Jun 26 2014

Belly of the Tantra- Movie Review

Roochster

Belly of the tantra posterThere are parts of India you’d have never been or seen. There are people in India you’d never know existed. It’s because of documentary films like ‘Belly of the Tantra’ that we get exposed to shocking, interesting and crazy rituals, ideologies, beliefs and people. And what a film it was!

Plot in short– The film delves into the radical beliefs and extreme rituals of Tantra that religion can incite. By exploring an ancient and eccentric sect of Hinduism along the river Ganges and throughout India which has sparked much controversy and significant taboo, “Belly of the Tantra” challenges our notions of faith and the limits to which one can go.

The Good– I wouldn’t say shooting a controversial subject like this is easy so director Pankaj Purohit and Babita Modgil- the producer deserve full marks for attempting to explore and make people aware about a co-existing group of people and their strange blind beliefs. The footage captured in this 90 minutes documentary is very engaging. I love how candid the Tantriks/ Aghoris (as they like to be called) got while answering some really twisted questions. Most importantly they let outsiders into their world. It is all so shockingly real. I read that pen cameras and phone cameras were used for capturing the footage so in that case, what you see is well shot, especially some smoking scenes. The Babas that were interviewed all had something interesting to say even though a lot of times it got repetitive. Their candidness, way of dressing and living gave off this eerie, raw vibe which not many would dare to step into.

The Not-So-Good– While the screenplay is edgy and quick paced, I felt that the editing could have been crisper. There were times when I got slightly restless. Also, I thought that it would have been nice to also see some of their positive influences apart from just the bizarre ones and how they affect common people. This film is definitely not meant for the staunch Hindus who will take offence for most visuals seen in the movie no matter how real it all is.

Verdict– Watch it and be prepared to be shocked. Yeah, that’s probably the word for this film. Superb job Pankaj Purohit, Babita Modgil and team!

Caution: Not for the faint hearted. Adults only!

Rating– 3.5/5

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Jun 20 2014

Humshakals- Movie Review

Roochster

This is by far Sajid Khan’s worst film as a director because not just the screenplay but even the acting, dialogues, story and direction but on the whole the movie is nothing but a disaster so please avoid watching it!

Rating- 1/5

Humshakals movie poster

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Jun 15 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2- Movie Review

Roochster

Fantastic animation and a great adventure but not as exciting as its prequel.

Rating- 3.5/5

HOW-TO-TRAIN-YOUR-DRAGON-2

 

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Apr 26 2014

Revolver Rani- Movie Review

Roochster

Even though Kangana Ranaut’s attempted something different, Revolver Rani is annoying and boring and a complete waste of time and money!

Rating- 1.5/5

Revolver Rani poster

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Mar 21 2014

Ragini MMS 2- Movie Review

Roochster

A badly made ‘horrex’ (Horror+Sex) sequel film that is neither horrific nor sexy starring Sunny Leone dressed in lingerie moaning and groaning to titillate the audience.

Rating- 2.5/5

Ragini-MMS-2-Movie-Poster

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Mar 8 2014

Queen- Movie Review

Roochster

Queen-Movie-PosterThere are far too many things to love about Queen and I can safely say that this is one of the best movies ever made in Bollywood! Let me start off…

Plot in short– Rani Mehra (Kangana Ranaut), a simple Punjabi girl from Delhi is dumped by her fiancé (Rajkummar Rao) because she doesn’t match up to his ‘status’.  That makes her upset and after sleeping over it, she decides to go alone for her honeymoon. It’s a journey not just to a place but to finding a person who she didn’t know existed in her.

The good– I didn’t think Kangana Ranaut could do anything but drunk scenes and talk like a pigeon. In Queen, she’s not only proved me wrong but has completely taken me by surprise. She’s uninhibited and plays her part like a pro! She’s real, believable and very likable. The way she dresses throughout, her accent, her way of communicating, her reactions to various experiences and so much more bring us closer to her character and leave us wanting to know more about her. I also thought the other actors- namely Lisa Haydon who plays her new found BFF in France, Rajkummar Rao, her friends and family in the movie are all well casted and have done a fantastic job! They’re all natural, effortless and add to the chemistry in their relationship with Kangana Ranaut’s character which only makes you enjoy the film more.

Apart from the performances, I must congratulate the director and screenplay writer for making a film that is entirely unpretentious and focuses on good story telling, real relationships, Indian values and optimism. There are some things that make this film particularly relatable. For instance, even in her drunken state, when she’s dancing like the strippers on the bar table, she removes her jacket, spins it round and round like the dancers and instead of throwing it out like most films would do, she stuffs in in her bag. Or another example would be how with the days she spends on her holiday; the mehndi on her hands fades and looks as ugly like it does on our hands after three to four days. You’d also feel patriotic when there’s a huge crowd gathered to eat yummy ‘golgappas’ from her stall. You feel happy for her when she’s happy and sad when she’s sad. I love everything about the treatment of the film!

The look in terms of make up, styling, costumes, hair, locations is as real as real can be. With a no make up look, Kangana plays the part of a girl coming from a conservative Indian family. She doesn’t dress well, has no intention of trying to impress anyone and loves her family. The cinematography by Bobby Singh is smooth and well shot.  The background score and music make the film more fun to watch. Amit Trivedi is pure genius!  I loved the songs ‘O Gujariya’, ‘London Thumakda’ and ‘Hungama’ which is superb!

The not-sogood– The only drawback perhaps is the fact that the length of the film is a bit much. I’m not complaining about the content at all though. I just wish it wasn’t so long. The songs could have been shorter and the editing could have been crisper.

Verdict– I’m just really happy I saw Queen. It’s delightfully awesome! MUST WATCH!

Rating– 4/5

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Jan 24 2014

Jai Ho- Movie Review

Roochster

Jai Ho msg from Salman KhanI didn’t expect anything from ‘Jai Ho’ to be very honest looking at the trailer and songs I had seen.  Apart from the fact that Salman Khan was in it, there was no reason why I would watch ‘Jai Ho’ unless I read and heard just good reviews of the film. Anyway, getting down to my review…

Jai (Salman Khan), an ex soldier for the Indian army gets suspended for no fault of his and starts living the life of a common man doing good deeds and helping people. He starts a chain- instead of saying thank you when helped, you help three other people and let those three people help three more people thus spreading positivity and being a good Samaritan. He gets into a mess while trying to help and raise his voice against injustice and lands himself in a mess when a corrupt politician (Danny Denzongpa) and his family do everything they can to get Jai and his family out of the way.

Inspired from the Telegu film ‘Stalin’, Jai Ho is a remake and what a great one! This is Sohail Khan’s best work yet as a director and he does full justice to the story. He left no stone unturned to make the film as entertaining as possible. He even made Salman get his shirt off in the climax fight scene. Apart from a few really sad comedy scenes at the start, the film is gripping and enjoyable for what it is and not just because of Salman Khan. The dialogues don’t stand out like his past few films but the script does most of the work. The message is strong and the idea itself is all heart. When you see Jai Ho, you will see Salman Khan’s heartfelt performance and know that this film propagates the message of ‘Being Human’ and that’s pretty damn noble. In spite of there being lots of action, the intention is good and it will remind you of Singham and Munnabhai MBBS.

Technically, the film is not bad. The cinematography by Santosh Thundiyil is good in parts, the action sequences are well choreographed but we’ve seen Salman do better and the editing also could have been better. The styling is simple and unpretentious. Salman does dress like a common man albeit the different colours of Raybans he wears. Daisy Shah’s stylist, makeup artist and hairstylist have done a splendid job! She looks drop dead gorgeous!

I would have liked a couple of songs from Salman Khan’s movies usually but this one fails to create any excitement, music-wise. ‘Tere naina’ might be the only ok sounding song but otherwise, Jai Ho loses points because of the music. The background score by Sandeep Shirodkar is power packed and takes the film forward.

We’ve seen Salman Khan the superstar in far too many films where you can easily say that he’s not even interested in making an effort to act. Dabangg 2 would be the biggest example of that. In Jai Ho though, we get to see Salman Khan the actor. You can see that he’s delivering a performance from his heart and not just for the heck of it. He may look a little old (how long can he look 25, right?) but still manages to make your heart skip several beats. He’s done a fine acting job in this one! Daisy Shah is a newcomer and barely has a meaty role. She’s a great dancer for sure, but acting, well we’ll just have to see her in a film that allows us to see her acting potential better. Tabu after so long was a pleasure to watch. She’s a great actress and has done a fine job with her role. Genelia Deshmukh is another actress who’s done a great job in spite of the short role in the film! She’s really talented and should be seen acting more often. All the other actors- Mukul Dev,  Ashmit Patel, Aditya Pancholi, Yash Tonk, Danny Denzongpa, Pulkit Samrat, Santosh Shukla, Mahesh Manjrekar and all the others who had small roles in the film have played a major supporting role.

Sometimes, we underestimate the power of a superstar. Who knows? Jai Ho could inspire a ton of Salman Khan fans and others to do good and help people in the society.

I loved the film for the message it gives out, for Salman Khan, all the other superb performances and above all for being an entertaining masala movie that’s made from the heart.

Rating– 3.5/5

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Aug 8 2013

Chennai Express- Movie Review

Roochster

Chennai Express posterChennai Express was one of the biggest films releasing this year because of two reasons- Shahrukh Khan and Rohit Shetty. And guess what? Both were disappointing.

Rahul (Shahrukh Khan) makes a promise to his grandmother that he will go to Rameswaram from Mumbai to immerse his grandfather’s ashes into the sea. Now the real plan is to get a break from making sweets and go to Goa with his friends. And so he boards the Chennai Express. He meets Meena (Deepika Padukone) along with her four scary looking cousins and her father who wants her to marry Tangaballi (Nikitin Dheer). From there, things go south and Meena and Rahul must find their way out of it.

I love Rohit Shetty’s films because they are pure entertainment. As a movie goer, one would want to watch two and a half hours of comedy, action, romance, songs, beautiful visuals and lots of drama but also a screenplay that holds you in place not matter how cliché the story. Shetty has of course spoofed the clichés to create another cliché (if you know what I mean) but he falls short of what he does best in this one unfortunately. There are some really funny scenes in the movie like for instance in the train when Shahrukh and Deepika speak to each other in the form of popular songs. Now that doesn’t quite work towards the end when the bad guy starts singing too. The story is obviously nothing to boast of but the screenplay and dialogues aren’t that well written either. Also there are too many Tamil dialogues which are fine but it would have been nice to have subtitles. The action sequences are typical of Shetty but somehow they didn’t quite work in Chennai Express. They seem forced and out of place even though they’re well choreographed.

Cinematographer Dudley has done a brilliant job except that the post production backgrounds are easily noticable. Otherwise, stunning visuals! The styling is bang on! Deepika looks gorgeous in her sarees and beautifully done makeup and hair. Shahrukh looks about 5 years younger thanks to the clothes and Botox. Superb art direction with a great choice of colours and props. The editing is too good!

The background music is good. The music by Vishal & Shekhar is a mix of good and ok. I like the songs ‘Titli’ and ‘1234’. The rest are unimportant.

To be honest, this is not a Shahrukh Khan film. Rohit Shetty and Shahrukh make an odd combo and it shows in the film. He’s supposed to exaggerate but not overact which he’s done here. Yes, he is funny in some scenes like when he starts speaking in a shaken up voice in the train in front of the baddies and maybe one or two more here and there. But that’s it. In this one, he’s quite awkward. The star of the film is Deepika Padukone without a doubt. She stays true to her character and that’s amazing. Her accent stays throughout the film and not once does she overact. She’s just throwing one surprise after another since ‘Cocktail’. With every movie she’s getting better as an actress. Nikitin Dheer who plays Tangaballi looks the part and does full justice to his character. Sathyaraj who plays Deepika’s father is alright.

As a film Chennai Express is a letdown and not something you need to watch at a multiplex. Watch it at home instead just for Deepika’s performance.

Rating– 2.5/5

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Apr 18 2013

The Croods- Movie Review

Roochster

Great animation, characters, screenplay and voices with a story that will remind you of ‘Ice Age’ filled with entertainment to make sure you have a good time.

Rating- 3.5/5

The-croods-poster

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Apr 12 2013

Commando- Movie Review

Roochster

Commando posterI never thought I’d end up watching and out and out action film because that’s just not my kind of genre. But guess what? The keeda in me made me go watch it. That too alone! Ha! Here’s my review.

Remember movies where the villain wants to forcefully marry the heroine and she escapes into a jungle where she finds a hero who saves and protects her from the baddies. He also does chivalrous things like skillfully making a makeshift bed for the night, hunting for fish to eat, etc.? Well, Commando is all of that and more! In this, the hero (Vidyut Jammwal) is a Commando who beats up the villain’s men left, right and centre, set booby traps to protect the pretty Punjabi kudi (Pooja Chopra) who he randomly met at a bus station and of course for that one important goal- to get rid of all the baddies in India to make it a safer and better nation.

There’s obviously no importance given to the story because the film is all about Vidyut Jammwal’s amazing body and stunts. The director Dilip Ghosh is very clear with what he wants his audience to see and leaves no stone unturned to make Vidyut do the best fight scenes, almost like what you’d see video game characters do. In the beginning itself, they mention that all the stunt scenes by Vidyut Jammwal are done by him without any harness or safety gear, except for one scene where he jumps down from a valley. The biggest credit in the film would go to Action Director- Franz Sphilhaus who’s choreographed every move brilliantly, making it look natural and smooth. The cinematography by Sejal Shah is outstanding! All the forest scenes, especially the ones taken in pure sunlight are beautiful. I’d also like to specially mention that the Editor- Amitabh Shukla too has done a fantastic job and would remind you of the editing done in Ghajini’s action scenes where you enjoy every cut and transition. Some of the locations they’ve shot at are breathtaking and the credit goes to the production designer for that.

I wish there was more to the story that just plain action but I guess most guys enjoy such movies. It was fast paced but seemed more like watching a video game. Also, in today’s day and age, a villain who looks like that with his background story seems a bit outlandish. Some dialogues are very good and if Salman Khan said them, the entire nation would go crazy, but coming from Mr. Jamwal, with barely any expression on his face, came across as made up.

Coming to the performances… Vidyut Jammwal is definitely the One man army with his chiseled body and action-packed performance. actually does action scenes like a true martial artist and not just an action star like Ajay Devgan, Akshay Kumar, etc. However, he barely speaks anything or shows any emotions on his face which make him seem like one of those ‘Brawn without brain’ actors. Pooja Chopra looks pretty and acts well in a few scenes but her character is done to death and you wont go back and remember her for this performance. She’s just okay. The villain, Jaideep Ahlawat is superb! He not only looks scary with his white eyes but also plays his part very well as the bad guy.

The music by Mannan Shaah is ok except for the song ‘Saawan bairi’ sung beautifully by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, shot exceptionally well in slow motion and choreographed amazingly! The song doesn’t even go with the theme of the movie but both the actors look stunning and just as a music video, it works wonders!

If you’re an action movie fan, watch Commando for Vidyut Jammwal’s mind-boggling action sequences and for those who are not, just go with an open mind and you might just think the movie is not that bad.

Rating– 2.5/5

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