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.

SANJU

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It took me full one week to finally watch the blockbuster Sanju: The biopic of BABA i.e. Sanjay Dutt. The reason for the delay is partly the unavailability of time and mostly because the tickets weren’t just available for the shows I wanted to go for. As you all are aware that this movie has broken all the box office records so this review wouldn’t carry much weight age but old habits die hard, I am going to review this one too.

This is supposed to be a biopic of Sanjay Dutt but to me it’s more like cherry picking the parts with liberal use of cinematic license. Film starts with the search of a biographer to tell the real story of Sanjay Dutt or to be more specific the sanitized life story. The search starts with Hindi speaking Piyush Mishra aka Tripathi ji and ends with the English speaking Winnie Dias played by Anushka Sharma. The film basically deals with the most controversial parts of Sanjay Dutt’s life i.e. his drugs addiction, TADA Case and the domestic life with his latest wife.

We all are defined by the choices we make and this movie is all about that. Rajkumar Hirani chooses to make an ode to the life story Sanjay Dutt and almost blaming everyone else but the actor himself for the bad choices from the pushy drug peddler, over bearing father, the underworld threat calls and the unscrupulous media. Like always he makes a brilliant movie with some exceptional magic movie moments that leaves a lump in the throat.

Ranbir Kapoor chooses to give this movie his best shot and we forget that it is him. He copies the mannerism and sway with perfection. He makes us root for Sanjay Dutt, hold him and protect him and support his bad decisions.sanju-movie-review_2018-6-29-10-3-59_thumbnail

If it were a piece of fiction Sanjay Dutt would have been a hero who falls and rises up each time with more energy and vigour. But sadly this is supposed to be a biopic and fact is stranger than fiction. He cSanju-box-office-Indchooses to use drugs, acquire AK 56, have friendships with the underworld and for marrying the times he married and there can’t be easy excuses    for these. Dia Mirza playing Manyata Dutt is acting as Sanskari wife from the Saas-Bahu saga which hardly seemed the reality (well that is a media driven image and they are nothing but just a medium of spreading lies, so we are told on more than one occasion in the movie).

The relationship between father-son is brilliant but somehow I found Paresh Rawal as Late Sunil Dutt a little too filmy and unfit or caricatured. Manisha Koirala as Nargis played her character well and she definitely deserved more screen time. One character that is a stand out is Kamli played brilliantly by Vicky Kaushal as the Gujarati Techie based in America.

There are some standout scene for me like when he goes to his girlfriend’s i.e. Sonal Kapoor (presumably Tina Munim Ambani) place to ask for liquor from her father, the jail scene, the camaraderie between Sanju and Kamli, the scene where is high on drugs and garlands his GF with the toilet seat instead of mangalsutra and his scene with the minister to name a few.

Sanju – The film directed by Rajkumar Hirani is a brilliant cinema if it were to be just a piece of fiction but when you remove uncomfortable questions, important characters/ family members/wifes its doesn’t remain a biopic but rather becomes: SANJU – A LOVE STORY BY RAJKUMAR HIRANI !!

 

Veere Di Wedding

 

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The last movie that I had gone for First Day First Show was the highly disappointing film of Bhai and that was Tubelight. Today once again it was FDFS to watch Veere Di Wedding with my friend in tow; incidentally we both are currently enjoying the annual bachelorhood. So we enter the theatre which was not so surprisingly full and we realise that we must be the oldest people in the auditorium who had come to watch this film at this time of the weekday. We were expecting to be entertained and we most definitely were!!

To get to the basics; the plot is about 4 school buddies and the issues they are facing a decade later in their lives from divorce to dysfunctional families to overbearing parents to commitment issues also parenthood; and their coming together for the wedding of Kalu i.e. Kalindi played by Kareena Kapoor Khan. This film is based in upper echelons of Delhi Society with glam served in dollops.

This movie is the female version of, if I may say so of Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. If Sex and the City will ever have a desi version then this is it, you can find traits of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte in the leading ladies. thThese four gurls i.e. Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam K. Ahuja, Swara Bhaskar and Shikha Talsania have a chemistry that is genuine and the sparks of their warmth, irreverence and friendship illuminate the screen.

The language, feel and the act is modern everyday lingo and we can find characters like these all around us. Dialogues that are so real that can’t be reproduced here. You have got to watch the movie to realise what I mean.

However this movie isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, some may find it offensive and unrelatable but I guess that’s the part of movies that they are not catering to the lowest denominating factor and there is an audience for all sorts of films. The only tad problem is the in your face brand promotions in the movie.

With a running time of two hours it is never boring and for most parts it left me in splits. The supporting cast is brilliant with Sumit Vyas as the harried fiancé, Vivek Mushran as the Gay Chacha. The movie belongs to the four girls, so go watch this laugh riot !!

 

Padmaavat

654778-padmaavatDisclaimer : This is my review of the film and I am no historian to vouch for any historical accuracy / inaccuracy. If you are someone with heightened spirit of taking offence please don’t read any further.

Padmaavat the movie is based on an epic poem written in 1540 by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi, so we are told in the beginning of the film to set the record straight by the filmmakers.

I am not getting into the plot of the film as we are all aware of the same thanks to the Karni Sena,  overactive media, our school textbooks and by the tourist guides at Chittorgarh Fort (though the version is very much sanitised now bowing to the popular demand).

But contrary to what Karni Sena had been saying all along the movie is actually an ode to the valour, principles and righteousness of the Rajputs, had they seen the movie they would have learnt a thing or two before throwing stones at school buses and burning commercial establishments. Thankfully for someone like me who rarely moves out of the comfort zone of the Kingdom of Mewar, Amazon Prime proved to be a boon for bringing this visual treat to the small screens of our bedrooms. So like all Sanjay Leela Bhansali productions goes this is a visual treat mounted on a scale that maybe only SLB can outdo in his next productions.

As far as the cast is concerned Shahid Kapoor as Raja Ratan Singh has nothing much to do but offer platitudes on the आन-बान-शान of Rajputs. To match up the cruel and despotic Allaudin Khilji played brilliantly by Ranveer Singh someone more worthy was needed. Ranveer Singh plays all that is required by the character: eccentric, अय्याश, despotic, winner at all cost and only thing that he doesn’t openly play is a bisexual, with not so subtle hints thrown by the antics of his slave boy Malik Kafur.

Then there is The Padmawati – Rani Sa herself: Deepika Padukone. She looks ethereal, slays it with her acting and her presence. What she needs is a standing ovation after the movie. For me the whole movie is encapsulated in the last dramatic Johar scene. This is the scene that makes one a fan of Mr. Bhansali’s movies atleast I can proudly say that about myself. I am a sucker for drama, extravaganza and subtle OTT (I know its an oxymoron but watch the entire SLB movies to know what I mean).

Frankly if not for the controversy I doubt this movie would have been such a colossal hit but I guess any publicity is always good for the film either bad or good. The first half is a little drag but when Rani Sa gets in action there is never a dull moment !!

So go watch the film on Amazon Prime, the subscription is just Rs. 999/- and if you are an Airtel user download the Airtel Movies app and get one year subscription absolutely free, like I did and saved atleast 3K on the subscription, the movie tickets, popcorn and coffee and instead relished the movie from the comfort of my Bed.

RAID

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With kids away for a night-out, me and my wife made a plan late in the afternoon to go watch the Ajay Devgan starer RAID.  Around 5 pm when I booked the seats the hall was nearly empty with hardly 10-15 seats booked by then. We were so looking forward for a quite movie night.

So wrong we were!! As we entered the theater it was nearly full with family, children, groups and transvestite for company. Not that it made any difference but it only reflected that the it’s a hit movie and also the immense fan following of Ajay Devgan.

The movie is set in the eighties in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh where an recently posted honest Income Tax Commissioner gets a tip off on the undeclared and hidden wealth of Tauji aka Saurabh Shukla: A Member of Parliament, strongman and Mr. Money Bags contributing to the coffers of his party and how the hero does the necessary background checks and gets the permission of the Finance Ministry to raid Tauji.

The movie is all about the search of the hidden stash, the family dynamics, insider tip off, the honesty of the public servant. Besides all this it is about the heightened self image of the politician and the power he imagines he can yield and this self image is what takes him from Finance Secretary to Finance Minister to even Prime Minister Indira Gandhi amidst his threat to topple the UP Government and none coming in the way of the honest IT officials.

The movie belongs to three persons:

  • First and foremost is Ajay Devgan who plays the broopushpa759ding, honest officials who stands his grounds in front of immense pressure.
  • Second it’s the Tauji played brilliantly by Saurabh Shukl. You can feel his terrorising effect that he is so used to deliver to anyone coming in his way be it an outsider or even his family members and eventually realising that he is being betrayed by his family and also the fleeting nature of power.
  • Third is the Amma ji, the toothless mother of Tauji with an acid laced tongue.

The persons sitting next to me was so engrossed in the movie so he was literally jumping in his seats when the gold coins images (2)starts falling from the roof or when there is a confrontation scene between the main protagonists and also he completely ignored the call of his child to go the restroom.

Ohh yes !! there is a heroine too Ileana D’cruz who plays the dutiful supporting wife who by the way we are told doesn’t wear a mangalsutra (So!!) and is wasted in this minuscule role but I guess she does get to be a part of a hit A list Film.

With the running time just around 2 hours its fast paced, enjoyable and completely worth a watch.

PADMAN

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‘America ke paas Superman hai, Batman hai, Spiderman hai … lekin India ke paas Padman hai’ this line is delivered by one of the characters in the movie Padman to highlight the contribution and achievements of Lakshmikant Chouhan – The Padman.

It surely takes lot of courage to put your money where your mouth is and bring on the silver screen a taboo and sensitive subject such as menstruation and female hygiene that also a leading actor as the main protagonist.

The story is based on a real life character that is being played by Akshay Kumar an 8th pass welder who in the opening sequence of the movie is getting married and who wants to make life easy for his new wife – Radhika Apte ; imagesfrom designing a convenient pillion seat on his bicycle to making a onion cutter from a toy to ease her crying. The only thing that leaves him frustrated is the use of a dirty cloth by his wife during her menses and this is how he embarks on the journey from buying branded sanitary pads to using indigenous methods of copying the same. From convincing medical students to try his product to himself trying the same with animal blood and a football tube replicating as an uterus.

This not only leaves his wife but also his sisters and mother frustrated and embarrassed by his antics and the taunts of the village folks leading to their estrangements from him. This does not deter him and he goes on his journey from becoming a domestic help to ever a masseur to a moneylender to fulfill his dream images (1)which he finally realizes with the help of a Tabla Player /MBA- Sonam Kapoor and her IIT Professor father and also helping the poor women becoming selling these pads and turning entrepreneurs.

It’s an Akshay Kumar film all the way who sinks his teeth deep in the role playing the Character with honesty and spirit supported ably by the other players. The moments between him and Radhika Apte feel genuine and real. What I fail to understand is what was the reason Sonam Kapoor is shown as professional Tabla Player , I mean she could have been just anyone professional but a tabalchi??

I remember some time back visited an NGO in Udaipur that makes reusable clean cloth sanitary pads and had shown us the same and some of my friends just appreciated the idea but squirmed at the suggestions of holding and feeling the quality of a new pad. Go watch this movie just to bring a topic such as this to mainstream that also entertains, though sometimes it does gets preachy and is little too long but to encapsulate a man’s junoon for a movie does take time to retell.

 

KAALAKAANDI

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Kaalakandi is sure an absurd name for a Hinglish Film starring a mainstream Bollywood actor and then I looked up on the net and and it is a Marathi word meaning – Mayhem. The movie is set thru one rainy night in Aamchi Mumbai where three different plots happening simultaneously cross each other.

The first plot is about a Banker – Saif Ali Khan who as we are informed in the opening scene is diagnosed with Stomach Cancer and has some few days left. This scene is what sets the pace for the movie as Saif goes on how healthy his lifestyle has been and that he has been a good boy with no smoking, drinks and drugs all his life. Well story of our lives when we try being a good reasonable person and end up suffering. He reaches home where the celebrations are on for his younger brother’s wedding and ends up having LSD and the mayhem begins.

The second plot is about a young couple where the girlfriend is leaving for US in the morning to pursue higher studies and as a last one thing before she leaves they attend a birthday party of a friend and end up getting holed up in the nightclub because of a drug raid and how they manage to escape that and the mayhem that follows.

The third plot is about underworld and the don’s sidekicks and how they plot to steal his money and also to fleece each other. With an interesting story line of a shooter who lose one of his testicles while trying to copy our very own Desi Cowboy Feroz Khan.

The film is 85% in English and belongs to the genre of Delhi Belly where profanities both in English and Hindi liberally thrown in.

Saif stands out in the movies as someone on a trip and the best bit is his interaction with a Transgender Hooker and the download (4)opening lines when he goes on and on about his desire to see her Cape of Good. Then the one where is brothers questions him about his sexuality who himself is out for his last sexual escapade before his own wedding.

There is this another character who rattles off names of all Emraan Hashmi movies while they are discussing kissing with such sincerity that it’s super funny and the only reason his girlfriend is with him because she has a fetish for young men.

The movie works in bits and pieces but the performance of Saif on a psychedelic trip and the scenes between him and the Transgender Hooker are what makes this movie paisa wasool at least for me. The genre and the language is what an urban English speaking Junta will identify with. Its different but not for everyone and better than films with one hero with super human abilities taking on the world’s terrorist organisations. You know what I am hinting at !!