, naughty, heartfelt and poignant... all at the same time. It will surely find its resonance with the audiences (esp. the Gen-Next). Even though the French dialogues in certain portions might act as a hindrance, it remains true to the ethos of the script.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><img class="size-full wp-image-678020 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Befikre-3-2.jpg" alt="Befikre-3" width="750" height="450" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">After having directed films like DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE (DDLJ), MOHABBATEIN and RAB NE BANA DI JODI, Aditya Chopra returns to direction yet again with BEFIKRE. For him, the film is a total tectonic shift from his DDLJ days, where traditions and old age theme ruled the roost. It won’t be wrong to say that Aditya Chopra had completely reinvented himself with BEFIKRE, which is a fun entertainer with basic Indian values. The film is about how you can retain your ‘Indian-ness’, and, yet be a global citizen and find goodness in cultural values of other countries. On the whole, Aditya Chopra gives one more reason as to why he is one of the best story tellers in Bollywood today. While the film’s first half does not have even a single dull moment and is lively, it’s the second half that dips a bit (more towards when Anya gets introduced in the story). But the unpredictably silly, yet, hilarious climax more than makes up for the same. Do not miss scenes like the pre climax sangeet, Ranveer Singh searching for ‘corn flake’, Karaoke sessions between Ranveer, Vaani and Arman.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As for the performances, the film rides majorly on the (sturdy) shoulders of Ranveer Singh, who has time and again, reinvented himself with every passing film. Besides his perfect comic timing, the energy and the freshness that he brings to the screen is extremely infectious. After having played a serious character in the historic last film BAJIRAO MASTANI, Ranveer Singh takes a complete U-turn as far as his character in BEFIKRE is concerned. He not only lives upto the film’s title, but also justifies every ounce of the character. The best part about him is that, he is unlike any other star and just believes in being himself, which is what makes him unique. On the other hand, after having debuted with SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE, Vaani Kapoor exhibits her screen presence in BEFIKRE with élan and style. She not just complements Ranveer Singh’s character in the film, but also, walks shoulder to shoulder with him as far as performances are concerned. There are scenes wherein, besides coming across as a super-confident girl, she looks super hot. She is not at all camera shy and displays her body with utmost ease. Armaan Ralhan is definitely a find of the film. Rest of the characters in the film help to carry the film forward.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The music (Vishal-Shekhar) of BEFIKRE goes well with the spirit and theme of the film. Despite the album having half a dozen tracks, the snappy duration of the film’s soundtrack (26 minutes) helps it fit in extremely well into the film’s narrative. The film’s soundtrack is, by far, one of the best soundtracks of the year. Tracks like ‘<em>Nashe Di’ </em>and<em> ‘Ude Dil Befikre’ </em>are already a rage all over. The film’s background score (Mikey McCleary) helps film’s proceedings in a big way.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The film's cinematography (Kaname Onoyama) is outstanding. The way in which he has shot the locations (esp. Paris) are extremely superlative and top-notch. In other words, BEFIKRE looks like a blatant promotional exercise of French Tourism. The film's editing (Namrata Rao) is crisp and bang-on.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On the whole BEFIKRE is an urban youth centric fun entertainer with a new age theme which will find patronage with the youth. At the Box- Office, it will be loved and appreciated by the target audience. The masses might find the subject bold and shocking; however, they will be in a minority to make any sizeable impact to its box office prospects. A Sure-shot winner all the way.</p>

Movie Review: Moana
Fri, 02 Dec 16 04:41:57 +0000

<p style="text-align: justify;"><img class="size-full wp-image-675892 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Moana-2016-Disney-1.jpg" alt="Moana-2016-Disney-1" width="750" height="450" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Over the years, the mega production house Disney once synonymous for its ‘Princess’ films diversified into offering different cinema. Now after the 2013 film FROZEN that introduced a new Disney princess named Elsa, we see Disney reveal yet another princess of sorts with MOANA.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Basically, Moana, an animated musical fantasy adventure film featuring the voices of Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Tudyk, tells the story of Moana, the strong-willed daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe, who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess. When blight strikes her island, making coconuts rot on the trees and fishing boats return empty, Moana sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod responsible for this disaster, and hopes to save her people. But will the film that sets up a whole new world work with the audience is what we analyse.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">MOANA starts off with the story of Maui (Dwayne Johnson) a demigod of the wind and seas who with a magical hook manages to pull islands out of the sea, ending up stealing the heart of Te Fiti, an island goddess who created life. With her heart gone, the darkness sets in, laying waste to the living while slowly spreading across the world. In the meantime, Moana Waialiki (Auli'i Cravalho), a sea voyaging enthusiast, and the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators, leads an idyllic life oblivious to the fate that is headed her way. When the darkness starts to encroach on her island, whose chief Moana is set to become, the Young Turk must set off on an epic journey to find the heart of Te Fiti, locate Maui and replace the heart.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Right from the start, the viewer is thrown into a make believe animated world where everything seems more colourful if not larger than life. The breath taking visuals combined with the unworldly powers possessed by the shapeshifting demigod Maui to the humble upbringings and simple life led by Moana in her village, the film covers every aspect that the story encompasses. Though characters are introduced as they come on screen, directors John Musker and Ron Clements do a commendable job of keeping the introductory sequences short and within the framework of the film, thus taking the story forward.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Being an animation film, the makers of MOANA had ample opportunity to play around with the scope of the story. Unlike animated films that usually tend to overdo the special effects, MOANA keeps it simple with sweeping visuals that gather pace to build the crescendo for an action packed climax. In fact the animation of the character seems rather realistic with good use of conventional physics to lend weight and depth to the characters. Another high point for the film’s visuals is the development of liquid. Though recreating the mannerisms of liquid in CGI is a tough task, the makers of MOANA have done well, from high cresting waves to big splashes; they manage to capture the awe inspiring oceans very well.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Coming to the voice overs, Auli'i Cravalho all of 17 years does a marvellous job as Moana. A huge round of applause and a definite tip of the hat for the young girl as she not only voices her character with aplomb, but also lends mesmerising vocals to the songs in the film. Dwayne Johnson as the shapeshifting demigod Maui brings his character to life with vocals that perfectly capture the essence of his role. From being the self-indulgent demigod to his humbling revelation, Johnson stuns with his vocal gamut. Apart from that, he also doubles up as good singer managing to pull off a few high notes with ease.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On the whole, MOANA makes for a fun watch with quick paced visuals, pleasing music, catchy songs and relatable characters. But, considering that the film targets mainly the kids and has references to Maui culture a plenty, the film despite having a target audience, will have to rely heavily on positive word of mouth to post good box office figures in India.</p>

Movie Review: Kahaani 2
Thu, 01 Dec 16 19:24:52 +0000

<img class="size-full wp-image-675852 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Kahaanirew-1.jpg" alt="Kahaanirew-1" width="750" height="450" /> <p style="text-align: justify;">This week sees the release of yet another film sequel at the Bollywood box office. This time round, it’s the sequel of the 2012 whodunit film KAHAANI. Titled KAHAANI 2: DURGA RANI SINGH, it stars Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal in the lead roles. But will KAHAANI 2: DURGA RANI SINGH turn out to be a successful ‘story’ at the box-office, or will it turn turtle, let’s analyze.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Boundscript Motion Pictures and Pen India Limited’s KAHAANI 2: DURGA RANI SINGH is a whodunit thriller that traces a mother’s journey in the life of her child, the importance of a child in a mother’s life and vice versa. The film starts off with a day in the life of Vidya Sinha (Vidya Balan), which oscillates between her wheel chair ridden daughter Mini (Naisha Khanna/Tunisha Sharma) and her office (in that order). One day she returns home from her office to find her house empty and her darling daughter Mini missing. Soon after she receives an image of her daughter bound and gagged, along with a phone call from an unknown number stating that her daughter has been kidnapped and that she should reach a stipulated spot if she wants to save her daughter. A visibly distorted Vidya wastes no time and rushes to the said spot. On the way, she meets with an untimely accident, which lands her in a coma. There enters the ‘promotion hungry’ police officer Sub-Inspector Inderjeet Singh (Arjun Rampal), who is the officer in charge of the case. While investigating, he gets hold of Vidya’s personal diary (in which she has written about all the events involving her and Mini), which shakes his world completely. When Inderjeet Singh reaches the hospital to meet Vidya Sinha, he gets a shock of his life when he discovers that Vidya Sinha’s face is an exact replica of a person he knew a long time ago named Durga Rani Singh. Unable to comprehend this, Inderjeet gets to work on the case to find out more whether the comatose accident victim is Vidyya Sinha or Durga Rani Singh. In the interim Inderjeet is informed by his superior officer that a dreaded killer and kidnapper Durga Rani Singh, was last spotted in their city. On his journey to uncover the truth Inderjeet discovers Vidya Sinha’s diary that shocks him completely, what is the mystery prevailing between Vidya Sinha and Durga Rani Singh and does Vidya Sinha ultimately land up saving her daughter Mini is what forms the rest of the film.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The film’s screenplay (Sujoy Ghosh) is definitely one of the most shocking that Bollywood has witnessed in the recent times. It keeps the user hooked right from the word go. The film’s story (Sujoy Ghosh &amp; Suresh Nair) is engaging, thrilling, intriguing and as novel as compared to its predecessor. The story has plenty of twists and turns that keep the audience engrossed throughout. It engages the audience essentially for two reasons - the element of thrill it brings to the table and the taboo subject it addresses. Amidst all this, it's the emotional quotient raised by Vidya Balan that forms the crux of the hard hitting film. The film's dialogues (Ritesh Shah &amp; Sujoy Ghosh) are simple, yet stunning. Even though humour is missing in the film, its absence is not really felt in the otherwise serious drama.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">After having produced the thriller TE3N (its Box-Office performance notwithstanding), director Sujoy Ghosh is back with what he best does: directing whodunit thrillers. After having directed KAHAANI, Sujoy Ghosh did face an uphill task of developing a story (with KAHAANI 2: DURGA RANI SINGH) that not just encompassed the essence of a thriller, but also featured enough plot twists to keep the viewers guessing. KAHAANI 2: DURGA RANI SINGH serves as a perfect answer to the same. Sujoy Ghosh deserves brownie points for having paid detailed attention to the fact that the sequel enjoys its own and distinguished identity under the sun. And he has taken every possible measure to do so and has been fairly successful in the same. Sujoy Ghosh needs to be applauded for keeping the film real and gripping, without having to resort to the typical Bollywood thriller route. While the film’s first half successfully establishes the plot and the mystery, it’s the second half that’s a revelation (quite literally) of sorts. Despite the presence of a handful of dull moments in the second half, the film’s pre-climax and climax makes up for everything. The film’s prime plot comes as a bolt from the blue. Do not miss the scenes like the film’s climax, Vidya Balan trying to unravel the mystery in her student’s house, her physical fight with a lady cop and the pre-climax face to face encounter between Vidya Balan and the lady cop. Another must watch sequence is immediate post the interval, where unlike conventional films that usually resume a minute a two before the break, Sujoy come up with a unique way that recaps the highpoints from the first half before resuming.</p> <img class="size-full wp-image-675853 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Kahaanirew-2.jpg" alt="Kahaanirew-2" width="750" height="450" /> <p style="text-align: justify;">As for the performances, the film rides totally on the shoulders of Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal (in that order). After having done the forgettable HAMARI ADHURI KAHANI, Vidya Balan has once again joined hands with Sujoy Ghosh, with whom she had delivered a hit in the form of KAHAANI. The supremacy of Vidya Balan’s performance is so high that, it makes its predecessor KAHAANI look like a teaser of what to expect from its sequel. In the true sense of the word, Vidya Balan owns the film totally, so much so that, it’s impossible to think of KAHAANI without her. Her performance is only next to being flawless. The movie gives Vidya Balan a perfect platform to display an array of her emotions. Be it the caring and concerned mother, the conniving lady or convict, Vidya Balan gets into the skin of her character effortlessly. The fact that she looks ugly and unkempt in most parts of the film did require a hell lot of courage. On the other hand, Arjun Rampal, whose last film ROCK ON 2 was a dud at the Box-Office, springs back with an unexpected surprise and a superior (yet restrained) performance. Keeping in mind his towering personality in real life, he essays the role of Sub Inspector Inderjeet Singh with utmost aplomb, conviction and confidence. Arjun Rampal, besides being excellent in his role, brings in a lot of compassion and smartness to his character. Despite the presence of stalwarts like Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal, the cute little child artist Naisha Khanna makes her presence felt in the film and how! Even though she was an integral part in the film’s story, performances by Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal could have easily overshadowed her. Full credits go to Sujoy Ghosh for not just giving Naisha Khanna her place under the sun, but also for having extracted a superlative performance out of the girl. Jugal Hansraj, who returns to the silver screen after a long time is a pleasure to watch. The rest of the actors (some of them totally brilliant) help the film move forward.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">After having collaborated with Sujoy Ghosh in TE3N, music composer Clinton Cerejo has composed the music for KAHAANI 2: DURGA RANI SINGH. Even though a film of this genre need not necessarily need music to bank upon, still, the music is passable with no out of place and thrusted tracks. On the other hand, the background music is bang on and acts as one of the film’s USPs. It simply adds to the aura of the haunting film.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The film's cinematography (Tapan Basu) is outstanding. The way in which he has shot the locations are extremely top-notch. The camerawork, along with the colour tone are superlatively shot. The film's editing (Namrata Rao) is outstanding. The film’s timeline of around 2 hours works extremely in the favour of the film.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On the whole KAHAANI 2: DURGA RANI SINGH comes across as a dark thriller that addresses a sensitive subject backed with fantastic performances. At the Box Office, the movie will be appreciated on the account of its engaging narrative. Highly Recommended.</p>

Movie Review: Dear Zindagi
Thu, 24 Nov 16 19:05:00 +0000

<img class="size-full wp-image-673575 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Dear-Zindagi-1-1.jpg" alt="Dear Zindagi-1" width="750" height="450" /> Bollywood has witnessed many a ‘slice of life’ films trying their luck at the Box-Office. This week’s release is the Shah Rukh Khan-Alia Bhatt starrer DEAR ZINDAGI, which also happens to be of the same genre. Will DEAR ZINDAGI breathe ‘life’ at the Box-Office or will it prove ‘Dearly’ to its makers, let’s analyze. DEAR ZINDAGI is a slice of life film, which gives an introspective insight about the various challenges that life offers to an individual and the way each one deals with these challenges. The film starts off with the ‘on-the-sets’ introduction of the extremely talented cinematographer Kaayra (Alia Bhatt), for whom work perfection towers above everything else in life. Not the one to make any kind of compromise in her work, she also harbours a heartfelt dream of directing her full-fledged feature film some day. One day, she gets a dream offer from Raghavendra (Kunal Kapoor), for co-directing a prestigious feature film on the foreign shores. Since Kaayra is in love with Raghavendra and vice versa, Kaayra becomes extremely happy thinking that she would be able to combine work with pleasure. Even before the feeling of her dream coming true sinks in, she gets a shock of her life when she gets to know that, Raghavendra has got engaged to his ex-girlfriend on the foreign shores. This news totally shatters the visibly distorted Kaayra. That’s when she happens to meet the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Jehangir Khan aka Jag (Shah Rukh Khan). Thereafter starts her therapy session with Jag. It is through these sessions that Jag gets to know that Kaayra has been silently suffering from many issues caused during her tender childhood. Gradually during the therapy sessions, a strong bond develops between Kaayra and Jag, so much so that she openly confides all about her past and present day happenings to Jag. While doing so, Kaayra realises that she actually has fallen for Jag. What happens to Kaayra in the end, whom she chooses to spend her life with, does the counsellor-patient relationship between Kaayra and Jag get converted into a love relationship, is what forms the rest of the film. The story and screenplay (Gauri Shinde) of DEAR ZINDAGI is a sincere attempt in the genre of slice of life. One has to really give it to Gauri Shinde for having tried to present the complications of life in a simplified manner. The irony of the film remains in the fact that, despite the film’s characters being relatable, the proceedings of the film are simply opposite. All of this may make the audiences fail to find resonance with it. On the other hand, because of the film’s dialogues (Gauri Shinde) being extremely lucid, it will definitely find its echo amongst the viewers. The film has got its humour intact and in right proportions. Do not miss scenes like Shah Rukh Khan’s introduction, the first meeting between Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt and Alia Bhatt’s emotional outburst during the pre-climax. When Gauri Shinde made her directorial debut with the Sridevi starrer ENGLISH VINGLISH, she showed immense spark of a director with an ability to not just touch the chord of the audiences, but also stir it with her story telling and directorial abilities. While her attempts to make DEAR ZINDAGI in the same league of ENGLISH VINGLISH seems visible in every frame, what does not work in the film’s favour are its length (mostly the second half), its disconnect with the audiences and the snail-paced narrative of the film. If that wasn't enough, despite the flying start in its first half, the film gets preachy and sermonising, which lands up testing the patience of the viewers. For all those who want to see Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt in their elements are bound to feel a bit disappointed, because the film starts behaving like a therapy session in its second half. Despite all this, one has to give her full credits for having extracted the best performances from the entire star cast of the film. <img class="size-full wp-image-673576 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Dear-Zindagi-3-1.jpg" alt="Dear Zindagi-3" width="750" height="450" /> As for the performances, DEAR ZINDAGI finds its true calling in Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan. After having done the hard hitting UDTA PUNJAB, Alia Bhatt has once again proved, with DEAR ZINDAGI, that why is she one of the finest actresses of Bollywood. Film after film, Alia Bhatt is simply growing from strength to strength. The flawlessness with which she infuses emotions in her character is something that needs to be seen in order to be believed. Alia Bhatt's portrayal of a naive and ingenuous girl comes across as pleasant and striking. Be it Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar, Angad Bedi or Aditya Roy Kapur, the onscreen chemistry that Alia Bhatt shares with all her co-stars is simply amazing. But, what really takes the cake is her impeccable onscreen chemistry with Shah Rukh Khan that grabs the audiences by their collar. Shah Rukh Khan, on the other hand, does an equally fine job with his character. What makes DEAR ZINDAGI different from other Shah Rukh Khan starrers is the fact that, in this film, despite Shah Rukh Khan being the ‘hero’, does not let that overshadow Alia Bhatt even a bit. It is this factor that works tremendously in the favour of the film. One cannot deny the fact that DEAR ZINDAGI definitely is Shah Rukh Khan’s finest and matured role after CHAK DE! INDIA. The rest of the actors (Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar, Angad Bedi, Ira Dubey and Aditya Roy Kapur) excel in their respective roles. Even though DEAR ZINDAGI does not have any superlative music (Amit Trivedi), the songs are not thrusted and do not act as a roadblock in the scenes. The film’s background score (Amit Trivedi) contributes decently  to the film’s progress. The flip side of DEAR ZINDAGI is that the movie is devoid of chartbuster music, romance and action. And this absence will be felt in small town and cities where the audience will find the movie bereft of any entertainment. While the film’s cinematography (Laxman Utekar) is decent, its editing (Hemanti Sarkar) could have been more tighter towards the second half. On the whole, DEAR ZINDAGI comes across as a slow-paced cerebral and contemporary slice of life tale about the challenges today’s generation of girls face in a rapidly shifting landscape. At the Box-Office, it will appeal only to a niche segment of the multiplex audience on account of lack of entertainment value as well as its abstruse and esoteric treatment. It will therefore find the going tough at the box office.

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fri, 18 Nov 16 15:10:53 +0000

<img class="size-full wp-image-672067 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Fantastic-Beasts-and-Where-to-Find-Them-1.jpg" alt="Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" width="620" height="800" /> <p style="text-align: justify;">Last week was rather slow for films, with releases suffering the aftermath of the demonetization of currency notes. Though things are a bit better now, the audience is still sceptical of spending money on entertainment over necessary goods. However, this week we see the release of a much talked about English film, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, which is basically a prequel to the famed Harry Potter series. But will this film entice the Indian audience like the Harry Potter movies did, or will it go unnoticed, is what we’re about to analyse.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is set in the year 1926, 54 years before Harry was born. The protagonist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) later writes a book by the same name, based on his experiences shown in this film.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Newt has just completed a global excursion to find, document and protect an array of extraordinary magical creatures. He takes a brief stopover in New York before reaching Britain to file his findings with the Ministry of Magic. However, things go haywire when he encounters a No-Maj (a non-magical human being, whom the British wizards refer to as Muggles). The No-Maj is a local baker by the name of Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), and their identical briefcases get exchanged by mistake. Though this wouldn’t usually amount to much, the problem is the contents of Newt’s magical briefcase, which results in a flurry of messy events. In an attempt to reclaim his briefcase, Newt hunts down Jacob. Unfortunately, the clasp of the briefcase comes undone, releasing a few creatures that scatter across the city. Now, Newt must track them down and place them back into the briefcase before they wreak havoc in the city. In the scheme of things, Jacob unintentionally becomes Newt’s accomplice, only to discover deeper, darker secrets that the magical community is trying to guard from the human world. Newt loves his beasts and maintains that they will cause no harm and that the only harmful creatures in the world are in fact humans. Timid and slightly nutty, will Newt manage to retrieve his magical beasts? Will he be able to end the darkness that threatens to end either one of the races—wizards or the No-Majs. Or will he fall victim to the plots set up by darker forces that lie ahead in the film?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Going into the film, every viewer who has read anything about it will have one question on their mind, ‘Will the film really live up to the Harry Potter saga?’ With a sceptical approach the viewer will soon be pacified as J.K. Rowling’s storytelling abilities transport them into a different reality. Once again, she creates a fantastical world in which the story takes place, while giving the viewer a ring side seat to witness the spectacle. Director David Yates, who also worked on the last couple of Harry Potter films, does an incredible job of bringing Rowling’s work to life. The introductory scene may seem a bit stretched and slow, but it keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats with fleeting glimpses of something spectacular that is in store. Though at the start none of the characters are explained, each one is introduced with a brief outline that is fleshed out with backstories as the film progresses. Apart from the onscreen goings, much like the Potter series, Rowling manages to create a bond between each of the main characters that lends a whole realm of emotional value to the film. Coming to the visuals, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is a treat for the eyes. Watching the film in IMAX 3D with a narrative that is well-scripted, infusing action, drama and humour into a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, is likely to transport the viewer into a universe worth exploring.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Talking about the performances, Eddie Redmayne has once again proved his mettle at playing the awkward individual. He portrays the character of a man who is socially awkward around people but at his best and in control among his beasts. Dan Fogler as the muggle Jacob Kowalski acts as the comic relief, who constantly is at sea being unable to comprehend the happenings in the magical world. Katherine Waterston as Tina, one-time Auror who finds herself smack in the middle of everything, does justice to her part. Colin Farrel as the principal investigator of the group of magicians who work as special agents in New York is brilliant. He commands fear and respect that his character demands in the film. Other actors in the film are cast brilliantly and perform their parts convincingly.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On the whole, recreating an era gone by filled with unworldly magical beasts; FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM takes the viewer on a rollercoaster ride of suspense, thrill and drama, interspersed with humorous moments that click. Though not essentially a prequel, the film come across as a brilliant independent story that happens to fall into the realm of the Harry Potter universe. At the box-office, the film will be lapped up by Harry Potter fans and fantasy film lovers; however, due to the lack of publicity in India by the studio, the film will have to depend on strong word of mouth to grow.</p>

Movie Review: Tum Bin 2
Fri, 18 Nov 16 09:10:46 +0000

<p style="text-align: justify;"><img class="size-full wp-image-671872 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Tum-Bin2-1.jpg" alt="Tum-Bin2" width="620" height="420" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The year 2001 saw the release of TUM BIN which made overnight stars out of its lead starcast that comprised of Priyanshu Chatterjee, Himanshu Malik, Rakesh Vashisth and Sandali Sinha. This week sees the release of the film’s sequel TUM BIN 2. Will TUM BIN 2 ‘too’ prove to be a Box-Office success like the original or will it face the music at the Box-Office, let’s analyze.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">TUM BIN 2 is a couple's roller coaster ride in the lives of friends turned lovers, which mirrors the ups and downs of their lives. The film starts off with an untoward and unexpected skiing accident of Amar (Aashim Gulati). When the rescue team gives up their hope of finding Amar’s body, this leaves his fiancée Taran (Neha Sharma) and Amar's loving caring father Papaji (Kanwaljeet Singh) with no hope of finding him ever. Unable to bear the grief of Amar’s loss, Taran withdraws herself from the world and goes into a nutshell. One fine day, Papaji introduces his late friend’s son Shekhar (Aditya Seal) to Taran and her lovely and lively sisters. Seeing Taran in sorrow, Shekhar tries his level best to bring a smile on her face. Shekhar also helps Taran immensely in realising her dream of setting up a confectionary business. Amidst all the proceedings, Taran not just tries to forget her past and Amar, but also gradually falls in love with the happy-go-lucky Shekhar. Suddenly, one fine day, out of the blue, Papaji gets a call from Amar, whom everyone thought was dead long ago. Amar is extremely happy to be united with his loving family... especially Taran. While on one hand, love gets rekindled between Taran and Amar, on the other hand, Shekhar plans to leave everyone and let Taran and Amar have a happy life ahead together. The innocent Amar, who is totally unaware of the love affair between Taran and Shekhar, starts dreaming of his future with Taran. That’s when Taran confesses to Amar about her feelings for Shekhar. What happens to the love affair between Taran and Amar, whom does Taran ultimately go with and what is the truth that Papaji had been hiding about Amar all the while, is what forms the rest of the story.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">When TUM BIN 2’s promos were released, it gave the audience a glimpse of a musical experience that the film offered. The film, in totality, does live upto the expectations that the trailers offered. The screenplay of TUM BIN 2 (Anubhav Sinha) seems heavily inspired by TUM BIN. It’s a typical conventional story that has been witnessed in Bollywood before. The presence of loopholes in the film’s screenplay does, at times, make the film less convincing (more towards the second half). Despite all this, it’s the treatment that’s meted to TUM BIN 2, which makes it worthwhile. Even though the film does not boast of any kind of memorable one liners, the film's dialogues are lucid without going over the top. Even though the humour element is present in the film, it is in negligible proportion. Do not miss the ‘India meets Pakistan’ scene in the film, in order to know what we are talking about.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><img class="size-full wp-image-671874 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Tum-Bin-2007.jpg" alt="Tum-Bin-2007" width="620" height="420" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">After having directed the sci-fi RA.ONE, Anubhav Sinha had been missing from the scene for some time now. His directorial work in TUM BIN 2 makes up for his absence. While the film’s first half sets up the ambience and the plot of the film, the film’s second half appears a far bit stretched. The drama that unfolds during the second half is way too cliché, something that Bollywood has witnessed many times in the past. Even though Anubhav Sinha stays true to the script and the legacy of TUM BIN, there are times when the film tends to go astray. Had the length of the second half of the film been a bit shorter, it definitely could have worked in the favour of the film. The ‘oscillation’ of the girl between her two lovers seems to test the patience of the viewers after a certain point.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As for the performances, the film rides majorly on the shoulders of the talented Neha Sharma. Besides being a visual delight, Neha Sharma is indeed a delight in TUM BIN 2, in terms of her performance. She is followed a close second by Aditya Seal, whose last film was the forgettable PURANI JEANS. Aditya Seal delivers a restrained performance in TUM BIN 2 and has handled the emotional scenes really well. On the other hand, after having carved a name for himself on TV, Aashim Gulati makes his Bollywood debut with TUM BIN 2. Despite not being majorly present in the film’s first half, he ensures his place under the sun in the film’s second half.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">One of the major reasons for TUM BIN to be a runaway hit at the Box-Office was its melodious music. TUM BIN 2 is no different. Music composer Ankit Tiwari has composed melodious music for TUM BIN 2, which acts as one of the major USPs and the driving force for the film. Amongst the other tracks, it’s the mellifluous ghazal rendered by the late Jagjit Singh, which, once again acts as a chartbuster track in TUM BIN 2, just like what it was in TUM BIN.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The film's cinematography (Ewan Mulligan) is top-notch. The way in which he has presented the film and shot the locations are extremely top-notch and exemplary. On the other hand, the film’s editing (Farooq Hundekar) could have been tighter.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On the whole, TUM BIN 2 is a decent love triangle with a lengthy second half. At the Box Office, the film will turn out to be an earning proposition for its makers, considering the fact that a substantial amount of the production and marketing costs have been recovered from the sale of various rights.</p>

Movie Review: Force 2
Thu, 17 Nov 16 15:56:51 +0000

<img class="size-full wp-image-671715 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Force-2-1.jpg" alt="Force 2-1" width="620" height="800" /> <p style="text-align: justify;">This year seems to be a year of sequels. Testimonies to this are in the form of TERE BIN LADEN DEAD OR ALIVE, HOUSEFULL 3, ROCK ON 2, KYAA KOOL HAIN HUM 3, GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN, RAAZ REBOOT and MSG: THE WARRIOR LION HEART and the upcoming Vidya Balan starrer KAHAANI 2. If that wasn’t enough, FORCE 2 gets released alongside TUM BIN 2, which also happens to be the sequel of the 2001 hit TUM BIN. Will FORCE 2 become a ‘guiding force’ at the Box-Office windows or will it perish, let’s analyze.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">FORCE 2 is an out and out action drama between a RAW agent and a cop, both of whom are embedded on the same mission but with a different vision. The film starts off with a series of killings of three vital Indian RAW agents in China. These killings not just shock the Indian RAW wing, but also a send them into tizzy about the crime suspects and their agenda behind these killings. Amidst all this, they also discover that there is a mole (informer/ leak) in the Budapest Embassy, who is leaking all the vital information to the Chinese government, for reasons best known to him only. In order to unearth this mole, the RAW officials assign Kamaljit Kaur aka KK (Sonakshi Sinha) on the job. She is joined by the ‘raw’ and brutal Yashvardhan aka Yash (John Abraham) from the Mumbai police department. The reason why Yash joins KK in the mission, is to avenge the death of his best friend (Freddy Daruwala), who was amongst the three RAW agents killed. Amidst their mission to find the mole, Yash and KK are subjected to a series of uphill tasks, which makes it extremely difficult to unearth the mole. Just when Yash and KK think that they have solved the case, a shocking event happens that shuts down all the possiblities to solve the mystery. What is it that Yash and KK are failing to see and how will they solve this case involving the RAW agents, is what forms the rest of the film.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">When FORCE 2’s promos were released, it gave a glimpse of the adrenaline rush that the film promised to offer. And in that aspect, FORCE 2 does not disappoint you at all. Considering the fact that one has seen the cat-mouse chase game in umpteen films by now, one is bound to feel that FORCE 2’s story (Parvez Shaikh, Jasmeet Kleen) offers nothing novel. But, what sets FORCE 2 apart from the other films are its unexpected twists and turns and that too at unexpected points. These twists and turns form reason enough for the audiences to be engaged and engrossed with the film till the end. FORCE 2’s screenplay (Parvez Shaikh, Jasmeet Kleen), besides keeping the audiences on the edge of their seats, also ensures no dull moment in the film. However the film is devoid of romance and music which are vital ingredients for a masala potboiler. Also the culmination could have been convincing for it comes across as totally filmy.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">While FORCE was directed by Nishikanth Kamath, FORCE 2 sees Abhinay Deo taking the director’s seat. After debuting with DELHI BELLY and then directing GAME and TV series 24, Abhinay Deo is definitely no newcomer to thrillers. Besides doing full justice in carrying the legacy of FORCE, Abhinay Deo also infuses his own uniqueness in FORCE 2. The film’s first half sets up the ‘pace’ of the film with its giant share of adrenaline rush from the first frame itself, which stays till the interval. The film’s second half, on the other hand, dips a bit. But overall the film is quiet fast paced and doesn’t let a dull moment seep in. Abhinay Deo has done a great job as a director in FORCE 2 and has managed to keep the film crisp and tight at the length spanning around 2 hours without wasting any screen time. Even though FORCE 2 is a visual delight as the whole, do not miss John’s introduction scene, the chase sequence during the film’s first half, the interval point and the unexpected suspense (which comes as a bolt from the blue) which changes the course of the film totally.</p> <img class="size-full wp-image-671716 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Force-2-2.jpg" alt="Force 2-2" width="620" height="800" /> <p style="text-align: justify;">As for the performances, the film rides totally on the sturdy (quite literally) shoulders of John Abraham. Fresh from the success of the action packed DISHOOM, John Abraham delivers yet another power packed performance in FORCE 2. John’s role in FORCE 2 seems to be totally tailor made for him, who, by now has become a ‘pro’ in such no-nonsense action-packed roles. On the other hand, after having exhibited and proved her action prowess in her last film AKIRA, Sonakshi Sinha takes to her role of a RAW agent in FORCE 2 like a fish to water. She shares a crackling onscreen chemistry with John Abraham, which shows in the film. Sonakshi Sinha, not just complements John Abraham’s character in FORCE 2, but also walks shoulder-to-shoulder with him. Unlike a typical Bollywood heroine, FORCE 2 sees its Sonakshi Sinha as an extremely strong character, who beats the daylights out of the goons. Tahir Raj Bhasin, who made his debut as the smooth menacing villain in MARDAANI, ensures that he convincingly continues his villainous streak in FORCE 2 as well. Even though he does his job exceedingly well in FORCE 2, he should make sure that he chooses varied roles in the future, as he might just get stereotyped in such roles. Rest of the actors help the film move forward.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Staying true to the fact that a film of such genre does not require any chartbuster tracks to push the story, FORCE 2 does not see any song (the club song notwithstanding) been thrusted into the film. While the music (Amaal Mallik, Gourov Roshin) of FORCE 2 is passable, it is the film’s superlative background score (Prasad Sashte) that holds the film tightly to the core.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The film’s cinematography (Imre Juhasz, Mohana Krishna) is top-notch. On the other hand, the film’s editing (Amitabh Shukla, Sanjay Sharma) is crisp and devoids the film of any dull moment. A special word of mention to the film’s action/ stunt director (Franz Spilhaus) for infusing such a wholesome ‘punch’ in the form of non-stop action, right from the word go. The film’s USP is its breath taking action, which will appeal to both the multiplex and single screen audiences.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On the whole, FORCE 2 is a power packed adrenaline pumping action thriller which has the right mixture of zing and force. At the Box-Office, the film will be appreciated by the audience. However the lack of chartbuster music, romance and demonetisation might act as a spoilsport for the movie. All in all, FORCE 2 is however worth a shot!</p>

Movie Review: Rock On!! 2
Fri, 11 Nov 16 09:13:53 +0000

<img class="aligncenter wp-image-670042 size-full" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Rock-On-2-1-2.jpg" alt="Rock On 2-1" width="620" height="800" /> <p style="text-align: justify;">It all started off in the year 2008 when the cinegoers (esp. youth) got treated to a cult and raw musical journey in the form of the Abhishek Kapoor directed film ROCK ON!! And after 8 long years, the makers have come up with the film’s sequel titled ROCK ON 2. Will ROCK ON 2 prove to be a musical hit at the Box-Office, or will it lose its strings, let’s analyze.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">ROCK ON 2 starts off with the voiceover narration of ‘KD’ aka Killer Drummer aka Kedar Zaveri (Purab Kohli). The story then mirrors upon the distances covered by Magik band’s members from the prequel till today. Aditya Shroff aka Adi (Farhan Akhtar) gets settled in Shillong to lead an isolated life as ‘repentance’ over a certain mistake. It is here that he finds peace by running his self-initiated ‘Farmers’ Co-operative’ and a school for the poor children. Even though ‘Farmers’ Co-operative’ works selflessly towards the benefits of the farmers, it just does not go well with the local governing officer of that area. On the other hand, Joseph Mascarenhas aka Joe (Arjun Rampal) becomes a successful entrepreneur as well as a judge in one of the TV reality shows. One day, on the eve of Adi’s birthday, the entire ‘Magik’ team springs up a surprise by paying him a visit in the North East to celebrate his birthday. Despite the happy mood, there looms an atmosphere of tension, anger, repentance and anxiety amidst everyone. One fine day, ‘Magik’ sees the inclusion of a struggling musician Uday (Shashank Arora) alongwith Jiah Sharma (Shraddha Kapoor) as its new members. On the eve of the performance, Jiah chickens out on stage itself and is unable to perform because of her  father’s resistance to western music. On the other hand, Adi’s adopted village in Shillong gets gutted down due to forest fire. And the money given by the Central government for the welfare aid of the affected farmers gets gulped down by a corrupt government officer in Shillong. This is when Adi and his rock band plan to organise a rock concert in Shillong in order to highlight the plight of the helpless villagers. What is the reason for ‘Magik’s members never-ending guilt, do Adi and his band members become successful in their uphill task of organising a rock show amidst rock solid resistance from their area’s officer, does Jiah’s father accept her modern singing and what secret is Adi hiding from Jiah, is what forms the rest of the story.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">When ROCK ON 2’s promos were released, it only rekindled many memories associated with its predecessor ROCK ON!! In reality, ROCK ON 2 sings an extremely different tune (in literal sense). First things first. With absolutely no head or tail to the script (Pubali Chaudhuri, Abhishek Kapoor), the film lands up being a confused mish-mash of too many things. Also, because of the lack of a strong and convincing storyline, the film simply flows all over the place without any ‘direction’. None of the film’s characters are well etched or defined, and hence they fail to build any emotional bond with the viewers. As a result of this, the viewers do not feel sympathetic or empathic towards any of the characters. As the film drags endlessly, one just cannot help feeling indifferent to the happenings on screen. In an attempt to incorporate multiple issues in the film’s story, the film’s writers land up meaninglessly infusing story angles like social situation of the North East India, the divide between Indian and classical music, relationship struggles between father-daughter, husband-wife and even a stalker and his target. The film's dialogues are very average with no outstanding one liners.</p> <img class="aligncenter wp-image-670044 size-full" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Rock-On-2-2-2.jpg" alt="Rock On 2-2" width="620" height="800" /> <p style="text-align: justify;">After having dabbled in advertising, Shujaat Saudagar makes his Bollywood debut as a director with ROCK ON 2. Without mincing any words, one has to admit that he has failed to present a credible story. He had no story idea to take his characters go on a journey. Most lead characters seem to have moved on in life and are forcefully brought in together to make a sequel. Shujaat Saudagar definitely has a long way to go as far as story telling in feature films is concerned.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As for the film’s performances, the film solely focuses on Farhan Akhtar. He tries his best to hold this mess together, but, after a point, he too seems to give up. His character is so delusional that he probably needs therapy rather than a guitar! Mind you, we are not joking when we say that. ROCK ON 2 focuses only on Farhan Akhtar's character, who is eternally confused and that too... for no credible reason! His character in the film gets so depressing and illogical, that even his on screen wife (Prachi Desai) refuses to take it any longer. Arjun Rampal, on the other hand, is completely wasted and looks totally disinterested in the film. It’s a real pity because, Arjun Rampal had won a National award for the prequel (ROCK ON!!) of this same film. Purab Kohli tries to bring in some genuine emotion, but, because he barely gets any space, his attempts go wasted. On the other hand, there’s Shraddha Kapoor, who looks endlessly lost in the film. She never gets a grip of her poorly written character Jiah, who is just wandering around in the film. All of these only add to the mess called ROCK ON 2. Other actors like Shashank Arora, Prachi Desai, Shahana Goswami and Kumud Mishra also barely manage to exist in this confused script.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">For a film like ROCK ON 2, one expects a mind-blowing music album (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) with chartbuster tracks. Sadly, there's not a single track that stays back with you. The pace of the film is so slow, that even its music doesn't help. The film’s background music is average.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">While the film’s cinematography (Marc Koninckx) is average, editing (Anand Subaya) could've been tighter.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On the whole, ROCK ON 2 has no story, no good music and no entertainment value. With its slow paced narrative, limited buzz and the demonetisation move by the Indian Government, the film will be a disaster at the Box-Office.</p>

Movie Review: Doctor Strange
Thu, 03 Nov 16 06:34:35 +0000

<img class="size-full wp-image-668068 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Doctor-Strange.jpg" alt="Doctor Strange" width="620" height="420" /> Over the past few years, superhero films have become a genre to contend with. Be it THE AVENGERS, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THOR, ANT-MAN or for that matter any of the unending list of characters from Marvel, films that bring these comic book heroes to life are fast becoming massive money spinners at the box office, both in India and internationally. Continuing with the trend of introducing each superhero from its gamut, Marvel’s latest offering is DOCTOR STRANGE that once again brings to life on the big screen, another comic book hero. But will the film that talks of a lesser known superhero as compared to an Iron Man or a Captain America be welcomed by the audiences, or will the film be just another introductory celluloid expedition well worth it to set up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is what we analyse. Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange, a gifted surgeon with a flawless medical record and an inflated ego who believes in helping himself more than others. However, his life is thrown asunder after a tragic car accident. Now Strange who has injured his hands must put aside his ego and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City's Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilising a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artefacts to protect the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film starts off on a rather mundane note with an introduction of Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) a pompous neurosurgeon working normal shifts in a hospital alongside his colleague and love interest Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). Considering himself to be the centre of the universe, Strange goes about his life with the outlook that whatever he does, whoever he decides to save is for the sole purpose of propelling him to greatness. However, life as he knows it is thrown out of whack with a freak car accident that he meets with. Having lost the stability of his hands, Strange sets off on a mission to regain his ability. After exhausting the resources provided by modern science, and yet being nowhere near normal, Strange sets off on a last ditch effort to save himself. This journey takes him to the mystic land of the Himalayas in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he has to literally unlearn everything he knows to understand and wield the power that is now placed before him. Though most origin stories come across as being rushed, especially with the initial character introductions, director Scott Derrickson takes his time with DOCTOR STRANGE detailing each character and giving them depth. Despite this, with good screenplay and excellent time management the film does now slowdown in pace. Instead as the film progresses the overall pace of the film keeps time with the rising crescendo that plays in the viewer's mind culminating in a spectacular and novel climax. In fact Derrickson does a brilliant job with the visuals of the film, from mind numbing building powers to reality alteration a la INCEPTION; he melds both worlds, real and altered, seamlessly on screen. A special mention goes out here to the VFX and CGI crew whose efforts make DOCTOR STRANGE a worthwhile film and a more than equal contender among the bigger superhero films. Talking about the performances, Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange both the surgeon and the reality alteration sorcerer suits the role perfectly. In fact seeing him don the cape of levitation complete with the devilish goatee beard, the viewer cannot help be feel like this role was tailor made for Cumberbatch. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, a student of the Ancient One alongside Strange who plays the supporting character in the film is well detailed and used to help the story progress. Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, whose vision and understanding spans space and time exudes a powerful aural presence, is spot on in depicting an individual in constant internal conflict but yet has a calm demeanour. Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius, a student of the Ancient One who has gone astray does equally well in his role as the precursor to doom. In fact Mikkelsen’s character that comes across a combination of several antagonists is used in the film to drive the introduction and development of bigger villains for the future. As for the music and editing of the film, DOCTOR STRANGE features a grand background score soundtrack. However, the score that is thrilling and insightful is impeccably composed and adds to setting the pace for the on screen happenings. The editing, given the context of the film, which could have been muddled up in umpteen number of places is flawless. All in all, DOCTOR STRANGE that apart from all the action also features some good one liners and some humorous moments offers a cognitive story of manipulative sorcery, clever screenplay, mind-melting action and mind-bending CGI brings to life the virtually unknown origin story of a superhero that isn’t quite one of the big league players in a spectacular fashion. Shot in IMAX, the film comes across as a visually stunning, entertaining worthy successor to the numerous superhero films before it. DOCTOR STRANGE is a big screen experience that is a must watch! Preferably on IMAX 3D.

Movie Review: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Fri, 28 Oct 16 08:07:07 +0000

<img class="aligncenter wp-image-672819 size-full" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Ae-Dil-Hai-Mushkil1-4.jpg" alt="Ae-Dil-Hai-Mushkil1" width="750" height="450" /> Romance has always been the eternal essence of Bollywood films. There’s hardly any film whose story has not been written with a pen that’s dipped in the ink of love and romance. This week’s release AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL also happens to be one such romantic film. Will AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL have a ‘mushy’ dream run or will it face ‘mushkil’ at the Box-Office, let’s analyze. AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL is a roller coaster ride between lovers, which mirrors the ups and downs of their lives. The film starts off with the introduction of the singer Ayaan Sanger (Ranbir Kapoor) giving an interview, wherein he talks about the inspiration behind his successful singing career. The story, then enters a flashback that has Ayaan and the free spirited Alizeh Khan (Anushka Sharma) meeting at a night club. They start enjoying each other’s company as friends, so much so that, that they become inseparable. One day, when Ayaan and Alizeh go on a double date with their respective lovers (Lisa Haydon and Imran Abbas), an untoward incident happens which leads to them breaking up with their lovers. And to ‘celebrate’ their break up, Ayaan and Alizeh head to Paris, where they find seamless comfort in each other’s company. Despite Ayaan repeatedly confessing his love for Alizeh, she maintains that they are only best friends and nothing more than that. One day, when Ayaan and Alizeh go to party at a club, Alizeh finds her ex-lover Ali (Fawad Khan) playing at the DJ console. Alizeh, who now finds her love rekindled for Ali, announces her decision to Ayaan. She tells Ayaan that she wants to get married to Ali, who happened to be the only person whom she ever loved. A heartbroken Ayaan, then meets the stunning Sabah (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), a poetess who is happily divorced. Despite the two having a great live-in relationship, Sabah finds something amiss in their relationship. Amidst all this, Ayaan gets to know something shocking about Alizeh that changes everyone’s lives forever. What is it about Alizeh that leaves Ayaan shell-shocked, what happens to his relationship with Sabah and whom does Ayaan settle the rest of his life with, is what forms the rest of the story. Karan Johar’s films have always centred around relationships and emotions, which are woven together with larger than life opulence with music playing an integral role. AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL also falls in the same space. Ever since the time the promos of AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL were out, it had only upped the curiosity of the viewers about the film. The film, in totality, is worth the audiences’ expectations.  The film’s taut screenplay (Karan Johar) makes its very realistic and extremely relatable to today’s relationships. The film’s dialogues (Niranjan Iyengar, Karan Johar) are really vibrant and its situational one liners will surely find resonance with the audiences (esp. the youth). Even though there is nothing new in the basic story premise of AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL as the audiences have seen this several times in the past, what sets the movie apart from others is its screenplay and utmost maturity with which Karan Johar has treated the film. AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL, which has all the required ingredients of a typical ‘Karan Johar’ film, oozes universal appeal in abundance. The film will surely be liked by all the age groups (majorly by youth), despite its mature storyline. After having directed smash hit films like KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI, KABHI KHUSHI KABHIE GHAM, KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA, MY NAME IS KHAN, and STUDENT OF THE YEAR, Karan Johar helms the directorial chair for AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL. The film, in totality, bears the trademarked ‘Karan Johar’s impeccable style of filmmaking. Karan Johar, who is known for extracting exceptional performances from his starcast, does the same with AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL as well. With AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL, Karan Johar only proves and reaffirms the fact as to why he is considered one of the best storytellers in Bollywood. The one word that describes Karan Johar’s direction in AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL is ‘exemplary’. Full marks to Karan Johar for handling and presenting the emotional moments and the twist towards the climax, without resorting to any kind of melodrama or ‘over-the-top’ scenes. While the film’s first half thoroughly establishes the characters and the proceedings, the second half sees a dip in the film’s pace (more towards the climax). Do not miss the scenes where Ranbir and Anushka go on a double date, Ranbir Kapoor dancing to the tunes of ‘<em>Tohfa Tohfa’</em> and ‘<em>Baby Doll’</em>, Anushka Sharma explaining to Ranbir Kapoor the meaning of ‘dil ka dard’, Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma living their ‘Bollywood dream in the Alps’ and the medley song sequences in the second half of the film. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-672818 size-full" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Ae-Dil-Hai-Mushkil2-3.jpg" alt="Ae-Dil-Hai-Mushkil2" width="750" height="450" /> As for the performances, the film totally belongs to Ranbir Kapoor, who is in a dire need of a hit film, especially after the back to back debacles like ROY, BOMBAY VELVET and TAMASHA. AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL sees Ranbir Kapoor excelling in the role that seems to be tailor made for him. Ranbir Kapoor, who happens to be the nucleus of the film, takes to his role like a fish to water. It just won’t be wrong to say that AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL is an out and out a Ranbir Kapoor film. Anushka Sharma, on the other hand, is decent and does her role with extreme conviction. The chemistry between Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma is superlative in the film, so much so, that people will surely leave behind the debacle of their last film BOMBAY VELVET. Overall, Anushka Sharma comes across as extremely pleasant in terms of her performance in the film. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, despite having limited screen time, manages to looks beautiful, classy and very different from all her earlier roles. Full marks to Manish Malhotra for presenting Aishwarya Rai Bachchan like never before. Aishwarya manages to charm Ranbir’s character and the audiences, exactly the way she is meant to be. Fawad Khan, whose role has been chopped mercilessly, looks good in whatever screen time he gets. The cameos by Alia Bhatt and Imran Abbas seem just passable. On the other hand, cameos by Shah Rukh Khan and Lisa Haydon are brilliant. AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL’s music (Pritam) is already a superhit, and the songs manage to give an extraordinary feel to the story. Tracks like ‘<em>Bulleya’ </em>and the title track lifts up the tempo of the film to another level altogether. The film’s background score (Pritam) is equally good and helps the film immensely. The film's cinematography (Anil Mehta) is superlative. The way in which he has shot the foreign locales are extremely top-notch. Even though the film’s editing (Manik Dawar) is good, it definitely could have been tighter, majorly in the film’s second half. Had the length of the film been a bit shorter, it would have definitely worked in the film’s favour. On the whole, AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL is a contemporary and a progressive take on relationships from the master story teller Karan Johar. It is a perfect Diwali entertainer which packages rich visuals, chartbuster music and an engrossing screenplay on a large canvas. At the Box-Office, the tremendous hype, combined with the festive period and an extended weekend will translate into amazing returns for the makers. In a nutshell, AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL has got ‘S-U-P-E-R-H-I-T’ written all over it.

Movie Review: Shivaay
Thu, 27 Oct 16 18:53:40 +0000

<img class="size-full wp-image-666580 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Shivaay-Review1.jpg" alt="Shivaay-Review1" width="620" height="420" /> It’s not every day that you get to witness the clash of two gigantic films at the Box-Office. There have been times when two big films that got released on the same day and in some cases like LAGAAN and GADAR EK PREM KATHA (June 15, 2001), DIL and GHAYAL (June 22, 1990), both the releases managed to succeed at the box office. Despite releasing on the same date, these films proved to be blockbusters at the Box-Office. This week sees the release of two gigantic films in the form of SHIVAAY and AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL. Will the ‘divine intervention’ help the action packed SHIVAAY to outpower the mushy AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL or will it prove otherwise, let’s analyze. SHIVAAY is an emotional action thriller that touches upon the relationship between a father and his daughter and the extent to which he goes for her. The film starts off with the fearless daredevil Shivaay (Ajay Devgn) helping the Indian Army in an assignment amidst the snow-clad mountains and dangerous terrains. This is followed by him leading a group of enthusiastic mountaineers to an expedition. On this expedition, he meets Olga Paramski (Erika Kaar). Gradually, they both fall in love and have a love child Gaura (Abigail Eames). After the birth of Gaura (who is mute by birth), Olga leaves both, Shivaay and Gaura, in order to live her life in her home country Bulgaria. Post that, Shivaay looks after Gaura as a single parent and tells her that her mother is dead. But, one day, when Gaura discovers the truth about her mother, she gets very angry at Shivaay for lying to her. In order to pacify her, Shivaay takes Gaura to Bulgaria to meet her mother Olga. It is here that Gaura gets kidnapped by unknown human traffickers. Thereafter starts Shivaay’s search for his daughter Gaura. He is helped by Anushka (Sayyeshaa), Wahab (Vir Das) and Sharma (Saurabh Shukla). Does Shivaay manage to trace Gaura as well as Olga in the unknown country of Bulgaria, what are the obstacles that he faces while searching Olga and Gaura, what role does Anushka play in Shivaay’s life is what forms the rest of the film. When SHIVAAY’s promos were released, its serene locations and action packed stunts served as visual treat to the audiences. At the same time, the promos did not even reveal an ounce of a detail about the film’s tightly guarded plot. While the film does have stunning visuals and mind boggling action, the screenplay (Sandeep Shrivastava), despite a handful of flaws, manages to keep the viewer hooked. After having made his directorial debut with U ME AUR HUM, Ajay Devgn dons the directorial hat for the second time with SHIVAAY. While the film’s first half is slow as it sets up the story, the second half becomes racy, engaging and taut, and is loaded with brillaint action sequences. It is however the climax that seems far too stretched than required. Ajay Devgn has put his heart and soul as a director in SHIVAAY, which is pretty much evident in every frame of the film. Ajay Devgn comes out with flying colours as a director of SHIVAAY. He has successfully managed to package the product named ‘SHIVAAY’ in the right manner so as to suit the taste of the cinegoers. Even though the film’s setting, locales and actors are mostly foreign, the essence of SHIVAAY is totally Indian, which acts as a major connecting factor for the viewer. Ajay Devgn has successful incorporated the entertainment quotient in the form of action, which works as the right ingredient for the audiences. There are a handful of scenes in the film that one should not miss at any cost. That includes Ajay Devgn’s introduction scene, the avalanche incident amidst the mountaineering expedition, Gaura’s kidnapping scene and the chase that follows. Full marks for Ajay Devgn for being successful in extracting brilliant performances from the film’s cast. <img class="size-full wp-image-666581 aligncenter" src="http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Shivaay-Review2.jpg" alt="Shivaay-Review2" width="620" height="420" /> As for the performances, the film rides solely on the ‘divine’ shoulders of Ajay Devgn, who excels superlatively in the titular role of Shivaay. While his last film DRISHYAM was the psychological thriller, SHIVAAY marks the return of Ajay Devgn in his action mode. Ajay Devgn excels in the role that is totally tailor made for him. The onscreen relationship that he shares with the child actress Abigail Eames is extremely natural and flawless. While Ajay Devgn carries the entire film on his own, he is very aptly supported by a stellar performer in the form of Abigail Eames, who makes an extremely impressive debut in Bollywood with SHIVAAY. After having worked in Hollywood shows like LAWLESS and HARRY &amp; PAUL'S STORY OF THE 2S, the child actor Abigail Eames makes an endearing and a remarkable debut with SHIVAAY. Even though she is shown as a mute girl (hence, no dialogues), the way with which she expresses and emotes with her eyes is highly effective and impressive. Debutante actresses, Erika Kaar and Sayyeshaa, both do justice to their respective characters. On the other hand, Vir Das and the veteran actor Girish Karnad are effective in their cameos. The rest of the film’s actors do their bit to carry the film forward. The film's dialogues (Sandeep Shrivastava) are strictly average with no outstanding one liner that the audiences can cherish. The film’s second half does have a couple of corny moments, which could create unintentional laughter. Even though the music (Mithoon) of SHIVAAY is not impressive (title track notwithstanding), it’s extremely impressive background score (Mithoon) more than covers up for the music. The film’s cinematography by Aseem Bajaj is simply outstanding. Full marks to him for making SHIVAAY look so grand and beautiful, surely making it a big screen experience. The film’s editing (Dharmendra Sharma) is decent. Full marks to the action director and his team for doing a marvellous job. On the whole, SHIVAAY is a perfect emotional thriller that scores high on the account of its breathtaking visuals, amazing action and a high octane performance by Ajay Devgn. At the Box-Office, the extended weekend in the form of the festival holiday will prove to be bountiful for the film. Don’t miss this one.

Movie Review: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Thu, 20 Oct 16 08:04:04 +0000

Action is definitely one of the favorite film genres. Seldom have there been action oriented films that have failed to satiate the audiences’ hunger for high octane stunts and break neck speed chase sequences. This week, we see the release of yet another action flick with the Tom Cruise starrer JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK up for release. However, will the film which is a follow up to the 2012 film JACK REACHER impress, or will it like those few actioners be lost to the annals of time... is what we analyse. JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK sets off four years after the events of the first film, when Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is returning to the headquarters of his old military unit. He comes to meet Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) who he has been working with him on solving cases across the country. Upon his arrival, he is informed that Turner is accused of espionage. Now, Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear Turner’s name. In his pursuit to find the truth, Reacher finds himself becoming a victim to the all-encompassing conspiracy that threatens to not just kill him but everyone else involved, including his illegitimate daughter that he has no idea of. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever. The film starts off with the introduction of Reacher who has just incapacitated four men single handed and is blissfully sipping his coffee in a diner. Upon his arrest by the local police, he informs them of an illegal smuggling racket whose main accused is the local sheriff. With the plot uncovered in minutes and Reacher walking out as a free man, he decides to make his way back to Washington DC in an attempt to meet and court Major Susan Turner. However, once he reaches DC, Reacher learns that Turner has been arrested and is awaiting court martial. In an attempt to clear her name, Reacher involves himself with the investigation that draws him further into the net, while painting a target on his back. While the basic plot of the film is nothing new from the first film, it does have potential to be applauded as a thrilling action film replete with stunts, hand to hand combat sequences, high speed car chases and red hot bullet flying sequences. Unfortunately, though the film does have all of the mentioned sequences, they are few and far between, leaving the audience constantly wanting more. If the lack of action wasn’t enough, the inclusion of a family angle that Reacher doesn’t know about, and has to uncover makes him less impenetrable from the first film that featured him as a lone wolf. This deviation gives Cruise’s character a more grounded feel, making him come across as more vulnerable and a bit at sea when it comes to planning his moves forward. If that wasn’t enough the fact that JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK reunites Cruise with director Edward Zwick after THE LAST SAMURAI, the viewer anticipates an engrossing narrative that will capture their attention, but here again the film lags. In fact the overall narration seems hastened with the story seeming like any run of the mill action flicks. However, the dialogues though which are a hit and miss series, do inject a bit of humour into the on screen proceedings, but again do not make up for much. Talking about the performances, Tom Cruise who has become synonyms for reprising action avatars in films does a decent job with the character of Jack Reacher. However, the actor seems to be at the fag end of his action career that comes across as a bedraggled 50+ individual still trying to put in that extra mile at being fit. Cobie Smulders as Major Susan Turner, despite her attempt to feature as a major player in the film with her anti-sexism rant still gets relegated to the background since the film’s main focus is and will be Jack Reacher. However, Smulders does a good enough job in her limited profile that could otherwise have been given much more interesting depth. Danika Yarosh as the teenager Samantha Dayton, Reacher’s unknown daughter, does not do a great job of establishing a connect with the audience. In fact, her portrayal of a distressed rebellious teen who has been shuttling from one foster home to another does not come out. As for the rest of the cast that features Robert Knepper as General Harkness the mastermind and Patrick Heusinger as The Hunter, who is bent on converting his task of eliminating the loose ends into a completion with Reacher are underused. On the whole, JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK does not offer anything new. It's a slow paced film that fails to give the adrenaline rush that is expected from a Tom Cruise starrer.

Movie Review: Inferno
Fri, 14 Oct 16 09:51:36 +0000

Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in number of films being made that are based on popular novels. While a film cannot fully encompass the breadth of characters, plots and sub-plots contained within a single novel, they more often than not convey manage to convey the story in an effective way. This week, we see the release of yet another film that is based on a novel with the Ron Howard directed film INFERNO hitting screens. But will the film which is an adaptation of Dan Brown’s third book in the series live up to expectations is what we analyse. INFERNO starts off with Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) waking up in a hospital in Florence, Italy, with no memory of what has transpired over the last few days. However, like the previous films, Langdon soon finds himself, the target of a major manhunt. With the help of Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) and his knowledge of symbology, Langdon will try to regain his freedom and lost memories, all while solving the most intricate riddle he's ever faced. Much like the earlier films, right from the start, the viewer is thrown smack in the centre of the on screen happenings, with an action-chase sequence coming into play within the first five minutes. From here on what follows is a break neck race against time to contain what could be one of the biggest catastrophes to hit the human race. But unlike the previous film that features Langdon taking on the roots of Christianity and Papal law, INFERNO sees him going up against a crazed billionaire geneticist, Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), who has invented the titular doomsday virus to wipe out half of the world's population. Hot on the trail of bread crumbs, Langdon finds himself once again plunged into ancient culture, this time the focus being on the world of 14th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri's 'The Divine Comedy'. Aiding the professor is Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), who fast becomes the professor’s sidekick in the race against time. Adding to the already intriguing plot is director Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen), from the World Health Organization (WHO) and her gang of armed operatives led by Christoph (Omar Sy), and the fixer Harry Sims (Irrfan Khan) who constantly try to apprehend Langdon. Though the film has all the makings of a brilliant thriller, the film seems rushed, with the main protagonist running across continents in a span of a couple of days. Though the film does have its share of nail biting moments, INFERNO does not manage to live up to expectations that have been developed based on the previous films in the series. Considering that even the earlier films THE DA VINCI CODE and ANGELS AND DEMONS featured similar plot lines wherein Langdon races against time to undo the cogs of evil that have been set in motion, INFERNO does not feature anything new. In fact, after a certain point the viewer settles in for the journey already anticipating including not just the climax but also Langdon’s next move. Coming to the performances in the film, Tom Hanks as usual does a stellar job of portraying the professor, continuing with the image that was well established in the first film. Langdon’s character stays true to the form being able to draw references from vague yet meaningful clues left behind. Felicity Jones as doctor Sienna Brooks does well in her role of playing Langdon’s sidekick, while at the same time keeping her reasons for assisting him well under wraps. Irrfan Khan, as the fixer for a powerful security firm entrenched in the shadows is present throughout the film, but in limited on-screen appearances. However, Khan does well in his given character exuding a sense of mystery yet definite power in his crucial yet limited role. Sidse Babett Knudsen as Elizabeth Sinskey, the director of the WHO is not really defined till the end when towards the climax the viewer understands who she really is. But the addition of a side plot of the relation between Langdon and Sinskey, though adding perspective could have been better handled. Talking about the direction, Ron Howard, who over the years has given us visual extravaganzas, does it yet again, with a scenic, detailed view of each of the venues that Langdon is led to. While the short length of the film is a sore thumb, it seems to have forced the director into assimilating as much as possible from the book into a short time frame which hinders the narration of the story but it does add the much needed pace to the film. Despite this hurdle and the fact that the viewer more or less already knows how the film ends, Howard does an eloquent job of keeping the suspense while simultaneously building the crescendo to a gripping climax. On the whole, though INFERNO, which is similar to the previous films that have been based on Dan Brown’s books, is predictable, the film’s narrative and sheer pace of the adventure unfolding on screen keeps the viewer hooked. At the box-office, the popularity of the franchise, the star attraction of Tom Hanks and Irrfan Khan and lack of competition will ensure good foot-falls.

Movie Review: Beiimaan Love
Fri, 14 Oct 16 05:37:36 +0000

Bollywood has seen and witnessed many films pertaining to love, cheating (read ‘betrayal’), two-timing, deceit etc… This week’s release is BEIIMAAN LOVE, which also treads on the similar lines. Will BEIIMAAN LOVE prove to be truthful at the Box-Office or will it deceive its makers, let’s analyze. BEIIMAAN LOVE is a story of two lovers, both having hidden agendas against each other. The film’s flashback states that, after Sunaina Verma (Sunny Leone) gets insulted and blamed by her boss K.K Malhotra (Rajiv Verma), she plans to take revenge against him and his empire. She, then, with the help of Monish (Yuvraj Singh) sets on the financial demolition spree of  ‘K.K Industries’, which is owned by K.K Malhotra. On the other hand, K.K Malhotra’s son Raj Malhotra (Rajniesh Duggal) lays a bet with Monish for a (mere) one rupee that he will have Sunaina as his girlfriend, after Sunaina slaps him publicly. In order to win the bet, Raj pretends to ‘falls in love’ with her and makes her fall for him. But, gradually, he starts developing real feelings for Sunaina, who, simultaneously goes all out to finish of ‘K.K Industries’. On the day of the engagement of Raj and Sunaina, K.K Malhotra discovers a harsh reality about Sunaina’s mother’s past, which leads to the engagement getting called off. This hurts Sunaina’s mother so much that she commits suicide. Meanwhile, K.K Malhotra’s ‘richy-rich’ best friend Amarnath Kapoor (Avtar Gill) ‘strikes a deal’ with him stating that, in exchange of Raj marrying his (untamed and wild) daughter, he will make ‘K.K Industries’ totally debt free and back the business. Immediately after Raj’s engagement with Amarnath Kapoor’s daughter, Raj sees something very unsavoury about his would-be wife. Shattered to the core, he hits the bottle and ‘goes back’ to Sunaina. Who does Raj marry in the end, what was it about his would-be wife that shatters Raj and does Sunaina forgive Raj… is what forms the rest of the film. The promo of BEIIMAAN LOVE was in itself a big giveaway about the film’s plot and premise. The film, in totality, turns out to be an extended and an elaborated version of the promo, with no novelty factor attached to it. The film’s screenplay (Rajeev Chaudhari) offers absolutely nothing new that Bollywood has not seen. It is very poorly written and every scene seems disjointed from the earlier one. The film’s story is extremely similar to HATE STORY in many ways and features all possible clichés from the 90’s. The film’s dialogues (Vibhanshu Vaibhav, Rajeev Chaudhari) are terrible. After having dabbled in film journalism and PR, Rajeev Chaudhary made his debut as a director with the non-starter titled GUNAAH. Even though BEIIMAAN LOVE happens to be his second film, it looks like an extremely amateur attempt at filmmaking, with no technical finesse or expertise to boast of. Rajeev Chaudhary fails miserably in extracting the required performance (read ‘emotions’) from his lead cast, which adds to the film’s sorrows and miseries. While the film’s first half is all about establishing its characters, its second half starts beating around the bush without any reason. The film’s second half drags endlessly, thus, testing the patience of the viewers to the fullest. Rajeev Chaudhary seems to have no clue as to what exactly he wanted to make out of BEIIMAAN LOVE. If the terrible screenplay wasn’t tortuous enough, even the actors in the film look totally confused and awkward when performing the badly-etched scenes. There are several moments in the film that evoke unintentional laughter. One simply starts wondering in disbelief while looking at the proceedings in the film. Don't miss the scene between Avatar Gill and the actress who plays his daughter. It's hilarious to the core, totally unintented of course. As for the performances, despite the presence of Sunny Leone (who has been struggling at the box office of late), the film looks devoid of any ‘sunny’ performance from her or anyone for that matter. Blame it on the terrible script or the poor direction, Sunny Leone looks thoroughly confused and lost throughout the film. Also, with almost no sex factor (something that Sunny Leone became famous for), there's nothing for her fans to look forward to. On the other hand, with an extremely forgettable Box-Office dud LAAL RANG as his last release, the going seems to be getting from bad to worse for Rajneesh Duggal with BEIIMAAN LOVE. While Rajneesh Duggal’s struggle to find his place under the sun in with BEIIMAAN LOVE is pretty evident, the script plays the villain by not allowing him to do anything out of the box. Other senior cast members come across caricaturish in nature, while some side actors in the film are just terrible and beyond your patience. Despite the presence of multiple music directors (Ankit Tiwari, Kanika Kapoor, Raghav Sachar, Sanjeev Darshan, Asad Khan, Asees), the film fails to churn out even a single chartbuster track (the end credit song notwithstanding). The film’s background score (Aniruddha Kale) is terrible and confuses the scenes. While the film’s cinematography is tacky, the editing (Sadique Singh) is terrible. On the whole, BEIIMAAN LOVE is a bad film that comes across as a spoof video rather than a serious feature film. The film is a disaster from the word go and will struggle at the box-office due to its bad content and no hype.

Movie Review: Saat Uchhakkey
Fri, 14 Oct 16 04:54:20 +0000

Comedy is definitely one of the most favourite genres of film lovers. Having said that, there very few films that manage to impresss and sometimes go beyond a viewer’s expectations. This week’s release SAAT UCHAKKEY is a situational that features some of the best acting talent in the country. But will the film manage to impress at the box-office with its content or will it turn out to be yet another failed attempt at making people laugh…. Let’s analyze. Wave Cinemas and Crouching Tiger’s SAAT UCHAKKEY is a situational comedy about seven losers, who just like anybody, want to get rich. The film starts off with the introduction of Bichhi (Annu Kapoor), who does a hypnosis expert, who manages to escape from a mental asylum and sets himself free in the world where exist Pappi (Manoj Bajpayee) and his lady love Sona (Aditi Sharma). In order to win over Sona and her ‘concerned’ mother, Pappi tries his hand at many things to make quick money, but, somehow success eludes him every time. One day, while eating snacks at a roadside stall, he overhears a discussion about the hidden treasure inside the mansion of the eternally gun wielding old man Diwan (Anupam Kher). In no time, Pappi gathers his team consisting of Sona, Khappe (Aparshakti Khurana) and Haggu (Nitin Bhasin), who, then, join hands with Jaggi (Vijay Raaz) and his gang Ajji (Vipul Vig) and Babbe (Jatin Sarna). As a part of the ‘masterplan’, Pappi fakes his death after being shot by Jaggi, so that the righteous police inspector Tejpal (Kay Kay Menon) will never be able to suspect him after Diwan’s treasure is stolen. Amidst all this, it is revealed that the police inspector Tejpal is madly in love with Sona and wishes to marry her at any cost. Do the seven petty crooks (‘saat uchakkey’) successfully manage to execute their robbery plan, does Tejpal fall for their plan, amongst Tejpal and Pappi, who gets to marry Sona in the end and do the ‘saat uchakkey’ become successful in finding the hidden treasure… is what forms the rest of the film. With the quirky nature of the promo of SAAT UCHAKKEY, one did get a whiff of what to expect from the film. The film howevert turns out to be a big surprise with its incredible humor, funny characters and sticky situations. The film’s screenplay (Sandeep Saket, Sanjeev Sharma) is brilliant as it sucks you right into the world of these funny characters and keeps you hooked. The unique quirks of the seven loony characters have been so well written, that, sometimes, it becomes tough to believe that they are actors performing their parts on screen. The duo of Sandeep Saket and Sanjeev Sharma have done a fabulous job in handling this script with so much ease. They have definitely got the ammunition of the best talents to live and breathe the characters. After having tried his hand as a writer and an actor, Sanjeev Sharma makes his directorial debut with SAAT UCHAKKEY. Despite SAAT UCHAKKEY being his debut film, Sanjeev Sharma deserves accolades for the exemplary finesse with which he has directed the film. Kudos to the director for staying totally true to the story and the setting. If his directorial abilities in SAAT UCHAKKEY are anything to go by, then, Sanjeev Sharma is definitely a name to watch out for in the days to come. While the film’s first half sets the mood, tempo and the premise of the film as well as its well etched out characters, in the second half begins the comedy of errors while leads to confusion and chaos. Full marks to Sanjeev Sharma for brilliantly exhibiting the small town set up of old Delhi. One of the biggest highlights and USPs of the film are its absolutely superlative dialogues (Sanjeev Sharma). The language used in the film is extremely ‘colourful’ so to speak. However, since the dialogues are loaded and interspersed with expletives, it may not suit the taste of all the viewers. Having said that, one must add that the lines are outrageously funny and never come across as forced or thrusted. The characters talk naturally in the lingo where abusing each other is a common way of chatting. The dialogues are extremely hilarious and will generate nonstop laughter, especially with the masses. As for the performances, the film has some of the best known and some undiscovered talents. The film rides majorly on the able shoulders of the talented actors Manoj Bajpayee and Vijay Raaz. The impact of these two actors in the film is so huge that one just cannot imagine SAAT UCHAKKEY without them. While Manoj Bajpayee justifies his character of an eternal loser very convincingly, he also, with his stellar performance, proves as to why he is the unanimous choice for the said role. Manoj, who has never done this kind of goofy comedy before, is truly refreshing to watch. He totally carries the movie like a true hero with conviction. He is followed a close second by Vijay Raaz, who is in his full element in the film. Watch out for the scene when Manoj Bajpayee and Vijay Raaz get into a fight and then patch up. Another outstanding scene is when Vijay Raaz gives a eulogy at Manoj Bajpayee's ‘condolence meet’. Kay Kay Menon does his role of a lover and a righteous police inspector with utmost sincerity. Amidst the league of all the experienced gentlemen, Aditi Sharma successfully manages to create her space under the sun, with a brilliant performance of a headstrong and street smart girl. It's good to see her in a powereful role after a long time. Aparshakti Khurana, Jatin Sarna, Vipul Vig and Nitin Bhasin, who besides excelling in their roles as useless sidekicks, are simply hilarious. These four actors are the biggest surprise package in the film and are surely the talents to watch out for. Veteran actors Anupam Kher and Annu Kapoor do a good job in their extended cameos. Even though there is barely any scope for music (Bapi Tutul, Abhishek Ray, Jaidev Kumar, Vivek Kar, Saket and Niranjan) in the film, there are two songs which are very smartly placed in the film. The film’s background music (Sanjoy Chowdhury) is good. While the DoP (John Jacob Payyapalli) has done a decent job, the film’s editing (Shree Narayan Singh) is crisp as the film maintains a good place and never slows down. Overall, SAAT UCHAKKEY is an outrageously funny situational comedy, which will leave you in splits. However, the film has a high dosage of explicit language, which may restrict its audience reach in the multiplexes. Additionally, due to the film’s poor publicity and the lack of star value, the film will have to depend heavily on positive word of mouth, in order to do good business at the box office.

Movie Review: Tutak Tutak Tutiya
Fri, 07 Oct 16 10:44:21 +0000

There have been many films in Bollywood that have shared their title with hit songs. Examples to the same are in the form of JAANE TU… YA JAANE NA, BACHNA AE HASEENO, KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA, YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI... to name a few. This week’s release TUTAK TUTAK TUTIYA also shares its title with the smash hit track of the 90s. Will TUTAK TUTAK TUTIYA prove to be music at the Box-Office or will it lose its strings mid way, let’s analyse. Pooja Entertainment Films Ltd and Shakti Sagar Productions’ TUTAK TUTAK TUTIYA is a comical take on marriage, relationships, career and life. The film starts off with Krishna Kumar (Prabhu Dheva) and his never ending quest to get a modern girl as his wife, so that ‘his children can have a bright future’. One fine day, he gets a call stating that his grandmother is counting her last breath in the village. When an extremely worried Krishna reaches the village, he gets to know that his dying grandmother’s last wish is to see him get married to a girl of her choice. After a handful of rejections, Krishna’s grandmother finally ‘selects’ the village simpleton Devi (Tamannaah). Even though Krishna’s dreams of getting married to a posh modern girl are shattered, he compromises on his dreams and gets married to Devi. On reaching Mumbai, Krishna tells Devi to follow his instructions and not to get too close to him at any time, which Devi agrees to and obeys like a dutiful wife. When the newly married couple finally get a house to stay in, little do they know what twists and turns await them in the ‘new’ house. Just as life goes on smoothly, one day, the dutiful Devi gets transformed into a stunningly glamorous Ruby and impresses everyone with her dancing skills, especially Bollywood superstar Raj Khanna (Sonu Sood). Totally smitten by Ruby, Raj falls head over heels in love with Ruby. Situations become worse when Raj tells Ruby’s now manager Krishna to be the messenger of his feelings for Ruby. What is the mystery surrounding the entire situation, how are Devi and Ruby ‘connected’ to each other, does Raj become successful in confessing his feelings to Ruby and what happens to Krishna and Devi in the end, is what forms the rest of the film. The promos of TUTAK TUTAK TUTIYA were good enough for the audiences to get a feel of what to expect from the film. The film, in totality does not disappoint the eager viewer, thanks to the film’s novel screenplay (Vijay and Paul Aaron) of horror comedy. Even though the film’s dialogues do not tickle your funny bone at the drop of a hat, it is decent enough to sustain the humor level of the audience. After having set his directorial flag flying sky high down south, Vijay makes his Bollywood debut as a director with TUTAK TUTAK TUTIYA. One has to really appreciate the finesse and patience with which he has treated the entire film. With a film that boasts of a ‘different’ genre, there were many places whereby the film could have gone astray. But, thanks to Vijay’s able direction, the film never loses its track. While the film’s first half sets up the atmosphere for the story, it’s the engaging second half that really ups the excitement and comedy in the film. Even though the second half does look a bit stretched at handful of places, it does not hamper the film’s narrative, which works majorly in the favour of the film. As for the performances, the film rides entirely on the shoulders of Tamannaah and Prabhu Dheva (in that order). Even though Tamannaah was last seen in the smash hit BAHUBALI (which was dubbed in Hindi as well), it is really nice and refreshing to see her in an out and out role that seems totally tailor-made for her. The sincerity with which she approaches her role in the film is clearly visible throughout the film. Kudos to her for successfully pulling off her role which has two extremes (you have to see the film to know what it means). On the other hand, Prabhu Dheva does justice to his role of a simpleton with sky high dreams about his life partner. Sonu Sood, who, initially seems to be suffering from a huge ‘Shah Rukh Khan’ hangover, gradually, does his role with ease. Besides the glam aspect, the cameos by Amy Jackson and Esha Gupta are inconsequential. Rest of the film’s characters help the film move forward. Despite the presence of multiple music directors (Sajid Wajid, Dr. Bal Sidhu, Millind Gaba, Raaj Aashoo, Gurinder Seagal, Vishal Mishra), the film manages to churn only one hummable track (in the form of <em>‘Rail Gaddi’</em>). The background music (Gopi Sundar) is lucid and is in tune with the film’s narrative. The film’s editing (Anthony) is average and could have done much better in the film’s second half. The film’s cinematography (Manush Nandan) is decent. On the whole, TUTAK TUTAK TUTIYA scores purely on its novel concept. It will need to depend upon a strong word of mouth however, to register decent numbers at the box office.

Movie Review: Mirzya
Thu, 06 Oct 16 19:20:55 +0000

By now, everyone knows that the most important day in Bollywood is Friday, as it’s this day of the week that makes or breaks many a dream. This week’s release MIRZYA marks the debut of Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor alongwith Saiyami Kher. Will MIRZYA see the ‘son-rise’ of Harshvardhan Kapoor and catapult the debutantes into superstardom or will it spell doom at the Box-Office, let’s analyse. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s MIRZYA is essentially an epic love story set during the contemporary times. The film starts off with the introduction of the childhood of Munish (Harshvardhan Kapoor) and Suchitra aka Suchi (Saiyami Kher). The duo not just go to the school together, but also, sit on the same bench and help each other every time in need. One day, when the school teacher asks Munish for his homework, Suchi lends him her copy. And when Sir asks Suchi for her homework, she says that she had not done the homework. And because of this, the teacher hits her with a cane. Unable to bear the sight, Munish lands up robbing the gun from Suchi’s (police officer) father and shoots the school teacher dead in broad daylight. After that, despite being sentenced to a juvenile remand home, the compulsive thoughts of Suchi make Munish run away from there. Meanwhile, Suchi and her father leave Jodhpur forever and shift to a new location. After a few years, a grown up Suchi returns from abroad only to be received by her fiancé Prince Karan (Raj Chaudhary). Incidentally, Munish (who now lives a ‘changed life’ as Adil Mirza) works in the horse stable of Prince Karan and starts teaching horse riding to Suchi. Munish recognizes her but does not reveal his true identity to her till she guesses who he is. The two fall in love again, but things are very different now as compared to their childhood. Does Munish confess his love to Suchi, does Suchi go ahead with her marriage with Prince Karan and does Munish and Suchi gather the courage to stand up against the world to fight for their love, is what forms the rest of the film. When the promos of MIRZYA were released, it gave the audience a stunning visual experience of a love story set in two different eras. The film, sadly, just does not live upto the expectations that one has from a Rakeysh Mehra film. The film's screenplay (Gulzar) is bizarre, confusing and extremely slow paced, to say the least. It is really saddening that to see a cinematic genius of Gulzar’s calibre and stature could go so very tremendously wrong with a classic love story. The film’s dialogues (Gulzar) are very average and leave absolutely no impact on the audience. MIRZYA, in totality, runs on three tracks. Firstly, it’s a real time love story between Munish and Suchi, second, the folklore of Mirza-Sahiban (visually heavily inspired by <em>The Game Of Thrones’</em> ‘Khaleesi’ track) and thirdly, an abstract bunch of folk dancers who look eternally high, sexually overcharged and randomly break into provocative dances. All of this land up becoming an intangible proposition for the audience to digest Besides Gulzar, MIRZYA’s director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (who has to his credit films like RANG DE BASANTI and the more recent BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG), is equally to be blamed. The irony of the situation is that, even though Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra knows the pulse and the taste of today’s audiences, he lands up making a mess out of MIRZYA, which was supposed to be the launch pad of two new faces and careers. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s direction in MIRZYA is not just poor, but completely ‘directionless’. Besides the film’s weak narrative, there are way too many loopholes in the film and many unexplained events and situations. All of this leads to the audiences being confused and puzzled by the time the film ends. While the first half is all about the ‘set-up’ of the couple’s romantic saga, the second half drags endlessly without a cause and a pause. The film sees Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra randomly ending every crucial scene, only to get enveloped by a musical track with Daler Mehendi’s high pitched tone. If that wasn’t enough, there are certain scenes that, besides making no sense, land up testing your patience with Om Puri’s voiceover that constantly states <em>“Hota Hai, Hota Hai, Ishq Mein Aksar Aisaa Hota Hai”, </em>in a way hinting that even the makers somewhere knew what they are showing is just illogical. All of this forces the viewer to wonder as to what exactly was going on in the mind of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and what was he trying to convey through MIRZYA. Although the plot of MIRZYA (rich girl-poor boy-disapproving parents) has been attempted umpteen times before in Bollywood, MIRZYA offers absolutely no novelty (in the form of twists and turns) in the film. The film, in totality, looks completely lifeless and falls flat on the face. As for the performances, the film rides totally on the shoulders of its lead pair Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher. Harshvardhan Kapoor shows promise as a debutante and is at ease in front of the camera. He tries to do justice to his half baked character with all that he has and manages to look confident on screen. Considering the fact that, Saiyami Kher has done a handful of modelling assignments before, she seems quite comfortable (in front of the camera) as a newcomer. She has an endearing screen presence with a confident body language and looks extremely gorgeous. She too seems very promising and should be an actress to watch out for in Bollywood. In all fairness, both the newcomers show immense potential as actors. Raj Chaudhary is decent in his part of a Rajasthani Prince. The veteran actor Om Puri, who is seen only in the film’s opening sequence, gradually disappears as the film progresses. He makes his ‘presence felt’ only through his voiceovers. The rest of the cast helps the film move forward. The film’s music (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) seems forced into the film and is not at all impressive. Amongst the entire lot, the only tracks that stand out in the album are <em>‘Teen Gawah’</em> and the title song (whose repeated playing becomes irritating eventually). Besides the film’s background score being average, it also (many times) gets overlapped by the film’s songs. The film’s editing (P.S. Bharathi) is average. The film boasts of excellent cinematography (Paweł Dyllus). It’s his magical work that makes the film nothing short of a visual delight. He has very enchantingly captured the folklore of Mirza and Sahibaan. Paweł Dyllus needs to be appreciated and lauded for presenting the film so beautifully. While the film’s VFX seem tacky and could have been better, the action scenes (Australian action director Danny Baldwin) are impressive. On the whole, MIRZYA boasts of stunning visuals and good performances by the lead cast. However, it is marred by the treatment which is just not commercial in nature. At the Box-Office, the movie will struggle and will appeal only to a niche set of multiplex going audiences.

Movie Review: M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story
Fri, 30 Sep 16 10:02:20 +0000

In the recent times, Bollywood has witnessed many biopics, which have been made on sports personalities. Testimonies to this are in the form of the BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG (based on the athlete Milkha Singh), PAAN SINGH TOMAR (based on the athlete-turned-dacoit Paan Singh Tomar), MARY KOM (based on boxer Mary Kom) and many more. This week’s release M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY is a biopic on M.S. Dhoni, one of India’s most sucessful and celebrated cricketers. Will M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY manage to charm the audiences and score big at the Box-Office… let’s analyse. Fox Star Studios’ M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY, as the title suggests, is a film about the untold and unknown aspects of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s life. The film starts off with the iconic match that took place between India and Sri Lanka on April 2, 2011. This is followed by a series of flashbacks (read ‘insight’) into the life of MS Dhoni, who grows up with his passion of playing football. It is during one such match when his sports teacher spots his impeccable talent in goalkeeping. On his insistence, an initially reluctant Dhoni, then starts playing cricket. When Dhoni realises that he is only keeping wickets and not getting an opportunity to bat, he ‘creates an opportunity’ and starts smashing the ball in all directions, thus, impressing one and all. Things, then, start gradually moving forward for Dhoni, who, after playing for a handful of government organisations, lands up becoming a TC (Ticket Collector) at Kharagpur station and starts playing for the railways. As days pass, his job tires him physically and mentally, leaving him limited time for cricket practice. When frustration reaches its peak in Dhoni’s mind, he quits his railway job and comes back home, something that extremely annoys his father (Anupam Kher). Amidst all this, when Dhoni gets a call from the selectors to play for India, he does not play well on the ground, despite that being his first ever international match. He however gets insipired on meeting Priyanka (Disha Patani) who boosts up his morale and Dhoni regains his form. Just when life starts blooming for Dhoni, both, professionally and personally, an unexpected tragedy buoys him down miserably. Around this time, Dhoni happens to meet Sakshi (Kiara Advani). What is the calamity that stuns Dhoni, what happens to the blooming romance between Priyanka and Dhoni, what role does Sakshi play in his life and under what circumstances does MS Dhoni lead India to its historic win at the World Cup, is what forms the rest of the film. Right from the moment the promos of M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY got released; it had upped the curiosity amongst the viewers about the film. The reason being it promised to highlight ‘the untold story’ about M.S. Dhoni, whose ‘private life’ has been extremely guarded. The film, in totality, does not disappoint even a bit, as it delivers what it promised. What also works in the favour of the film is the fact that, while the film stays true to the title. The film is all about the trails, tribulations, challenges and failures and the eventual success of Dhoni, the very man who captained the nation to consecutive wins at both the T20 and ODI World Cup matches. Unlike other biopics, M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY remains clear of gossips, scandals and rumours in any form. Because of all these feel-good factors, the audience gain a sense of pride and achievement when they see Dhoni and his achievements in the film. The film is an underdog story who which will inspire millions. The film's screenplay (Neeraj Pandey, Dilip Jha) is extremely well-crafted and inspiring, which keeps the viewers engaged right from the word go. Besides doing complete justice to the life and lifestyle of M.S. Dhoni, the screenplay also helps in successfully mirroring his rise from a small town man to an international star. After having delivered blockbuster hits with films like A WEDNESDAY!, SPECIAL 26 and BABY, it was only natural and obvious about the (superlative) expectations one would from director Neeraj Pandey. One has to give to him for successfully living upto the expectations. While one can see the flawlessness of his direction in the engaging first half of the film, the second half is dominated by the sheer brilliance of Dhoni and his captaincy while winning T20 and World Cup matches (the romantic angle notwithstanding). Here, one must also point out that as a film, M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY was on a weak wicket from start. In other words, it was devoid of ‘A’ lister stars, a quintessential Bollywood masala script and even catchy music. But the very fact that the film was based on the life of the eternal sensation MS Dhoni, more than made up for the aforementioned vacuums. The way in which Neeraj Pandey has shown the life in small town and how so many people offered their rock solid support in the progress of Dhoni is really very touching. This is something that needs to be seen in order to be believed. There are many scenes that really touch your heart and stir the emotions. Prominent amongst them are Dhoni’s shuffling between exams and match practice, Railway Recruitment Officer Ganguly bowling to Dhoni, Anupam Kher’s constant fears and concerns towards his son, Dhoni breaking down in the middle of the road after the death of his girlfriend, the introduction of Yuvraj’s stylish character and the scene where Dhoni misses his flight despite all the efforts. Though the film is long with its run time of 3 hrs and 10 mins, it never becomes a tiring watch, due to its engaging narrative. As for the performances, the film belongs wholly and solely to Sushant Singh Rajput, who is ‘MS Dhoni personified’ in every frame of the film. While his last film was the ‘forgettable’ DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY!, Sushant Singh Rajput has given his all to make sure that his role in M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY is simply ‘unforgettable’. There are times when you actually land up feeling that Sushant Singh Rajput has transformed into M.S. Dhoni and you never see him as an actor playing just the role. All in all, M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY will surely be classified as Sushant Singh Rajput’s career best role. While Disha Patani makes a sparking debut with the film, Kiara Advani is average. Bhumika Chawla is decent and makes a comeback in Bollywood with this film. Veteran Anupam Kher does an exceptional role in the film. There are also many other characters in the film who form a brillaint supporting cast and make the film realistic. One has to give full marks to the casting director for the same. Even though the film’s music (Amaal Mallik, Rochak Kohli) is average, the film’s background score (Sanjoy Chowdhury) is gripping, especially during the film’s climax. The film’s cinematographer (Santosh Thundiyil) has done a fine job. The film’s editing (Shree Narayan Singh) is average. A special mention should also go to the VFX team of the film for doing a good job at masking Sushant’s face on Dhoni’s body during the match sequences, specially in the second half. On the whole, M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY hits it out of the park with a huge six on the account of its engaging narrative and a brilliant screenplay. In a nation where Bollywood and cricket are considered as religion, the amalgamation of both will work wonders at the Box-Office, setting new records. Don’t miss it for anything in the world. O-U-T-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G.

Movie Review: Banjo
Fri, 23 Sep 16 02:38:25 +0000

From the time Riteish Deshmukh made his Bollywood debut in 2003 with TUJHE MERI KASAM till where he has reached today, he has shown immense versatility and growth as an actor. At the same time, the fact also remains that, he has delivered his career's biggest hits in multi- starrer films. This week's release BANJO sees Riteish Deshmukh as a solo hero, paired opposite the svelte Nargis Fakhri. Will BANJO prove to be a 'musical' success for both, its makers and Riteish Deshmukh at the Box-Office, or will it land up losing its strings, lets analyze. BANJO is essentially a musical action film that mirrors a musician's livelihood 'orchestrated' by destiny and his survival in this world without compromising on his self-respect. The film starts off with the 'musical introduction' of the Mumbai based Nandkishore aka Taraat (Riteish Deshmukh), an extraordinary banjo player who also doubles up as an extortionist for the sake of extra money. His banjo band consists of three (part time) members named 'Grease' (Dharmesh Yelande), 'Paper' and 'Vaaja'. On the other side of the globe (New York, to be specific), exists an aspiring and spunky DJ Chris (Nargis Fakhri), who wants to enter a prestigious music championship. While she is searching for the right music as her entry in the championship, her Mumbai based friend (Luke Kenny) helps her by sending a recording of Taraat's banjo performance during Ganeshotsav festival. Totally impressed by Taraat's mesmerising tunes, Chris reaches Mumbai, in order to search for Taraat and his talented team members, as she wants to collaborate for a song with them as her entry in the music championship. In no time, Taraat unknowingly becomes Chris' guide and friend in Mumbai. And while, doing so, he gradually falls in love with her. At the same time, Taraat and his gang refrain from revealing to Chris that they are banjo players, fearing insult and rejection from her. What they don't realise however is that it is in search of their band for whom Chris has especially flown down to India. One fine day, when Chris gets to know about Taraat and his banjo band, her happiness knows no bounds and she immediately starts jamming with them for her songs. Amidst all this, an unfortunate incident occurs that completely changes the lives of Taraat, his band members and Chris as well. Will Taraat ever muster the courage to confess his feelings for Chris, what was the unfortunate incident that splits Taraat with his band members and does Taraat become successful in helping Chris to reach her ultimate destination (the music championship), is what forms the rest of the film. While BANJO's promos beautifully mirrored the lives of street musicians, the film elaborates the same in totality. The film's story set up (Kapil Sawant, Nikhil Mehrotra and Ravi Jadhav) is relatable. After taking a promising start, the film also highlights the life, lifestyle and the dreams of those (unsung talents) living in the slums. The film successfully manages to establish the quirky characters of Taraat and his band members. The life and lifestyle of the slum dwellers have been convincingly portrayed in the film. The film's dialogues (Kapil Sawant, Nikhil Mehrotra and Ravi Jadhav) are simple, unassuming and funny. There are many one liners in the film, which have been used as punches, will surely have the audiences in splits. After having proved his mettle as an impeccable director in hit Marathi films like NATARANG, BALGANDHARVA, BALAK-PALAK, TIMEPASS, REGE and others, Ravi Jadhav makes his Bollywood debut with BANJO. Being an experienced hand in 'meaningful direction', he has done a decent job in BANJO. But due to the film's weak writing and confused narrative, there are places where the film tends to go off-track. It is this aspect that curtails Ravi Jadhav from going all out in direction. For example: One gets confused about Nargis' character and her ultimate goal in life. While her character starts off as a DJ, then, becomes a music producer and gradually, lands up being a performer! All of this, in the name of taking part in the New York music festival, which never happens. Her getting involved in Riteish's gang, searching for sponsors and performing in Indian clubs actually beats her basic purpose of coming to India! On the other hand, even Mohan Kapur's character definitely required more clarity. The film suffers its biggest downfall in the form of its abrupt ending too. The film's sudden ending seems like a deliberate attempt to cut short the film, which surely backfires heavily on the film's narrative. As for the performances, the film sails on the able shoulders of its protagonist Riteish Deshmukh. After having proved his mettle in multi- starrer films (majorly slapstick comedies), it's a refreshing change to see Riteish Deshmukh in an intense role. BANJO sees Riteish Deshmukh convincingly shouldering the responsibility of a solo hero film. On the other hand, Nargis Fakhri, delivers a decent performance in BANJO. She is extremely at ease with her character, and hence, she does complete justice to her role of a foreigner and her struggles of dealing with the slum based banjo players and their quirky lifestyles. Luke Kenny, who is totally 'in his character' in the film, is extremely convincing. Do not miss the scene where he 'reveals' his identity (in Marathi-Hindi lingo) to Riteish Deshmukh and his band members. Dharmesh Yelande, who is mostly known for his dancing skills, comes across as a stark revelation in BANJO. His comedy timing is bang on. The other actors playing Riteish's band members are brilliant. As far as the film's music (Vishal-Shekhar) is concerned, despite BANJO being a musical, lands up having only one chartbuster track in the form of '<i>Udan Choo</i>'. Even though the rest of the tracks are pleasant, they fail to leave an impact. On the other hand, the film's background score (Sourav Roy) is decent and is in tune with the film's narrative. The film's cinematography (Manoj Lobo) is decent. The film's editing (Devendra Murdeshwar) is average. On the whole, BANJO fails to strike the right notes on account of its low hype, confused second half and bizarre culmination. At the Box-Office, it will struggle for decent footfalls.

Movie Review: Raaz Reboot
Fri, 16 Sep 16 08:33:58 +0000

It all started off in the year 2002 when Vikram Bhatt directed the spooky thriller RAAZ starring Bipasha Basu, Dino Morea and Malini Sharma. The film's unprecedented success gave way to 'subsequent' films in the form of RAAZ: THE MYSTERY CONTINUES (2009) and RAAZ 3 in 3D (2012). This week's release is the next instalment of the RAAZ series titled RAAZ REBOOT that stars Emraan Hashmi, Kriti Kharbanda and Gaurav Arora in the lead roles. Will RAAZ REBOOT prove to be a 'Raaz-mataz' hit at the Box-Office or will it have to 'reboot' itself, let's analyze. Vishesh Films and T-Series' RAAZ REBOOT is essentially a horror film that explores many mysteries, secrets, human traits and evils. The film starts off with a voiceover narration about love and life amidst the picturesque locations of Romania. It is here where the married couple Rehaan Khanna (Gaurav Arora) and his wife Shaina (Kriti Kharbanda) have recently moved in. Post that, the film enters into a semi flashback of events that mirrors Rehaan's resistance and reluctance of shifting his base to Romania. Because of Shaina's insistence, Rehaan gives up his 'average job' in Mumbai and settles for a plush and high flying corporate job in Romania. But, ever since the time they shift to Romania, Shaina senses something amiss between Rehaan and his approach towards her. When repeated questioning yields no answers, she becomes extremely sad and disheartened. Amidst all this, Shaina starts witnessing eerie and weird things happening in her house. And when she tries to explain all this to Rehaan, he rubbishes Shaina's claims of the presence of evil spirit in their house. That's the time when a depressed and longing for love Shaina comes across the fashion photographer Aditya Shrivastava (Emraan Hashmi). Aditya, not only understands her situation, but also offers help in overcoming the evil happenings in her life. One day, when Rehaan goes outstation for work, Aditya meets Shaina to tell her a shocking secret that leaves Shaina totally helpless and shocked. Does Aditya actually tell Shaina the reason behind the evil spirit attacking her, why is he helping Shaina in an unknown land and does Shaina and how is Rehaan related to all this, is what forms the rest of the film. When RAAZ REBOOT's trailers got released, it definitely upped the curiosity factor amongst the audiences. And the film does not disappoint. Even though RAAZ REBOOT's screenplay (Vikram Bhatt) gets into the cliched space at times, it is definitely tight and gripping. It successfully manages to keep the audiences engaged and hooked to the film till the end. And it is purely because of this that the attention of the audience refrains from dwindling till the end. The film's narrative is simple and lucid. The film does have a handful of memorable and hard hitting dialogues (Girish Dhamija), mostly in the second half. Even though RAAZ REBOOT's premise happens to be its director Vikram Bhatt's favourite territory, there are a handful of things which seem amiss in the film. Even though his direction starts going a bit astray somwhere in the middle, he manages to hold the film together. While the film's first half is slow, the second half picks up with the horror and mystery elements kicking in. However, the film misses the presence of sex element, which is the forte of the Bhatts and movies belonging to this genre. Having said that, one has to make a special mention about a handful of scenes in the film that really stand out. Like the scene when Kriti runs back from her shopping to her house and her 'confrontation' during the recitation of shlokas, during the exorcism. After having starred in the earlier RAAZ films (RAAZ-THE MYSTERY CONTINUES and RAAZ 3), Emraan Hashmi definitely seems tad comfortable in his 'home turf'. Despite the fact that one starts feeling a bit letdown and disappointed with the lack of 'Emraan-isms' in full throttle, still, he manages to do total justice to his character and brings in the much needed pace in the narrative. Do not miss his confrontation scene with Gaurav Arora. Speaking of Gaurav Arora, he delivers a convincing performance in the film. RAAZ REBOOT might just prove to be a springboard for his future in Bollywood. However, the biggest surprise of the film is Kriti Kharbanda. Armed with an endearing screen presence and strong performance in the film, she could just be the name to watch out for. Even though RAAZ REBOOT is her debut film in Bollywood, she just does not come across as a debutante actress. While the film essentially belongs to the aforementioned trio (Emraan Hashmi, Kriti Kharbanda, Gaurav Arora), the other actors simply help the film in moving forward. The music of RAAZ REBOOT (Jeet Gannguli, Sangeet Haldipur, Sidharth Haldipur) is hummable and is bound to find its musical resonance with the audiences. On the other hand, the film's background score (Raju Singh) and sound effects are totally in sync with the film's narrative and add to the chills of the movie watching experience. The film's cinematography (Manoj Soni) is decent and nothing short of a visual delight. The film's editing (Kuldip Mehan) is average. On the whole, RAAZ REBOOT offers an unconventional horror story that will leave you haunted and scared. If you are an enthusiast of supernatural thriller/horror movies, get ready to be shocked and surprised with this one.

Movie Review: Pink
Tue, 13 Sep 16 18:09:32 +0000

The box-office has been reasonably dull in the past few weeks. This week's release is the Amitabh Bachchan starrer PINK, a courtroom drama, which deals with a sensitive premise of status of young women in the society. Will PINK turn out to be a colourful film at the Box-Office, or will it lose its colour, let's analyse. Shoojit Sircar's PINK is essentially a simple story about the complex problems issues like inequities and hypocrisies the women in India face everyday. The film starts off with a 'tensed up' introduction of Meenal Arora (Taapsee Pannu), Falak Ali (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang), alongside the 'silent' introduction of retired advocate Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan). Meenal, Falak and Andrea live together as paying guests in Delhi, earning their respective livelihoods. These girls lose their smiles and peace of mind because of a terrible incident that threatens their lives. The incident takes place when Rajveer (Angad Bedi) forces himself upon Meenal and she hits him hard with a glass bottle injuring him seriously. After this incident, the girls come under attack from all sides as Rajveer happens to be a polticians nephew. Soon his friends start threatening the girls. When the incident gets registered with the police, it leads to an array of investigations, interrogations and character assasination of the three girls. With no lawyer ready to represent their case, the girls find their sole ray of hope in advocate Deepak Saigal, who volunteers to fight their case, despite having given up his law practice. How will the girls prove their innocence against such a powerful opposition and does advocate Deepak Saigal help the girls win the case and clear their names, is what forms the rest of the film. When PINK's promos came out, one expected an edgy and a realistic cinema. The fact is that PINK does not disappoint at all in this aspect. It boasts of a gripping screenplay that holds your attention till the end. Despite the film's slow narrative, especially in the first half, it keeps you engaged and hooked. The film has some hard hitting dialogues (Ritesh Shah), which elevates the situations and the corresponding elements. Do not miss the entire courtroom drama, especially when Amitabh Bachchan grills Taapsee Pannu and Angad Bedi and also when Kirti Kulhari breaks down in the courtroom. The film's director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, who happens to be a big name in Bengali cinema makes his Bollywood debut with PINK as a master storyteller. While he uses the first half to just set up the film, it's actually the gripping second half that helps the film in reaching its crescendo. The manner in which Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury has extracted realistic performances from the film's actors is definitely laudable. Despite the film being rich in content, the film does carry a grim feel due to its subject matter. Also, the film does not explain certain elements very clearly like the relationship between Amitabh Bachchan with an ailing lady named Sarah. Another big loophole was that, despite Taapsee Pannu's character being molested in a car the second time, there is not mention of such a major event in the court case. Also, the scene of Kirti Kulhari's fake 'obscene poster' that costs her the job, seems totally forced into the film. PINK is embellished with bravura performances and it is undoubtedly and undisputedly the towering Amitabh Bachchan who steals the show. Even though this is not the first time that Amitabh Bachchan has played the role of an advocate, he manages to bring something different to the table in PINK. It won't be wrong to say that, with PINK, Amitabh Bachchan has not just delivered an immensely memorable performance, but also one of his career best performances. Trailing an extreme close second is Taapsee Pannu, who manages to 'earn her place under the sun' with her sincere portrayal of Meenal. Taapsee Pannu will surely be a serious contender for all the awards this year. Kirti Kulhari, whose last film was the forgettable JAL, delivers a rock solid performance in PINK. She utilises to the maximum the screen time that is offered to her. On the other hand, Andrea Tariang does a very job too. While Angad Bedi is scarily convincing, Piyush Mishra and his 'courtroom antics' are exceptional. Dhritiman Chatterjee is extremely convincing in the role of the judge. The rest of the film's characters help tremendously in the progress of the film. While the film has absolutely no scope for music (Shantanu Moitra), its background score (Shantanu Moitra) is extremely haunting and creates the ambience for the film. The film's cinematography (Avik Mukhopadhyay) is decent. The film's editing (Bodhaditya Banerjee) is average. On the whole, PINK is a compelling film which exposes hypocrisies and double standards against women in our society. With powerful performances from the starcast, the film leaves you shocked, stunned and speechless. At the Box Office, it will be patronised by the multiplex audiences and the positive word of mouth will translate into healthy footfalls for the movie. Don't miss this one as it hammers home a very powerful message.

Movie Review: Freaky Ali
Fri, 09 Sep 16 10:33:37 +0000

Amidst a clutter of sports biopics that often concentrate on mainstream games like cricket, boxing etc., FREAKY ALI dares to be different as it explores the not-so-known world of golf. Treating it with humour, the film shows the journey of an ordinary, poor man turning into a winner in a world of sports that is dominated by the rich and the sophisticated. Whether this experimentation works for Bollywood or not, let's analyse. Brought up in the bylanes of Mumbai, Ali (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is an adopted orphan who tries to make his living by doing odd jobs like selling undergarments. When his engagement breaks because of his image as a salesman and he sees tears in the eyes of the one woman he loves the most - his mother (Seema Biswas), Ali decides to turn rich by hook or by crook. He joins hands with his bestie Maqsood (Arbaaz Khan), a small-time gangster working under Sohail Khan aka Danger Bhai (Niketan Dheer) to extort money. Besides this, Ali is passionate about just one sport, cricket and even wins the challenge of scoring sixes at every ball during a gully-cricket match. During one of his extortion assignments, he decides to take up a golfing challenge and ends up victorious and he is spotted by Kishan Lal (Asif Basra), his neighbour and family well-wisher who believes that Ali's talent can create wonders in the world of golf. As his destiny takes him towards a new way of life, with new goals, dreams, Ali comes across new friends and love, Megha (Amy Jackson), he also makes new enemies like Vikram Rathod (Jas Arora). What follows is a series of matches where Ali has to prove his worth to his coach Kishan Lal while dealing with the success-obsessed Vikram Rathod and a man with selfish motives, Danger Bhai, who would go to any lengths to ensure the defeat of Ali at the tournament, even if it means turning his loved ones against him. We must give it to actor turned director Sohail Khan for bringing about a new sport to limelight with FREAKY ALI. While it's often cricket that takes away all the attention, sports like golf are left ignored. The film, that quite frequently reminds us of Adam Sandler starrer HAPPY GILMORE, has an intriguing first half filled with humour and the antics of Ali will definitely leave you in splits. While the expectations are at its peak during the second half, soon disappointment creeps in as director Sohail Khan fails to keep up the benchmark that he sets in the initial half of the film. The film succumbs to Bollywood cliches of an underdog's triumphs that makes the second half predictable. It also falls flat when it comes to humor, contrary to the first which boasts of a good collection of punchlines. Special mention to dialogue writer Raaj Shandiliya who has managed to give some of the best dialogues to Nawazuddin Siddiqui, especially in his introduction scene where he is seen selling male undergarments, however, we wish he could have retained his series of punches even in the second half. The screenplay written by Sohail Khan along with Raaj is decent but nothing beyond average. Despite the fact that the film manages to find its space between the series of films that show an underdog ultimately reaching his goal, some are done-to-death sequences that could have been easily avoided. As far as performance is concerned, FREAKY ALI solely rides on Nawazuddin Siddiqui's shoulders. And no points for guessing, the actor manages to carry off the role with aplomb despite the fact that this is his first full-fledged comedy role and he is known for serious cinema. Another special mention to Arbaaz Khan who has done a good job of adding those humourous punches in the film. Nawaz and Arbaaz's timing is one of the highlights of the film. On the other hand, Amy Jackson as the glamorous, pretty girl is decent but her character seems a tad bit half-baked just like the chemistry between her and Nawaz. Also making a mark with their presence are Seema Biswas as the mother and the actor playing Nawaz's bachelor uncle who deliver believable performances. Others help take the film forward. Jackie Shroff's cameo in the end seems forced neither does his 'bhidu' humour bring anything new to the table. The music of the film (Sajid - Wajid Ali) hardly has anything to boast about and the editing (Prashant Singh and Rathore) is strictly average. The cinematography (Mahesh Limaye) is decent. On the whole, FREAKY ALI kick starts with rib-tickling moments but fails to retain the humorous momentum throughout as it falls prey to predictable plotline and a disappointing second half.

Movie Review: Baar Baar Dekho
Fri, 09 Sep 16 09:58:12 +0000

While Bollywood has seen many genres being experimented with, the genre of time travel is still in its 'nascent' stages. The fact remains that the movies made in this genre (LOVE STORY 2050, FUN2SHH…, ACTION REPLAYY) have never hit the jackpot at the Box-Office. This week's release is the Sidharth Malhotra-Katrina Kaif starrer BAAR BAAR DEKHO also deals with the genre of 'time travel'. Will this film live upto its title or will it backfire at the 'Box-Office', lets analyze. BAAR BAAR DEKHO is a couple's roller coaster ride, which mirrors the ups and downs of their lives. The film starts off with the birth of Jai Verma and Diya Kapoor in Delhi and London respectively. Post that, Diya Kapoor's family settles down in India (Delhi, to be specific). As 'time' progresses, Jai and Diya grow up together and fall in love with each other. After years of knowing each other, one day, when 'painter' Dia proposes marriage to the 'Maths obsessed Professor' Jai, he becomes petrified with the very thought of marriage. Right before their wedding day, Diya takes Jai to a plush house that is gifted to them by her rich father (Ram Kapoor). This gift not just hurts the self respect of Jai, but also makes him confess to Diya that he is just not ready for marriage because his main focus is his career. Hearing that, a heartbroken Diya leaves Jai promising never to return back. Post that, a grief-stricken Jai lands up gulping a full bottle of champagne. And when he wakes up next morning, he sees the world and timezone around him totally changed. He sees himself transported into his future which shakes the ground below him completely. On one hand, while he sees himself resigning from a dream job at Harvard University (for which he had strived so hard), on the other hand, he sees his wife Diya divorcing him and moving on. If that wasn't enough, Jai 'lives through' many different crucial stages of his life. What are these situations and how does he manage to time travel and does Jai ever manage to 'solve' the mysteries, is what forms the rest of the film. When BAAR BAAR DEKHO's promos were released, it gave a feel that the film was a sincere attempt in the genre of time travel. In reality, the film's screenplay (Sri Rao, Nitya Mehra, Anuvab Pal) completely gives the film in. Besides being confusing, the film's screenplay is totally slow and un-relatable, which makes it extremely difficult to find resonance with the audience. The film's dialogues (Anvita Dutt) are very average with no outstanding one liners or anything to that effect. Though humor is sorely missing in the film, it is loaded with moments of unintentional comedy. Despite having assisted on successful films like LIFE OF PI, DON and LAKSHYA, debutante director Nitya Mehra struggles while narrating BAAR BAAR DEKHO. The way in which she has handled the aspect of time travel in the film is very weak, which only goes onto prove that such genres definitely require an 'experienced hand' for the film to be worth its salt. As the film progresses, one does start feeling about BAAR BAAR DEKHO being heavily 'inspired' by the Hollywood flicks like the Nicholas Cage starrer THE FAMILY MAN and the Adam Sandler starrer CLICK. While BAAR BAAR DEKHO's first half (especially the first 30 minutes) is engaging, the film starts collapsing piece by piece as Sidharth's character starts time travelling. The film's second half only gets worse and tests your patience as Sidharth starts travelling back and forth in time. It won't be wrong to say that, while BAAR BAAR DEKHO's essence is Indian, the concept is totally alien. All of this results in BAAR BAAR DEKHO becoming a mash up of sorts, thus, landing nowhere. And when the film's ridiculous suspense is revealed towards the end, it totally shows how much the makers of the film take the audiences for granted. As for the performances, the film rides totally on the shoulders of Sidharth Malhotra. After doing a fairly decent job in his last film KAPOOR &amp; SONS, Sidharth Malhotra comes up with yet another convincing (if not exceptional or superlative) performance in BAAR BAAR DEKHO. Even though he is believable in the role of a young man and a middle aged man, he fails to do justice to the old man's role. Still, it is him who holds the film majorly on his shoulders. On the other hand, Katrina Kaif delivers a just about passable performance in BAAR BAAR DEKHO. There are many places where she starts struggling with her character. Even though the age difference between Sidharth Malhotra and Katrina Kaif start becoming visible with every passing frame, the duo try and envelope that with their performances. Ram Kapoor notwithstanding, most of the other actors are wasted in the film. Despite the presence of multiple music directors (Amaal Mallik, Badshah, Jasleen Royal, Bilal Saeed, Prem Hardeep), the film manages to churn out only one chartbuster track in the form of '<i>Kaala Chashma</i>'. And by the time this track plays in the film (during the end credits), the audiences have already lost their interest in the film. The film's cinematography (Ravi K. Chandran) is excellent. The way in which he has shot the locations are extremely top-notch. The film's editing (Amitabh Shukla) is average. On the whole BAAR BAAR DEKHO is a confused film which underestimates audience's intelligence and takes them for granted. At the box office, the film's narrative will appeal only to the selected multiplex audience while the masses will find it difficult to relate to the movie.

Movie Review: Akira
Fri, 02 Sep 16 13:21:01 +0000

The year 1935 saw the release of a path breaking film in the form of HUNTERWALI that starred the 'Fearless Nadia'. Over the years, Bollywood has given way to many 'women-oriented' films like MOTHER INDIA, BANDIT QUEEN, KAHAANI, QUEEN, MARDAANI and more. This week sees the release of yet another woman oriented film in the form of AKIRA starring Sonakshi Sinha. Will this film manage to kick some butt at the Box-Office or will it get itself kicked, let's analyze. Fox Star Studios' AKIRA, which happens to be an official remake of the Tamil hit film MOUNA GURU, is essentially a story of a daredevil woman and her fight for survival amidst a bunch of brutal and corrupt cops who can plunge to any level in order to save their skin. The film begins with the 'vocal introduction' of Akira Sharma (Sonakshi Sinha), by Inspector Rabia (Konkona Sen Sharma). The story starts off with a 14 year flashback of Akira's childhood in Jodhpur (Rajasthan). While returning from school, she witnesses an acid attack. This untoward incident encourages her mute and deaf father (Atul Kulkarni) to enrol her in martial arts classes. Angered by Akira turning a witness, when the culprits attack her, she accidentally throws acid on one of them, which results in her being jailed in juvenile home. As she grows up, at the insistence of her Mumbai based brother, Akira and her by-now widowed mother (Smita Jaykar) shift their base to Mumbai. It is in Mumbai, where life changes completely for Akira, who accidentally finds herself in a totally helpless situation for a 'crime' that she was not even a part of in the first place. What follows after that are a series of staged attacks, murders, physical and mental torture on Akira, all of which at the behest of the 'drug sniffing' cop ACP Rane (Anurag Kashyap) and his trusted fellow policemen. The degree of atrocities which get subjected on the innocent Akira reache to such an extent that she gets 'officially certified' as a mental patient and gets thrown away in a mental asylum. What was the reason for ACP Rane to be after Akira's life, does Akira find a way out from the mental asylum and prove her innocence is what forms the rest of the story. Although women oriented subjects are looked forward to in Bollywood, it really requires an outstanding script and a compelling screenplay in order to make a film of this genre to stand out. In case of AKIRA, despite the film having a strong message and an interesting concept, the loosely penned screenplay (Santha Kumar, A.R. Murugadoss) gives the film in. The script is totally disjointed, which acts as the villain in the entire film. Add to this, the fact that, the film has limited action scenes, no romance and no music lands the film catering to not a single vector of entertainment. The film simply fails to offer any kind of entertainment value to its audiences. The film's dialogues (Karan Singh Rathore) are extremely average. Even though director A.R. Murugadoss happens to be a big name down south with many hit films to his credit, AKIRA happens to be his third Hindi film (the first two being GHAJINI and HOLIDAY: A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY). With his first two Bollywood films proving to be blockbusters, expectations were indeed sky high from him as a director as far as AKIRA is concerned. Despite the film taking off to a flying start in its convincing first half, A.R. Murugadoss starts struggling with the film at regular intervals, courtesy a weak screenplay. AKIRA's second half tremendously slows down the proceedings of the film. As the film progresses, it (unintentionally) lands up becoming too dark in virtue, something that Anurag Kashyap's films are generally synonymous with. While the film's tagline screamed 'No one will be forgiven', one is bound to expect oodles of action galore and adrenaline rush. With the film offering none of the two, the audiences are bound to feel cheated by the time the films ends. There are way too many unexplained and unwanted scenes in the film that seem to be thrusted in the name of 'cinematic liberties'. With the film's climax turning out to be a total damp squib, it serves as a perfect example of bad execution of a good concept. Scenes like a mental patient driving a van without any mistake and the late police investigations are very shoddily explained. As for the performances, the film rides majorly on the shoulders of Sonakshi Sinha and Anurag Kashyap. Even though Sonakshi Sinha comes across as a stark revelation in comparison to all her other films so far, the flip side is that, her action scenes are totally limited in the film. While one cannot deny the fact that AKIRA offered Sonakshi Sinha immense platform to exhibit her acting and action skills, the ludicrous screenplay failed to showcase the same. Unlike the film's promos that showed Sonakshi Sinha doing some of the breath taking stunts, the film turns out to be sore disappointment because of her limited action scenes. On the other hand, there's Anurag Kashyap, who means and spells menace with his performance in the film. Even though this is not his first film as an actor, his role of an unapologetic cop in AKIRA proves his mettle as an actor in all the films that he has acted in so far. Do not miss his introduction scene wherein he teaches his subordinates as to what 'perfect timing' is all about. There's also Konkona Sen Sharma, who, for reasons best known to the director has been shown heavily pregnant throughout the film. Despite having limited screen time, she does not disappoint the audience. The rest of the actors do their bit in taking the film forward. The film has no scope for music (Vishal-Shekhar), however the background score (John Stewart Eduri) helps the narrative. The film's cinematography (R. D. Rajasekhar, ISC) is decent. The film's editing (A. Sreekar Prasad) is absolutely average. On the whole, AKIRA has an interesting concept which fails on the account of its slack screenplay and lack of entertainment value. At the Box-Office, it will be rejected and will entail losses to its investors.

Movie Review: A Flying Jatt
Wed, 24 Aug 16 20:48:57 +0000

Bollywood has witnessed superhero films in the form of KRRISH, RA. ONE and a handful of others. This week's release is A FLYING JATT, which stars Tiger Shroff, Jacqueline Fernandez and Nathan Jones. Will A FLYING JATT pass the 'Box-Office' test with 'flying colours' or simply 'land' with a thud, lets analyze. Balaji Motion Pictures' A FLYING JATT is essentially of the origin and inception of a reluctant superhero, who is afraid of heights. The film starts off with the introduction of the filthy rich and extremely money-minded Malhotra (Kay Kay Menon) and his expansion plans for his construction company. Amidst his plans of expansion, Mrs. Kartar Singh aka Bebe (Amrita Singh) acts as a barrier as it's her (late) husband's land that Malhotra wants to usurp for his project. Even when Malhotra offers double the value of the land to Bebe, she just does not budge to his offer, as she reasons that Malhotra's companies are the root cause of pollution in the city. That's when Malhotra summons the deadly and towering Rakka (Nathan Jones) so that he could throw Bebe and the other residents out of the 'Kartar Singh Colony', which is also home to an extremely pious and wish fulfilling tree. When Rakka is just about to cut down the tree, opposition comes in the form of Aman (Tiger Shroff), a normal martial arts teacher in a school. Just as when Rakka is about to chop the tree, a certain miracle takes place and, while Aman is blessed with superlative superpowers, Rakka on the other hand, gets the evil powers. Rakka's powers become deadlier whenever he inhales the polluted air. Seeing Aman with superpowers, his mother nicknames him as 'Flying Jatt', after his late father. What happens after that are a series of fights between Flying Jatt and Rakka, rescue missions galore and many such events. Amidst all this, there also exists Aman's unspoken love for Kirti (Jacqueline Fernandez), who is unaware of the fact that everyone's angel saviour 'Flying Jatt' is Aman himself. Does Aman ever muster the courage to confess his love to Kirti, does Kirti ever get to know that Aman and Flying Jatt are one and the same, does the Flying Jatt manage to beat Rakka's... is what forms the rest of the story. The fight between good and bad, noble versus immoral, virtuous versus corrupt has been depicted in film after film. And if the fight between two extremes is portrayed in the most convincing manner, the viewer is bound to carry the film home and most importantly, return to watch the on screen clash again. In the case of A FLYING JATT, the film has a weak screenplay (Tushar Hiranandani, Remo D'Souza), which acts as a major spoilsport that runs across the film, which has a fragile storyline. While the film's story has the genesis of good versus evil, the theme has been 'Indianised' and localised with a Punjabi tadka, so as to cater and appeal to the Indian sensibilities. Even though the film does offer entertainment in tangible proportion, there are places where the film starts looking lost. Scenes like fighting in the space in the climax is bizarre. And Remo adding a corny quote of himself while the movie is still running is laughable. Despite the fact that the film's dialogues (Aakash Kaushik) do not qualify to be exceptional or extraordinary, they manage to be in tune with the flow of the film. The film's story is relatable and the religious sentiments have been captured and portrayed in a clever manner. Director Remo D'Souza, whose last film ABCD 2 proved to be a Box-Office winner, does a decent job with A FLYING JATT, but the tacky VFX and weak screenplay overpowers the film's 'direction' (quite literally!). Despite Remo D'Souza's past laurels, one really wonders as to how he zeroed down and agreed upon the film's illogical climax. While the drama in the film's first half is pretty interesting, humorous and gripping, the film's second half loses track, and turns too preachy regarding environment and religion. There are some not to be missed scenes in the film, which includes Tiger Shroff doing a Sunny Leone, Amrita Singh coaching Tiger Shroff to behave like a superhero, Flying Jatt's first rescue sequence (though its lifted from the Hollywood blockbuster X MEN: DAYS OF THE FUTURE PAST), the introduction scene of Rakka and also his transformation into evil during the interval. As for the performances, with a title like A FLYING JATT, the film definitely belongs to Tiger Shroff. The film is all about the antics of Tiger Shroff, whose martial skills are in full display in the film. Tiger Shroff, remains sincere and true to his character, even though this film may not qualify as his career best. The role of a man with superpowers needs a robust personality to match and Tiger Shroff scores full marks in this department. Jacqueline Fernandez, on the other hand, does not do anything exceptional, besides looking pretty and providing the glam quotient to the film. The sad part about Jacqueline Fernandez's role in the film is that, despite being the film's heroine, her role is smaller in length as compared to even Amrita Singh and Gaurav Pandey. Gaurav does an extremely decent and convincing job as Tiger Shroff's brother. The wrestler turned actor Nathan Jones makes his debut in Bollywood with A FLYING JATT. Rakka, his character in the film, rides entirely on his towering personality and his muscle power. In the bargain, Nathan Jones does manage to instill fear in the minds of the audiences, which was expected of his character. Amrita Singh as the typical Punjabi mother delivers a decent performance and is extremely lovable in her character. Kay Kay Menon, on the other hand, does a decent job in the negative role. Shraddha Kapoor's cameo is effective. The rest of the actors do their bit in taking the film forward. Besides the chartbuster track '<i>Beat Pe Booty</i>, the film's music (Sachin-Jigar) is just about passable and has limited scope in the film. On the other hand, the film's background score (Sachin-Jigar) is impressive and enhances the film's narrative very effectively. With the film's choreography resting on the shoulders of the talented Remo D'Souza, it's no wonder that the film's choreography is bang on and extremely impressive. While the film's cinematographer Vijay Kumar Arora lands up doing a shoddy job, the film's editing (Nitin FCP) comes across as pretty average. Even the film's production value and VFX look tacky, which is quite a letdown in a superhero film. On the whole, A FLYING JATT has the ingredients that make an interesting superhero film. A section of the audience might find the film's proceedings to be corny; however, the mass audiences and kids might take a liking for the film. At the Box-Office, the film has the potential to fly, though, not to great heights. The extended weekend will help the film reap dividends at the Box-Office.

Movie Review: Happy Bhag Jayegi
Thu, 18 Aug 16 18:54:11 +0000

Last week saw the release of two films MOHENJO DARO and RUSTOM, both of varied genre. This week sees the release of a 'happy' go lucky film in the form of HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI. This film marks the 'return' of the petite Diana Penty, who had been missing from the silver screen ever since her debut in COCKTAIL. Will HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI manage to entertain the audiences… let's analyze. HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI starts off in Amritsar, where happens an Indo-Pak agro conference. Presiding over this crucial conference is Javed Ahmed (Jawed Sheikh), the ex-governor of Pakistan, who wants his dearest son Bilal Ahmed (Abhay Deol) to enter politics just like him and 'change the history of Pakistan'. Even though Bilal's heart lies in becoming a cricketer, he sacrifices his professional desires for the sake of his father. As the conference gets over and Bilal reaches his home in Lahore (Pakistan), he is shocked to see a mysterious fruit 'moving basket', which then, turns out to the hideout of effervescent and free spirited Happy (Diana Penty). When interrogated, Happy reveals that she had run away from her wedding with the local corporator Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Sheirgill) in Amritsar, because she is actually in love with Guddu (Ali Fazal), but her parents have opposed to their relationship. At the same time, she also confesses that, even though she was to run away from her marriage, her landing up in Pakistan was purely accidental and totally unplanned. Amidst all this, Bilal Ahmed also lands up falling in love with Happy, despite the fact that he is already to Zoya (Momal Sheikh). What happens after that are a series of chases, hidings, kidnapping and confusion across India and Pakistan. Does Happy survive in Pakistan amidst such pressures, and who will she ultimately marry and under what circumstances, is what forms the rest of the film. The film is written and directed by Mudassar Aziz. Despite the fact that the film's screenplay is predictable, it's the treatment that makes the film entertaining. The humour in the film is excellent and works magic in the first half. The second half however slows down due to multiple subplots and romantic angles, some of which seem quite forced. As a director, Mudassar Aziz, who had earlier made the forgettable DULHA MIL GAYA (2010), springs a pleasant surprise in the form of HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI. The way he has presented the film's characters is extremely real and that's what works in the favour of the film. The film, which takes off with an impressive start in the first half, gradually tends to slow down and lag amidst the second half because of multiple tracks. The good thing is that, despite losing its track amidst the second half, Mudassar Aziz manages to get the film back on track towards the climax. Mudassar Aziz needs to be applauded for not just making the film's characters interesting and very relatable, but also for having penned the film's funny dialogues. Even though HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI bears heavy shades (read 'hangover') of the Madhavan-Kangna Ranaut starrer TANU WEDS MANU, still, Mudassar Aziz successfully manages to give this film its own unique flavour. Amidst everything, one cannot but deny the fact that HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI bears the inimitable stamp of 'Anand L Rai' all over it. The USP of the film is that, despite being set in both India and Pakistan, the film doesn't get involved in making any kind of political statement in its narrative. As far as the performances go, as the film's title rightly suggests, HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI totally placed on the shoulders of the extremely talented Diana Penty, who returns to the silver screen after a long gap. While she showed immense promise in COCKTAIL, for reasons best known to her, Penty did not sign any films after that. With a tailor-made script like HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI (with a character that is in total contrast with her character in COCKTAIL), she just couldn't have had asked for more. Even though there are places where Diana Penty strongly reminds us about the spunkiness that Kareena Kapoor exuded as the iconic Geet in JAB WE MET, Diana holds her own by maintaining a strong and distinctive identity. Abhay Deol, whose last release was the damp squib ONE BY TWO, impresses to the core with his role of the Pakistani young politician Bilal Ahmed. His onscreen presence is extremely endearing and the way in which he enacts his character and holds the film is really laudable. Jimmy Sheirgill is decent in his role of Daman Singh Bagga. He plays his part with a lot of sincerity and dedication, which shows in the film. Making her debut in Bollywood is the Momal Sheikh (hailing from Pakisitan) whose approach towards her character exudes superlative confidence. Besides the fact that HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI is her Bollywood debut in which she had been pitted alongside seasoned actors, the conviction with which she handles her character is highly commendable. Ali Fazal, on the other hand, delivers what was required of him in the role of a lover boy. A special mention to Piyush Mishra for having the audiences in splits with his role of the policeman Usman Afridi. The rest of the characters help in moving the film forward. While there is hardly any scope for music (Sohail Sen) in the film, it's the film's background score (Sohail Sen) which impresses and acts as one of the important elements in the film's narrative. The film's cinematography (Saurabh Goswami) is good and deserves to be applauded for having 'shown' Pakistan in an extremely convincing manner. The film's editing (Ninad Khanolkar) is decent. On the whole, HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI comes across as a feel good film that will make you happy. At the Box-Office, its prospects will be rewarding for its makers.

Movie Review: Ben-Hur
Thu, 18 Aug 16 11:19:02 +0000

It is never easy to convert a novel into a full length feature film; leave alone if the book in question is over a 100 years old and has three films already made on it. However, the makers of the upcoming release BEN-HUR have attempted exactly that with their film. But will BEN-HUR manage to live up to expectations that have been set by not just the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace but also those set by the previous film that was based on the book that released in 1959 is what we analyse. The epic historical drama BEN-HUR starts off with a voiceover introduction being delivered by Morgan Freeman that details the setting from 33 BC. The film follows the life of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) a Jewish prince in Roman-occupied Jerusalem who is betrayed and falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) and is sentenced to a life of slavery. Following the accusation Ben-Hur loses everything and spends five years in the galley of a Roman slave ship and later takes on the Roman Empire and avenges his adopted brother in a grand chariot race while finding redemption and being forever changed after a series of encounters with Jesus Christ. Performance-wise, since the film relies heavily on Jack Huston as Judah and Toby Kebbell as Messala, it is just these two who make up for most of the screen time. Individually both Jack and Toby do a good job in their roles, but there is always a feeling of them being too overwhelmed by towering character sketches that they eventually fall a bit short of. But portraying the more sympathetic one time noble man who loses everything, hell bent on revenge only to find redemption, Jack fits in perfectly with the character. Similarly Toby as the ever chastised Roman orphan seeking validation and respect does equally well. In fact BEN-HUR hinges on the performance of these two actors who carry the film ably. Simultaneously, Morgan Freeman as Ilderim, who unlike the previous role, has a more grounded and serious character as compared to a comic one reprises his character with an air of authority. Here a special mention goes to writers Keith Clarke and John Ridley who have done well in developing the female character of Esther played by Nazanin Boniadi, especially since the new film gives her character a more independent and meatier role rather than just be another bystander in a war between brothers. Consider the fact that BEN-HUR revolves around the years when Jesus Christ actively preached his message of love, compassion and forgiveness, director Timur Bekmambetov does well integrating the parallel plot between the background and foreground, the plot and subplot. Talking about Christ's depiction in the film, Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus Christ does a more than convincing job. Since the film is based on chariot racing, we do see a load of races, however, unlike the more modern sport of racing, be it cars or bikes, chariot racing was a more violent sport with riders either winning the race or ending it either dead or maimed. Here the CGI appears to be seamlessly merged with the live action visuals, however apart from this, there are a few other places where the visual effects could have been made in a more polished manner. On the whole BEN-HUR that is set around the last days of Christ does have a lot of references to the Christian faith that could leave the audience who are uninformed about the faith, a bit lost. However, BEN-HUR despite its lengthy run time does make for a decent watch.

Movie Review: Mohenjo Daro
Fri, 12 Aug 16 08:58:33 +0000

In the recent times, filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker has become synonymous with historic films and the surreal sets mounted on the larger than life canvas. Films like JODHAA AKBAR, SWADES, and LAGAAN stand as testimony to the same. This week's release is MOHENJO DARO, yet another period film from the stable of Ashutosh Gowariker. Will MOHENJO DARO have a 'historic' run at the Box-Office or will it bite the dust, let's analyse. The film starts off with the era of 2016 BC in the North West region, which happens to be the prehistoric India. This gradually leads to the introduction of Sarman (Hrithik Roshan) and his victorious fight with a predator crocodile. While on one hand the villagers felicitate him for the victory, on the other hand, Sarman is adamant to visit the city of Mohenjo Daro, something that his uncle and aunt are not too keen on, for reasons best known (only) to them. One day, after much reluctance, Sarman's uncle and aunt give in to his demands of visiting Mohenjo Daro, but, not without handing him over a 'identity coin'. When Sarman reaches Mohenjo Daro, amongst the many other things, he sees the beautiful 'Sindhu Putri' Chaani (Pooja Hegde), the daughter of a religious pandit (Manish Choudhary). Both, for Sarman and Chaani, it turns out to be unspoken love at first sight. One day, the curious Sarman happens to visit the 'upper city' in search of Chaani. It is here, that Sarman, besides being stunned by the visuals and locations, witnesses the disparity that prevails under the rule of the evil ruler Maham (Kabir Bedi), who had once been earlier exiled from Harappa. In no time, Sarman becomes the people's representative and raises his voice against Maham's atrocities. Amidst all this, the pandit reveals a secret to Sarman that not just shocks Sarman, but also, sweeps him off his feet. What is the much guarded secret that Sarman gets to know, what is his connection with the city of Mohenjo Daro, and does the blooming love between Sarman and Chaani culminate into their unison... is what forms the rest of the story. Despite the humongous canvas of the film, the film's story and screenplay (Ashutosh Gowariker) turns out to be a major letdown, thus disappointing the viewers to the core. One does agree on the fact that researching about an era (read 'civilization') that is as old as a whopping 5000 years is a task in itself. At the same time, while writing the screenplay of such a film, one has to ensure that the audiences and their sensibilities cannot be taken for granted. The sad part is that Ashutosh Gowariker fails on this front. Ashutosh Gowariker, who has always emerged a winner with his previous attempts at historic and period films, fails miserably with MOHENJO DARO as a director. It just won't be wrong to say that in the name of 'cinematic liberties', Ashutosh Gowariker has taken the audiences sense and patience for granted. While the film's first half is slow, the film's extremely dragged second half acts more villainous. The film's second half totally takes the steam off the film. The film's climax only makes things worse. Ashutosh Gowariker, despite his goliath attempt in fictionally (re)creating the Mohenjo Daro civilisation, fails to convince the viewers about the same. What one fails to understand is how can someone like Ashutosh Gowariker, who is known for making some of brilliant films, can go so wrong with MOHENJO DARO. As for the performances, the film clearly and rightfully belongs to the extremely versatile Hrithik Roshan, who has by now become the 'go-to-man' for such roles. With his Greek God looks and physical stature, Hrithik Roshan ensures and justifies his role of the unassuming farmer- turned-saviour. Hrithik Roshan walks that extra mile in terms of his spellbinding performance and muscle flexing action. He stands tall in every frame and delivers a towering performance. However, that by itself is unable to salvage a vacuous drama. In other words, despite the whole film riding (solely) on his shoulders, the film's extremely poor screenplay gives in. The film's heroine Pooja Hegde, after having done films down South, makes her debut with MOHENJO DARO. Despite her past experience, she's average in the film. The veteran actor Kabir Bedi, excels in the role of 'Maham'. What works to his advantage are his good looks and his baritone voice, both of which have been utilised beautifully by Ashutosh Gowariker. The other actors Arunoday Singh, Suhasini Mulay, Nitish Bharadwaj lend their able support in carrying the film forward. While we would like to make a special mention to the film's costumes (Neeta Lulla), the film's VFX oscillates between amateurish and average. The film's music (A R Rahman) is nothing extraordinary, as one would have generally expected from the music maestro. The film's background score is decent, but, a bit loud in many places. The film's cinematography (C.K. Muraleedharan) is above average. The film's editing (Sandeep Francis) lands up being one of the film's shortcomings. On the whole, MOHENJO DARO comes across as a grand historical fictional tale which appeals only in parts. The lack of engaging and relatable drama act as spoilsport in the narrative. From the Box Office perspective, competition from RUSTOM and lack of crucial narrative will act as a major hindrance.

Movie Review: Rustom
Thu, 11 Aug 16 16:39:36 +0000

Films based on real lives and real people have become very popular in Bollywood these days. This week's release is the Akshay Kumar starrer RUSTOM, a film that has been inspired by a 'sensational case of a Naval officer that led to the end of the jury system in India'. Will RUSTOM 'sail' its way through at the Box-Office or will it sink without a trace... let's analyse. RUSTOM starts off with a periodic era of 1959, when Mumbai was still 'Bombay' and the times when justice was done by the jury members and not by the judge. This is followed by the introduction of the 'habituated to his uniform' Commander Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar) and his lovely wife Cynthia Pavri (Ileana D'Cruz). One day, when Rustom Pavri comes back home from the sea, earlier than his scheduled date, he is shocked when he gets to know that his wife Cynthia has gone out with the 'filthy' rich Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa) and has not been home since two days. Rustom Pavri, then, starts breathing fire and reaches Vikram's house, only to find Vikram and Cynthia together. Unable to bear the sight of his wife's deceit, Rustom Pavri loads his official gun and shoots the evil minded Vikram, killing him. Being the ever righteous man, Rustom Pavri then goes to the police station and surrenders himself. When the news of Vikram's death reaches the ears of his 'well connected' sister Preethi Makhija (Esha Gupta), she vows to revenge her brother's death. As the case goes to the court however, Rustom pleads not guilty. What follows after that is a heated court room drama, mudslinging, the role of the media in the case... all eventually leading to one common thing. What is the ultimate conclusion of all the events, is Rustom Pavri really guilty or is there more than what meets the eye. First things first. RUSTOM is essentially a crime thriller. While the film does not have a mystery element/ whodunit angle in the storyline, it becomes slightly predictable as it progresses. The fact also remains that, there have been two films that have been earlier made on the same premise. These films were the Sunil Dutt-Leela Naidu starrer YEH RASTEY HAIN PYAAR KE (1963) and the ?Vinod Khanna?-Farida Jalal? starrer ACHANAK (1973). The storyline of RUSTOM has been subjected to a contemporary treatment by Vipul K. Rawal, who is in charge of the film's screenplay, story and dialogues. When a film has Akshay Kumar as its hero, it's a given that the screenplay has to be essentially gripping which keeps the audiences on the 'edge-of-the-seat'. This element however is missing in RUSTOM. The film's screenplay not just slows down the film's pace, but also is very average. Had the screenplay been engrossing and captivating, it would have been a different story altogether. The film's narrative oscillates between 'convincing' and 'not-so-very-convincing'. Even though RUSTOM has been largely inspired by the famous case of KM Nanavati, the film does have its moments that make it furthermore enticing. Those who do not know anything about the (Nanavati) case, will surely take a liking for RUSTOM. RUSTOM happens to be Tinu Suresh Desai's second film as a director (his first being 1920 LONDON). Tinu Suresh Desai has done a decent job as a director. While the film is set up in the first half, the second half is filled with court room drama galore. Even though there are moments when the film starts lagging, Tinu Suresh Desai's manages to put the film back on track towards the end. The flip side (read 'shortcomings') of his direction can be seen in the courtroom drama scenes. Generally, court room scenes are filled with high voltage drama and power packed dialogues, something that is totally missing in RUSTOM. On the other hand, it's the 'situational humour' that connects with the audience. As for the performances, absolutely no prizes for guessing that it is the inimitable Akshay Kumar, who is the 'captain' of the ship. Akshay Kumar, who has been extremely versatile in terms of his (diverse) selection of films, adds yet another feather in his cap with RUSTOM. This is the first time ever in his career spanning many years that Akshay Kumar has played a Naval officer. And boy! He delivers such a spotless and flawless performance in this role by staying extremely true to his character. Lending him able support is Ileana D'Cruz as his wife Cynthia Pavri. Despite having limited scope as far as performance is concerned, Ileana D'Cruz holds her own with her restrained performance. Esha Gupta, on the other hand, is good in her role of a revenge seeking woman. Arjan Bajwa, despite his small role, is effective. Other actors like Kumud Mishra (in the role of a newspaper editor), Usha Nadkarni (as the servant), Sachin Khedekar (as Public Prosecutor Lakshman Khangani) and Pawan Malhotra (as Inspector Lobo) too have strong parts and keep the movie together. The film's music (Arko, Raghav Sachar, Ankit Tiwari and Jeet Gannguli) is pretty average. The film's cinematography (Santosh Thundiyil) is decent, if not superlative. The film's editing by Shree Narayan Singh is average. On the whole, RUSTOM comes across as a well crafted crime thriller that meets expectations. It has its share of captivating moments as well as the loose ones. At the Box-Office, competition in the form of MOHENJO DARO will limit its potential. However, the holiday period post the weekend and positive word of mouth will prove beneficial for the movie.

Movie Review: Suicide Squad
Fri, 05 Aug 16 13:29:49 +0000

Earlier this year we saw what happens when some of the best superheroes team up together to fight evil with the release of AVENGERS 2. Well now in SUICIDE SQUAD we see a different kind of union forming with some of the most notorious and deadly villains joining forcers against a larger evil that threatens to doom the human race. But will this band of unlikely anti-heroes manage to hold the audiences' attention the way the superheroes do, will they forsake their oath to help each other and escape their captors, or will they eventually emerge as a force of good to reckon with is what we analyse. The film starts off in the aftermath of Superman's death, with intelligence operative Amanda Waller assembling a team of dangerous criminals - the deranged Harley Quinn; elite hit man Deadshot; pyrokinetic ex-gangster El Diablo; opportunistic thief Captain Boomerang; monstrous cannibal Killer Croc; and specialized mercenary Slipknot, placing them under command of Colonel Rick Flag, to be used as disposable assets in high-risk missions for the United States government. Each member has a small bomb implanted in their head, designed to detonate, if any member rebels against Flag. One of Waller's recruits is Flag's girlfriend, Dr. June Moone, an archaeologist who is possessed by a spirit witch known as "Enchantress" after touching a cursed idol, and who quickly spirals out of control, besieging Midway City with a horde of monsters and nesting on a subway station, where she forces a commuter to become the host for her brother, Incubus. Waller then deploys the squad to extract a high-profile mark from Midway, and Flag alerts them that Enchantress' heart must be cut out of her to regain control of her. Before the squad embarks on their mission, they are joined by Katana, a warrior who wields a mystic sword and acts as Flag's bodyguard. Harley's lover, the Joker, finds out about her predicament and tortures one of Waller's men into leading him to the facility where the nano bombs are made. The Joker has had the wife of one of the scientists involved in the program kidnapped to blackmail him into disabling Harley's bomb. In the meantime, the team who have fought their way to the location of the hideout learn that their mark is Waller herself, who is attempting to cover up her involvement. The squad escorts Waller to the rooftop for extraction, but the arriving helicopter has been hijacked by Joker and his men, who open fire on the squad and disable Harley's bomb, allowing her to climb aboard. However, the helicopter is shot down by Waller's men, and Harley jumps out while Joker seemingly perishes in the explosion, after which Harley rejoins the squad. Alerted to Waller's whereabouts, Enchantress' minions arrive and kidnap her. With Waller compromised, the squad decides to abandon the mission, while Flag chooses to continue. Realizing they have an opportunity to prove themselves, they soon join him and locate Enchantress and Waller at the partially flooded subway station. From here on begins the fight between the motley squad of one time villains against Enchantress and her brother. Will the Suicide Squad emerge victorious and prove themselves worthy of redemption or will they fall victim to Enchantress' visions and eventually wither away. The film begins with each of the characters being introduced as Amanda Waller and Flag visit Belle Reve Penitentiary on a recruitment drive. Director David Ayer wastes no time in stretching out each introduction, instead he dives headlong into the throes of the film's story revealing parts of each character as the film progresses. Talking about progression, the film has a rather quick pace with plenty of action sequences every now and then. Though these sequences are well planned and executed, they do not come close to the ones we saw in previous superhero films. The film was planned to resemble a GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY or THE AVENGERS series especially with the action, story build up, and background but the viewer can't help but realize that the film falls short of being what was expected. Another moot point are the dialogues, the rather lame one liners that seem to be placed within each character's speech come across as pointless insertions made to be used in the trailer. Even the jokes are more often than not misplaced and just not worth a laugh. However, what works for the film is the CGI that is on par with some of the most extravagant visual experiences that we have seen in the recent past. This coupled with the high octane, bullets flying, swords-slashing action retains the viewer's attention for a while yet falls short of getting one hooked to the film. Characterization and development of the villains Enchantress and her brother Incubus are brilliant. Their look does give the viewer a feel of an ancient yet deadly power that has awoken in the 21st century to reclaim their position as gods. Coming to the performances in SUICIDE SQUAD, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is much better than what she was in THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, however, unlike her appearance in the trailer which gave a feeling that she would most definitely be a central protagonist with more screen time she is more often than not resigned to playing a crazed girl visible on the fringe of the action. Will Smith as Deadshot does a decent job, however the makers' idea of giving his character emotional ties seems to lessen his overall menace as being one of the most feared assassins. Jared Leto is strictly OK for the amount of screen time he got, (spoiler) if you are looking a Joker playing a major/ integral part of the film, you are in for a let-down considering that he is present in the start and then towards the end. Joel Kinnamann as Rick Flag is convincing while Cara Delevingne as Enchantress is really good, her mannerisms and overall look does send a tingle down your spine. Overall, SUICIDE SQUAD comes across as a film made for the DC Universe fans who in all likelihood will lap up the film. However if you are not one, the film will feel like multiple action sequences that have been strung together with a reasonable story line to form one feature film.

Movie Review: Jason Bourne
Fri, 05 Aug 16 09:47:18 +0000

After the 2012 release THE BOURNE LEGACY, we see Matt Damon returning to reprise the role of Jason Bourne in the latest instalment in the Bourne franchise. Interestingly, the film will not only see Damon return as the central protagonist but will also feature director Paul Greengrass returning to helm the film. But will their return manage to revive the series that floundered in the previous film is what we are all set to analyse. JASON BOURNE stars a decade after Bourne exposed Operation Blackbriar and disappeared, with him finally recovering from his amnesia and isolating himself from the world while making a living by taking part in illegal fighting rings. At the same time in Reykjavík, Nicky Parsons who has been collaborating with a hacktivist group, hacks into the CIA's mainframe server in order to expose the CIA's black ops programs. In the process, Parsons finds documents that concern Bourne's recruitment into Treadstone and his father's role in the program, and she decides to travel to Greece to find and inform him. Parsons' system intrusion alerts Heather Lee, the head of the CIA's cyber ops division, and CIA Director Robert Dewey. Parsons and Bourne meet in Greece, at the Syntagma Square in the midst of a violent anti-government protest. Though they evade the team sent to locate them, Parsons is killed by the Asset, an ex-Blackbriar assassin who also holds a personal grudge against Bourne, having been captured and tortured following the Blackbriar leak. Before she dies, Parsons is able to pass the key to a luggage locker that holds the CIA files on to Bourne. Intending to find the answers about his past and family, Bourne locates Dassault in Berlin in a bid to decrypt files that can help him find his way. Does Bourne finally get the details of his past that he has been searching for, will Lee manage to convince Bourne to re-enter the program, will Dewey manage to contain the situation and finally bump off Bourn, or will Bourne survive despite all odds is what forms the rest of the story. Though nothing new can be expected from the story point of view, once again like the previous releases, JASON BOURNE follows Bourne as he hunts to find out his past that has evaded him till date. Matt Damon returning as Jason Bourne does have its share of charm, especially since Damon excelled in reprising the role of an amnesia stricken agent gone rogue. However, though Damon excels like before, he has visibly aged since the last time we saw him in this particular role, apart from that even the action sequences look similar to previous ones. From fist fights to car chase sequences, Damon and Greengrass have pulled out all the stops to recreate the Bourne feeling from the first three films. But this does little to keep the viewer gripped especially since it is nothing that they have not seen before. Performance wise Damon is spot on, as well as the rest of the cast members. Tommy Lee Jones as CIA Director Robert Dewey, Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee and Vincent Cassel as the Asset are on cue. Talking about the action, though the sequences are well executed and thrilling to watch, they are nothing new. Another aspect is the fact that they are few and far between with much banter and set up going into the setup of each sequence. Save for these high octane sequences the film drags on with a cat and mouse game being played between the CIA and Bourne. Cinematography of the film by Barry Ackroyd is impressive with the bike chase sequences through the streets and by lanes. On the whole, if you view JASON BOURNE as a standalone action flick it is pretty entertaining and makes for a good watch, but when compared to the previous films in the series, the film turns out to be just another run-of-the-mill Bourne flick.

Movie Review: The Legend of Michael Mishra
Fri, 05 Aug 16 04:04:51 +0000

They say that the only thing constant in this world is change. This week's release THE LEGEND OF MICHAEL MISHRA sees its protagonist (Arshad Warsi) bring about a drastic change in his life. Will this 'change' bring about any results at the box-office or will the audiences remain indifferent towards the film, let's analyze. The film starts off with FP aka Full Pant (Boman Irani), the owner of 'Michael Mishra Dhaba', telling a bunch of tourists about the 'legendary' greatness of Michael Mishra (Arshad Warsi). FP then, recalls the entire flashback incidents that transformed a simple tailor Michael Mishra into a 'tailor-made' Michael Mishra. FP states that, Michael Mishra, when on duty as a tailor, accidentally kills his customer. What follows after that are series of incidents that transforms the simple Michael Mishra into a dreaded don, who becomes a self confessed 'kidnapping specialist'. But when Michael Mishra ultimately finds his lady love Varsha 'Hello' Shukla (Aditi Rao Hydari) after years of incessant searching, he plans to change himself into a better human being, at her 'insistence'. The very moment he decides to change himself, he surrenders himself before the law, which then, punishes him with an imprisonment of a whopping 500 years, which, later, gets changed to lifetime imprisonment in a ruthless jail. Amidst all this, Michael Mishra's sidekick Half Pant (Kyroze Irani) stands by him like a rock. Does Michael Mishra ever muster the courage to tell those three magic words to Varsha Shukla, does Varsha Shukla selflessly tell Michael Mishra to change his lifestyle or is it more than what meets the eye is what forms the rest of the film. The film's screenplay (Manish Jha) is extremely poor and immature in totality. One fails to decipher as to what exactly was the director planning to tell the audience through the film. Added to that, is the sub-standard story (Manish Jha, Radhakrishnan, Sneha Nihalani), which only goes to prove the adage that 'Too many cooks, spoil the broth'. The film's director Manish Jha (who had made films like MATRUBHOOMI and ANWAR) lands up doing a shabby job with THE LEGEND OF MICHAEL MISHRA. Even the presence of a seasoned actor in the form of Arshad Warsi, was just not good enough to salvage the film from drowning. The film has a shaky start, and continues to wobble till the end. What really works in the favour of the film is the sudden twist (in the second half). As far as the performances are concerned, Arshad Warsi disappoints the viewer with his performance. His disconnect with his part is pretty evident as the film progresses. Even though the director has infused many of Arshad Warsi's trademarked comedy and mannerisms, the sad part is that, all of this does nothing to the film. It lands up looking like a caricature and a parody of all his previous roles! Aditi Rao Hydari, knowingly or unknowingly, lands up looking totally outspaced in the entire film. Even though Kyroze Irani tries to do a 'Circuit' act, he fails miserably. Boman Irani, in a cameo is just about bearable. While the film's music (Meet Bros Anjjan, Som-Raul, Abhinav Bansal, Rishi-Siddharth, Ujjwal-Nikhil) is pretty average, the background score (Rishi-Siddharth) is comparatively decent. The film's cinematography (Manoj Soni) is decent. The film's editing (Nipun Ashok Gupta) also happens to be one of the villains of the film (the others being poor story and lacklustre screenplay, as told earlier). On the whole, THE LEGEND OF MICHAEL MISHRA offers absolutely nothing new to the cine goers and has an extremely disjointed narrative. The film is bound to struggle at the box-office.

Movie Review: Budhia Singh - Born To Run
Fri, 05 Aug 16 04:03:20 +0000

Bollywood has seen many films that have been based on sports. While the majority of them were based on the game of cricket, a handful of them were based on other sports like boxing (MARY KOM), athletics (BHAAG MILKHA BHAAAG), football (GOAL), cycling (JO JEETA WOHI SIKANDAR), hockey (CHAK DE! INDIA), to name a few. This week's release is BUDHIA SINGH - BORN TO RUN, a film that's based on the sport of marathon running. Will BUDHIA SINGH - BORN TO RUN have a marathon run at the box-office or will it get 'disqualified' by the cinegoers, let's analyze. The film starts off with a set up of the divine Puri in Bhubaneswar. It is there that the audiences are introduced to the 5 year old Budhia Singh (Mayur Patole), who gets sold off to a local merchant by his impoverished mother, for a mere Rs. 650. There enters the 'social entrepreneur' Biranchi Das (Manoj Bajpayee), who runs a judo coaching classes for the young orphaned children. When he gets to know about Budhia Singh being sold off to a man, he rescues Budhia Singh and convinces Budhia Singh's mother to allow him to be kept with him, while he gets her a job. Delivering a chance punishment to Budhia Singh, makes Biranchi Das discover the former's 'god-gifted' talent to run relentlessly without an ounce of tiredness. There after he starts coaching Budhia, with a sole aim of creating a world record. And when the news of Budhia's athletic talents reaches the media, he, not only becomes an overnight sensation, but also the toast of the entire Bhubaneswar state. Biranchi Das gets so very involved in coaching Budhia to become an international marathon star, that he (unintentionally) starts overlooking his own family. And when the non-stop achievements and the records created by the 5 year old Budhia reaches its pinnacle, the Child Welfare Board's committee members try to bring down Biranchi Das as well as Budhia Singh. What follows after that are a series of allegations that includes Biranchi Das' trying to exploit the childhood of Budhia Singh for his selfish motives, uncalled for dope tests being conducted on Budhia Singh, national unrest regarding Budhia Singh and a call for ban on Budhia Singh's running, which could mean an abrupt end to his flourishing career. What happens eventually of Budhia Singh and his career, coach Biranchi Das' dream of Budhia Singh win at the Olympics, is what forms the rest of the film. The film's screenplay has been written by Soumendra Padhi, who also has doubled up as the film's director. Soumendra Padhi has penned the story of BUDHIA SINGH - BORN TO RUN with utmost simplicity and as much realism possible. Even though the film is based on a real life story, Soumendra Padhi has ensured it never gets slow. Even though BUDHIA SINGH - BORN TO RUN is Soumendra Padhi's debut film, his past experience in directing short films, documentaries and music videos has come very really handy while directing this film for the big screen. His storytelling ability through the medium of celluloid is crisp and impeccable. It's a given that working with children is way different than working with grown-ups. The last time one saw such a spectacular performance from a kid was in TAARE ZAMEEN PAR. Full marks to Soumendra Padhi for having extracted a tremendously outstanding performance from Mayur Patole, the film's protagonist. While Soumendra Padhi has managed to set the film's pace with its first half, it's the film's second half that does miracles for the film. Do not miss the scenes of Budhia Singh's dope tests and his interaction with coach Biranchi Das in the sports hostel. As for the performances, the film rides totally on the tender shoulders of Mayur Patole (who makes a remarkable debut with BUDHIA SINGH - BORN TO RUN) and the seasoned actor Manoj Bajpayee. Despite being young and raw, Mayur Patole carries the film like a well-trained and true professional. Right from the word go, Mayur Patole steals the heart of the audiences with his incredible performance in the film. The impact of his performance is so strong that, you tend to forget that he is an actor. Lending a rock solid support is Manoj Bajpayee, who delivers yet another memorable performance in his role of being Mayur Patole's (Budhia Singh) coach. The chemistry between the two is really heart touching. Their chemistry is something that needs to be seen in order to be believed. On the other hand, the other actors (esp. Tillotama Shome, Shruti Marathe, Chhaya Kadam) do a decent job and help taking film to move forward. Even though the film's music (Sidhant Mathur, Ishaan Chhabra) is not remarkable, still it does not hamper the film in anyway. The music of the film is woven within the film's narrative in a beautiful manner. The film's background score is good. Manoj Kumar Khatoi scores by doing a superlative job as the film's cinematographer. He has captured the entire sequence of the marathon running between Puri to Bhubaneswar in an extraordinary manner. The film's editing (Shivkumar V. Panicker) is decent. On the whole, BUDHIA SINGH - BORN TO RUN, despite winning a national award and being a good film, has less awareness due to poor publicity and lesser star value. Due to this, BUDHIA SINGH - BORN TO RUN will face an uphill task at the box office. Overall, the film will have to rely heavily on word of mouth and strong audience support to post good box office figures. But if you are in the mood to watch an inspirational tale of human spirit, endurance and sacrifice, do watch this one.

Movie Review: Dishoom
Thu, 28 Jul 16 21:47:57 +0000

There have been many films in Bollywood that have been based on the game of cricket and match fixing. Films like JANNAT and the recently released AZHAR serve as testimony to the same. This week's release DISHOOM is an action comedy which also deals with cricket in its plot. Will DISHOOM hit a sixer at the Box-Office is the question of the hour... let's analyze. DISHOOM starts off with a well-planned kidnapping of Indian cricket team's ace cricketer Viraj Sharma (Saqib Salim) by the dreaded Altaf (Rahul Dev), at the behest of Wagah (Akshaye Khanna) during a cricket series in the Middle East. The reason for Wagah to kidnap Viraj Sharma is to bail himself out of the Rs. 400 crore worth of debts that he has got himself into because of his match fixing deals going south. When the Indian government gets to know that Viraj Sharma has been kidnapped and that too, just 36 hours before the crucial and the much awaited India-Pakistan match, they decide to put their best police officer Kabir Shergill (John Abraham) on the job. Fearing national unrest and tension, they instruct Kabir Shergill not to utter a word to anyone about Viraj Sharma's kidnapping. When the news reaches the embassy of the Middle East, they immediately become ready to offer all kind of possible help to Kabir Shergill. That's when Kabir Shergill chooses the 'never-solved-any-case' police officer Junaid (Varun Dhawan), who is only way too happy to be chosen for the task of finding Viraj Sharma. What happens after that are a series of twists and turns, oodles of roller coaster ride and adventure tales of Kabir and Junaid and their parter in crime Ishika (Jacqueline Fernandez) who is a petty thief. Will Kabir Shergill be able to trace out Viraj Sharma before the India-Pakistan match, what role does Junaid play in tracing of Viraj Sharma and whose side is Ishika on and will she be of any help towards solving the mystery behind the kidnapping of India's key player is what forms the rest of the film. First things first. DISHOOM's script (Rohit Dhawan, Tushar Hiranandani) is predictable, however the chemistry between the actors, especially during the comic scenes make for an entertaining watch. As for the film's direction, Rohit Dhawan (whose last film was the John Abraham-Akshay Kumar starrer DESI BOYZ), has handled the entire proceedings of DISHOOM with extreme élan, style and panache. His efforts in mounting the film on such a large canvas pays off rich dividends. While Rohit Dhawan has ensured that the film's first half is crispy and tight, it's the film's second half that starts lagging midway, which, then, gets overshadowed by the breath taking action sequences. With DISHOOM, Rohit Dhawan proves his ability to handle big scale and glossy production with utmost comfort and ease. Though the film takes many creative liberties and some moments in the film don't seem justified, it doesn't fail to entertain. As for the performances, the film rides essentially on the shoulders of the two men, viz., John Abraham and Varun Dhawan. John Abraham handles his character of being a no-nonsense tough guy with perfection. He is surely one of the best action heroes in the business. On the other hand, with every passing film, Varun Dhawan is slowly inching towards being a 'complete performer'. While Varun Dhawan exhibited his serious side in BADLAPUR, DISHOOM sees Varun Dhawan in a rather cute and comical avatar. The ease with which Varun Dhawan executes the comic scenes is extremely adorable and praiseworthy. Overall, Varun Dhawan excels in playing his character in the film with utmost conviction and confidence. Jacqueline Fernandez brings in the glamour quotient to the film and acts her part very well. It won't be wrong to say that DISHOOM sees Jacqueline Fernandez's exceptional improvement as an actress. Amidst everyone, DISHOOM also sees the big return of the seasoned actor Akshaye Khanna, who announces his comeback in Bollywood with a bang with this film. His sense of timing and dialogue delivery adds more glitter to the character that he plays in the film. Akshay Kumar, despite being cast in a cameo, is hilarious in his part of a gay bad boy. Saqib Salim is effective. The rest of the cast help the film in moving forward. The film also sees cameos by Nargis Fakhri, Parineeti Chopra and cricketers like Javed Miandad, Mohinder Amarnath and Atul Wasan. The film's music (Pritam) is peppy. Tracks like '<i>Sau Tarah Ke', 'Toh Dishoom</i>' and '<i>Jaaneman Aah</i>' are already blockbusters. The film's background score (Abhijit Vaghani) is brilliant and moves in tandem with the film's story and narrative. The film has very impressive visuals and the person responsible for this is none other than the film's cinematographer Ayananka Bose. Full points to him for making the film look extremely glossy and high on glamour. The film's editing (Nitin Rokade, Ritesh Soni) is exceptionally crisp as the film's runtime is around 2 hours. A special mention to the film's stunt directors (Allan Amin, Stefan Richter) for shooting some breath taking action scenes in the film. On the whole, DISHOOM has a predictable storyline. However, the engaging narrative, coupled with rich visuals and high octane action work in the favour of the film. Add to this the star power of John Abraham and Varun Dhawan which will definitely attract the youth. At the box office, the film faces no competion for next two weeks and hence it will ensure good returns to the makers.

Movie Review: Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (English)
Thu, 28 Jul 16 11:53:10 +0000

Ghosts, ghouls, paranormal activity and the unknown has always captured human fascination and fear, but at the same time has been the driving force behind the question of life after death. It has been this one question that has sent more than a fair share of people in pursuit of the ethereal, however, despite numerous eyewitnesses, grainy photographs and warbled tape recordings, a concrete physical proof of the ether realm has evaded us. This week, we see the release of a film that deals with the topic of ghosts, but unlike the typical horror outing, this one caters more to your funny side. Yes we are indeed talking about GHOSTBUSTERS. A reboot of the original film that released back in 1984, GHOSTBUSTERS promises a thrilling, chilling yet rib tickling ride. But will a reboot featuring an all new cast with cameos by original film's actors work is the question. GHOSTBUSTERS starts off following the story of Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) who dreams of acquiring tenure status at the Columbia University. However, her dreams of tenure come under threat when she learns that her one time friend and co-author Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) released a book on paranormal that they wrote, without her permission. Fearing that the book which deals with the paranormal will affect her tenure application, Erin sets out to confront Yates and makes her withdraw the book. But when Abby and Erin come face to face, a series of confusing events and an abrupt introduction of Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), lead Erin on a ghost hunting expedition with Abby and Jillian. The expedition proves to be a success with the trio being able to find an ectoplasmic human representation of a once living being, but unfortunately the said apparition escapes their clutches. However, a video of the encounter with Erin ranting about ghosts being real makes its way to the web, which not just ends Erin's tenure but also gets her fired. In the meanwhile, MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) witnesses a ghost in the subway lines when she goes to investigate an apparent suicide victim who had ventured onto the tracks. Shaken by the apparition, Leslie contacts the trio of Erin, Abbey and Jillian, who in turn manage to test their new proton containment laser that Jillian built. Though sightings of ghosts steadily rise, the efforts of the group are constantly sidelined as being fake by the media. Despite these setbacks, the group continues to develop their ghost containment system and advertises themselves as Ghostbusters. They Ghostbusters also hire a dumb, blonde secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) who has no idea of what his job profile is or what is that of his employers. Simultaneously, Rowan North (Neil Casey) an occultist who has been shunned for most of his life is using devices developed on the lines of Abbey and Erin's book to summon the undead. Will Rowan who plans on leading the army of undead manage to overpower the Ghostbusters, will the people finally acknowledge the legitimacy of the Ghostbusters and will they actually manage to stop a cataclysmic event in the heart of the city is what makes up the rest of the film. Coming to the film itself, first things first, the makers of GHOSTBUSTERS and the production house have attempted to reboot a film that has since achieved cult status among its fan following. Coupled with this is the fact that being a reboot of a comedy film, entails telling the same jokes to the audience a second time round and expecting a laugh riot. Despite obstacles like this, director Paul Feig decided to forge ahead and recast the original members, only this time as an all-female team. Though the thought is interesting and the lead female cast is very powerful, the slow pace of the film in the first half makes it difficult to enjoy the film as the director takes his own sweet time to come to the actual plot. The film could have been much better had the script packed a punch in it but it sadly takes out the thrills and the scary chills from the original and replaces it with smoother more eye appealing CGI that does little to instill any sort of fear. Besides this, there are plenty of plot holes that keep cropping up, like for instance, the team of Ghostbusters is unable to rent an old fire station to be their headquarters but are able to find the money to procure and develop nuclear devices that can trap ectoplasmic representations. If that wasn't all, at one point in the film, the team is unable to do much but just trap and confine a ghost, however later on with the help of more or less the same gadgetry they are able to render ghost incapacitated. Another sore point in the film are the continuity errors, though minute are still pretty noticeable. As for the performances, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig as Drs. Abbey Yates and Erin Gilbert respectively apparently are one time best of friends who drift apart as differences between them on a coauthored book grow. However despite, the two settling their differences they simply do not come across as friends, at best their attempts to hash off depending on the others actions makes for a comic watch. McCarthy's dialogues seem to be monotonous and flat, the only high notes hit are when she is possessed and/ or shouting. The delivery of the jokes lacks punch, with the whole essence going amiss due to a misplaced vocal annotation. Kate McKinnon as the eccentric Dr. Jillian Holtzmann is funny but confusing. There is just too much happening with her constantly while she tries her level best to be assimilated into the group. Though her over the top histrionics and complete disregard for personal safety is a bit concerning, it does bring the much required comic relief to the film. Leslie Jones as the stereotypical loudmouthed 'Hell-Yeah' street smart woman is funny but seems like a forced character into the team. Neil Casey as the underappreciated Rowan North does not come across as menacing at all instead his character comes across as being a marionette whose strings are pulled by an unseen hand. The star cast of the original 1984 film also makes special appearances in the film. Being a film that deals with ghosts and ectoplasmic humanoid representations GHOSTBUSTERS obviously should boast of some pretty cutting edge visual effects. The CGI of the film is good and is synced well with the 3D effect. However, the makers have used the visual representation of the ghosts with respect to the CGI in the 1984 film. That being said, the heavy duty CGI and VFX in the climax is impressive. On the whole, GHOSTBUSTERS is a simple horror-comedy which makes for a light entertainer which has its moments of fun. If you are a fan of the original, you might just enjoy this popcorn entertainer too.

Movie Review: Lights Out (English)
Fri, 22 Jul 16 11:30:44 +0000

Over the years, there has been a small yet steady and visible growth in the number of horror films hitting screens. In fact the genre of horror movies has fast developed an ardent following among the discerning viewers. Now in a long list of horror films, we see the release of yet another one in the form of LIGHTS OUT. But in an age when films like THE CONJURING have captured the audience's imagination indulging into their deepest fears, will a film like LIGHTS OUT work is the question. Based on a short film by the same name that released in 2014, LIGHTS OUT is the story of Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) whose little bother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) experiences the same events that once tested her sanity. Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother Sophie (Maria Bello). The short film that was adjudged as the winner of a short horror film contest was picked by James Wan to be developed into a full length feature directed by David F. Sandberg. Like the short film, the plot deals with a novel concept of a ghost that can be seen and is active only in the dark. The film starts off with Rebecca leading an idyllic life that is abruptly interrupted with a call from her step brother's school informing her that Martin had fallen asleep for the third time in a week at school. When Rebecca arrives at the school she is met by a representative from the Child Protection Services who questions her about her mother's mental stability and her own ability to be a responsible guardian for Martin. After leaving the school with Martin, Rebecca heads back to her mother's house only to learn that her childhood tormentor, a ghost named Diana is back and this time is after Martin. Though Rebecca decides on taking Martin with her, the CPS forces her to let Martin live with their mother and unknowingly Diana as well. In the interim, Diana who once was an inmate with Sophia at a mental institution suffered from a rare skin disease that made her skin hyper sensitive to light. Wanting her friend Sophia back, Diana goes on a rampage to ensure that Sophia continues to suffer from depression and remains her friend. Will Rebecca and Martin escape from Diana's claws and will the brother and sister manage to save their mother from depression is what forms the rest of the film. Unfortunately like most horror stories, LIGHTS OUT too follows the tread bare path to scare the audience, with emerging ghouls from around the corner, that indescribable element in the corner of our eye and a mentally unstable family member… this film covers it all. Though the concept may be a novel one, the overall execution of the film leaves a lot to be desired. Replete with horror clichés, the film does manage to scare in parts, however the overall menace that should permeate across the film is evident only in a few areas. Yes dealing with a ghost that has to play within set parameters (only in the dark) do pose its own set of problems, the viewer does feel at times it could have been better. Director David F. Sandberg does a good job bringing out the scares ever now and then, but somehow his short film seemed to stand out more than this full length feature. As for the visual effects in the film, though limited in a film like LIGHTS OUT where the ghost is usually seen as just a silhouette, they are very well done. Coming to the performances in the film, Maria Bello as Sophie, the mother on edge suffering from acute depression while trying her level best to put up a brave front and hold things together is spot on with her portrayal. Teresa Palmer as Rebecca does a good job in her role as the older sister trying to protect her brother and save her mother at the same time. However, the scene stealer is Gabriel Bateman as Martin who does a commendable job as the scared kid whose nights have been haunted by his mother's ethereal friend. In fact it is thanks to fear that Bateman manages to convey that the audience actually develop a rapport with the family members. But on the other hand Alexander DiPersia as Bret, Rebecca's boyfriend seems totally lost, and ends up being just an extra on hand when help is needed. On the whole, with good editing, and trademark James Wan techniques of building up anxiety and good usage of light, the film definitely does manage to raise the hair on your neck when needed. Entertaining, scary in parts and funny at times, LIGHTS OUT makes for a decent one time watch.

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (English)
Fri, 22 Jul 16 09:52:31 +0000

Back in 1966, we saw the first of its kind space adventure series hit the small screen with the arrival of Star Trek. Created by Gene Roddenberry, the franchise soon acquired a cult status with fans across the globe. Despite spins off and divergent stories over the years, Star Trek has retained its essence of being a tale of space exploration. Now years on, we see the release of STAR TREK BEYOND which is the sequel to the 2013 release STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Much like the series that spoke of different adventures in space, STAR TREK BEYOND too is one episode from the journal of Captain Kirk and the crew of The Enterprise. The story begins with The Enterprise being two and a half years into its five year mission, when the ship arrives at Starbase Yorktown to replenish dwindling supplies while the crew takes shore leave. Finding his duties as Captain growing monotonous, James T. Kirk applies for a promotion to Vice Admiral. Meanwhile, Commander Spock and Nyota Uhura deal with the end of their relationship; Hikaru Sulu reunites with his partner and daughter; and Montgomery Scott struggles to keep the ship operational. Meanwhile an escape pod drifts out of a nearby nebula and the sole occupant, Kalara, claims her ship is stranded and damaged. The Enterprise is dispatched, but when it arrives at a planet on the far side of the nebula, it's crippled by a swarm of ships and boarded by drone soldiers led by Krall, an alien warlord. Krall attempts to retrieve an alien artefact - supposedly part of a long-lost weapon - from the Enterprise's storage, but Kirk gets the artefact first. In the ensuing battle, the Enterprise is badly damaged and as the crew evacuates, most of their escape pods are captured by the drone ships. With the crew as hostages, Krall looks to convince Captain Kirk to hand over the artefact, only to realise that it was within his grasp all the while. Now armed with the weapon, Krall sets course for Starbase Yorktown with the sole objective to capture it and fight the Federation. Picking off after the previous film, STAR TREK BEYOND features Captain Kirk back at the helm of the USS Enterprise with his trusted friend and lieutenant Spock by his side. Much like the earlier film this one too is a space adventure of mammoth proportions, while the first half of the film sets up the premise for the story detailing each of the characters' lives from where we last saw them, it boasts of some inspiring visuals. However, along with the visual treat and action there is a lot of banter between the characters. Though at times this constant jabbering drags, it does take the story forward explaining the reasoning behind the crew's next move. Here a special mention goes out to director Justin Lin who keeps the proceedings crisp and snappy. In fact each time the viewer feels dragged down by the banter there is always an adrenaline pumping sequence that comes just after, making for a ride with well interspaced highs and lows. As Simon Pegg along with Dough Jung has developed the screenplay for STAR TREK BEYOND, there is the comic element that you expect from Pegg both the in film, but these are few and far between. Coming to the cast of the film, Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk is his usual self, keeping in form with what we saw in the previous film, similarly Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock, Karl Urban as Doctor 'Bones' McCoy, Simon Pegg as Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott and Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Uhura are as expected. Each of the cast members bring in their own essence to their respective characters while still managing to retain the feel and mannerisms that we have seen in the series. Idris Elba has time and again proved his mettle at playing deep brooding characters who have a sense of doom around them, and once again as Krall Elba has done well. However, though his character does instil a sense of dread, the overall fear and menace seems diminished. With a backstory like his, Elba's character should have featured a little more menace considering that all he has ever known was war and pain. Talking about the visual effects of the film, STAR TREK BEYOND features some really good action sequences with high voltage explosions and crashes. Unlike the previous film that feature all too many lens flares that kind of spoiled the show, this one uses the same technique but in a much more eye pleasing manner. The development of the uncharted nebula system and an alien planet that quite resembles earth, along with the happenings on screen keep the viewer gripped. With a fast paced story (save for the few times in the first half where there is more talking) STAR TREK BEYOND is brisk. On the whole, STAR TREK BEYOND has both heart and action coupled with the aura that continues from the previous films, which makes it an entertaining film and definitely worth a watch.

Movie Review: Kabali
Fri, 22 Jul 16 09:45:16 +0000

There is one sun, there is one moon and there is only one Rajnikanth. This one sentence sums up the 'Rajini mania' that's prevalent all over the world. With two of his last films (LINGAA and KOCHADAIIYAAN) not faring well at the box-office, all the eyes are indeed set on this week's release KABALI, that stars everyone's favourite 'thalaiva' Rajinikanth. Will KABALI be able to set the box-office on fire or will it backfire like its 'predecessors', let's analyze. KABALI starts off in the scenic location of Malaysia, where everyone's favourite don Kabaleeswaram aka Kabali (Rajnikanth) is released from jail. Kabali was grievously wronged years ago and had to spend his jail term for the murder that he did not commit. The very moment he comes out of jail, he realises that the world has become a different place to live in. During his tenure in the jail, there arose a notorious gang named '43', which left no illegal activities untouched. When Kabali gets to know about this gang, he 'self-initiates' a meeting with the gang's top-notch members, so that they can forward the message of his release to their boss, who happens to be the extremely dreadful Tony Lee Yang (Winston Chao). While Kabali gets a heroic welcome from everyone after his release, he also gets invited to be a part of many social causes. One such social cause happens to be his very own 'FLF' (Free Life Foundation), where the 'upcoming notorious' youngsters are reformed. During the 'graduation ceremony' of their latest batch, the students get into a question-answer session with Kabali. It's during this session; Kabali tells the reason behind him becoming a gangster and also recounts all the incidents that connect his dreaded past to his peaceful present. When he plans to start the 'second innings' of his life, he gets the shocking news about his wife Roopa (Radhika Apte) being still alive. This shocks him tremendously because he had spent the whole 25 years in jail thinking that Roopa was dead, after she was killed by the villains. If that wasn't enough, Kabali also gets to know that he has a daughter named Yogi (Dhansika) who has been working as a contract killer. But, what Kabali does not know is the fact that his own daughter had been given the task of bumping him off by the villains. Will Kabali's daughter kill her own father for the sake of money, does Kabali ever meet his dearest wife Roopa and does Kabali become successful in eliminating his rival gang '43' in the end… is what forms the rest of the story. The film's script (written by Pa. Ranjith) is something that may not be as tangible to a non-Rajinikanth fan. There are scenes in the film that may defy human imagination and logic, but, then, with Rajinikanth at the helm of things, logic and rationalism be damned! Having said that, the script also does not fully provide Rajinikanth's onscreen antics, something that he is known for over the years. The film's director Pa. Ranjith (whose last film MADRAS was a blockbuster) needs to be applauded for having made a film that shows Rajinikanth playing his age. Even though Pa. Ranjith does not do anything way different from what we have seen before in the past Rajinikanth films, still he manages to keep the film engaging for the audience. The flip side is that, even though there are 'Rajini-isms' that the film boasts of and rests on, KABALI leaves a huge vacuum devoid of Rajinikanth's histrionics, something that his hardcore masala fans will miss. Additionally, the film also starts lagging at many places (especially during the second half). Add to that is the film's slow pace and irregular narration, which takes the steam out of the film. It will just not be wrong to say that it's only the screen-presence and the inimitable charisma of Rajinikanth that rises up to save the film on many occasions. As for the performances, it's obvious that the film rides solely and exclusively on the shoulders of Rajinikanth, who pulls out all stops to ensure that the viewers are treated to a 'paisa vasool' performance. Offering him rock solid support is Radhika Apte (who predominantly features as a 'pregnant lady' in most of the flashback scenes). One cannot take away the fact that she does complete justice to her character in the film. Do not miss her emotional scene where she meets Rajinikanth after a long time. This scene is definitely bound to give you goose bumps. Winston Chao, on the other hand, is pretty average as the villain. His character neither gets translated into a dreaded villain, nor does his screen presence send chills down the spine, something that is hugely required from a villain in a Rajinikanth film. The rest of the characters (Dinesh Ravi, Kishore, Kalaiyarasan, John Vijay) do their bit to help the film move forward. Barring the title track, the film's music (Santhosh Narayanan) is a just above average fare. The film's background score is decent and moves along with the pace of the film. The film's cinematography (G. Murali) is decent. The film's editing (Praveen K.L) is pretty average. On the whole, KABALI is an archetypal Rajinikanth film that will surely be lapped up by his hardcore fans. Rajinikanth does his best to carry the film on his able shoulders but the audiences will be left wanting for more.

Movie Review: Madaari
Thu, 21 Jul 16 02:40:05 +0000

Bollywood has seen many films that have been based on the theme of common man's fight against rampant corruption. Testimonies to this stand bright in the form of films like NAYAK, A WEDNESDAY, RANG DE BASANTI and others. This week's release is the hard hitting MADAARI that stars Irrfan Khan in the lead role. Will it be able to 'juggle' its way to the Box-Office collections, let's analyze. The film starts off with the kidnapping of Home Minister Prashant Goswami's (Tushar Dalvi) only son Rohan Goswami (Vishesh Bansal) by Nirmal Kumar (Irrfan Khan). The kidnapping does not happen in a day's time. It's only after Nirmal 'studies' all the activities and movements of his 'target' Rohan, does he manage to kidnap him after drugging his food. Needless to say, this kidnapping shakes not just the Home Minister Prashant Goswami and his wife, but also his cabinet ministers. Being a high profile case, the razor sharp Nachiket Verma (Jimmy Sheirgill) gets chosen for the job of bringing back Prashant Goswami's son. And when the kidnapper Nirmal calls up Prashant Goswami, the latter who was expecting a ransom in the form of some money, gets shell shocked to hear Nirmal's strange demand. Amidst all this, Nachiket Verma and his team manage to track down Nirmal and his whereabouts. At the same time, Nirmal calls Prashant Goswami and demands him to have an open discussion before the general public, something that Prashant Goswami agrees to. But, this time round, Nachiket Verma instructs his team to shoot Nirmal the very moment they see him. Does Nirmal keep his promise and fearlessly meet Prashant Goswami in front of everyone, does Nirmal really keep the child Rohan safe in his 'custody', and why exactly is Nirmal doing all this, is what forms the rest of the story. While MADAARI's trailers gave an impression about the film being high on drama and adrenaline rush galore, the film turns out to be (almost) the opposite. While the film's story (Shailja Kejriwal) is very average, its screenplay (Ritesh Shah) is unconvincing and very convenient, with lot of cinematic liberties taken to push the story forward. The subject of corruption in the system is not anything new however the treatment could've made a lot of difference. The film's script however fails to bring that novelty factor. The film's director Nishikant Kamat (who had directed the action packed <i>Rocky Handsome</i> earlier this year) does a very average job with MADAARI. Given the fact that, hard hitting films happen to be Nishikant Kamat's homeground, the audiences' huge expectation that he would bring something new with MADAARI, sadly remains unmet. While the film's first half is average with no edge-of-the-seat thrills, the film loses its remaining charm in its stretched second half. Its only the film's last 15-20 minutes that actually have a gripping effect on the viewers. Given the fact that Nishikant Kamat had a powerful performer like Irrfan Khan in the film, he could have easily turned MADAARI into a miraculously outstanding film. What also work against the film are the 'over-the-top' and intangible situations that Nishikant Kamat shows in the film. Examples to this are in the form of scenes like despite Irrfan Khan's wife going and settling abroad for unknown reasons, still, she lands up supporting him and his cause. Secondly, despite Irrfan Khan kidnapping the only son of the Home Minister (no less), he very conveniently 'summons' the Home Minister and other 'defaulters' in his house in a simple chawl, while the top security forces standing right outside are helpless. Speaking about Irrfan Khan, amidst everyone, he is the only actor who stands out in the film. The film (needless to say) rides solely on the shoulders of this powerhouse performer, who, yet again, churns out a decent (but, not splendid) performance with MADAARI. Despite being the kidnapper, his emotional bond with the kidnapped child (read 'Stockholm Syndrome') is very endearing. What the audience will sorely miss in his performance are those hard hitting one liners (both, witty and sarcastic) for which he is best known. Trailing Irrfan Khan on a close second is Jimmy Sheirgill, who, yet again, does a decent and commendable job with his character in the film. A special mention goes to the talented child artist Vishesh Bansal, who holds his own despite Irrfan Khan being his co-star. The other actors do a decent job. Despite the presence of a catchy track in the form of '<i>Dama Dama Dam</i>', the film has totally no scope for music (Vishal Bhardwaj, Sunny-Inder Bawra). On the other hand, the film's background score (Sameer Phaterpekar) is decent and moves in tandem with the film's story. The film's cinematography (Avinash Arun) is poor. Even the stock footage that has been used in the film is of extremely poor quality. The film's editing (Aarif Shaikh) could have been a lot better. On the whole MADAARI comes across as a thriller which holds your attention only in parts. It lacks consistency and punch and will therefore appeal to a limited set of audience. At the box office, its business prospects will be limited.

Movie Review - Great Grand Masti
Thu, 14 Jul 16 16:44:52 +0000

While it took a decade for makers of MASTI (2004) to continue the franchise of sex comedy with its sequel, it has hardly been three years that the third installment is all set to release. With controversies regarding its untimely leak followed by the bold and explicit content, does GREAT GRAND MASTI deliver what it promises - couple of hours of absolute rib tickling joy ride, let's analyze. Starting off in its usual manner of establishing a premise of three sexless marriages, the Masti boys namely, Meet Mehta (Vivek Oberoi), Prem Chawla (Aftab Shivdasani), Riteish Deshmukh (Amar Saxena) are trying to add some spice to their dead love lives but their attempts are foiled by the kith and kin of their respective wives' families. Self-proclaimed godman, Antakshari Baba (Sanjay Mishra) and Amar's mother-in-law (Usha Nadkarni)'s faith in him is a hindrance for Amar who is on a lookout for some fun with his darling wife Sapna Saxena (Pooja Banerjee). On the other hand, the childish and immature sister-in-law (Kangna Sharma) of Prem and her clingy nature to her sister and Prem's wife Nisha Chawla (Shraddha Das) is a menace for Prem. Going ahead, the cross connection or rather the Judwaa experience between Vivek's wife Rekha Mehta (Mishti) and her body builder brother (Ketan Karandhe) makes him stay away from his wife. Prem, a real estate broker by profession, decides to take a break from the mundane life and decides to visit the village, Doodhwadi along with his two best friends to get some 'masti' under the pretext of selling off the so called haunted and heritage bungalow of Amar. As the trio set out on this crazy journey, they encounter the sexy Shabari (Urvashi Rautela). As the three men try to woo her and gain her attention, they realize that this time their Masti is not with a human but a ghost who is longing for love and lust. As the three guys are trapped in the clutches of Shabari aka Ragini, the tale gets even further twisted when the wives of the trio decide to give a surprise to their hubbies. Will the three guys be able to escape or will they lose their life to the lustful desires of Ragini is what forms the rest of the plot. The third instalment of MASTI as proclaimed by the makers, sort of resonates with the first film of the franchise where three guys are trapped by one girl's charming ways. However, besides the basic plotline, the film doesn't match up to the comedy quotient of the franchise. The biggest flaw lies with the script and its basic premise of a ghost running after the three guys. Also, while the reasons of husbands staying away from their wives seem bizarre, it fails to evoke laughter making this supposed to be spicy dish seem bland. However, a few scenes like the one where the trio mix Viagra in their food does manage to add some fun element that will make you smile, but the film fails to retain your attention span succumbing to predictability. Whether it is subtle sex comedy of MASTI or the brutally explicit ones in GRAND MASTI, Indra Kumar managed to tickle your funny bone. However, the third installment which falls in none of the categories fails miserably. Flawed script and average direction add to the woes but the dialogues do manage to do the trick in a couple of scenes. On the other hand, we must give it to the Masti boys, namely, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani and Riteish Deshmukh who seem to have mastered the art of playing Meet, Prem and Amar respectively. The trio's comic timing is probably the saving grace of the film even though their humour seems to be over-the-top in certain scenes. However, none of the actresses manage to match up to their co-stars' talent. Mishti, Pooja and Shraddha who play the wives fail to live up to the expectations and their acting seems to be little forced at certain points. On the other hand, while this was a great opportunity for Urvashi to showcase her comic side, her performance is strictly average. Certain other characters like Sanjay Mishra and Usha Nadkarni have delivered interesting performances. While Sonali Raut in her cameo too is average, Shreyas Talpade as Babu Rangeela does a decent job. As far as the music (Sharib Sabri, Toshi Sabri, Superbia) is concerned, the title track is hummable but the other tracks including the sensuous Urvashi Rautela number '<i>I Wanna Tera Ishq</i>' fails to register. The cinematography by Nigam Bomzan is average and the editing by Sanjay Sankla could have been crispier. On the whole, GREAT GRAND MASTI fails to capitalize on the strong franchise value on the account of poor script which hardly offers any masti or entertainment to the audience. At the box office, its prospects appear extremely weak.

Movie Review: Ice Age: Collision Course (English)
Thu, 14 Jul 16 11:49:23 +0000

Back in 2002, we saw the release of a rather touching film ICE AGE that told the story of a woolly mammoth's journey across the pre-historic landscape in search of another from his species. While the film caught on with the critics and the audiences alike, we soon saw sequels being developed turning the subject into a franchise. Now years on we see the release of the fifth film in the series with ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE hitting screens this Friday. But will the fifth film live up to the ones that have released or will it be just another run of the mill animation film, is the question. ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE starts off with the ever so funny character Scrat accidentally activating a long abandoned alien ship that takes him into deep space. Not comprehending what is really happening around him while solely focusing on retrieving his lost acorn, Scrat unleashes a cosmic disaster the size of which threatens to annihilate life on earth. Meanwhile, Manny is worried about the upcoming marriage between Peaches and her fiancé Julian, while Sid is dumped by his girlfriend Francine, just as he is about to propose to her. During Manny and Ellie's wedding anniversary party, some of the asteroids strike the place and the herd barely escapes with their lives. On the other hand, deep underground the plucky weasel Buck who is fighting off a trio of Dromaeosaurs, discovers an ancient stone monument that speaks of the impending doomsday. Taking this stone to the surface, Buck explains to the herd that according to the monument, the asteroids that have been set in motion (by Scrat) are heading towards earth and will cause an extinction level event. However, after studying the stone, he has devised a plan to avert the cataclysmic event and eventually save the planet. From here on, the film follows the heard on their journey to the expected crash site to understand what is attracting the meteorite and figure out a way to launch it back into space thus drawing the meteorite away. To begin with, ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE still manages to retain the charm of the original film keeping the story close to the central protagonists while at the same time involving a plethora of other characters who help take the story forward. While the characters of Manny, Ellie, Diego, Sid, Peaches and Julian are highly relatable instantly developing a rapport with the viewer, the overall story comes across as a bit predictable. Here a special mention need to be made for writers Michael J. Wilson and Michael Berg who have done a good job of making the characters relatable, while at the same time developing a larger than life story that is interspersed with humour that reminds viewers of the first film. However, though the original character from the previous films still remain as the main protagonists around whom the film revolves, the addition of a host of other characters draw attention away. The sheer number of characters vying for the limited attention of the viewer is distracting causing more confusion than a raving stampede, while the older characters that seem to be getting tired, get regaled to the sidelines. Apart from this the plot of the film, though well executed, will mainly appeal to 5-10 year olds. However, despite this, ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE does keep you entertained. While the story does drag on in parts, the makers have managed to infuse an underlying message about accepting change and moving on as well as letting it go and growing up very well. Though this message might not be fathomable by the film's target audience, teenagers who have grown up watching the previous films will certainly get it. Coming to the animation and visuals of the film, ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE has certainly come a long way since the beginning of the series in 2002. Though the film features slick, fast paced visuals that catch your eye, the makers have managed to add incredible detail to the proceedings. Since the on screen happenings are fast paced with a few breathers (read slow moments), kids will definitely be hooked. On the whole, ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE is not one of the big ticket, story-heavy Hollywood animation films we have seen in recent times. It is a light entertainer mainly targeting younger audiences but is worth a watch.

Movie Review: Sultan
Wed, 06 Jul 16 08:36:00 +0000

Only his mere presence sets the cash registers ringing and when it's Eid, the stardom of Salman Khan just grows by leaps and bounds. Last year, the actor saw immense success worldwide with the blockbuster film BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN. And this time around, coming from the house of one of the most renowned production house Yash Raj Films is SULTAN - a touching tale of the rise and fall and rise of a wrestler and his quest to win back his true love. Whether the film has been able to live up to the expectations or not, let's analyze. SULTAN starts off with Aakash Oberoi (Amit Sadh) trying to save his failing business of Pro-Take Down, a sort of mixed martial arts, freestyle wrestling tournament with a player who can change the fate of his business. His father (Parikshit Sahni) recommends him to go and meet Sultan, a once upon time world champion wrestler, in order to save his disastrous business. As Amit sets out to convince Sultan to enter the wrestling ring again, Sultan's attitude inspires Aakash to further investigate the story of this once upon a time champion wrestler. Sultan Ali Khan, who was once an aimless man dabbling with cable TV business, finds his passion for wrestling when he falls head over heels in love with the fierce and independent wrestler Aarfa, daughter of a famous wrestling coach who teaches the sport in an authentic and rustic Indian akhada. Their love story turns into marriage after Sultan turns into a passionate wrestler who gears up to take down the world with his unique moves and starts winning championships. As pride takes over the mind of a talented Sultan, a loss of his loved one reduces his fame to ashes. In an attempt to regain his lost love and respect in the eyes of Aarfa, Sultan once again takes up a challenge - he joins Aakash to fight against the world champions of Mixed Martial Arts and is ready to go to any lengths to regain everything he has lost. The story grabs your attention since the start and thanks to the perfect blend of emotions and action, SULTAN turns out to be a quintessential potboiler that packs the right punches that will keep you glued. Here we would like to mention the introduction scene of Salman Khan that will prove to be a treat for his fans. The first half that explores the rise of the wrestler has a blend of humour that keeps you highly entertained. Besides the powerful 'kushti' matches that often leave you wanting for more, it also has a sweet love story that focuses on the romantic side of Sultan. On the other hand, the second half is serious and emotional comparatively. While we must give it to director Ali Abbas Zafar for exploring the deeper emotions of failure, losing his fame and Sultan's aggressive and desperate attempts to get back into the sport in the second half, too many emotional scenes slows the pace of the film. However, Ali Abbas Zafar's directorial skills seem to have grown by leaps and bounds since his last film. A special mention to the way the wrestling matches have been shot in the second half, which are crisp and impactful. Coming to performances, it is a Salman Khan movie all the way! From his body language to his Haryanvi accent, from a famous wrestler to a helpless man who is struggling to get his life together, Salman's role as Sultan Ali Khan is in wrestling language - 'dhobi pachad'. From his power packed entry to his love for Aarfa, your heart will beat and pray for Sultan. Salman has also worked very hard on his physique and the action scenes look great. Anushka Sharma, who has already showcased an action-packed side of hers in NH10, continues to win hearts as Aarfa too. Not only has she been able to match up to Salman's powerful performance, her presence as Aarfa even in the background leaves an impact. From mastering the wrestling moves to pulling off the graceful side of the Haryanvi girl who dared to dream different, Anushka's role as Aarfa is by far one of her finest performances. Matching up to them is also Randeep Hooda whose role as a martial arts expert proves to be an applauding one here compared. Amit Sadh as Aakash Oberoi, a business tycoon trying to establish his business, too has given a good performance. The casting of the film is apt and even the smallest of roles add value to the film and the actor who plays the role of Salman Khan's friend Gobind deserves a special mention for his role as Sultan's support system. As far as the music is concerned, it could be called average as better songs would have empowered the film further. However, the peppy beats like '<i>Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai</i>' has turned out to be a chartbuster followed by the soft and romantic, '<i>Jag Ghoomeya</i>' which too has gained a fair bit of popularity. The cinematography by Artur Zurawski is excellent and the action choreographed by Larnell Stovall is worth appreciating too. From the training sessions to the actual matches within the ring, SULTAN showcases brilliant wrestling moves with precision. On the whole, SULTAN comes across as a <i>paisa vasool, seeti-maar</i> unadulterated entertainer which will be loved by classes and masses alike. At the box office, the lack of a credible opposition, perfect release timing [festival period] combined with an extended 5-day weekend will ensure that the film will break records and emerge as the biggest hit of the year so far. The film has got 'B-L-O-C-K-B-U-S-T-E-R' written all over it. Go for it!

Movie Review: Independence Day: Resurgence (English)
Fri, 24 Jun 16 11:22:54 +0000

Over the past few months we have seen Hollywood films take on Bollywood releases and emerge as bigger money spinners at the box office. Coming to this week, we see a rather cluttered weekend with five Bollywood releases and one Hollywood release in the form of INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE. But will the film which is a sequel to the 1996 film INDEPENDENCE DAY live up to its predecessor, will the film that has been in the making for two decades manage to surpass the first is the question. The film starts off from 20 years after the alien invasion that we witnessed in the 1996 Roland Emmerich sci-fi film, INDEPENDENCE DAY, with Dr. Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) who is still dealing with the repercussions of the invasion. From here, the film begins to introduce new characters, Lieutanant Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) and Dylan Hiller (Jesse Usher) aka Will Smith's son who is a Captain at the Earth Space Defence (ESD), and David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) who has now taken on a more vital role as being one of the survivors from the original invasion. Together this motley crew are faced with an even bigger threat with the vanquished aliens returning to lay waste to planet earth. In fact the members of the ESD have now become the planet's last line of defence, which along with the help of other world leaders and the United Nations have managed to make great strides in technology that has been developed after researching the debris from the original invasion. But as the fate of the entire human race hangs in balance, will this crew manage to pull off yet another nail biting win or will the renewed onslaught by the aliens prove overpowering is what the rest of the film is about. Back in 1996 when INDEPENDENCE DAY released, it fast became one of the best visual experiences on the big screen with a plethora of explosions and cutting edge CGI (for that time) literally wowing the audience. Another factor that worked for the original was Will Smith and his off handed attitude that despite coming off as an Elvis impersonator managed to keep the proceedings light yet gripping even when faced with dire consequences. Cut to two decades later, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE certainly has been developed on a much bigger scale, with bigger budgets, more advanced visual technology and a more receptive audience, the film comes across as a worthy successor that despite having its pitfalls does manage to capture the essence of the first film. Speaking of pitfalls, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE does have its share of drawbacks with a major one being, the lack of ability for the viewer to relate to and connect with the onscreen characters. While in the first film the viewer instantaneously connected to and developed a rapport with the characters, this one gives the viewer a feeling of being a mere spectator on a large battle field. As for the performances, Liam Hemsworth being the main protagonist, who reprises the title role that could have been compared to Will Smith's from the first, does a good job. However, he falls massively short of being convincing as the film's main saviour. Jesse Usher as Dylan Hiller, Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith)'s step son is underwhelming. The lad who survived the original invasion, should have been more inspiring especially since he along with Hemsworth are literally the only saviours. On the other hand, the conversations of Nicolas Wright as Floyd Rosenberg and Deobia Oparei, who essays the character of Dikembe Umbutu, bring in much needed comic relief that not just lightens up what could have been a never ending series of destructive assaults, but also brightens up the film. Coming to the visual effects that are aplenty unlike the first film, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE comes across as a more refined venture, obviously owing to the huge developments made in CGI and general VFX in past 20 years. In fact, the film looks pretty slick and stylish developed on a grand scale with no expense being spared to heighten its visual appeal. For those of you who enjoy some serious CGI, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE features some adrenaline pumping aerial dog fight sequences that are easily comparable to the ones seen in the STAR WARS series. However, despite the visuals and over the top wanton destruction, the lack of witnessing collateral damage does put a dampener on the magnitude of loss faced in terms of lives lost. Overall, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE that can be said to be a good successor to the original comes across as a visual treat that could have been much better had the film not been rushed. In fact, while the first half of the film plays out well, establishing each new character and recapping what happened in the previous film, the second half comes across as being highly rushed, seeming as though the director Roland Emmerich was hard pressed to wrap the film within the two hour time frame. On the whole, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE is a visual spectacle and is a must watch on the big screen.

Movie Review: Raman Raghav 2.0
Fri, 24 Jun 16 10:36:38 +0000

We all know and are aware of the fact that Bollywood is not new to genre of thrillers. Almost every second or third release in Bollywood belongs to the thriller genre. This week's release RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 also falls in the same category, however unlike the plethora of thrillers that tend to focus on the supernatural this one is a psychological thriller. But will RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 have a 'thrilling' run at the Box-Office or will it lose its fizz, is what we analyze. First things first, RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 is not based on the life of the infamous serial killer of the 60s, something that the makers of the film establish in the very beginning of the film. The film starts off with a 'musically high' introduction of a young IPS officer Raghav (Vicky Kaushal) and a 'deadly' introduction of Ramanna aka Sindhi Dalwaai aka Raman (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Raghav, who, despite being an IPS officer, is almost always high on drugs; in fact Raghav does not leave a single chance to indulge in substance abuse, even when he is on duty. The film, then, traces its roots with a series of flashback events that establish Raman's character as a serial killer with a history of random and meaningless killings. As the film comes back to the present, Raman gets into confessional mode and says that he kills people because he likes to kill them for no reason. He also goes onto proclaim that he is a 'Godsent gift to mankind', who has been sent by God to kill people after their job is done on earth. What follows from hereon are a series of merciless and inhuman murders. After a gap of 7 years, Raghav visits his sister's place and lands up killing her, her innocent husband and her child. Simultaneously, Raghav also kills his 'girlfriend'. Amidst all this, Raman confesses to Raghav about his 'connection' with him, that really stuns the latter. What was the basic reason for Raman to go to his sister's place, what was the reason for the policeman Raghav to kill an innocent girl and what is the 'connection' that Raman tells Raghav that rattles his senses, is what forms the rest of the film. The film's writers (Vasan Bala, Anurag Kashyap) on the 'pretext' of creating an edge-of-the-seat thriller in the form of RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0, land up doing a shabby job. Even though their writing helps in keeping the audience and their fears intact (strictly in places), it is the overdose of everything that kills the basic essence of the film. Because Anurag Kashyap has always delivered with his dark films (which majorly forms his home turf), the expectations from RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 were sky high. Coupled with this were the film's gripping trailers, which, only added to the expectations. Unfortunately, despite all this, Anurag Kashyap goes astray with his direction at many places, which greatly undermines what could have been an eerily gripping psychological thriller. In the name of 'cinematic liberties', there are way too many flaws in the film. To cite a few examples, where on earth does one find an IPS officer like Raghav, who is always high on drugs and flaunts his official revolver to have his way with the girls in night clubs? If that wasn't enough, he also lands up killing someone, that too, at the behest of a dreaded criminal. Besides all this, during one of Raman's escapades he manages to free himself from the clutches of the policemen and flee by simply unbuttoning his shirt! The cops in this movie are straight out of the 80's Bollywood films where they basically can't do a single task properly. While all of the film's characters get established and justified in its first half, it's the film's second half that slips. The film's first half tries to establish a promising plot, but the second half drags endlessly and is filled with meaninglessly gruesome murders. Add to that, Anurag Kashyap continues to suffer from his Quentin Tarantino hang over by breaking the film into 'Chapters' and stretching a scene for longer than expected, but many times it just feels too much to take. As for the performances, the film clearly and solely belongs to the 'character chameleon' of Bollywood aka Nawazuddin Siddiqui and his antics. Nawazuddin Siddiqui leaves no room for doubt and does a convincing job, despite having a weak and lacklustre script. Be it his 'swift oscillations' between his moods or him mercilessly slaying his victims, Nawazuddin Siddiqui carries the film solely on his shoulders and excels in every department. His flawless delivery of one liners are, as always, a delight to watch and listen. Vicky Kaushal, on the other hand, is decent. While one cannot place Vicky Kaushal in the same bracket as that of Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the acting department, he does manage to do a convincing job, if not a superlative one. While the film essentially belongs to Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal (in that order), the other characters only help in taking the film forward. While the music (Ram Sampath) of RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 is nothing to boast about, it is the film's background music (Ram Sampath), that, more than makes up for the film's music. The film's background music acts as a catalyst between the film's script and the characters. The film's cinematography (Jay Oza) is spot on and apt. Here, a special mention goes to the usage of guerrilla filmmaking techniques, which helps the film look more realistic. The film's editing (Aarti Bajaj) is loose and scenes drag endlessly. To be more specific, had the film been trimmed by almost 15-20 minutes or so, it would have been a different story altogether. On the whole, though RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 promises to be an edgy thriller, the film fails to deliver. It is only Nawazuddin's brilliant performance that helps you sit through this 140 mins long film.

Movie Review: Udta Punjab
Fri, 17 Jun 16 06:41:57 +0000

Of late, Bollywood has been witnessing a diverse genre of films that are making its way to the silver screen. After having witnessed the comical HOUSEFULL 3 and the mysterious whodunit TE3N, this week sees the release of UDTA PUNJAB, a film about the rampant drugs abuse problem in Punjab. Will UDTA PUNJAB get translated into 'flying' returns for its makers at the box-office or will it face gloom, let's analyse. UDTA PUNJAB starts off with a scene at the India-Pakistan border wherein a Pakistani man throws a mysterious drug packet onto the Indian side. This is followed by a 'rocking' introduction of the rockstar Tommy 'Gabru' Singh (Shahid Kapoor) and a glimpse into his 'addictive' lifestyle. One day, Tommy Singh gets fired by his producers for delaying their recordings. If that wasn't enough, Tommy Singh also gets arrested by the Punjab police amidst his birthday party, on grounds of drug abuse. When he gets released from jail, despite the jitters, he somehow manages to gear up to perform before an eagerly awaiting audience. Just before the performance, he does something extremely awkward that irks a handful of audience, who, then, run after him for his blood. On the other hand, Pinky Kumari aka Mary Jane (Alia Bhatt) migrates from Uttar Pradesh to Punjab. Her background reveals that, she was an exceptional hockey player, who, because of lack of financial support, landed up becoming a labourer. And since then, she is trying to find her place under the sun in Punjab. One day, when she finds a 3 kg drug packet, she tries to sell it off to make a fast buck. While doing so, for reasons best known to her, she dumps the whole 3 kg of drugs into a well, thus invoking the wrath of the drug peddlers, for whom, the entire packet meant heavenly profits. Angered by her action, the peddlers not just land up raping the helpless Pinky Kumari, but also keep her as captive with them. Repeated attempts to run away from their clutches, yields no results for Pinky. The third angle to the story is that of Dr. Preet Sahani (Kareena Kapoor Khan), under whom Balli Singh, the younger brother of Inspector Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) is getting treated for being a victim of drug overdose. Amidst the course of Balli's treatment, Sartaj Singh analyses and realises the harm that these banned substances cause to people. He, then, joins Preet Sahani in her crusade against drugs and exposing the drug mafias. Does the once-rockstar Tommy 'Gabru' Singh regain his lost identity, does Pinky Kumari become successful in escaping from the clutches of the dreaded drug peddlers, what happens when Tommy Singh and Pinky Kumari cross each other's path, and does Dr.Preet Sahani and Inspector Sartaj Singh succeed in their crusade of exposing the drug mafias of Punjab, is what forms the rest of the film. First things first - UDTA PUNJAB is a dark and serious film. Also the film's screenplay (Sudip Sharma, Abhishek Chaubey) jumps through multiple stories at the same time making it complicated. Abhishek Chaubey, who gave a glimpse of his supreme directorial abilities with his previous films like ISHQIYA and DEDH ISHQIYA faces a challenge to narrate the dark story of UDTA PUNJAB and does manage to do so. As the film progresses however, it does seem to slip in parts, especially in the second half. In an attempt to narrate multiple parallel stories, Abhishek Chaubey struggles to keep it engaging in the latter half of the film. As for the performances, it is the biggest of USP of UDTA PUNJAB. One has to give it to the actors to take up such challenging parts which are completely out of their comfort zone. Shahid Kapoor and his never-before-attempted 'rockstar' look had created a huge buzz, curiosity and excitement amongst his fans. He manages to pull off his role well while bringing in much needed humour in this otherwise serious film. He is strongly supported by the talented Satish Kaushik in the film. Alia Bhatt, on the other hand, goes totally de-glam for her role. She for sure has tried her best to portray a Bihari character in the film and does complete justice to her part. Kareena Kapoor Khan is good in her part. UDTA PUNJAB also sees the presence of Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh, who makes an impressive debut in Bollywood. If UDTA PUNJAB is a mere glimpse of what he is capable of, then Diljit is definitely a name to watch out for in Bollywood. Rest of the actors help the film move forward. The film does have its share of decent music (Amit Trivedi) with a couple of hummable tracks like '<i>Chitta Ve</i>' and '<i>Ikk Kudi</i>', though one feels that a stronger music album could have helped the film. On the other hand, the film's background score (Benedict Taylor, Naren Chandavarkar) is impressive and helps the film's narrative. The film's dialogues (Sudip Sharma) are mainly in Punjabi and audiences who don't speak the language may find a bit of disconnect. While the film's cinematography (Rajeev Ravi) is average, the film's editing (Meghna Sen) could have been tighter which could have helped the film by leaps and bounds. One surely feels the length of the film is the villain. On the whole, UDTA PUNJAB is a dark and serious film that does not offer the traditional entertainment that audiences seek from Bollywood movies. At the same time, it is bold and brave in parts with strong performances by all actors.

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