THAPPAD

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Usually when I write a movie review it’s mostly the same day or maximum it gets posted the very next day, however this time it’s been 4-5 days since I saw THAPPAD at the cinema and the review is coming out now!! The reason being this movie confused me, made me ask some uncomfortable questions and also it was hard to judge it.

So the plot is about a young corporate Guy living with his wife and mother, all is hunky dory till in the moment of fury and frustration he slaps his wife and how things starts unravelling thereafter. Each relationship is bought to the table for scrutiny, introspection and re-evaluation.

Tapsee Pannu who plays the wife cannot get over the fact that she has been slapped by her husband she moves to her parents place, gets a lawyer and demands a fair redress to her rights. She does get coaxed by her family, even her lawyer to forget it after all its just one थप्पड़ and move on but she digs her heel in!!

This becomes the precursor of unravelling / setting a new dynamic to people who are associated with her be it her parents, her lawyer, her brother and his Girlfriend, her mother-in-law and even her domestic help.

Some of us have been conditioned to accept and ignore physical violence in marriages, I am sure we know couples who face this and the wives continues to bear the brunt of her husband’s abuse for fear of family name , her security but we carry on ignoring. I mean don’t the husband realise its wrong. Most of us still live in a society where the roles are pre-determined, thousands of years of patriarchy is something जो जाते से ही जायेगी!!!

Coming back to this movie – Premise is good, the star cast bang on, the long silences work in the movie but in the second half I wanted a remote control in my hand to Fast Forward some sequences. I really liked the opening sequence where the inconsequential Orange Candy Bar (maybe a metaphor for love), sets the relationship dynamics between the different couples in the movie.

Did I see myself in the movie? Most definitely (before you jump to conclusion I am not Physical abusive) !!

Am I a practicing patriarch?? Well YES, but I like to believe I am a little emancipated

It is too late for my movie review to make you want to watch this in theater near you or wait for it to get released on some OTT Platform, either way it will definitely make you question certain things !!

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan

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Supreme Court Justice J. Chandrachud said in the landmark judgement that struck down Section 377 –  “What is the ‘order of nature’? State cannot decide the boundaries between what is permissible or not. Section 377 is based on deep-rooted gender stereotypes. It persecutes people. It is a majoritarian impulse to subjugate a sexual minority to live in silence, Decriminalization of homosexuality is only the first step.”

This verdict was delivered on 6th September 2018 and it took nearly 2 more years for the Hindi Film Industry’s leading, successful and talented Hero to play a full blown Gay character devoid of any stereotypes (that is if you discount the unnecessary nose ring) and mannerisms!!

The movie is more about a dealing with homophobia than the actual act !! Uttar Pradesh is the new flavour of bollywood after Punjab. The plot is about 2 men in love and how the family of one gets around to eventually accept them. The parents of one played by the brilliant Gajaraj Rao and Neena Gupta- their confusion, denial and finally acceptance their son as he is.

It’s the Tripathi family with their family dynamic and crackling repartee that keeps one in splits during the entire 2 hours running time of the movie. Luckily beyond the two kisses between the lovers, there is no overt physical intimacy to make the audience uncomfortable. If I am allowed to say so this film is the Gay version of DDLJ and it also ends with the famous train scene between SRK and Kajol.

The movie belongs to Aayushman Khurana and the surprise is his partner the debutante Jitendra Kumar, they both makes us think without being preachy, technical and downplaying the victim card. After watching this movie I wonder can any mainstream hero match up to the body of work of Aayushman Khurana. Can he ever falter??? I hope the answer to that remains in the negative for times to come.

This movie isn’t for anyone who is homophobic or for someone with a narrow world view and who isn’t willing to accept a contrarian lifestyle. For the rest go enjoy this one !!

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in the verdict says,”The LGBTQ community needs the rainbow of hope for the sake of the humanity. They should be allowed to live with dignity and without pretense. This is their journey to dignity, equality and liberty.”

GOOD NEWWZ

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The new age Hindi Film makers are unafraid to take the risk and touch subjects that not many would be comfortable in discussing openly. So now we have movies that talks about Erectile Dysfunction, Sperm Donor, LGBT and the latest being the one on Infertility and IVF!!

Good Newwz is a about two couple: one is ultra-swish played by Kareena Kapoor Khan and Akshay Kumar who are both career driven and now on their pursuit to have that elusive pregnancy and then there is another couple Diljeet Dosanj and Kiara Advani who play this naïve, out and loud couple from the land of the Bhangara i.e. Chandigarh.  There is also a third couple who run the IVF Centre played by Adil Hussain and Tisca Chopra.

The couples land at the same IVF Centre and the wife’s are finally able to conceive albeit with the sperm of the other’s husband. So we have Kareena impregnated with Diljeet Dosanj’s spam and Kiara with the sperm of Akshay Kumar and the confusion that follows.

There are some really funny moments about couples timing their copulation with that of the ovulation cycle and trying to make the best of the short interval that they have. Some of the dialogues are crackling and leave you in splits. The confusion after the sperm exchange is fun in bits and pieces.

In all the plot is pretty wafer thin and we know where it’s going to lead. The lead couples are in top form. Kareena and Diljeet can we see you more often, Akshay please get out of your patriotic phase and act in some out and out comedy and Kiara keep doing what you are doing because you are fabulous.

While watching this film I couldn’t help but wonder how a manager at an automobile showroom with a journalist wife manages to have the flat that they have in Mumbai and the lifestyle that they live. This I am talking about Akshay and Kareena and then I realised it’s a Karan Johar film; no one is ever poor and not dressed to the hilt.

Despite some great scenes and funny first half the second half turns a little dramatic although luckily melodrama isn’t there but kind of drags a little longer than is required. The songs too seemed forced with the overplaying of the Punjabi music.

While you take a call on the above film, do remember to visit INDIRA IVF in case of any fertility related issues and not suffer goof-up bcoz they are the only lab in India with #RIWITNESS Technology !!

MISSION MANGAL

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Mission Mangal is part fact-part fiction film about India’s mission to Mars. This success achieved in miniscule budget and by the team of underdogs!!

Following are the reasons why you should watch the film:

  • First and foremost is to celebrate the success and achievements of ISRO. When some people were stuck in cattle there was a leader like Nehru and Scientist like Vikram Sarabhai who dared to dream. It was for their vision and nurturing talent and scientific temper that this mission was managed in a budget of around Rs. 450 crores, less than the budget of the Hollywood Film AVATAAR
  • For Akshay Kumar : For he is the new age Manoj Kumar. SRK and Bhai can have their Eid and Diwali but Mr. Khiladi rules the box-office thru 15th August and patriotism.
  • For the team of underdogs who come together to achieve greatness and proving everyone wrong.
  • To have great back stories about the lead actors tackling themes such as Infertility, Casteism, Astrology, children abandonments of aged parents and most importantly maintaining the home-office equation by working women.
  • For making sure that these back stories never deviate from the main plot.
  • Luckily there are no melodramatic patriotic movements, no forced love angle and no jabardasti ke songs (well they could have had one less)
  • For the great ensemble cast who seemed secure in their roles and didn’t seem to undercut anyone.
  • For Vidya Balan who is in top form, btw when is she not? She is plays it perfectly as a women follows her passion without any guilt of compromising on her domestic front. For me she is the Lady Aamir Khan who can play any role with élan but again that may be unfair she is her own without any comparison.
  • We Udaipurites have to watch this one as our very own INDIRA IVF as they are the brand partner for this film. Watching our home grown enterprise making a mark on the Silver Screen and internationally too is a proud-proud moment.
  • For not making space jargon and science too complicated, by catering to the lowest common denominator.
  • Every story has a hero and a villain and this one too has one. He is the devil’ advocate, American returned , NASA trained Scientist Dalip Tahil. लेकिन थोडा ज्यादा ही negative हो गए.

So you see I have gushed and gushed about this film and you too must  do that by watching MISSION MANGAL !!

JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA

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The title of this film initially was Mental Hai Kya before they changed it to Judgementall Hai Kya. This was done to pacify and be political correct after the Psychiatrists took offence.  So I shall follow the latter title and be Judgy as hell, which I am usually is!!

This film is about a little girl Bobby (Kangana Ranaut) who loses her parents to freak accident and thereby develops a mental condition, so I am made to infer by the filmmakers. She grows up to become a dubbing artist, a wannabe actress with her own mental issues. A pair of young couple comes to live with as tenants in her house and in which eventually the wife is burned and killed. The suspect is both the Bobby and the victims husband (Rajkumar Rao) and they both accuse each other for this crime, however both eventually gets the clean chit from the cops.

Post interval Bobby meets this guy again who is now married to her cousin living in London and what follows is the doubts and accusations towards each other. They both are wary of each other and try gathering dirt from each ones past to strengthen their case. This being a murder and a Psychological thriller I am not going to reveal anything more.

So being Judgemental AF this is what I think:

What Works:

  • The Brilliant Kangana Ranaut, she aces at playing these roles. Unhinged and unafraid to play such a character.
  • Some of the jokes and the characters work in the first half, especially the cops and her doormat of a boyfriend.
  • Rajkumar Rao is again someone who always lifts up any character he plays.
  • I like the take on Sita ji and the use of chaupai from Ramcharita Manas.

What Fails:

  • Despite it being just 121 minutes long, it feels long which means sometimes it is not going anywhere.
  • The second half is such a slog just wanted to fast-forward to the end.
  • The climax is overlong and it takes forever to come.
  • I do not really understand the symptoms of Bobby’s mental illness wish they could have elaborated that to, maybe know her better.

To deliver my closing remarks in the Judgement of this film: The Ayes get drowned in the din of the Nos.

समझे ?? नहीं ??

400 शब्दों की एक बात इस को आप मेरे हिसाब से skip कर सकते हैं !!

KABIR SINGH

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Finally saw the film Kabir Singh after weeks of dillydallying.  With not so flattering reviews from one of my favourite movie critic, I had made up my mind of letting this one pass however as the days progressed and with that its box office collections and a strong word of mouth, I was left with no option but to cede to the popular demand.

Three weeks have passed since its release so this one is not going to be a conventional review, I mean अगर तीन हफ्ते बाद भी फिल्म रिव्यु देख कर movie जानी पड़े  तो आप से गुजारिश है की आप इसका online stream होने तक का इंतज़ार करें.

I have a confession to make I did enjoy the movie!! Was it because my expectations were low initially?? Hell, No!! It served its purpose of being an escapist entertaining cinema. The songs since the day I saw the film has been playing on a loop.

The whole brouhaha about it being a misogynist film and its portrayal of bully of a hero is true.

To justify the actions of a bully just because he happens to excel in the medical profession is too much. A flunky graduate with such anger issues would have counted amongst the neighborhood louts, but in this he is someone who is tolerated by all.

To have a girl marked as one’s own by the bully without her consent is straight out of the 1980’s, I mean which girl allows that?? Bcoz I passed colleges in the late 90’s and I am still looking for answers.

How long do friends and family tolerate and keep standing for a bully who puts his own interests and anger issues in the forefront? He is an alcoholic, ready to pick a fight and snorts cocaine (BTW an aunty sitting behind me does tchh, tchh when he does that) at the drop of a hat. To each his own in dealing with the heartbreak and Devdas too took to bottle in early part of the last century, didn’t he??

Yes Shahid Kapoor is the bully , Kiara Advani is the girl that gets marked and it is their love story that sets the screen ablaze.

Despite all the above I did enjoy this film, because there are some movies like Article 15 that we enjoy and want to emulate and there are some like this one that eulogies imperfections that we lap up.

Is there a dichotomy to this? I do not know?

Me enjoying this film make me a misogynist too? I do not know?

Do I justify violence against women, an emphatic NO !!

Can the vagaries of the heart ever be understood and questioned? I do now know.

Somehow all this reminds me of a Punjabi movie scene that went viral on social media some time back: https://youtu.be/EwpdMobhlp4

What I know is Shahid Kapoor excelled as Kabir Singh a character I wouldn’t want to know or deal with in real life but isn’t Cinema also about showing the character we abhor.  Kiara Advani brings out the vulnerable side of Preeti. For Preeti is the calm that douses Kabir’s angst and fire. It’s the classic cases of opposites attract.

So to conclude it did make for a good watch and if u plan to watch it then please book the ticket in advance as even after 3 weeks they aren’t easy to get.

ARTICLE 15

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ARTICLE 15

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to—

     (a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or

     (b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.

Article 15 is the second in the list of the Fundamental Rights that the Indian Constitution guarantees to its Citizens.

This movie as the name suggests is based on this very Right. Ayushman Khurana plays this young IPS officer who after graduating from St. Stephens and studying abroad returns to join the Indian Police Services to fulfil his father’s wishes and gets posted to this back and beyond of Uttar Pradesh for using the term ‘Cool Sir!!’ with Shastriji – The Home Secretary.

As he takes charge of his office the area get embroiled in the missing and eventually deaths of two teenage Dalit Girls and the search for the third one. There is the caste equation in play and the need to maintain a given Social Order for everyone to live in harmony. His girlfriend who is an activist based in Delhi who acts as his emotional – guiding anchor and shows him the way.

B.R. Ambedkar exhorted Dalits to flee the countryside and move to the cities to escape the shackles of caste. “The love of the intellectual Indian for the village community is of course infinite, if not pathetic,” wrote Ambedkar. “What is a village but a sink of localism, a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness and communalism?” This is what the setting in the film epitomizes.

This movie has three main stand out heros, namely :

  1. Ayushman Khurana – The last movie I saw of his was Andhadhun and in that review I had written that he is turning into 21st Century’s Amol Palekar considering the characters he was playing, how wrong I was !! This is a film he owns the role of the anglicised Police Officer. The depth, the gravitas and the dilemma is such enacted perfectly.
  2. Anubhav Sinha – It took him nearly 17 years to find his calling in the kind of movies he wanted to make. From touching the Hindu – Muslim divide in Mulk and now handling the Caste Equations in this ones. He doesn’t sugar coat the harsh reality of today’s India. There is no holding back and and he spares no one and calls out the names as they stand.
  3. Dialogues – What crackling dialogue !! Hitting out on the political parties, the caste  system and the system, to quote a few:
  • “Main Or Tum Inhai Dekhai He Nahe Dete… Hum Kabhi Harijan Hojate Hai, Kabhi Bahujan Ho Jate Hain Bus Jan Nahe Ban Pa Rahain Hai… Ke Jan Gan Mein Hamari Bhe Ginte Ho Jai”
  • “Jo hum dete hain vahi aukaat hai sir”

jpr78646467573897193-largeWhat we see in this movie is not that happens something in some far away land, not too far from the cities we live in a Dalit Gdalitroom can’t ride on a Horse, no one wants to eat from a Dalit’s hands in schools that are supposed to remove this very idea of untouchability.

How long before the millennial old notions of social order is finally consigned to flames?

How long before we start accepting the idea of everyone being equal before even talking against reservations??

Go watch this movie for it deserves not only to be seen and but also to be imbibed.

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.