Jun 19 2016

Udta Punjab- Movie Review

Roochster

A hard hitting film filled with top notch performances that brings out all kinds of emotions and opens your eyes to harsh realities from India’s very own Punjab.

Rating-4/5

Udta Punjab poster

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May 15 2015

Bombay Velvet- Movie Review

Roochster

bombay velvet posterSince the time I saw the trailer and heard the songs from Bombay Velvet, I knew the film would be absolutely brilliant. Well, umm I wish that was the case for real!

Plot in short– Balraj a.k.a Johnny Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor) has one dream- to be a big shot. Impressed with his dare devil attitude, Kaizad Khambata ( Karan Johar), editor of a tabloid called ‘Torrent’ appoints Balraj to manage his club named ‘Bombay Velvet’ and also wipe out Jimmy Mistry (Manish Chaudhury), editor of another tabloid called ‘Glitz’. Jimmy appoints the gorgeous Rosie (Anushka Sharma), a jazz singer to lure Johnny and destroy his competition among other things. Meanwhile, Johnny and Rosie fall in love and are in too deep to fall out of it. What happens to Bombay Velvet?

The Good– I haven’t seen any period film look so rich and real. Every set, every costume, props, graphics, hair and make up done take you back to the 60s and 70s. There’s a tremendous amount of effort that went into the research and ground work plus the magnificent camera work that make it a visual delight, this Bombay Velvet. Apart from that, the actors are all superb! While Ranbir and Anushka draw you in with their performance and chemistry, Satyadeep Misra, Kay Kay Menon, Manish Chaudhury and Karan Johar are good. Raveena Tandon in her special appearance looks more ravishing than she has ever looked. I’d like to point out that the music and background score of the film are fantastic! Amit Trivedi makes jazz come alive with some of his compositions. I like Anurag Kashyap’s Tarantino-like story-telling style, however there is room for improvement. The part where Karan Johar, unable to keep his straight face, breaks into an infectious giggle away from everyone is one of the best scenes in the movie, without a doubt.

The Not-so-good– While there are so many nice things about the movie, the screenplay and editing could have been way better. The first half is a bit of a drag and overall, there is something amiss, perhaps more attention given to the script.

Verdict– Bombay Velvet is visually stunning and has some great performances and music but falls short of a script that’s interesting enough to hold a two and a half hours film.

Rating– 2.5/5

 

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Feb 7 2014

Hasee Toh Phasee- Movie Review

Roochster

hasee-toh-phasee-movie-posterHasee toh Phasee is not your typical romantic comedy! But then, we all know that Parineeti Chopra does not do the typical Bollywood films! Anyway, here’s my review.

Nikhil (Siddharth Malhotra) is in a committed relationship with Karishma (Adah Sharma). They are engaged to get married but it’s more of conditional love than actual love between the two. And then he meets Meeta (Parineeti Chopra), Karishma’s sister who had fought and run away from home 7 years back and has now returned for her sister’s wedding. She’s a bit strange and he’s stuck in his current personal life and professional life scenario. Can Nikhil find his true identity in a relationship? Can Meeta sort herself out and start expressing herself better?

Director Vinil Matthew has made an unpretentious, refreshingly different and youthful romantic flick that surprises you and entertains you at the same time. The screenplay is slightly slow in parts and could have been better but well written nonetheless. The kind of humour you will find is situational more than slapstick and you will find yourself giggling from time to time. I like that. Also, the characters have certain traits that are different from the usual heroes and heroines we see in our films. I like that the emotional moments aren’t given the melodramatic treatment. They’re subtle and have their own identity which is cool.

The look of the film is great. I love the way the camera takes us into their lives showing not a glossy but a very natural and beautiful picture. Siddharth Malhotra’s brown eyes made me want to stare at them forever! The styling is simple and fits the characters well. I like that Parineeti’s look was not glamourous at all and that like the rest of us, she repeats her clothes.

The background score is apt and the music by Vishal & Shekhar is decent. I like the songs ‘Zehnaseeb’ and ‘Manchala’. I also love Ishq Bulava…It’s been sung really well.

Parineeti Chopra is the definite hero of the film. She’s just superb in her acting and dialogue delivery. Her stoned expressions, the ease with which she says really difficult lines, her simplicity and casual demeanour all speak volumes for her. She’s got no pretence whatsoever and makes every scene worth watching. Now, Siddharth Malhotra is totally drool-worthy! He’s unpretentiously hot and mysterious. There’s something about him! You know what I mean? Anyway, about his performance, well, he’s alright. He’s a bit ‘thanda’ as a performer. Adah Sharma looks pretty and convinces as the difficult girlfriend even though her features don’t make her look so. Manoj Joshi as the father is brilliant throughout. Acting comes to him naturally and he’s just right with the way he expresses. Sharat Saxena, Sameer Khakhar and all the other supporting actors have done a good job.

Overall, Hasee toh Phasee as a title may not suit the film but if you’re looking to watch an unconventional romantic comedy, watch this one.

Rating– 3.5/5

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Aug 22 2013

Tasher Desh- Movie Review

Roochster

Tasher-desh posterIf I had the choice to name a genre exclusively for Tasher Desh, it would be ‘Bizarre’! The trailers do somewhat prepare you, but after watching the film you’ll be in a different zone altogether. I’d like to know what the makers of the film high were on anyway?!

Based on Rabindranath Tagore’s play, Tasher Desh (Land of Cards) is the story about a prince who feels trapped in his palace. He’s looking for a getaway and true meaning in life when he comes across an Oracle that shows him the path. And so he takes off with his friend, leaving his alcoholic mother in search for adventure and freedom. They land up at a beach where they come across people dressed as uniformed soldiers who call themselves ‘cards’ bound by strict rules and discipline. Everything changes when the two friends start influencing the women cards and show them that there’s a life beyond the island and they must be liberated.

The director in question for executing such a bizarre concept is Q who’s also written the screenplay along with Surojit Sen. Q has an interesting style in storytelling and that is commendable. In a way, the movie reminds me of Alice in Wonderland which is absolutely crazy and out- of- the- box. To be honest, I was very bored and clueless in the first half of the film. The second half was ten times better and gave some meaning to the first half. The saving grace were the beautiful visuals thanks to art director Mridul Baidya, cinematographer Manu Docosse and all those involved technically in the film. The constant camera movement did get a bit annoying but also made it more interesting to watch at the same time. The edit team played a major part in adding that extra edge to the film. The costumes, make up, hair and all about the look of the film was not only different but quirky and loud.

The music is fantastic! Outstanding compositions by Asian Dub Foundation and the others with beautiful voices lending soul to each track. I wouldn’t say the film needed music, but without the music the film wouldn’t be half as good. Even the background score which is mostly a constant drone fills the many silences in the film making it as dramatic as possible.

All the actors play a major part in bringing out the quirkiness in the film. Everyone from Soumyak Kanti De Biswas as the prince, Tillotama Shome as the queen, Rituparna Sen as the widow, Joyraj Bhattacharjee as the storyteller and Imaad Shah as the friend to all those who played soldiers have done a very good job.

This film is not for most people. It’s for those who are willing to watch contemporary cinema that’s beyond expectations and does not follow the set rules of film making. In short, Tasher Desh is a visual delight that’s absolutely bizarre!

Rating– 2.5/5

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May 3 2013

Bombay Talkies- Movie Review

Roochster

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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Oct 12 2012

Aiyyaa- Movie Review

Roochster

I had seen the trailers of Aiyyaa and I actually wasn’t very excited to watch the movie because it looked quite blah! But once I saw Rani Mukherji dance to ‘Agabai’, I was pleasantly surprised. Forget that the dance doesn’t match the song; Rani was dancing like a pro! So, I decided, chal, let’s give it a try.

Rani Mukherji plays a super filmy, happy and full of life girl who lives in a Maharashtrian middle class family. Her parents want to get her married and finally find the right man for their daughter after making her meet many. She wants to work and make some money so she can do something constructive with her life and so takes up a job at a college library. There she falls in love with Prithviraj, an artist, who always smells good and doesn’t have a very good reputation. Does she go for her parents’ choice or with the one she’s too scared to even talk to?

I’m surprised Anurag Kashyap produced a commercial film like this since it’s so not his type, if you know what I mean. The director’s done a good job but I felt the screenplay was a drag and they’ve overdone the smelling bit. There’s a lot of unnecessary repetition that takes away the surprise element in the climax. The setting, clothes, make up is all very real and visually beautiful. Each character is well defined. I like that the film is not too serious. It’s a ‘Rangeela’ type of movie if I may say, in terms of the look of the film.

Rani Mukherji is superb! She’s the life of the movie and gives a performance that makes the movie fun to watch. She looks lovely throughout even though she plays a very unglamorous role. Prithviraj doesn’t have much to say in the movie but he looks hot, especially in the ‘Agabai’ song. He’s portrayed the character well without having to say anything and that’s a good sign when you’re an actor.  Even the supporting cast was good, especially the girl who plays ‘Maina’ who had a crazy role and the guy who plays Rani’s brother in the film.

I wouldn’t say the songs are superb but they’re fun for the movie. I think the choreographers of all the songs have done a great job and they’ve made Rani move her body very well!

Overall, it’s a light hearted movie with great performances, very well choreographed songs, brilliant art direction and good cinematography. I just wish it was edited better!

Rating– 3/5

 

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Aug 13 2012

Gangs of Wasseypur 2- Movie Review

Roochster

Dark, bloody, very real with superb performances, good music and outstanding direction but also too long.

Rating- 3/5

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Jun 25 2012

Gangs of Wasseypur- Movie Review

Roochster

Superb performances, interesting music, confusing story but kick-ass dialogues, direction and a very real setting.

Rating- 3/5

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Sep 2 2011

That girl in yellow boots- Movie Review

Roochster

You know, I didn’t even have to think twice about watching this movie for 2 reasons- Anurag Kashyap and Kalki Koechlin. So how was it?

Well, the girl in yellow boots, Ruth (Kalki Koechlin) is in search of her father in India who left her family when she was very young. She works as a masseuse in a shady massage parlour called Aspaspa where she also gives hand jobs to earn that extra amount of money to survive in a city like Mumbai. She has a boyfriend who’s a drug addict and all he wants to do is sleep with her but all she wants is to feel loved. Does she find her father in this chaos and manage to truly be loved?

Anurag Kashyap is back with another story that’s different and yet manages to be very relatable. The setting, dialogues, characters are all very real. The build up of the story is great narrowing down to an interesting thriller towards the end. Not a minute was boring in the movie. I also liked the opening song they play… very beautiful.

I love Kalki Koechlin. I think she’s good without putting in any effort of acting at all. She convinces you that she is a real character, living in that dirty house, serving those filthy clients, looking for a person whom she can call her own in a city that’s got its own shit happening.

So, in short, ‘That girl in yellow boots’ is a good movie to watch this weekend. Well done Anurag Kashyap and Kalki!

Rating– 3.5/5

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Jun 10 2011

Shaitan- Movie Review

Roochster

I hadn’t seen the trailer before watching Shaitan as I was travelling and I don’t watch Tv but I went for it mainly because I know Rajeev Khandelwal and I’ve seen him in Aamir and I think he’s a great actor. Also, I read Anurag Kashyap’s name somewhere in the poster so I just had to go watch it.

Shaitan is a movie about a group of friends in Mumbai living ordinary lives. On a completely reckless night, they kill a few people sleeping on the road which puts them in a tough spot. They decide to run away from it but only till a cop catches them and asks for Rs.25 lakhs as a way to get out of the situation. That leads to many more complications and sub plots.

It’s not your regular happy youth film but dark, intriguing and crazy. The main story is interesting but somehow the sub plots confused me a bit- Amy’s mother and why exactly she needed to be there in the story and also, Rajeev Khandelwal’s little story with his wife. I just felt it was unnecessary and added just so he has a bigger role in the movie.

The positives- I love the way the director has presented the song Khoya Khoya Chand. That was just superb and so brilliantly shot! In fact, I think the whole film is shot amazingly and the editing has also been done extremely well! The vision of the director (Bejoy Nambiar) combined with the cinematographer’s eye made the movie visually very appealing. The music is refreshingly different and adds meaning to the scenes.

I also felt that the casting was great! Kalki Koechlin, Rajeev Khandelwal and Neil Bhoopalam are the stars of the film.

Overall, Shaitan was nice. I liked it because it was zara hatke and kept me glued to my seat throughout.

Rating– 3/5

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