Jan 8 2016

Wazir- Movie Review


wazir movie posterWhat happens when you put Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar together? Either they both sing in their unconventional- singer voices or both completely engross you with their acting skills and take you with them on an interesting journey. I feel lucky to have experienced both in the film Wazir. Here’s my review.

Plot in short– Danish (Farhan Akhtar), an ATS officer loses his four year old daughter Noorie while trying to fight a terrorist. This makes him so angry and driven that he single handedly kills the terrorist in a shoot out. This step makes him lose his job and he is suspended. A chance meeting with a physically challenged, retired chess champion Omkarnath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan) makes him realize that there’s a politician involved in terrorist activities and he must be finished.

The Good– Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi are the true heroes here. They’ve written a top notch screenplay that works well in director Bejoy Nambiar’s favour.  Fast paced and thrilling, Wazir will not bore you one bit in spite of the underlying sadness in the characters that is with you throughout. Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar play a huge role in accomplishing that. Aditi Rao Hydari, despite her small role shines through. Neil Nitin Mukesh is getting better and more convincing with every film as the bad guy. The music in the film is nice and hummable. I came back home to listen to ‘Tere bin’ by Shantanu Moitra, sung by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal in their soulful voices.

The Not-so-Good– The chess bit might just be overdone a bit more than my liking. Apart from that, there’s not much that I think was not that good except for maybe that the second half of the film is slightly slow compared to the first half.

Verdict– Wazir is a good thriller that has some incredible performances. Go watch!

Rating– 3.5/5

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May 8 2015

Piku- Movie Review


piku-posterSo there was PK and now there’s Piku. Yeah it’s been a while since I’ve written a review. NH10 was the last one and then came tons of social events, travels and laziness galore. Anyhow, let’s get down to my review.

Plot in short– Piku (Deepika Padukone), an irritable, eccentric, crazy Bengali woman of 30 has been taking care of her baba- Bhaskor (Amitabh Bachchan) ever since her mother passed away. Due to his own securities and old age health problems, constipation being a major one, he just cannot do without Piku to an extent where she can’t even get married. Originally from Kolkata and staying in Delhi, Bhaskor wants to visit his ancestral home and brother in Kolkata but that can’t happen without darling daughter Piku. But then comes a shitty problem- Bhaskor’s constipation cannot handle the claustrophobic loos in the plane or the discomfort in the train. So they decide to travel 1500 kms by car. Irrfan Khan, the owner of the cab service ends up driving them there because none of his drivers can take Piku’s eccentricities or mood swings to tolerate her for so long. Will Piku’s life ever be straightened out?

The Good– When you have three outstanding performers- Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan and Deepika Padukone what can go wrong? Well, not much. I love how natural they all are in their performances, often making you forget that you’re watching a film. Amitabh Bachchan as the grumpy, finicky and difficult father whose Bangla accent is perfect and body language bang on; Irrfan Khan didn’t have much of a challenging role but he was good. Deepika Padukone just gets better with every film. She was great for the part of Piku and expressed herself beautifully in every scene. Moushmi Chatterjee too was rather entertaining. The director Shoojit Sircar has paid attention to every detail and made the setting as real as possible. Everything from the styling to the set design to the background score, screenplay, cinematography and editing make Piku a very interesting story to watch.

The Not-so-good– Although I really enjoyed myself through the course of the film but there were certain parts which felt like a drag and in totality they did make the two hours five minutes film seem like it was atleast three hours. I also felt that the ending could have been slightly better.

Verdict– Piku is a delightful film that will take you through a journey that’s rather unusual and yet heart warming.

Rating– 3.5/5


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Feb 6 2015

Shamitabh- Movie Review


shamitabh-posterWhen you put two talented actors together in a film that is all about acting, you know you just have to watch it. And I did. Here’s my review.

Plot in short– Danish (Dhanush), a mere bus conductor has a big dream- to be a Bollywood superstar. Now the problem is that no one will sign him for a film because he is mute and a mute actor would not be able to say the dialogues in a film. He chances upon a young assistant director (Akshara Haasan) But then he meets Amitabh Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), a drunken old Bollywood struggler lying around outside a studio. His voice is just what Danish needs to get closer to his dream. After a lot of coaxing, Amitabh agrees. Danish starts living his dream as Shamitabh while Amitabh remains just the voice. How long can this duo sustain without egos taking over?

The Good– Director R. Balki who has directed Cheeni Kum and Paa before Shamitabh, sure knows how to bring out the best in his actors. His film deals with human relationships, their ups and downs, their emotions and complexities in life. The screenplay is well written, letting some scenes go on for longer than expected and creating their own moment. The three central characters played by Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush and Akshara Haasan are well sketched out. Amitabh Bachchan can act drunk and how! I wonder if he was actually under some sort of nasheela influence while acting out those scenes.  His performance shines through! Dhanush too is excellent! He may not be the best looking, conventional hero but he can act very well. The emotions are conveyed beautifully even without dialogues. Akshara Haasan who makes her debut with this film is a natural. She acts not like an actor but what she says on screen comes from within. She’s got a deadpan style of acting and in a strange way that works. The cinematographer has done a fine job with the camera.

The Not-so-good– I did not like the picturization of the song ‘Piddly’ and the songs overall also are not that great. I also feel that the ‘dumb’ situation could have been handled with more sensitivity.

Verdict– Watch Shamitabh because it is a good film overall.

Rating– 3.5/5


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Apr 11 2014

Bhoothnath Returns- Movie Review


Preachy and a little too long, Bhoothnath Returns is not as entertaining as the first part even though it’s got great performances, especially from the little boy- Parth Bhalerao.

Rating- 2.5/5


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Jan 3 2014

Sholay 3D- Movie Review


sholay-3D-Movie-Poster“What?! You haven’t seen Sholay?” is the standard reaction I’ve always got because I hadn’t seen Sholay until today! Yep! I had only seen it in parts so shame on me! Well, now that I have, lets’s get down to my review.

Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan), a dacoit everyone at Ramgarh is afraid of is the target of Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar), an ex police officer who’s family Gabbar had destroyed along with Thakur’s arms (Yeh haath humko dede Thakur!)In order to avenge his family’s death and save Ramgarh from bullying of all sorts by Gabbar and his gang, he hires Jai (Amitabh Bachchan) and Veeru (Dharmendra), notorious small time thieves.

Directed by Ramesh Sippy in the year 1975, Sholay was definitely made with the best team. The story and screenplay go hand in hand beautifully and create magic on screen. Salim-Javed have written a miraculously corny but brilliant script! The dialogues in the movie are forever etched in our hearts and mimics from all over the world will perform with the same chutzpah they have been doing all these years. Everything from the look of the film to the cinematography, costumes, setting, action and choreography is perfect for its time. In fact, it’s so good that even in 2014 it’s fun to watch. I just felt that the 3D was pointless. Apart from a few effects, there was no requirement at all. And yes, it was a little too long so it could have been edited better. A lot of movies, China Gate being the biggest example have been inspired by Sholay and that says a lot about the film.

The background score is superb! It was amazing that so much attention was given to things like the sound of the cigarette lighting up or the sound of shoes on wood or the horse neighing in the background. The music by R.D. Burman as we know is fantastic! Every song is a superhit! I just didn’t like what they did with the voices in the songs on this 3D version. They sounded muffled and I felt that it could have been avoided.

The performance by every actor in the film is top notch. Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra make a great team together and complement each other as Jai and Veeru. They’re great actors as we all know. Hema Malini has a bit of an annoying role but she manages to still make you like her in an annoying way. Jaya Bhaduri is beautiful and expresses herself well without having many dialogues too. Sanjeev Kumar is excellent as Thakur. Noone could have played the character better. Amjad Khan as Gabbar is a fun villain to watch. Asrani (‘Hum Angrezon ke zamaane ke jailer hai’) has a short role but stands out with his dialogue delivery and exaggerated style of acting. All the other supporting actors play a major role in making Sholay what it is.

Sholay comes in the ‘Top 100 films to watch before you die’ category for sure. Very well made, technically first rate, entertaining and an absolute must watch!

Rating– 4.5/5

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Dec 27 2013

Mahabharat- Movie Review


Mahabharat posterI remember being told the various Mahabharat & Ramayan stories by my grandmother as a child. Back then, we also used to watch both the Ramayan and Mahabharat serial on Tv. Oh how can we forget the way the Mahabharat song starts or the ‘Main samay hoon’ part with the Rishi muni and space in the background. Anyway, let’s get down to the review of the animated Mahabharat.

Coming to the story. The Pandavs and Kauravs who are at constant war with each other must fight to survive and rule over Hastinapur. Besides the war, we also learn about the five pandavs, the bravest and wickedest kauravs and of course, Draupadi.

I wonder what director Amaan Khan was thinking. I don’t deny the fact that making Mahabharat could be tough but it’s very unfair to watch such a mediocre animated version when you see some pretty brilliant animated films from across the world. Why does India have to have such a poor presentation of their beautifully written mythological tales? The screenplay is a major minus point which takes away the main aspect of the film. The start itself is so poor that I can’t begin to tell you about the remaining. 2 brothers playing at Gateway of India start fighting over a gold coin they both discover. Randomly, an eagle pops out of the coin and starts telling them the Mahabharat story. While all this is going on, there are two squirrels passing comments and a dog making faces. Now just think if the start is like that, what the film would be like.

The animation is horrible and the visual effects aren’t cool either. It’s like watching a video game with a story. So many jerks and grossly designed visuals that you’d rather go back home and watch the BR Chopra Mahabharat on Youtube. There are too many characters and it can get confusing if you don’t remember the story. I got confused so imagine children! Pity them!

The voice overs are kind of a saving grace in this sinking ship. They say the dialogues like they’re meant to even if their faces look like a really bad version of them. For example, Vidya Balan’s animated avatar looks really bad. I’d say Sunny Deol and Amitabh Bachchan’s avatars were the most identical. Anil Kapoor’s too was close to how he looks. The rest were just really bad. Anupam Kher who plays Shakuni mama is probably the most annoying character in the film. His voice gets to you after a while.

The music in the film is not worth mentioning. The background score is a decent attempt but could have been better.

It’s sad that children of this generation have this rendition of Mahabharat to see. I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone. Please avoid.

Rating– 2/5

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Aug 30 2013

Satyagraha- Movie Review


satyagraha-movie-posterPrakash Jha’s films are always hard hitting dealing with political issues or issues related to the general public. Satyagraha is no different and we got that from the title and trailer itself. So how was it? You’re just about to find out.

Dwarka Anand(Amitabh Bachchan) loses his son Akhikesh, an engineer in a road accident. A politician looking out for his own reputation in public promises a sum of 25 lakhs as compensation for the mishap. As Akhilesh’s wife Sumitra (Amrita Rao) tries to follow up with the government officials, she realises that none of them are really bothered and are only heating up the chairs sitting in offices. Her father-in-law Dwarka decides to do something about the issue and slaps an official and gets imprisoned. To fight for their rights, Akhilesh’s close friend Manav (Ajay Devgan) and journalist Yasmin (Kareena Kapoor Khan) form a team along with wanna-be politician Arjun (Arjun Rampal) and involve social media and the public. How much of a fight can they put up against the strong politicians and corrupt officials?

The subject is powerful. What lacks is the screenplay. The film drags most of the time because of poor editing too.  Sadly Prakash Jha’s magic doesn’t entirely work this time. I found myself getting distracted by my phone’s constant beeps too often which is obviously not a good thing. Director Prakash Jha went a little too far with the political clichés which we’ve seen the most in his films. I understand that he wanted to stress on the issues that have affected India the most in the recent past, corruption being the most popular, but he forgot to give importance to the script. I would have liked to see less drama internally and more about the issue the movie talks about.

Great work on the costumes and art direction. The cinematography by Sachin Krishn is good in parts. There’s good use of light. The background music works well but weak music and I really didn’t get the point of an item number. The only song that stands out is Raghupati Raghav Rajaram which is not original as we know.

What works for the film are the performances. Amitabh Bachchan is top notch. Even though he underplays the character, he’s done a fantastic job as an actor. Ajay Devgan is brilliant and looks great. Kareena Kapoor looks gorgeous with her strong eye make up and is good. Amrita Rao looks nice but as an actress doesn’t make an impact. Arjun Rampal looked out of place with acting that is just ok. Manoj Bajpayee as the corrupt politician is perfect for the role.

As a film Satyagraha could have been outstanding with its relevance in today’s times but doesn’t quite impress as much or make you feel a strong emotion while watching it. I’d say Satyagraha is a bit of a let down.

Rating– 2.5/5

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May 3 2013

Bombay Talkies- Movie Review


Bombay-Talkies-posterCelebrating 100 years of cinema with four established film makers and their short films. What more can any movie buff ask for? Here’s my review of four ‘slice of life’ films that are all in some way very ‘Bombay’.

Karan Johar’s short film is about the relationship between a reserved husband, his confident journalist wife and a gay intern. Dibaker Banerjee’s short film is about a father who’s a struggler in life and doesn’t have work but lives to see his daughter smile. Zoya Akhtar’s short film is about a little boy who’s dream is to be a dancer. Anurag Kashyap’s short film is about a man who travels all the way from Allahabad to Mumbai to get Amitabh Bachchan to taste some ‘Murabba’ sent by his unwell father.

Let’s start with Karan Johar’s film first. We’ve only seen glossy, rich films like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Student of the year, etc., from Karan Johar and everything’s always larger than life. But in Bombay Talkies, the characters, the setting, the story is so real that you’d be surprised that it’s made by him. I wish he’d do more films like this one. The cinematography in some scenes is lovely! The performances are superb! Rani Mukherji without a doubt stands out. Saqib Saleem was very ok in his previous films but is very convincing in this one. Randeep Hooda also played his part well. Even with its predictability, the film is well paced and has high entertainment value.

The next one is Dibaker Banerjee’s film which is slightly heavier as compared to the first one. Nizamuddin Siddiqui is a brilliant actor and he proves it time and again with every film he does. This one is no exception. The entire look of the film is strikingly real. All the actors look their part and deliver great performances. I love the cinematography from start to finish! The shadows, lighting, the angles all make the film a delight to watch.

Now, I personally am not a Zoya Akhtar fan but there’s something that draws you in while you’re watching this short film, probably the story. The beginning of the film was quite ‘filmy’ but I liked the end. Ranvir Shorey plays the little boy’s father but I felt he didn’t look or act the part convincingly enough. I can imagine Ram Kapoor acting like the tough daddy. The little boy and girl are a delight to watch. The Katrina Kaif as an angel part is quite lame. The camera work is simple.

Last but not the least; Anurag Kashyap’s short film is a bit of a disappointment. After seeing his work in the past, you’d expect better. The story is good but a bit of a drag. I felt quite restless while watching it, perhaps because it got a bit repetitive. The actor Vineet Kumar is decent but doesn’t have the screen presence to hold your attention. The camera work in this too is simple.

Bombay Talkies is a great concept with great individual stories. I’d love to watch more such movies in the future made by other film makers and artists.

Rating– 3.5/5

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Jul 4 2012

Bol Bachchan- Movie Preview


Bol Bachchan releases on 6th July 2012. Here’s my reaction after watching the trailer and my expectations from the film.

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Aug 12 2011

Aarakshan- Movie Review


Aarakshan- This word is so irritating! I’ve been saying Aakarshan Aakarshan since so long! They should have just named the movie Reservation to make it easy to remember! Anyway, so here’s what I thought of it.

As the title suggests, Aarakshan is based on the whole Reservation problem we have in India. How students struggle to get into colleges based on merit and how the underprivileged lot need reservation to help them come up too. Now I’m not sitting and listing who plays what and blah blah. There’s a principal who firmly believes that the underprivileged should get a chance, there’s a private classes tutor who is against it and cares only about making money by commercializing his coaching classes. Bas then story mein how much you want to know? Just go watch the movie for that na!

You have Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai, two very powerful actors playing the protagonist and antagonist in the movie. Also, you have Prakash Jha directing it and Saif & Deepika so that the youth has a reason to watch it too.  I somehow thought even the supporting actors have played a very important role and done a good job.

About the story, to tell you honestly, I got very bored in the first half. I was losing interest and felt like it was such a waste of my time. They didn’t even show the story properly and neither was it gripping. The second half however, was damn good but hardly related to the subject and more about competition and teaching a lesson to the bad guy. It was strange to find that Saif, Deepika, Prateik all start teaching for free but where do they earn money from then that too at such a young age? What’s the point? I just felt that there was too much to say in one movie but they still did and made us sit for so long in the theatre! Even though I liked the second half, I was like chalo yaar khatam karo mereko ghar jaana hai!

The music in the film is below average. Shankar Ehsaan aur Loy ne jaise ehsaan hi kiya ho waisa!

All in all, Aarakshan is decent. Not bad but could have been shorter, crisper and more focused on the subject.

Rating– 3/5

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