Suicide

Yesterday we all were left shell-shocked with the news of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide: From a small-town and making a successful transition from TV to Films, his was a success few others have been able to replicate.

According to media reports he was suffering from depression and this is what made him take his own life.

But can we ever know what goes inside someone’s brains?? When do those billions of neurons in the brains start malfunctioning? Who are we to judge and offer solutions?

Are suicidal thoughts a pre-cursor to an attempt to suicide and is attempt to suicide a step towards that last fatal one? When staying positive and strong does not help what do we do? How do we seek help?

Not everyone is blessed with family/friends to take care of one’s mental health even they are sometimes ill-equipped to handle these matters. Seeking help of a psychiatrist conjures up all kind of reactions and reluctances.

Every other day we read stories about suicide for one reason or another, how does one start the journey on the ardours road? I have an aunt who is known to have luckily unsuccessfully attempted this thrice and each time she has managed to have her way and come out stronger. She has been lucky that her family was there to support and listen to her but not everyone has fate on their side.

These are the beautiful lines from a song of Ghazal Maestro Jagjit Singh’s album Someone Somewhere that he released after the death of his young son in 1990 that encapsulates the feeling beautifully.

फ़ुर्सत किसे थी जो मेरे हालात पूछता,  हर शख़्स अपने बारे में कुछ सोचता मिला

उसने तो ख़ैर अपनों से मोड़ा था मुँह,  मैंने ये क्या किया के मैं ग़ैरों से जा मिला ….

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 !!

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 !!

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!!

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.