May 10 2014

Hawaa Hawaai- Movie Review

Roochster

hawaa-hawaai-posterWhat a strange title for a so-called ‘inspiring’ movie! Well, ‘Hawaa Hawaai’ is the name of the skates the boy wears in the film… Uhhhhh…yeah! Well, here goes.

Plot in short-After his father’s death, Arjun (Partho Gupte) starts working at a tea stall at Bandra Kurla Complex in order to do his bit for his family and bring money to the house. Every evening, after the parking lot clears, a skating class takes place which is conducted by Lucky Sir (Saqib Saleem). Watching the children skate everyday makes Arjun tempted to learn the sport too. Like Eklavya, he observes the other children skate, makes his own pair of skates (Hawaa Hawaai) with the help of his four best friends, dresses up like a knight and impresses Lucky sir with some terrible skating! Does he make it to the Nationals? Well, that’s not too hard to guess now, is it?

The Good– Performances by Partho Gupte, Saqib Saleem and the four other boys are good. I wouldn’t say they’re award worthy, but not bad either. Actress Neha Joshi who plays Partho’s mother is superb! The cinematography by Amol Gole is alright, very good in parts.  The dialogues are funny in some scenes. The music by Hitesh Sonik is nice. The setting, costumes and art direction is real and believable.

The Not-so-good-Amol Gupte is an emotional person and he’s proved it in his earlier works- Taare Zameen Par and Stanley ka Dabba. He loves children and likes to bring out their innocence. In Hawaa Hawaai he also brings out the poverty stricken Mumbai to the surface. Like that’s not been done earlier! In trying to be very sweet and thoughtful, there’s little importance given to the screenplay which is the most important factor. That is where the main problem lies. Also, I didn’t agree with or like how the slums and the poor children of Mumbai are shown. Yes, they are happy doing what they’re doing and living their lives but by showing the dirt, garbage and the pitiful environment around them and by making comparisons to the children who are more privileged, I feel the makers were trying to get the ‘empathy vote’ which I didn’t like at all. I would have liked to see a happier film, for sure.

Verdict– A film that could have been inspiring and beautiful was unfortunately a drag and very predictable. Average.

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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