• There’s a smarter, sharper film somewhere inside this one, with insightful things to say about fandom and celebrity and superstition. As it stands, however, The Zoya Factor offers little cheer to those invested in the return of the Hindi romantic comedy or the halfway-decent post-Lagaan cricket film.

  • As Hindi film micro-genres go, Ayushmann Khurrana Chips Away At Masculine Tropes is a stellar one. It may have become a formula of sorts – there’s one about hair loss coming up, and another built around a gay character – but the films have by and large been smart, funny and unusually perceptive about middle-class insecurities. Unfortunately, this makes matters worse for Dream Girl, a film that’s slight to begin with, and which looks even slighter in comparison to Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan and Badhaai Ho.

  • Saaho seems to be aiming for Mission: Impossible. But there’s no wit to the proceedings, just an endless series of twists that make no sense, accompanied by the dull pounding that is Prabhas onscreen.

  • Mission Mangal consistently champions scientists and science. Yet, by linking the team’s breakthroughs to puris and pillowcases and stray comments by family members, and by explaining everything in layman’s terms, it diminishes the complexity of their achievements.

  • Kalank’s all-out commitment to a consistently feverish emotional pitch makes it an anomaly. No one, save Sanjay Leela Bhansali, does this sort of gale-force melodrama anymore. In a Bollywood that’s trying to look more self-aware, emotion can be a lead weight. I’d be curious to see what audiences make of the film over the next week or two; the one I saw it with seemed to tire by the end of all the eloquence.

  • ‘Photograph’ is sensitively rendered but staid…

  • ‘Gully Boy’ amplifies a voice from the streets…

  • Manikarnika is the sum of what it’s saying – it doesn’t have visual stratagems strong enough to distract the viewer. It lacks the intricate design of Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat and the muscular drive of Baahubali, only coming to life when it borrows the bloody graphic-novel look of Zack Snyder films (such as the sequence where the queen slashes her way through a dozen enemy soldiers).

  • Singham turns up, which should surprise no one. To hear Devgn grunt his lines is to become grateful all over again for Singh’s fleet presence, even if it’s weighed down by the cartoon violence and endless posturing that make Shetty such a popular, if critically reviled, director. As a late scene makes clear, the Shetty-verse isn’t done growing. But more than expanded universes, what commercial Hindi cinema needs right now is broadened world views.

  • The actors playing the students are wonderful, turning even the rank sentimentality of the later scenes into something watchable. Had the film been less interested in the un-illuminating struggle between Naina and her critical father, we might have been able to get to know the 14 better. But this is ultimately a film about Naina—her students, her solutions, her journey, her hichkis.

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