SOTY2

After the disastrous movie outing last week for Avengers : Endgame last nite it was for another movie franchise i.e. Student of The Year 2 !!

The first edition of Student of the Year was irreverent, cool and enjoyable. It had great music and launched three actors that continue to blaze in the Indian Film Industry ever since. They were raw then but definitely on the threshold of leaving a mark for themselves. It had a great supporting cast with the super funny gay principal played with ease by Rishi Kapoor who had feeling for his sports teacher The competitions in the race to the coveted Student of the Year trophy were stupid, foolish but were definitely fun to watch. . It was about 2 boys and a girl and had super gloss and sheen!!

On the another hand SOTY 2 is about getting a director from the Dharma Production stable to match up to his bosses version. The story is what u get when mix SOTY with Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar in a blender and you end up making a unpalatable blend. SOTY2 launches three new actors: Aditya Seal, Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria. None of them have the oomph and screen presence of the previous lead actors. Ok a little points can be given to Ananya Pandey but that’s it and then we have The Tiger Shroff- whose body, his dancing skills and his Parkour expertise have been on display in previous movies too. Confession time: this is my first Tiger Shroff movie ever.

I am like: ठीक है नाच लिए, कपडे उतार दिए, कूद लिए लेकिन थोडा एंटरटेनमेंट भी करा तो इस ढाई घंटों में, which was nowhere in sight. Dharma Productions is now all about LGBT rights and characters but इतने cliché character डालने ज़रोरी हैं क्या ?? Gul Panag as a Lesbian Sports Teacher is completely waster. I am sure Dharma Productions can do better and Samir Soni as the Principal !! क्यूँ पर क्यूँ ?? कम बजट में बनाने को बोला होगा लेकिन डायरेक्टर साब थोड़े तो better actors ले लेते ??

This film franchise is about coolness and youth but having Kabbadi is like catering to the least common denominator. इतनी कबड्डी ऐसे prestigious competition के लिए कौन खिलाता है?? और एक बात बताना तो भूल गया मैं, पूरी फिल्म में सिर्फ एक ही गाना अच्छा है वोह भी पंचमदा के सौजन्य से !!

So you have read my complaints and if you still watch this film then I do not know you !!

BADLA

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This movie is about a woman who wakes up to find a mystery murder of a man in her hotel room which is locked from inside and no trace of any other person entering the room.

Thus begins the movie and the beginning of the whodunit:  finding motives, culprits and the innocent by the woman framed and her lawyer and the people involved.

The Framed Woman is Tapsee Pannu.

The Lawyer is The Amitabh Bachchan

The People involved are mainly Amrita Singh.

They have set the movie in gloomy snowing winter England which frankly could have been set anywhere. The location hardly does anything unlike the director Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahani wherein Kolkatta played an integral part of the film. It was more the case of की producer के पास पैसा है उसे कैसे दिखाएं जनता को ?

We all are now well aware of the acting prowess of Mr. Bachchan and also that of Tapsee Pannu, so they bring what they are supposed to in the movie i.e. brilliant acting. However what is the surprise element is Amrita Singh who is back after a long brake.

The movie is engaging but gets but lacks the punch of movies like Kahani, you kind of know the killer but the time the filmmakers take to get there takes too long even for a 2 hour long movie. However some of the analogies of Mahabharata does offer interesting insights.

What also surprises me is the lack of investigation / inefficiency of the London Police and how easy it seems to buy witness, proofs and find fake proofs of innocence. इस मामले में तो इस मूवी ने भारतीय पुलिस को भी पीछे छोड़ दिया.

Sadly the sum total of all the individual talent of the producer, director and the actors of this film is less than what it should have been.

So एक बार देख लीजियेगा, वैसे भी सस्पेंस वाली फिल्में एक बार ही अच्छी लगती है.

LUKA CHUPPI

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This film is set in the small town of Gwalior and Vrindavan and the whole premise hinges on the “Modern Concept” of LIVE-IN.

The hero is TV News Anchor on a Local News Network where the heroine also starts interning after graduating from Delhi. Her father is a right-wing neta, dead against Live-In relationships and is the protector of Bhartiya Sanskriti. The pair fall in love and the only condition by the heroine is the she wants to live-in before they take the final plunge.

And this very demand takes them to Gwalior, pestered by nosy aunty and sneaky neighbours before being caught by the hero’s relatives and the confusion ensues. From the falsehood about their marriage to the failed attempts in actually getting married with each other haggled on by their relatives.

The star cast starting from Karthik Aaryaan, Kirti Sanon, to the colourfully dressed Pankaj Tripathi, to the Neta/Father Vinay Pathak and the side kick of the hero Aparshakti Khurana play their parts well. So does the ensemble of actors playing the relatives. The songs in the first half seemed forced and unnecessary. And the real peppy song like Coca-Cola gets wasted in the end credits and Poster Chapwa wasn’t there only. That’s certainly unfair.

Movies set in small towns seem to be flavour of the season for Bollywood. So like this genre there is situational comedy, relatives with their own quirkiness, use of local dialect, shot on real location etc. These movies are like the millennium versions of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chaterjee’s films.

What works for me in the movie is the lead pair and their easiness and some of the scenes are really funny. The movie doesn’t real offer anything new what the movies from this genre haven’t offered earlier. But it doesn’t disappoint either.

One of the sadhus when asked about his take on LIVE-IN says “प्रेम है तो सब पवित्र है”, and in another there is this line “मुस्लिम हूँ एलियन नहीं”, with some interesting writing this one is light-breezy film, fulfilling the entertainment quotient for the weekend.

Gully Boy

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A story of a slum dweller who refuses to give up on his dreams in spite of all his hardships with a little push from his mother, his over possessive girlfriend, his questionable neighbourhood friends and a Tiger Mentor – This is Gully Boy for you when the sum total of all this adds up into a perfect weekend watch.

I have a confession here that I am tone deaf, do not understand English Songs and only Baba Sehgal comes to my mind when I think of Rap but this film has already made me read about the artists involved in its music, for the film’s music genre is something that no filmmaker has tried exploring and that also so brilliantly.

There are 4 major stand outs apart from the music for me :

  1. Ranveer Singh – As the underdog who refuses to give up on his dreams, this is like never before Ranveer Singh. downloadThe last movie he portrayed such a calm character was in the boring film Lootera. He is shy, non-confident but with the fire simmering within and his eyes speaking volumes. With a shade darker of his skin and bereft of any flamboyance he is the perfect Gully Boy.
  1. Alia Bhat – She portrays the possessive Girlfriend who has no inhibitions fights for and with her man. 3gtnlsno_alia-bhattinstagram_625x300_05_January_19Belonging to a conservative Muslim family but who has her own ambitions, desires and dreams which she isn’t ready to give up for anyone. Like someone recently said that she is truly the Meryl Streep of India. She slays it with her performance.
  1. Mumbai – This is a film that shows where actually Mumbai lives and how it commutes. Living in the slums travelling in the locals, the BEST Buses, sweating it out to survive in this City of Dreams. Some living after suffocating dreams, while others living to make their dreams a reality. imagesOne can actually smell the garbage, the sweat, the hot and humid Mumbai. The Mumbai lingo is pitch perfect.
  1. Zoya Akhtar – She is the perfect example of parents passing on their genes to the kids. All her three previous films have been different and brilliant. If nepotism gives us filmmakers like her and I am all for that. Long Live Nepotism !! More Power and Glory to you.

 

My verdict is very easy on this one – There can’t be anything better to do this weekend than catch up on Gully Boy unless you are going to go one a date with the leading pair of this film. You can select any one according to your preferences for Iove is gender neutral.However considering this scenario is highly unlikely considering their current relationship status : GO WATCH IT !!

Kedarnath

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A debutante Star Daughter, a director with an impressive track record barring the last outing and actor with promise and talent. That’s what made me watch this movie straight after the Voting ended in my state for the assembly elections 2018.download.jpg

The plot is set in the holy temple town of Kedarnath, with an inter-religion love affair and the devastating Floods that rocked the state or Uttarakhand as the climax. So there is Nitish Bharadwaj aka Lord Krishna of the Mahabharat serial a Brahmin priest running a Guest House in Kedarnath with his wife and two daughters; the sombre elder one and feisty younger one played by Sara Ali Khan. Then there is Mansoor – the local Muslim porter who ferries pilgrims to the temple. The kind hearted, believer and then is this villain so to say i.e. first the fiancé of elder one and later of the younger daughter of the priest.

Sara Ali Khan plays the feisty, talkative girl with aplomb and doesn’t disappoint reminding so much of her mother, so does the ever bankable Sushant Singh Rajput who plays the understated, inhibited man. imagesWhat however fails is the blossoming of the love between the couple; it seemed forced and not natural. Somewhere I read that usually in a Hindi Film of a Inter Religion love story the boy is usually a Hindu and here the director does take that risk of reversing the roles but doesn’t deliver on this risk. The conflict that appears too seems just for the heck of it.

Then there is floods of Kedarnath that appears in the last 20 minutes of the movie and also fails to create the lasting impact. The movie though just around 2 hours seemed long and plays out at a languid pace. The music is passable barring the title song.

One thing that stands out is the way valleys of the Himalayas and the path to the temple has been shot. They look spectacular and makes one take the holy pilgrimage to Kedarnath sooner than later.

As far as the movie Kedarnath is concerned it is a pilgrimage that can be taken though a little delayed when it plays on a TV screen near you.

BADHAI HO

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We all movie going audience need to pat ourselves on our back as it is because of us that the filmmakers now are ready to experiment with the plots and give us unusual storylines knowing fully well that there is an audience waiting to lap it up !! Badhai Ho is one such movie that the filmmaker brave it out and the produce steamroll for the content it has to offer.

The storyline is about how a Railway TT nearing his retiring days living with his wife, 2 grown up sons  and cantankerous mother, realises that he is about to become a father a third time. It is this pregnancy that shakes up not only their family but also extended family, the neighbourhood and the girlfriend of the elder son.images (1)

The plot is layered with great lines, genuine emotions and real characters. From the neighbourhood Medical Practitioner ‘Bagga-Baggi’ , to the Tambola sessions to the aunts each character is someone we can identify from our own lifes.

The expectant parents played brilliantly by Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta are treat to watch. Their embarrassment on knowing the pregnancy and the love and respect that they have for each other is portrayed brilliantly. Surekha Sikri as the mother with the acidic tongue has the wittiest lines, especially when her son tries to convey the news and she finally reacts to it. She reminded me so much of my own Nani. Then there is the younger brother trying to adjust in all this.

There are two love stories that play on simultaneously in the film. One is between the elder parents and the other is between the elder son and his girlfriend played by Sanya Malhotra from office. While the elder couple has to grapple with an accidental pregnancy, the younger one has to deal with the above and the differential family backgrounds.

And then there is Aayushman Khuarna the elder son!! What can be said about him that I haven’t said earlier in my reviews? imagesIn this age and times, when the actors act in few films his two films are playing simultaneously in the theatre and both are great, unusual and different from one another. If I have the liberty to say he is the modern day Amol Palekar but better looking, better acting skills and Sauvé. Like Mr. Palekar he is in top form in the small budget films, playing middle class North Indian character with unusual plots. I just hope he doesn’t get type cast.

Go watch it and you would be thoroughly entertained like we were!!

Andhadhun

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Andhadhun is a movie that as usual had everything going for it at the execution stage , such as :

  • Aayushman Khurana – An actor whose USP now is working in unusual movie subjects.
  • Tabu – Fantastic Tabu who comes out from her hiatus to act in only films that justifies her talent.
  • Radhika Apte – The dependable Miss Apte of the Netflix fame.
  • Shriram Raghavan – The director of movies like Ek Hasina Thi, Jhonny Gaddar and Badlapur.

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And then the movie released last Friday, with my favourite movie critic Rajeev Masand giving it a 4 stars. For a Hindi film that is like the ultimate one can expect from him. Usually I agree but in the case of Lootera where he brilliantly rated it and I hated that film.

This evening as I entered the theatre which for a weekday was houseful (well almost), I was all set to escape the real world.

From the time the CBFC certificate came on the screen to the end credits, this one had me glued like no other movie has in a long long time.

This is a movie that needs no reviews it has to be enjoyed. I am not gonna spoil the fun and give my novice comments here anymore.

Miss out on one night of garba if u have to, find an excuse to skip office, take a sick leave do what you have to !!

TRUST ME AND GO WATCH IT LIKE NOW !!

MANMARZIYAAN

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This film is a love story set in Amritsar that is directed by Anurag Kashyap and produced by Anand L Rai. Thus it has everything that they both represent in terms of their art such as:

  • Set in a Small Town
  • Believable Characters
  • Characters that mouth everyday lingo and not dialogues (luckily no gaalis)
  • Music that takes the movie forward
  • The matters of heart that is beyond reason

The story is about Rumi played by Tapsee Pannu an orphan (not the sobbing types) who live with her extended family (not she is a burden types) and who has a torrid affair with a DJ and a wannabe musician Vicky played by Vicky Kaushal. The only problem is that though there is genuine Pyaar and Fyaar (u know what I mean and which the characters too emphasize) the guy is not sure/ready to take the responsibility of marriage. Like one time when she is eloping with him and tells him “की तो लड़का तो बहुत अच्छा है लेकिन responsibility के नाम पर हग देता है” and turns back.pjimage-89

And then there is this NRI Munda Robbie played by Abhishek Bachhan, he is whatever Vicky isn’t. He is sincere, well settled and ready to mingle with Rumi. The problem is she can’t decide what to do with both of them. With one she is hopelessly in love and the second is willing to go all out to have her. She is unable to stand for herself or the men in her life till the very end and then like they say we know which way the tide would turn.

Vicky Kaushal plays it brilliantly as the unsure bungling lover boy and then there is Abhishek Bachchan who plays the silent brooding types. The music is great that mainly plays in the background taking the movie forward. But the film belongs to only Rumi. She is fiesty, vulnerable, honest and confused all this played brilliantly by Tapsee Pannu

The first half is crackling and the second just gets repetitive beyond a point. With a run time of more than two and a half hours it sure does feels like it. But I guess that’s the problem with Anurag Kashyap he just doesn’t know when to wind up, the case in point being the brilliant Gulal and Gangs of Wasseypur. For the latter he ended up making two part full length film (not that I am complaining).

I ain’t giving away the plot but this film is made from the same mould as that of the real life wife of Robbie and her famous Ex-Boyfriend and another film about those seven days.

With these hints and opinion of this wannabe movie critic go if you want to or try catching up with Kashyap’s previous film Mukkabaaz !!

STREE

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I remember seeing the first look of this movie ages back in which Rajkumar Rao is seen wearing a wedding turban and I thought this movie is going to be similar to the films being based in small town India. Well I was right about that one but the movie was nothing like what I had seen earlier.

This film is about a small town – Chanderi that is haunted by a witch who abducts and kills men during an annual four day festival leaving behind just the clothes of the victim. The only remedy to this problem is to stay indoors in the night with a message for the STREE i.e. The Witch written on the walls of each house of this town. Like all the small town movies there is this protagonist played by Rajkumar Rao, his buddies, some unusual characters thrown in mouthing hilarious dialogues and then there is this mystery woman played by Shradha Kapoor for whom our hero is besotted by.

The film is scary and also left me splits in most parts especially the scenes when the village’s Mr. Know-it-all played brilliantly by Pankaj Tripathi is trying to find ways to get rid of that witch. We also have a friend of the hero who gets possessed by the witch and how he is being contained.stree-nale-ba-759

The movie belongs to Rajkumar Rao who has graduated from being a Saree salesman in Bariely Ki Barfi to a Ladies Tailor in this film and whose clientele is spread across nearby 3-4 towns so we are told. Only he has the skill set to play this small town simpleton with such earnest. He is cocky, goofy and funny in the film. He nails it when he is asked to show love towards STREE and despite being shit scared he looks into her eyes and tries to woo her in Shahrukh’s trademark style. There is this another scene in which his father tries talking to him about the adulthood and rising hormones.

STREE is brilliant example how clever and funny writing and brilliant ensemble cast can lift a plot that may seem wafer thin but when put all together delivers a great film watching experience.

Highly recommended!!

TRIVIA – We were seated in a row where there were a couple on both sides of our seats. One was busy clicking selfies and holding each other’s hands (No, I didn’t witness anything more) and the other couple made me feel as if I was in an echo chamber as they were repeating / pre-empting all the brilliant dialogues. This so reminded me of the good old days of single screen theatres in Udaipur, only thing missing was the company of cats/rats and the samosas.

DHADAK

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This movie had everything going from it from its inception namely:

  • It was the launch vehicle of new kids on the block i.e. Late Sridevi & Boney Kapoor’s daughter – Jhanvi and the Stepbrother of Shahid Kapoor – Ishaan Khatar.
  • It was produced by one of my favourite Production Houses i.e. Karan Johar’s Dharma Production.
  • It was a remake of the highly acclaimed Marathi Film – Sairaat.
  • The promos looked fabulous, well all big budget production house films have excelled in this front.
  • It was based and shot in my UDAIPUR which was recently voted as the 3rd best city in the world.

For us the movie aficionados it was all the reasons to watch this one First Day First Show, after all didn’t want the other reviews to cloud my judgement about DHADAK.

The plot is about this lead pair who while studying in college flirt and fall in love much to the despair of both the families as the girl is a royalty from ‘UNCHI JAATI’. The first half is all about these innocent flirtations building up to the point where they caught and eventually run away from Udaipur far away from the families’ wrath all this happens before the interval. The second half is about them restarting and building their life in a new city and culminating into a climax that is shocking.

The movie touches many themes such as Casteism, Rajasthan’s erstwhile Rulers adapting to new India – being part of Democracy / Electoral Politics and Honour Killing. The songs are great but they seemed forced in the movie, I mean haven’t Dharma Productions heard of the concept of songs as a medium of taking the story forward. This is the least that can be expected from them.

The first half is engaging as we have actual young actors playing out as students and not some 30+ and Udaipur is shown in all its glory. Then second half is all downhill after that nothing seems to be happening to keep me engaged. Ishaan Khattar stands out as innocent naïve one of the pair while Jhanvi has shades of her mother but she definitely has a long way to go. Someone also please tell Ashutosh Rana to act in films in which he is not always angry.

Another jarring point as a native of Udaipur is that Rajasthan is not always to be equated with desert that is just in the north western part of Rajasthan, like that the filmmakers tried showing in the opening sequence. We love our kachoris, ghewar and churma but an eating competition is way tooooo stereotyping!! And where did the dialect come from?? There is no one standard Rajasthani that is spoken in my state, what we speak in Udaipur is Mewari which definitely doesn’t sound like it has been spoken in the film. All the above stereotyping would have been forgotten only if the movie was entertaining.

If you are interested in watching a movie on honour killing I would recommend Qayamt se Qayamat Tak or Sairaat if you have Netflix (I for one is soon watching it) instead. This film is about the heartbeat but the heart is definitely missing for it is lost somewhere in the adaption stage.