• In India, films that target children (as this one is touted to be) seem to think that kids need messages to be hammered into them as they are unable to grasp any nuance. Junglee follows this same playbook and is too much in love with its leading man for it to have any meaningful impact.

  • A period war film is not easy to pull off, but “Kesari” falters mainly because it spends too much time talking about war and bravery instead of showing it.

  • Unlike his earlier film “Lunchbox” (also about an unlikely romance), which became a surprise hit at the box office, Batra’s latest offering doesn’t quite hit the sweet spot.

  • Director Chaubey tries to get into the dynamics of the group and their equations with each other, but his and Sudip Sharma’s script is too heavy-handed. Sometimes, it is farcical and suddenly gives way to an emotional scene.

    There is a half-hearted attempt to weave in real-life bandit Phoolan Devi’s story, but that falls flat. The film’s dialogue is entirely in the Bundelkhandi dialect, which lends authenticity to the proceedings.

  • Both Sanon and Aaryan share tepid chemistry and are not believable as small-town folks, thanks to their coiffed hair, designer dresses and perfectly made-up faces. They seem out of place and out of depth and like the film, inconsistent and sluggish.

  • Nothing about “Total Dhamaal” will stay with you after you have left the theatre, but while you are in there, you can be assured of a few laughs.

  • This might be an incongruous analogy, but Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” is like those picture-in-picture debates you see on prime-time news, but in a good way. There is a central story with many windows open at once, essentially leading to the main plot, but also alive in their own way, thus making the big picture seem that much more textured and vibrant.

  • What works for Dhar’s film are the honest performances, especially by the reliable Kapoor and Rao, who inject the film with energy. That energy is solely lacking in Kapoor Ahuja, who puts in a rather insipid performance as a young woman trapped in her identity and desperate for a way out. Not that the script affords her much, but even with what she has, she squanders the chance to depict the real struggle of women in small-town India and the prejudices they must deal with daily. She is the film’s weakest link, and the reason why this story falls short.

  • Kangana Ranaut does her best. She is awkward and stilted as the demure bride but comes into her own as the warrior queen. She adds a swagger to her stride and a steely determination to her demeanour that are hard not to cheer for. She is the only thing that make this film worth a watch.

  • Not that “Thackeray” was ever going to be anything but a hagiography, but films like these underline the need for good, impartial and well-made political films. Given how obsessed we are with politics, we deserve better films about it and the men who shape our nation. 

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