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 !!

Judwaa 2

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20 years back I remember seeing Judwaa in Mumbai where I was then pursuing my Undergraduate Degree and if my memory doesn’t fail me it was the Metro Cinema. Those were the days when David Dhawan was at his peak churning our logic defying, crass yet comedy entertainers with his favourite Govinda. Salman Khan too had killed it with Judwaa fitting in perfectly with the David Dhawan’s brand of cinema.movieposter

20 years later as I took my kids to watch this movie last night I wasn’t expecting anything different from Dhawan & Sons(David & Varun). The Plot line remained the same : logic defying, misogynist, racist, sexist, sometimes funny, sometimes absolutely crazy, most times passable and an updated version tech savvy version of the original.

For the uninitiated the plot is about conjoined twins who thru surgery are separated at birth but with some funny statistics of one in 8 million, match each other’s reflexes (Plz don’t look for logic). The father of the twins gets Charles – a smuggler of diamonds (So Eighties) gets arrested and to take the revenge the smuggler takes one of the twins and leaves him on rail tracks who is eventually raised by a fisherwoman and the parents take the one with them and shift to London. So we have the street smart Mumbaiya – Raja and the London raised docile – Prem. Cimagesircumstances makes Raja travel to London and the craziness starts henceforth with lady love and glamour thrown in the form of Tapsee Pannu and Jackquiline Fernandez (she is way too plastic and botoxed).

The films has some crazy characters thrown in with Upasana Singh as the pushy mother (in the mould of Bindu), the Jat English Policeman, stammering Rajpal Yadav as the sidekick of Raja, amnesiac Vivan Bathena as the son of the Gangster Charles, Anupam Kher as the father of the bride and his doubting Brother-in-law, Ali Asgar as a Psychologist and Jhonny Lever as the owner of Travel Agency who’s into the business of making fake passports. There are loads of references to other Hindi Films in terms of dialogues, songs and scenes.

So you see it’s a complete no brainer with jokes and scenes coming in fast one after another. Varun Dhawan is the perfect actor to fit into Salman Khan’s shoes and he just doesn’t disappoint. Sadly download (2).jpgthe same cannot be said about his father David Dhawan who is still living in a time warp. The audience has moved on and there are filmmakers who has taken from where he left in the 90’s such as the likes of Rohit Shetty, Sajid Khan etc.

My kids who too are twins (no not the filmy reflex matching ones) went crazy laughing the entire duration of the movie alas it wasn’t the same in my case.

SIMRAN

simran-posterThe amount of attention the pre-release publicity of this film got whether for the right reason (The Female lead) or the wrong (The leading Lady’s Ex) in both the cases it did create a buzz about Simran.

The story is set in The US of America it looks into the life of 30 + Gujarati Divorcee girl – Prafull Patel played by Kangna Ranaut who works in the House-Keeping department of a leading hotel and lives with her parents: Father- a cribbing failed Gujarati Immigrant whose American dream never materialised and now lives off selling Gujarati Food items and a mother who is trying to match up to the squabbling of the Father and the Daughter.

On a trip to Vegas with her cousin she loses all her hard earned that she had saved to buy her own apartment on gambling and in order to recover the same she falls prey to the Loan Sharks who feeds her addiction by lending her instant cash and thus making her their debtor and it is this desperation that makes her rob the banks. The stealing bits seemed too simple but again this shows the American’s paranoia, the fear of getting hurt, Al Qaeda / ISIS and the use of the bombs that the bank employees seemed too eager to part with the cash.

The movie is a Kangna Film all the way she is in every scene and she rules in every bit of them. In one scene she tells her prospective suitor that she has a character flaw to which he replies it’s ok if she has had her shares of boyfriends and she replies that isn’t flaw that is art her flaw is that she is hooked onto gambling and stealing. These are the flaws that we see in people around us and I know someone who steals stuff from friends, shops and even from relatives admitted in the hospital. However in Praful’s case the gambling comes across not as an addiction but just one stray incident and the stealing is to feed this one incident.

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As an audience we root for her when she is goofy, when we see her desperation to have her own apartment, pay for her debts and ways to get out of the mess she has got herself into. There is a saying that we say “दूकान में कितना सामान है??” meaning whether someone is all talk and nothing to back that up with. In the case of Kangna in light of her bombastic interview दूकान में बहुत सामान है !!

The film is all about showcasing her talent and she doesn’t disappoint, however sincerely wish the film could match up to her efforts, it gets complacent in some portions. If you are Kangna fan you must watch it and if you belong to her opposite camp you deserve nothing but to watch Mohenjo Daro on a loop till the next Friday.

Bareilly Ki Barfi

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This movie like some of the latest Hindi films is based in a small town where people wear everyday clothes, live in houses that looks real and the character that do not mouth dialogue.

It’s a story about Bitti Mishra (Kirti Sanon) in the mould of Tanu (Kangana Ranaut); a carefree, free spirited girl who works in the Complaint Department of the Electricity Department while scaring away prospective grooms. download (16)She happens to read the book titled ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’; about a girl that does Brake Dance, smokes and rides motorcycles with the boys, a character that is completely her and gets besotted with author of the book who happens to be Chirag Dubey (Aayush Khurana) a printing press owner; who instead of using his name uses or misuses the name and picture of his friend Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkumar Rao); a Saree Salesman as the Author.

Bitti is wholeheartedly supported by her parents. Her father a sweet shop owner talks to the fan in the night and the school teacher mother who is perennially looking for a groom for her daughter but luckily not in typical Hindi movie melodramatic manner. So in short this movie is what you get when you marry the scripts of Saajan –(the early 1990’s hit) with Tanu weds Manu and the result is the relationship that is made in heaven.

The humour is crackling especially when Raj Kumar Rao comes on the screen. He is brilliant and you can’t but root for him. Copy-of-XICO-2_200717-122324The quick shiftovers from a simpleton to a Street Thug(Rangbaaz) is something only he could pull off. Aayusman as the smart alec who bullies his friend to get his lady love is good but it’s the type of character we have seen him playing earlier as well and Kirti Sanon also manages to pull it off.

The movie for me belongs to Raj Kumar Rao and Biitti’s exasperated parents and the dialogue writer for treating the movie goers with a laugh riot. A special mention to the voice over of Javed Akhtar who brings not only brings humour but also gravitas to the story by taking the story forward.

The end is predictable but the journey is sweet , dipped and fried in ghee for us to relish.

Jab Harry Met Sejal

Shah-Rukh-KhanmThe movie had all the factors working favourably for it,from The Shahrukh Khan to Imtiaz Ali- the master storyteller of seamless real Love Stories and the Talented Ms. Anushka Sharma and this amazing movie title copied from one my favourites rom-com When Harry Met Sally.

So with all the above expectation and much more we enter the Cinema Hall for a 10:00 AM show tagging along a friend and his wife who was watching a movie in a Cinema Hall after a gap of 10 years.

The story goes something like this a Gujju Girl loses her engagement Ring while on a trip with her fiancé and family and to search that she stays back all alone in Europe and to help her is the very Dashing Tour Guide Shahrukh. So basically they go back to all the possible places where Ms. Sejal could have dropped this family heirloom ring and it isn’t surprising to get the plot after this.

anushka-sharma_640x480_41497627410This was what used to be the USP of Imtiaz Ali to tell a simple love story in an unconventional way. Sadly there isn’t anything new/unconventional to the plot/treatment and after the initial fun journey the movie loses steam and novelty as it reaches intermission. We have seen the foreign locations dime a dozen times in previous movies. The songs that are integral to an Imtiaz’s film seemed forced and are completely forgettable.

Shahrukh is brilliant is always playing a Punjabi Tour Guide in Europe. There is no one and I say no one in the Hindi Film Industrysrk-aunshka-sharma who can romance a girl the way he does. .His eyes speak a thousand emotions but then if only the movie could match up to that. Now at 51 years old and 25 years since playing the quintessential romantic lead we want more from him to be entertained. What he seriously needs now is Karan Johar to direct him in a mature love story. I miss their pairing I mean just as an Actor-Director (don’t get ideas in your head).

Anushka-Sharma-Jab-Harry-Met-Sejal-Fashion1Anushka plays the pitch perfect Gujarati Girl with her accent and attitude but to bear this during the entire length of the film like in real life gets on your nerves. The initial interactions between her and Shahrukh are genuinely funny but then alas that’s just initially!!

In the end this movies feels like been there and done that. In search of the ring the team loses the plot and the audience attention and we cinemagoers our ticket money !!

Tubelight

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With Sisters, nephews and nieces in town, Tubelight seemed the perfect way to usher in the weekend with a 9 AM First Day First Show. After all it was an Eid release of Salman Bhai and everything else could wait. Despite being sleep deprived after a late night and some grudging member of the entourage we just about managed to reach the Cinema Hall in time.

salman-khan_640x480_71497952767As the story line goes it’s about two brothers living in a small hill town in period starting from Pre-Partition days to the 1962 Indo-China War and their emotional connect. The elder one is good hearted intellectually challenged and the younger one is the protector and provider. The 1962 War changes it all as the younger one joins the army and thus begins the quest of the elder on to reunite with his brother.

These two are obviously Bhai and Sohal Bhai. With a brilliant supporting cast of Om Puri, Matin Rey Tangu, Zhu Zhu, Zeeshan Ayyub, Om Puri and the Superb Shah Rukh Khan. The young kid and his mother is the screen stealer and surprisingly Sohail Bhai for once is watchable and impressive.

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Weaving human stories with arch enemies of India i.e. Pakistan and with this movies China seems to be forte of Kabir Khan: From Ek Tha Tiger, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Phantom and now TubeLight. He raises the patriotic feelings and message of Bhaichara perfectly thrown in. Someone please make him an ambassador of ‘Aman ki Asha’ provided he isn’t already. He manages to raise some pertinent questions on being an Indian, slogan shouting of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and likes.

The sets feel lived in and surroundings beautiful and the characters of small town real and noosy. Though the war sequences to me seemed little amateurish and too simple. There is too much of ‘Yakeen’ happening for my comfort and too mush symbolic Gandhism thrown in which feels contrived.

Then there is Bhai: Salman Bhai. What’s with actors trying to get out of their comfort zones to prove a point with different roles and failing, case in point being Bhai with this movie? Bhai is beyond reviews/critics but that doesn’t give him a liberty to ham it up playing this intellectually challenged character. Somehow his acting reminded me of Hritik Roshan from Koi Mil Gaya, just a tad better. I don’t know if that’s the way the actors are supposed to play it but it just doesn’t work for me.

The movie works well minus the hammy Bhai but what’s a Bhai movie without Bhai swag and charisma. Bhai Fans the reviews don’t matter and for the rest this TubeLight shines but not too brightly !!