Jul 17 2015

Bajrangi Bhaijaan- Movie Review

Roochster

Bajrangi Bhaijaan posterI woke up at 7am to watch my Salman Khan in ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. Excitement was flowing through my system even as I was on my way to PVR Juhu, impatient to watch the 9am show, and before that hoping there wouldn’t be a long queue for tickets. So there I was in my seat, waiting eagerly for my Salman to appear on the big screen. But even before he came, the visuals before me took me in completely, making me forget that I was there, so early in the morning just for him.

Plot in short– ‘Shahida’ (Harshali Malhotra) a mute 6 year old girl from the Kashmiri side of Pakistan named after her mother’s favourite cricket Shahid Afridi gets left behind near the tracks of a train going from India to Pakistan in the wee hours of the night as she gets off trying to save a goat’s kid stuck inside a ditch. Finding another train to get onto, she hopes to go back home to her mother only reaching a village in Haryana where she meets our Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Salman Khan). Pawan or Bajrangi as he calls himself is a worshipper of Lord Hanuman, the monkey God and believes in always telling the truth. He meets Rasika (Kareena Kapoor Khan), his father’s friend’s daughter in Delhi and also stays in their house. They fall in love and want to get married but can only do so if Pawan can make enough money to buy a house.  Shahida who is mute and cannot read or write has no way to tell them where she’s from and so she too starts living with Rasika’s family and Pawan. As time passes by they find out that she’s from Pakistan and the only person who can take her there is Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Will he be able to cross the border and find her family? What are the obstacles that come in their way when he tries to?

The Good– Everything about the movie is good. I am not even exaggerating. Director Kabir Khan and his entire crew have let no stone unturned in making sure that the movie is made in the most honest and sincere way, not thinking of only Salman Khan and his superstar status. Salman Khan’s role is that of a very simple guy and he plays it with perfection. I can easily say that this is Salman’s finest performance and he made us cry this time. The pretty little girl Harshali Malhotra too is excellent as a mute child. She speaks volumes with her hand gestures and eyes alone. Kareena Kapoor Khan is merely a supporting actor here with not much to do but she looks gorgeous and does her usual Kareena stuff. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s entry scene is superb! The funny Pakistani reporter Chand Nawab’s scene is exactly like the one I had seen on Youtube ages ago and laughed my ass off. He’s one of the best actors we have today and is as natural as natural can get. Also, the screenplay is refreshing and moves steadily throughout. The camera work is brilliant. Beautiful visuals. The music is not the typical Salman Khan type foot tapping sorts that we’ve heard and danced to in the past. The ‘Selfie’ song is quite fun though. People in the theatre went crazy! Technically superb and emotionally perfect.

The Not-so-good– To be honest, I can’t think of anything. Just the fact that Salman Khan didn’t have any work to do apart from go and drop the girl to her mother.

Verdict– This has to be the best Salman Khan movie after Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Koun. Pure content with brilliant performances. Left me teary eyed in the end.

Rating– 4.5/5

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Feb 20 2015

Badlapur- Movie Review

Roochster

badlapur-poster1Very recently, a friend asked me which film I thought was the best so far in 2015 and all I could do was think really hard until I gave up. Badlapur hadn’t released then. Today, I can confidently answer that question. This Varun Dhawan- Nawazuddin Siddiqui  starrer is one of the most intense, well directed and better films that has released since the past 3-4 months and you have to go watch it.

Plot in short– After a bank robbery In Poona, Layak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Harman (Vinay Pathak) accidentally kill a woman and her child during their escape from the cops.  Raghu (Varun Dhawan), the husband of the woman and father of the child is furious and sets out to avenge their deaths.

The Good– Sriram Raghavan has made movies like Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddar in the past which were good films and then he made Agent Vinod which was awful. I didn’t know what to expect from Badlapur because I couldn’t picture Varun Dhawan in a serious, intense film. Also, after looking at the trailers I wasn’t expecting an outstanding film. I guess I was wrong. Badlapur caught me by surprise! The story is a simple thriller about taking revenge for something not acceptable. What we see in the film is a great show from start to end, scene after scene. Gripping screenplay, intense characters, brilliant execution of story, top notch performances by every actor in the film, crisp editing, expert camera work, good background score and music that lingers on.

Coming to the performances… Is it the same Varun Dhawan we saw in Student of the year and Main tera hero? I guess not. The actor has evolved and how! He is powerful and flawless in his performance giving us a clear indication that he must be taken seriously as an actor. Standing at an equally important level is Nawazudding Siddiqui who unflinchingly plays his role and makes us believe that he is Layak, the man who is responsible for killing two people, a faithful lover, the apple of his mother’s eyes. Another performance that stands out is that of Radhika Apte who plays Harman’s wife, ready to do anything for her husband. I have to say that the entire supporting cast too gives the film the respect it deserves. Divya Dutta, Vinay Pathak, Kumud Mishra, Huma Qureshi, Pratima Kannan are all winners throughout the film.

The Not-so-good– I can’t point a finger at what I didn’t like because I was glued to my seat even during the interval anticipating the second half. If I had to pick on something I didn’t like it would be the last half an hour or so. I felt that was slightly dragged and could have been to-the-point.

Verdict– Badlapur is a must watch and most definitely in the list of movies to watch in 2015! Highly recommended!

Rating– 4/5

 

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Jan 17 2014

Miss Lovely- Movie Review

Roochster

Miss-Lovely-posterWhen I saw the trailer, I thought Miss Lovely would be quite the ‘Artsy’ type of film. Well, I was completely mistaken!

Set in the late 80s, Miss Lovely is the story of two brothers who make and sell horror porn films. While one of the brothers (Anil George) takes full advantage of his role as film maker by exploiting the actresses, the other brother Sonu (Nawazudding Siddiqui) who’s lived in the shadow of his brother dreams of becoming a romantic movie director in Bollywood. Sonu meets wanna-be actress Pinky (Niharika Singh) and smitten by her, asks her to be the lead heroine of his film titled ‘Miss Lovely’ which he randomly makes up in his head. How far will this go?

The credits at the beginning itself make it look like a C grade film. Little did I know that it would be like that throughout! There’s plenty of skin show, the use of ‘Bambaiya’ language and a very real projection of how a porn film maker’s life would be. Director Ashim Ahluwalia has tried to make it as real as possible. However, it becomes a little too much to take because it seems as if the story is not proceeding at all. It slows down tremendously in the second half. I understand that the treatment itself is similar to a documentary film but the pace is too slow. I would have enjoyed it if the screenplay was written better and of course, if the film was better edited. Even two hours seem very long.

The art direction is superb! There’s a lot of research that’s gone into making sure everything looks very 80s be it the telephones, the kind of clothes people wore then, the hair, make up, sets and even the locations that have been chosen. A lot of attention has been given to every detail. Even though there aren’t any songs, the background score and music played in a few scenes go well with the movie.

The cinematography by Mohanan was not very appealing though. With a handheld camera used in most shots, one does get annoyed with its constant movement.

Coming to the performances… Nawazuddin Siddiqui is very good as Sonu. We all know what a fine actor he is and he does live up to that. Anil George as Vicky is fantastic and should be seen more in movies. Niharika Singh does not have much to do but she’s done a decent job as Pinky. All the other actors have stayed true to their characters and taken the film forward.

I wouldn’t say the film was fun to watch. In fact, it’s far from fun. If I had to compare it to ‘The Dirty Picture’ in terms of content, I’d say this is a filthy picture which has a niche audience to watch it and who might perhaps like it a lot. For me it was slightly below average.

Rating– 2.5/5

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Sep 20 2013

The Lunchbox- Movie Review

Roochster

thelunchbox posterSometimes you just know that a film will be outstanding the moment you see its trailer. The Lunchbox is exactly that and so much more.

A simple, middle-class, lonely man- Mr. Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) has a dull, routine life until he starts receiving a ‘dabba’ during lunch time that’s not really his. The dabba is meant to go to the husband of Ila, a woman who is lonely (Nimrat Kaur), has a child and a friend/ neighbour with whom she communicates via a window. She tries too hard to win her husband’s heart but fails every single time and hence starts to send new food items that might get his attention. As days go by, letters are exchanged in the dabba and thus a new relationship between two individuals who know nothing about each other is born.

Director Ritesh Batra who is also the writer of the film has created magic with his characters alone. Their personalities are so clear and strong that you’re keen to know more about them as the movie progresses. Each character has a presence that doesn’t just melt away with the story. In fact, they only get stronger. Without complications in their personalities, the story is told in the simplest manner possible. The director chooses to keep things as real as possible. The office environment, Irrfan Khan’s house, his neighbours, Nimrat Kaur’s house, the city, the Dabbawalas, the trains, buses, rickshaws, taxis all become an integral part of his story.  Superb art direction production design. I love that the clothes too are simple, repeated and relatable. No pretense whatsoever. No make up either. I also like the fact that there’s barely any background music. The only songs you will hear are the ones the Dabbawalas sing in the train and the ones played on the radio or ‘cassette’ as Ila asks aunty to play. What’s also nice is that Ila always writes to Mr. Fernandes in Hindi whereas Mr. Fernandes responds to her in English. They stick to their characters which don’t seek acceptance but just an ear to be heard or eyes to read in this case.

Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur shine like diamonds in their performances. They are natural, grounded and spontaneous in their acting. Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays the annoying assistant does his part just the way he’s meant to do it. Another one of those Director’s actors. Auntyji played by Bharati Achrekar is not seen throughout the film but she has a strong presence in the film and is very entertaining. Lilette Dubey (the mother), Denzil Smith (the boss) and Nakul Vaid (the husband) all play their parts well.

The Lunchbox is a film that is for everyone to watch. Enjoyable, tasty and unique. Must watch!

Rating– 4/5

 

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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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Mar 22 2013

Aatma- Movie Review

Roochster

Aatma posterIt seems like Bipasha Basu has taken over an entire genre in films. Just like Ajay Devgan and Akshay Kumar are our action heroes, Bips has become Bollywood’s horror (horrific?) heroine. Its funny how in every in horror film the use of the word ‘aatma’ is most common and then you see a film named that! Anyway, here’s my review of the film.

Bipasha Basu plays the role of a loving mother of a daughter and a helpless wife of a man who was violent and crazy. Her husband died in an accident but comes back to take their daughter with him. His body is dead but his ‘aatma’ still alive and ready to kill anyone who says or does anything against his daughter or him. Will Bipasha be able to save her daughter from her dead husband and give her a good life?

The last few movies that have come have all been horrible! Director Suparn Verma has made a film that is not as over-the-top or gross or creepy as the type Ram Gopal Verma makes. Just to make you jump from your seat, he doesn’t unnecessarily have scary looking props or weird angles or ridiculous sound effects like a child’s laughter or a witchy laugh, etc. He doesn’t even have the clichés that you’ve seen in most horror movies. Aatma is relatively subtle and more believable as compared to other horror movies and that’s what makes it a decent watch although I wish it was scarier. The cinematography by Sophie Winqvist is top notch and beautiful. The story is good but the last half an hour is quite stupid and thus deters it from being a decent horror film. The production design is lovely and so is the styling. The background score is good.

The performances are good. Bipasha Basu looked stunning and acted pretty well. Way better than her performance in Raaz 3. Nawazuddin Siddiqui didn’t have much to do and I think any other actor could have done his part. He was aright but looked odd as Bipasha’s husband. The little girl Doyel Dhawan was ok for a child. I personally think child actors shouldn’t be a part of a scary movie. I also thought Darshan Jariwala who is a brilliant actor was wasted in the film. He could’ve done a better role. The actress who plays Bipasha’s mother has done a good job too.

Luckily there’s no music in the film because then the momentum of the film would have been broken. However, Sangeet and Siddharth Haldipur have made a beautiful song which plays in the start with the credit roll.

My verdict is that Aatma is not bad. If you’re a horror movie fan, go watch it.

Rating– 3/5

 

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