• "Unique & absorbing but not many would share the same opinion!!!"

    The Indian eves have booked their place in the WC semis & Roger will be gunning for his 19th Grand Slam title in less than 6 h from now. Since I had time at my disposal, I decided to check out “Jagga Jasoos” after I was done with the household shopping for the week. Ever since I had seen the trailer, I was enthralled by the manner it was picturised as it seemed like a mishmash of Hollywood & Bollywood (in a good way). With a stellar cast & crew behind the making of the movie, the expectations are nigh high. So will it be a critical & commercial success like “Barfi”???

    Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor) was an orphan who had the problem of stammering but had a keen eye for detail which made him an expert at deduction. He didnt have anyone for company, until he was adopted by Badal Bagchi aka Tooti Footi (Saswata Chatterjee) who instilled in him the confidence to overcome his stammer. Life moved on happily for Jagga, until his father puts him in the boarding school & leaves on a secret mission. Over the next few years, the only contact that Jagga had with his father was the video cassette that Toti Footi used to sent him on his birthday. But when the present stops coming, he senses that some danger might have befallen his father & sets out to unravel it with the help of the journalist, Shruti (Katrina Kaif).

    This impressive piece of art is the creation of Anurag Basu, who continues his fine form after “Barfi” which was released five years back. Scripted by Anurag himself, the film is a combination of different genres such as musical, mystery & romance. Kudos to his vision, as it engrosses our attention even though it runs close to three hours. The protagonist seems to be a desi version of Tintin & the whole movie has basically got three separate cases which gets bigger & grander as it reaches the climax.

    Personally speaking, I absolutely loved the musical format & all the technical aspects were brilliant. Pritam & Amitabh Bhattacharya deserves praise for their excellent music & lyrics such as “Khaana Khaake”, “Galti se Mistake” etc which accentuates the mood of the movie. Equally impressive was Ravi Varman’s visuals that captivates us. Ranbir was brilliant as Jagga & has done utmost justice to the role. The same amount of praise or even more applies to Saswata as well, who would be familiar to many as the assassin in “Kahaani”. Saurabh Shukla rocks as usual while Katrina & Rajatava Dutta have done their parts aptly as well.

    Verdict: The unique treatment & musical format might not be palatable to many as was evidenced by the mixed reviews that had come out. From my point of view, it is an excellent movie which is distinct in flavour & yet ticks all the desired boxes that would entertain the audience. In short, definitely check it out; who knows maybe you will also love it!!!

    Rating: 3.5/5

    Regards…Ben

    July 16, 17
  • "Impresses for large parts but lacks the edge of the seat effect!!!"

    Over the years, we have heard & read about articles which scream hoarse about the importance of women equality. There is no doubt that it is a fundamental right that is extremely important for the upliftment of the female gender & development of any nation. However, I believe all of this will happen unless the women is given the respect that they deserve as a human being rather than a commodity for gratification. Sadly, we are witness to news about gory rape incidents all across our country every day & though there are rules in place, more often than not our judicial system is found to be woefully short. This is exactly what is depicted in Ravi Udyawar’s “Mom” which has Sridevi as the protagonist. But Bollywood has a habit of making such movies pretty cliche & titillating rather than make us empathetic about the victim. Will this be any different???

    Devki (Sridevi) is a Biology teacher in a respectable school in Delhi who is popular among her students. But she knew were to draw the line as Mohit, a wayward rich kid realised when she threw his mobile out of the window as punishment for sending a porn clip to her step daughter Arya (Sajal Ali). Even though, Devki adored Arya as her own child; the latter maintained a frosty relation with her. With Valentine’s Day just round the corner, Arya sought the permission of her father Anand (Adnan Siddiqui) to attend the most happening party in the city. Though reluctant early on, he eventually agrees after Devki’s persuasion. Little did they realise that this party would change their lives forever.

    The film was helmed by debutant Ravi Udyawar who is relatively well known in the advertising world. Along with Girish Kohli & Venkat Rao, he has scripted a story which is not unfamiliar to any of us due to similarities to real life incidents. Even otherwise as well, it is more or else similar to Raveena Tandon’s “Maatr”. But it would be fair to admit that this is a superior version of it, in terms of the way it has been shot & the caliber of the leading lady. However, it fails to thrill the audience & except for Sajal, we dont empathize with neither the sequences (except for the court scenes which was brilliant) or the characters. Equally unrealistic was the manner in which the protagonist gets away with the crime.

    On the technical side, hats off to the Anay Goswami’s slick visuals especially the manner in which the rape was picturised until the victim gets disposed. AR Rahman’s BGM was brilliant & added to the overall impact. However, I wish Monisha Baldawa was more judicious with the editing. Coming to performances, this is Sridevi’s first outing since “English Vinglish” & is her 300th movie in the 50th year of her film career. She carries the movie on her shoulders & brings her A game to the fore, though she hams it up at times. Sajal Ali was excellent along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who provides the comic relief with his hilarious statements. Akshaye Khanna was wasted while the others have done their parts adequately.

    Verdict: As expected, it is unlikely to create a rush at the box office due to the genre & grim nature of the subject. When it comes to the thread, it wont come across as anything unique but the manner in which it has been shot coupled with credible performances makes it worth watching. In short, it’s definitely worth a try!!!

    Rating: 3/5

    Regards…Ben

    July 12, 17
  • Spider-man Homecoming review: "Marvel gets the Spidey series on the right track!!!"

    In recent times, superhero movies have taken the world by storm & the two big players slugging it out for box office glory are DC & Marvel. But it would be fair to admit that Marvel have come up on top invariably at all times. However, about a fortnight back I had watched “Wonderwoman” & my word, it was freaking awesome. It is surely the first genuine threat that DC had posed & Marvel would be hoping that they can negate that threat with the Spiderman franchise launched a third time. Hmm…it remains to be seen whether “Spiderman: Homecoming” would impress the audience or are there already too many spiders in the web???

    The Avengers’ battle with the Chitauris had demolished New York & the responsibility of cleaning up the city was entrusted upon Adrian Toomes (Micheal Keaton) & his salvage company. However, due to the risk of presence of exotic alien artifacts in the ruins; Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) Department of Damage Control took over the responsibility which put Adrian out of business. In order to make up for the loss, Adrian & his team enters into arms trafficking making use of the Chitauri technology that they had scavenged. Things moved along smoothly until a conflict broke out between Captain America & Iron Man (“Captain America: Civil War”) & the latter brings in Spiderman (Tom Holland) into his team. After the conflict was resolved, Stark informed Peter that he would be kept in the loop as he still needed further training before being inducted into the Avengers. But Peter was impatient & inspite of Stark’s stern message, tries to prove his worth by taking on criminals. It was during one such pursuit, that Spiderman stumbled upon Adrian’s arms deal. So did he have it in him to take on Adrian or was Stark right after all???

    At the turn of the 21st century, Sony Pictures decided to launch the Spiderman series & it was a decision that they never regretted The first two parts were both critical & commercial successes with Tobey Maguire donning the suit, but the final part garnered mixed reviews. They rebooted the franchise with Andrew Garfield which also saw a see saw effect after the initial hype. However, Sony laughed their way to the bank as they reaped close to four times of what they had invested. Now they have joined hands with Disney & Marvel, to launch a new version which would be in turn integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    Jon Watts was entrusted with the task & I would have to admit he has done a pretty good job despite the fact that he doesnt have a track record to harp about. The story by Goldstein & Francis Daley wouldnt make us sit up, but their screenplay made up for it with a lively premise. Interestingly they didnt waste time on the origin of Spiderman or characters like Uncle Ben, which was a smart move & gives us a fun filled breezy film instead that is so typical of Marvel productions. Tom Holland has done justice to his role while Michael Keaton breathes life into a villain which barely had much spice to it. As for the rest, Jacob Batalon as Ned was spot on, Marisa Tomei was wasted while Robert Downey Jr impresses in his extended cameo.

    Verdict: Spiderman has got off to a roaring start cashing in about $117 million dollars over the weekend. Frankly speaking I was sceptical when I had seen the trailer as I felt Tom Holland didnt seem to have the X factor needed for the character In short, it doesnt have a meaty story but you can rest assured that when you watch the movie you would be thoroughly entertained!!!

    Rating: 3/5

    Regards…Ben

    July 11, 17
  • "Kinda yakeen that it wont match Salman's usual box-office onslaught!!!"

    The holy month of Ramadan has come to an end with the fast broken & the new moon sighted. So on this auspicious occasion of Eid Al Fitr, I would like to wish Allah’s Rahmat on all my fellow brings for a peaceful & prosperous life. Apart from hogging on the goodies, one of the indispensable ways of celebrating a festival is watching a movie & when it comes to Bollywood, this day is invariably locked down for Salman. In accordance with the usual trend, Salman presents “Tubelight” this year hoping to add further light to the festivities. Hmm… but will it be able in the same league as his previous blockbusters???

    Based on Alejandro Monteverde’s “Little Boy”, the tale is set against the backdrop of the Indo-China war in 1962. The protagonists were two brothers who lived in the misty town of Kumaon nestled in the hills. Laxman Singh (Salman Khan) is a man child (more along the lines of Forest Gump) who endeared to one & all due to his innocence & slow witted nature which gave him the nickname “Tubelight”. He was looked after by his protective younger brother, Bharat (Sohail Khan) & life seemed to move along peacefully until war broke out between the two neighbouring nations. As it was the need of the hour, there was large induction of youth into the army & Bharat happened to be one of them. Even though reluctant to leave his brother, Bharat heads into the war zone. Since he feared for his brother’s well being, Laxman makes efforts to bring his brother back home. But will the two brothers ever meet again???

    After the bombastic success of “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, Kabir Khan has yet again joined hands with Salman for their third collaboration. If “Little Boy” had a 8 year old kid as the protagonist then Kabir Khan used his creative freedom & financial acumen to make it into a guy in his early 50s. The primary flaw here is that there isnt a credible thread to the script & it’s all about Laxman putting his faith to the test (except that it came across as rather trivial). In such a scenario, the 136 minute long movie tests our patience which should have been taken care of by Rameshwar Bhagat. On the brighter side, I did like Pritham’s tracks which was in sync with the mood created while Aseem Mishra has done a decent job with the visuals.

    There is no doubt that Salman excels when he plays characters which exudes innocence & has a heart of gold. However, over here there were more emotionally charged sequences & he seemed rather inept at it; though we will still take a liking for his character’s simplicity. Salman’s scenes with Matin Rey Tenga worked out pretty well & the boy has given an impressive performance. Surprisingly, Sohail Khan has done a fine job in the few scenes that he appeared. The late Om Puri, Zhu Zhu, Zeeshan Ayub etc have all done justice to their parts. Shah Rukh’s cameo as a magician was fantastic as he fitted the character perfectly.

    Verdict: The weekend got off to a great start for Salman as “Sultan” won the best action movie award at the Shanghai International Film Festival. However, he wouldnt have got a similar high from “Tubelight” as the opening day collection was one of the lowest for his Eid releases. Well it’s definitely not surprising due to the reasons mentioned earlier. In short, it is yakeen to fall well short of expectations!!!

    Rating: 2/5

    Regards…Ben

    July 07, 17
  • "A whirlwind of emotions, nostalgia & goosebumps!!!"

    India begins its defense of the Champions Trophy in a week’s time with the first clash against arch rivals Pakistan. Whether our team manages to defend the title remains to be seen but this excitement for the game began after we had lifted the WC in 1983. However, it was the greatest cricketer of all time Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar who skyrocketed our interest with his brilliance, humility & character. In the 90s, he was so dominant that the opposition feared him while the public adored him to the extent that people used to switch off the TV after he was dismissed. He has given us numerous memories over the years & carried the hopes of the nation for more than two decades. Hence when director James Erskine announced that he was planning a movie on the Bharat Ratna, the hype & excitement had gone through the roof. In recent times, there has been quite a few biographical movies about sports personalities like M S Dhoni, Milkha Singh, Phogat etc. However, this was a docu-drama rather than an biopic & it remains to be seen whether it would be as awesome as the legend himself.

    Sachinnnn…Sachinnnn…the chant still reverberates in my ears every time I set eyes on a cricket match. Just like many others, he was the sole reason why I started to watch the game & is one of the two idols that I always looked upto (the other being my father). I still remember the day when I first saw him on TV giving an interview to Tom Alter. In those days, the only cricketer’s name that I knew was Kapil Dev & I was pretty fascinated to see a puny kid who was just 8 years older to me rub shoulders with the big guys. So I coaxed my mom, who was an avid sports lover to teach me the rules of the game. Incidentally the first match that I saw was the exhibition match in which he smashed the legendary Abdul Qadar for 27 which included four consecutive sixes. This craze continued until he hung his boots at the Wankhede Stadium after 24 long years. Erskine has tried to capture the highs & lows of Sachin’s career, something which is not so easy after all he must have been the most scrutinized sports icon in the world. So there is hardly anything that most of us don’t know about the Master Blaster.

    James Erskine might not be a popular name for many but those who are well versed with sports documentaries, he is a doyen at it. Some of his popular ventures being “Battle of the Sexes”, “Pantani”, “Shooting for Socrates” etc. In his latest venture “Sachin: A Billion Dreams”, he has pretty much covered all the major events in Sachin’s life with insights provided by his family being the highlight. Knowing the person that Sachin is, it wasn’t a surprise that nothing much has been revealed about the match fixing scandal but ample screen time is devoted on his relation with his father, his injuries & mental state during the lows of his career. Even though the music wasnt vintage A R Rahman, it was in sync with the mood & elevates the viewing experience.

    Verdict: It wont rate as a top notch documentary drama but it has got everything that would keep us hooked. Sachin is not just a name but an emotion & for all of those individuals who had followed his career, this will give us an opportunity to relive the memories. It will make us smile, hoot, whistle & even choke a bit when he gives his heartfelt retirement speech. Being a hard core Sachin fan, I might be biased but even if you are only a cricket fan; you just cant afford to miss this!!!

    Rating: 3.5/5

    Regards…Ben

    May 28, 17
  • "Impressive satire which all parents would relate to!!!"

    As I was idling on my couch after a sumptuous Chinese buffet on Sunday afternoon with my friends, I happened to come across some articles about an Irrfan Khan movie titled “Hindi Medium” that had released over the weekend. Incidentally, it spoke positively about it & my curiosity was aroused as I was still hurting from the “Half Girlfriend” debacle. Though the thrilling IPL final & Real Madrid’s La Liga triumph had made up for it, I decided to check it out after all I had some time to spare & Irrfan invariably had a track record of working in sensible movies.

    Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan) is the owner of an expensive boutique in Chandni Chowk & was blessed with all the luxuries of life. However, he wasnt proficient in English & didnt quite have the mannerisms of the so called “elite class”, which his wife Mita (Saba Qamar) aspired for. Both of them had studied in govt schools & Mita was pretty adamant that their daughter studied in one of Delhi’s prestigious English medium schools. Out of the prominent schools, ‘Prakriti’ was the one which was most sought after but it had a condition that it would provide admission to only those who stayed within a 3 km radius. Hoping to keep his wife happy, Raj unwillingly agrees to shift to Vasant Vihar & make changes to their lifestyles to gel with the upscale neighbourhood . Little did they realize that this was the least of their problems.

    The scramble for admissions in prestigious schools is a sight which we see every year & it goes without saying that most parents would go to any extent to ensure that their child is enrolled into one. Another main reason for this mad race is our nation’s obsession for English over regional languages & it is a fact beyond doubt More often than not, the admission criteria for such schools is based on the bank balance of the parents, their lifestyles & status in society. Saket Chaudhary who showcased his prowess with “Pyaar Ke Side Effects” & “Shaadi Ke Side Effects” has been successful in weaving a hilarious satire on the scamper for admissions in the company of Zeenat Lakhani.

    There are sequences in the movie which are far fetched but it still strikes a chord with the audience as it is both funny & thought provoking at times. Laxman Utrekar’s visuals was in sync with the mood while Sachin-Jigar has given some decent tracks as well. Irrfan Khan rocked as the protagonist which yet again reiterated as to why he is held in high esteem in the West & his chemistry with Saba Qamar was one of the main positives of the movie. Apart from being a delight for the eyes, the Pakistani actress is undoubtedly the best from her country to have graced the Indian screen in recent times. Equally impressive were Deepak Dobriyal & Swati Das who nailed their parts while Amrita Singh was ok who was hampered by a rather weakly written role.

    Verdict: As far as the script is concerned, it is undoubtedly inspired from the Bengali movie “Ramdhanu” which was remade into “Salt Mango Tree”in Malayalam. The hilarious take on the plight of parents for admissions is something many of us would relate to. Though not meant to demean the Indian educational system in total, it poses relevant questions as to what each one of us considers as effective education for our children. In short, dont miss it!!!

    Rating: 2.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    May 23, 17
  • "Not worth watching even at half the price!!!"

    What is the most important aspect of a movie? Hmm…well if you ask me it has to be the script. But that alone doesn’t guarantee a good movie unless it is entrusted in the hands of a talented cast & crew. Irrespective of the language, literary works have always proved to be worthy scripts & over the years, many novels have been adapted into movies. Among the various novelists, Chetan Bhagat is one prominent name which pops up as many of his novels has been made into blockbuster movies such as “3 Idiots”, “Kai Po Che” etc. His latest novel to have reached the 70mm screen is “Half Girlfriend”. But will it be as successful as it’s predecessors…hard to say, though to be frank, I dont believe it would.

    Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor), the heir to an esteemed lineage from Bihar secures a seat at the prestigious St Stephen’s College on the back of a sports scholarship. He gets smitten by his college mate Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor), who was more like a tomboy & flaunted her affluent background. But behind that bold exterior she was actually a lonely girl who longed for love & companionship. Though Madhav was head over heels for her, she preferred to be aloof at times as she wasn’t keen on a commitment or in her own words would prefer nothing more than being a “half girlfriend. Their relationship didnt last for long as Riya dropped out of college & was married off to her family friend. As expected, Madhav wasn’t able to cope with the heart break & tried to channelize his energy towards the welfare of his villagers.

    The New York Times in 2008 cited Bhagat as “the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history”. Well he might have sold quite a lot but a significant reason for the blockbusters was because they were in the hands of talented craftsmen like Rajkumar Hirani & Abhishek Kapoor. Mohit Suri does have some huge hits under his belt like “Aashiqui 2”, “Murder 2” etc., but I don’t quite consider him of the same caliber. Since I haven’t read the novel, I can’t comment as to how faithful the movie has been to it. But the fact is the plot itself is rather vague & the characters come across as rather shallow that you cant help cringing at times; not to forget that Mohit had chosen a wrong set of lead pairs who doesn’t do justice to the requirements of their characters.

    If you would look at the track record of Mohit Suri, one positive aspect in almost all of his movies is the music. More often than not, all of them had atleast one chart buster & it’s pretty much the same here as well. There are a host of music directors at work here & they have produced a couple of soulful tracks such as “Baarish”, “Phir Bhi Tumko” etc. The visuals doesn’t deserve special mention & Devendra Murusdeshwar’s editing left a lot to be desired. Coming to the performances, neither Arjun nor Shraddha had the capabilities to pull off the characters. The one person who did impress was Vikrant Massey who has done a fine job as Shailesh.

    Verdict: There are no two words about it, the film has a lot of pitfalls in the script & it was further handicapped by two lead actors who doesnt have it in them the ability to enact with conviction. To make matters worse, they had zero chemistry between them. Even though not intended to be hilarious, the scene where they superimposed Bill Gates’s face on someone else’s body just shows how tacky the making has been. In short, better to watch the IPL final rather than give yourself a headache!!!

    Rating: 2/5

    Regards…Ben

    May 21, 17
  • "Struggles to kindle pyaar among the audience for the movie!!!"

    Just as I was browsing through the entertainment news today, one headline which caught my eye was the news of “Dangal” having crossed 1000 C as well courtesy of its release in China more than a week back. Incidentally, Aparshakti Khurrana who made an impressive debut in “Dangal” had his more popular brother Ayushmann’s movie “Meri Pyaari Bindu” hitting the screens this weekend. So will it make the situation even more graver for “Sarkar 3” which is struggling to make even 10 C???

    Abhimanyu Roy (Ayushmann) is a best selling author in the horror erotica genre who decided to forego his corporate career to pursue his passion of writing. It proved to be the right decision as his books became an instant hit among the readers, though the critics panned it as nothing more than cheap thrills. It’s been a couple of years since his last book had hit the stands as he was presently victim to the writer’s block. With his publisher constantly nagging him, Abhi had to come up with something fast but he just couldnt produce it onto paper. It was at this juncture that his parents forced him to visit them in Kolkata. This sowed the seeds for his next book as he stumbled across a mixed tape that he had made with his best friend & crush, Bindu (Parineeti Chopra). How their relationship developed over the years forms the crux of the movie.

    The film has been helmed by the debutant Akshay Roy who along with the help of the script by Suprotim Sengupta try to put their desi flavour to the rom com genre. The idea of narrating the ups & downs of their relationship with the mixed tape was definitely interesting. However, that concept was barely developed & it turned out to be nothing more than a collection of old classic songs which kept popping up at times. There are quite a few sequences which hooks the audience especially the parts shot in Kolkata which was both funny & sentimental but the plot as such was barely existent & we dont actually empathise with the characters. Tushar Ray has done a fine job with the visuals with the opening shot of Durga Devi deserving special praise while Sachin-Jigar has done a decent job with the music.

    Both the performers have done their parts well, but Ayushmann’s character had more depth to it which he portrayed equally well. As for Parineeti, her character felt pretty superficial & doesnt give much insight into Bindu as such. With regard to other characters, Aparajita Auddy who played the part of Abhi’s mother was hilarious while the rest of the characters have also done their parts aptly.

    Verdict: It will cater to the multiplex audience & should be able to break even in due time. The absymal “Sarkar 3” will also work in its favour & most of the people would have watched “Baahubali” by now. In short, it is surely not one of the best rom coms to come from the Yash Raj stable, but it wont hurt to give it a try if you do like the genre!!!

    Rating: 2.25/5

    Regards…Ben

    May 16, 17
  • "As trivial as RGV's tweets!!!"

    It’s been a fortnight since “Baahubali 2” has released & as I had predicted it has crossed the 1000 C mark with ease. As the epic’s box office collections steadily makes it way into unchartered territories, the other film makers back home have been skeptical regarding when to showcase their wares lest they get drowned in the Baahubali tsunami. However, we did have a reasonably high profile release this week in the form of “Sarkar 3″. But will RGV’s creation have the quality to make us sit up & take notice? Seems like a tall ask after all his creativity (does he still have it?) is a pale shadow of what it was more than a decades back.

    Subhash Negre (Big B) is still the darling of the masses & headache of the corrupt as he maintained an iron fist over the political climate in the state. Inspite of having lost both his sons & survived numerous assassination attempts on his life, he continued to make sure that the commoners were not exploited by the rich & powerful. He was ably assisted by his trusted lieutenant Gokul (Ronit Roy) & as expected just as his followers increased, his enemies also grew in number. The latest adversary who sought to end Sarkar’s reign happened to be Michael Mallya (Jackie Shroff), a real estate businessman who operated from Dubai. But a bigger problem was when Sarkar’s grandson Shivaji (Amit Sadh) sought to come under his grandfather’s wings. Just like his father, Shivaji was impulsive & brash which created unrest in Sarkar’s camp much to the delight of Michael & his men who milked the situation to their benefit. Can Sarkar trust anyone on his side or was it the end of the road for him???

    There was a time when Ram Gopal Verma was one of the most exciting directors in the country with movies like ” Siva”, “Company”, “Rangeela”, “Ab Tak Chappan” etc. But a couple of years into the new millennium, he seemed to have lost his touch to enthrall the audience as he churned out mediocre ventures at alarming regularity. However, on saying that this is surely one of his better efforts in the past decade. When the first part came out in 2005, it gripped the audience as it was inspired from Bal Thackeray & the Godfather series. Even the sequel had a story to tell with Abhishek & Aishwarya put into the mix. But the latest installment didnt have anything to convey as Nilesh Girkar, Jaya Kumar & Ramkumar Singh might have just taken the CDs of the prequels & changed the name of the characters. Interestingly even a fleeting mention of Aishwarya’s character is not made in the movie considering she was calling the shots at the end of the second part. The only portion which did interest me was the climax though by that time I was waiting for the movie to end.

    RGV always had a fascination for bikini clad chicks, silhouettes, odd camera angles, focusing on inanimate objects even as the characters are blurting out their corny dialogues & all of this is present in ample measure here as well. It has been captured through Amol Rathod’s frames & the blaring BGM has been the contribution of Ravi Shankar & Rohan Vinayak. When it came to performances, it is basically a Big B show but he doesnt have anything to do apart from slurping his coffee & speak in his baritone voice. He has done justice to his role though he could have done it even with his eyes closed. Amit Sadh impressed as the short tempered instinctive Shivaji along with Ronit Roy. Manoj Bajpayee was wasted, Jackie evoked a couple of chuckles with his double entendres while Yami Gautam & the rest barely had anything substantial to do.

    Verdict: There is hardly any factor which works in its favour to the extent that I would rate “Meri Pyaari Bindhu” way better than this. With “Baahubali” going strong, it will struggle to make it to the next week & will end up as yet another flop in RGV’s career. In short, dont bother as it’s as trivial as his tweets!!!

    Rating: 1.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    May 15, 17
  • "Rajamouli delivers what he promised!!!"

    April 28th, 2017; the date that all movie lovers have been waiting for is finally here. I dont think I need to elaborate about it since it is common knowledge that it is the release date of “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”. There has never been any Indian movie that has garnered as much pre-release hype as Rajamouli’s magnum opus. It’s a known fact that living upto expectations is no mean task & Rajamouli and his team had gargantuan expectations stacked up against them. So did they manage to scale those lofty heights???

    So why did Katappa (Satyaraj) kill Baahubali (Prabhas)??? a question that has been asked a million times & gave birth to numerous memes . Well we have the answer now but dont worry guys, I am not going to post any spoilers here. The sequel begins with Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan) instructing Baahubali to tour the kingdom to know his subjects prior to his coronation with Katappa for company. In the meantime, she was also on the lookout for a suitable bride for him but Baahubali during his journey fell for Devasena (Anushka Shetty), the princess of the Kuntala kingdom. Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati) saw this as an opportunity to create a fall-out between his mother & cousin. But what was his actual plan & did it actually work out???

    Rajamouli, the master craftsman is back with a bang & he has gone all out to create a movie that gives us a measure of his imagination. The extravagant scale in which it is made will surely make one to gasp in awe. The biggest plus for most parts is the well etched characters especially the females who actually decides in which track the story moves forward. The emotional sequences are undoubtedly the best & the stunt choreography is awesome (it might appear outlandish at times, but I loved it). However, the first 40 minutes could have been much more compactly picturised with the comedy track not quite hitting the mark at times & the climax was rather hurried (maybe Rajamouli didnt want to make a 2.5).

    On the technical side, the VFX was excellent for most parts but some portions didnt quite have the perfection expected. Senthil Kumar deserves praise for the mesmerizing visuals while Sabu Cyril & his team have done a mind boggling in the art direction department. M.M Keeravani has done a decent job with the music though BGM was damn good.

    What do I say about Prabhas? I havent seen any of his movies prior to the Baahubali series but frankly speaking, I cant think of anyone who could have done that character any better. Hats off to his dedication & the same applies to Rana Daggubati as well. Satyaraj scorched the screen with a brilliant performance while Nasser & Subbaraju have done justice to their roles. However, the show stealers for me were Ramya Krishnan & Anushka, both of whom have given knock out performances with the meaty role that they were entrusted with.

    Verdict: As expected, it has broken all the opening records & became the first Indian movie to collect more than 100 C on a single day. It was made on a combined budget of around 300 C & had collected more than 500 C even prior to its release through sales of its rights etc. It might be early to predict, but I believe it will be the first Indian film to gross 1000 C at the box office. In short, you definitely got to watch it & be a part of Indian film history!!!

    Rating: 4/5

    Regards…Ben

    April 29, 17
  • "Definitely not the noor of the audience!!!"

    With just a week left for “Baahubali: The Conclusion” to hit the screens, there are no other major releases in the horizon. Well it’s quite understandable after all this mammoth movie will certainly swallow anything in its path in the initial phase. However, we did have women centric movies take centre stage amidst this lull with “Begum Jaan” last week & Sonakshi’s “Noor” this weekend. To be frank, I didnt even know that such a movie was even going to release & hence had no expectations at all. Hmm…in such a scenario it should be easier to satisfy the audience in me isnt it, but did it mange to do that???

    Noor (Sonakshi Sinha) is a journalist who aspires to be the next “Barkha” but her boss assigns her to cover news on subjects which is nowhere even remotely related to meaningful journalism. Her personal life was also a mess & she spent most parts of the day cribbing about her very existence. The only people who brought a smile to her face were her close buddies, Zara (Shibani Dandekar) & Saad (Kanan Gill). But things started to look brighter when she meets Ayan Banerjee (Purab Kohli), an ace photographer & they hit off in due time. On the professional side as well, she stumbles upon an organ harvesting scam when her domestic help, Malti (Smita Tambi) confides in her about the misfortune that had befallen on her brother. Will this story be the break that Noor was waiting for???

    Based on Saba Imtiaz’s “Karachi, You are Killing me!” (which I haven’t read), Sunhil Sippy have made a movie which is a concoction of rom-com & investigative journalism. But the sad reality is he wasn’t able to do justice to either of them especially the latter one. The manner in which the protagonist goes about her job would have even made an amateur journalist cringe in embarrassment. Even when Noor messes up stuff, instead of standing up & sorting it out, Sunhil chose to make the character run away from it. The only thing that actually works (that too, partially) is the rom-com part which kinda reminded me of “Bridget Jones’s Diary”.

    On the technical side, Keiko Nakahara’s visuals were fine while the music by Amaal Mallik was average. Even though the movie is just under 2 hours, it still manages to test our patience. Sonakshi has done a fine job in the lighthearted portions but ends up short in the other parts. Smita Tambe was brilliant while Shibani, Purab & Kanan have done justice to their parts.

    Verdict: “Noor” will struggle to stay afloat beyond this weekend even though there is no other competition. Sunhil could have surely done a lot better with the basic story line that he had, unfortunately it wasn’t the case as it culminates in a muddled climax as well. In short, don’t bother!!!

    Rating: 2/5

    Regards…Ben

    April 23, 17
  • "Falls well short of expectations!!!"

    Whenever we talk about Hindi espionage movies, one of the first few films that comes to my mind is Neeraj Pandey’s “Baby”. So when it was announced that Neeraj Pandey is planning a spin off prequel titled “Naam Shabana”, I was pretty excited. The trailer further heightened the expectations as it showed Prithvi as the antagonist & Akki in a cameo, not to forget about Taapsee who kicked some serious ass. So it now remains to be seen whether it was able to live upto expectations & deliver what it promised???

    For those who have seen “Baby”, it’s unlikely that you would have forgotten special agent Shabana Khan (Taapsee Pannu) who rocked the screen in a brief role. In “Naam Shabana”, it shows as to how she was recruited into the intelligence agency. Shabana was a martial arts student who had a dark past due to which she used to confide only in her mother. When her friend, Jay (Taher Shabbir) expresses his love for her; things started to brighten up in her life until Jay meets with his death in an eve-teasing incident. At this juncture, she gets an offer from the agency that they would help her avenge Jay’s death if she agrees to join them. Shabana accepts their offer but was she really upto the challenge???

    Shivam Nair has called the shots & since I havent seen any of his previous movies, I dont have any reference as to how good he is as a story teller. However, since it is Neeraj Pandey’s production I had huge expectations especially since he was handling the script & screenplay. Without mincing words, I would have to admit that it was nowhere in the league of “A Wednesday”, “Special 26” or “Baby”. The film invests an enormous amount of time on the backstory which was far from engaging & if one expects that things will get better when the mission starts, then they are grossly mistaken. The plot is wafer thin & apart from a couple of sequences, it lacks logic and finesse with the hasty predictable climax being the prime example for it.

    One of the highlights of the movie are the action sequences which were choreographed by noted French stuntman Cyril Raffaeli. Even Sudheer Palsane deserves praise for the long shot visuals while the music was pretty mediocre. Taapsee has performed admirably as the protagonist in the action sequences though in the other segments, she comes across as rather bland. Even though Prithvi is the villain, it was more like a cameo & he gets wasted in a role which lacked substance. Akshay rocks in his brief role (included keeping the box office in mind) while Manoj Bajpayee is barely allowed to do anything significant apart from talk on the phone & keep looking on the screen.

    Verdict: Since female centric action movies are quite rare in our country, it is unique in that sense. But however on saying that, more often than not Akshay’s character seemed to take centre stage as the protector, rather the backup that he is projected to be. It should be able to collect a reasonable initial but once that is over, it will struggle to remain relevant. In short, keep yourself occupied watching the finals between Federer-Nadal at the Miami Masters & Sindhu-Marin at the India Open, rather than investing time for this!!!

    Rating: 2.25/5

    Regards…Ben

    April 01, 17
  • "Desi ghost in a movie with a videshi feel!!!"

    It’s been a while since I had written the review for a movie & it had more to do with the dearth of movies which tempted me to watch. I did watch “Commando 2” & didn’t feel it was worth the time to write something about. With the summer holidays fast approaching, there are a host of movies lined up for the next couple of weeks. This weekend we have Anushka Sharma’s “Phillauri” hitting the screens & from the trailer, it looks pretty promising. Hopefully she wont be hurt by mediocre box office returns just like Kohli who had to retire hurt from the last match of the Ind-Aus series.

    The film unfolds with Kanan (Suraj Sharma) flying down from Canada to Amritsar to marry his childhood sweetheart, Anu (Mehreen Pirzada). He didn’t seem quite enthusiastic about it as he felt that they were rushing into wedlock, much to the dismay of Anu. Both their families were however moving ahead with the arrangements & one of them involved getting Kanan married to a tree to ward off the ill luck which might befall on them in future. It so happened that the tree had the spirit of Sashi (Anushka Sharma) & the ritual carried out meant he was married to her. Incidentally, he was the only one who could see her & as expected, it proves to be the trigger of mayhem. So how was Kanan going to get himself freed from Sashi or was it a figment of his imagination borne out of his weed puffing habits???

    This is Anushka Sharma’s second production after “NH10” & she has given the reins of the movie to the debutant director, Anshai Lal. It has been scripted by Anvita Dutt, the thread of which is kinda novel though there is a feel of Hollywood about it towards the climax. Unlike most movies, the first half is its weak point since apart from the initial laughs, hardly anything happens though it did have the scope for it, The second half is interesting when it focuses on the pre-independence love story & just like Imtiaz Ali’s “Love Aaj Kal”, this segment endears to the audience & I personally loved the climax (even though it was stretched a bit too much). The main drawback of the movie is its length as the subject as such wasnt explored adequately & it lacked substance.

    On the technical side, the CGI was done well, Sameer Uddin’s BGM was impressive while Shashwat Sachdev & Jasleen Royal’s music was in sync with the mood of the movie. Anushka Sharma has done a fine job along with Diljit Dosanjh, who impressed in the intense scenes. Suraj Sharma (of “Life of Pi” fame) was just about adequate while Mehreen Pirzada seemed apt for the role.

    Verdict: The film is unlikely to make such of an impact at the box office as it will cater only to the multiplex audience. But since the production cost is just 21C, it should be able to break even in a week or so. So would I suggest to watch it??? well I would if you are in a mood for a Hindi movie; but if you are in Kerala watch “Take Off” first before even thinking of anything else!!!

    Rating: 2.5/5

    Regards…Ben

    March 27, 17
  • "Bleedy hell, it's well made though the story pales in comparison!!!"

    The curtains have come down on the 89th Academy Awards & it did have it’s share of controversies that everyone would be aware of by now. More often than not, Oscars always featured some World War dramas & this year was no different with Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge”. Over the years, Hollywood has come up with numerous WWII movies but it happened to be one event in history that our film makers barely explored even though our troops played a significant part in it. Incidentally, this week we had Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Rangoon” which is set during that period & the trailer looked really impressive. So is it one of Vishal’s masterpieces???

    The Second World Flow was in full swing as the English played an active role in it through their British Indian Army. At the same time, India made strong strides towards Independence under the leadership of Gandhiji with his principle of non-violence. However, Subash Chandra Bose wasn’t convinced with Gandhiji’s strategy & formed the Indian National Army (INA) with the help of the Japanese. Their combined forces made constant inroads in the Indo-Burma border & many Indian soldiers of British Indian Army were taken as PoW which included Jemadar Nawab Malik (Shahid Kapoor), who subsequently managed to escape. Elsewhere in the country, Julia (Kangana Ranaut) was the numero uno female movie star known for her breath taking daredevilry on screen. She worked for Billimoria’s production house & was in an affair with Rusi Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan) who ran the show. In order to lift the spirits of the forces in the war zone, Major General David Harding (Richard McCabe) coaxes Julia & Rusi to make the trip assuring them of top notch security with Nawab Malik as her personal security. But as one would expect, anything can go wrong in a war zone & that’s exactly what happened.

    Vishal Bharadwaj’s credentials as a film maker is well established with premier movies like “Maqbool”, “Omkara”, “Haider” etc. which showcased a myriad of emotions. In his latest venture as well, there is no dearth of emotions all of which is encompassed within a love story against the backdrop of freedom struggle which he has scripted in the company of Matthew Robbins & Sabrina Dhawan. The war zone has been picturized realistically & the frames looked authentic in terms of art direction and costumes. The main flaw with the movie is the inability to marry the romance with the war backdrop & that would prove to be a deterrent for many in the audience. With regard to the climax, it was hurried, a bit over the top & the CGI used was pretty mediocre. On the technical side, Pankaj Kumar’s visuals were fantastic while the combo of Vishal & Gulzar in the music department was excellent. However, Aalaap Majgavkar ought to have done a much better job with the editing.

    Kangana absolutely rocked as Julia, whose character was undoubtedly modeled after the yester year stunt queen “Fearless Nadia”. She was given a role of substance & she has done justice to it. Equally impressive were her co-stars though Shahid had more screen space. Saif Ali was an apt choice as the suave film maker but he isnt provided as much opportunity as he was given in “Omkara”. Richard McCabe has done a decent job as the cunning English General while the rest of the cast were adequate as well.

    Verdict: Though the trailer was brilliant & movie was exquisitely made, it still falls short of expectations as the story is rather weak. Another major drawback is the clima which turned out to be rather too melodramatic & over the top. In short, it is likely to struggle at the box office but I would still suggest to check it out!!!

    Rating: 3/5

    Regards…Ben

    February 28, 17
  • "Captivates the audience!!!"

    Ever since partition, our nation have constantly seen unrest at its borders as Pakistan never lost an opportunity to needle us. This has led to four fledged battles with them in 1947, 1965, 1971 & 1999; & even though we faced serious casualties, our brave soldiers ensured that we could still feel safe within our country.

    The war of 1971 was unique in the sense that it wasn’t fought over the Kashmir issue but due to the differences between East & West Pakistan, which eventually led to the formation of Bangladesh. One of the contributing factors for India being part of that war was the sinking of Pakistani submarine, PNS Ghazi off the east coast by INS Rajput. So this week we have Sankalp Reddy’s “The Ghazi Attack” hitting the screens which is inspired from that event & hopefully it will be able to give us a gripping account as to what must have happened on that day.

    The year is 1971 & India was keeping a close watch on Pakistan who was flexing their muscles on its brothers in East Pakistan, who was fighting for liberation. In order to send supplies to its forces, Pakistan decides to use the sea route but in order to do so they had to negate the threat posted by INS Vikrant. The task is entrusted to Commander Razaq (Rahul Singh) & his crew of PNS Ghazi. Indian Intelligence gets wind of it & the Eastern Naval Command at Vishakhapatnam assign S21 under the leadership of Captain Rannvijay Singh to patrol the region. As Rannvijay is known for his impulsive, hot headed nature, Lt Commander Arjun Varma (Rana Daggubati) is also accorded equal responsibilities to ensure orders are followed as per the book. This naturally causes sparks to fly between the two as Executive Officer, Devraj (Atul Kulkarni) plays peace broker. In due time, S21 locates Ghazi but how they went about their task with two contrast characters at the helm forms the crux of the movie.

    Scripted & directed by debutant Sankalp Reddy, “The Ghazi Attack” is the first submarine war movie that has been made in our country. With regard to the story, it was mentioned in the credits itself that it is a fictional creation of an incident that has been shrouded by mystery. Whatever might be the case, the story is brilliantly conveyed & executed as well. The tension is palpable & provides an edge of the seat experience for the audience in majority of the sequences in the second half. Though I found the patriotic fervour a bit too overpowering & artificial in the end, it had all the other emotions in apt measure & the director made sure that he didnt squeeze in any romantic angle or song-dance sequence into the proceedings. The interiors of the submarine were well depicted but the special effects & Madhi’s visuals could have been better.

    Rana Daggubati has acted in a mature & restrained manner which was apt for the character. Kay Kay Menon was excellent as the impulsive Captain who didnt care a shit about orders. Atul Kulkarni also deserves praise for a convincing performance while the rest of the cast seemed adequate. The reason for including Taapsee defies logic as she had nothing to do apart from look shell shocked in the doorways.

    Verdict: Having seen movies like “Crimson Tide”, “K21”, etc, this one would feel amateurish at times, but it is absolutely unfair to make such a comparison due to the disparity in production costs. However, on saying that Sankalp succeeds in making a movie which is both engrossing & interesting. It might not take the box-office by storm but it’s definitely worth checking out. In short, dont miss it!!!

    Rating: 3/5

    Regards…Ben

    February 19, 17
  • "Jolly good time for the producers!!!"

    Bollywood got off to a good start this year as “Raees” racked in the moolah to continue the money spinning spree started by “Dangal”. In the words of Annu Kapoor, this month we have “the most most saleable, commercially viable superstar” Akshay Kumar coming out with his first release of the year “Jolly LLB 2”. It is the sequel of the 2013 sleeper hit, “Jolly LLB” & Fox Studios would be hoping that this would perform better than its predecessor. So will it be able to satiate the audience like the prequel???

    Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly (Akki) is a struggling lawyer who does manage to make ends meet with his street smart nature taking up petty cases & other endeavours. However, his desire to make it big in his profession didnt find the support of his boss, a reputed lawyer Rizvi (Ram Gopal Bajaj) for whom Jolly’s father had also worked as a munshi. His desire to secure a chamber for himself makes him lie to Hina Siddiqui (Sayani Gupta), a pregnant lady who have been trying to convince Jolly’s boss to take up her case. He convinces her that his boss had entrusted him with the responsibility & collects the fees for it. But she soon realises that she had been fooled & commits suicide, which wakens the conscience in Jolly. Can he bring justice to her husband who was murdered in a fake encounter masterminded by Inspector Suryaveer Singh (Kumud Mishra)???

    It’s been a couple of years since Subhash Kapoor made his presence felt who has impressive movies like “Phas Gaya Re Obama” & “Jolly LLB” to his credit. As in the case of most of his other movies, he has donned multiple caps here as well with the script & screenplay also of his creation. The dialogues were humorous & ironic which was interspersed with unpleasant hard hitting facts. Just as in the prequel, the court scenes were interesting & hilarious but there were portions which lagged due to inconsistencies in the script & unnecessary placement of songs . On the brighter side, the subtle detailing given to Jolly’s wife (though she doesnt have much to do), the Kashmir politics, fake encounters etc deserves praise. Kamal Jeet’s visuals were fine along with the art direction. But the music was mediocre while Chandrashekhar’s editing could have been sharper.

    It must have been Akki’s movie, but the one that actually steals the show is Saurabh Shukla who was brilliant as the Judge. Akshay was fantastic & essays the protagonist convincingly making sure that the character is grounded without a starry air to it. Annu Kapoor is also in fine form while Kumud Mishra didnt have much scope to perform. The same applies to the female leads as well such as Huma Qureshi & Sayani Gupta.

    Verdict: It was completed in just over a month which is quite unheard of as far as Bollywood movies of superstars are concerned. Since it was made on a budget of just 30 C, it should make bumper returns & the initial box office reports also seems to be pointing towards that. It might not be exactly top notch but inspite of that it has adequate substance to entertain the audience. In short, check it out!!!

    Rating; 2.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    February 12, 17
  • "SRK's time at the box office shuru!!!"

    January is almost over & we have the first major releases of the year in “Raees” & “Kaabil” on the eve of the 68th Republic day. Since I was busy with my work commitments, I thought to watch them over the weekend after all both the trailers seemed to give the impression that it was worth watching. With the FEDAL match set to commence in less than 6 h, I decided to first check out SRK’s “Raees” which has been in the news for quite some time be it for the Pakistani actress or the clashing of the movie with “Kaabil” which was frowned down upon by Rakesh Roshan. Anywaz it has hit the screens now & it remains to be seen whether it will be able to challenge the undisputed run of “Dangal”???

    The film unfolds in Fatehpura in the 70s where Raees (Shubham Chintamani) his buddy, Sadiq (Shubham Tukaram) in their school years also doubled up as carriers for the local bootlegger. They later on join the gang of Jairaj (Atul Kulkarni), who was the kingpin in this business. With time, Raees (SRK) in Jairaj’s words due to his “baniya ka dimag aur Miya bhai ka daring” becomes the trusted lieutenant of his boss. But Raees’s dream to set up his own empire makes him loggerheads with Jairaj & Co. All their efforts to stop Raees fails, but a bigger threat for all of them was Jaideep Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), an honest police officer who was hell bent to wipe out the illicit alcohol business in Gujarat. Will Jaideep prove to be nemesis of Raees???

    Rahul Dholakia’s credentials as a director needs no introduction as he was awarded the National award for “Parzania” in 2002 which was based on the Gujarat communal riots. His previous outing “Lamhaa” didnt make much stir at the box office; there are huge expectations from “Raees” after all it is a SRK movie. Even though Rahul & his team who had penned the script claim the characters to be fictional, there is no doubt that the protagonist is inspired from Abdul Latif, the king of illegal alcohol business in Gujarat. The first half is absorbing as SRK rocks the screen with his negative character shades. However post-interval, the character is mellowed down & made to play to the galleries showcasing him as a gangster with a heart of gold.

    In the technical department, there were some fantastic dialogues while K U Mohanan visuals deserve praise. The VFX effects weren’t exactly top notch & the action sequences could have been choreographed better. Ram Sampath’s music was ok with “Zaalima” rendered by Arijit Singh & Harshdeep Kaur being the stand out one while Deepa Bhatia ought to have done a better job with the editing in the latter half.

    Shahrukh rocked as the protagonist & carries the movie with his charisma whenever the screenplay faltered. His scenes with Nawazuddin were the best ones in the movie & the latter was brilliant as the police officer. Mahira Khan has done a very average job & her chemistry with SRK wasnt upto the mark. It was a role which could have been much better performed by any of our leading Bollywood ladies. Zeeshan Ayyub has done justice to his role while Narendra Jha & Atul Kulkarni were fine as well.

    Verdict: “Raees” is creating waves at the box office as expected as it has collected close to 60C in the domestic market in just 3 days. It’s been a while since SRK had a blockbuster & from the looks of it, this is likely to do just that. There is no doubt that the fans will love the movie while the rest can be assured that it is worth a one time watch provided you dont expect anything out of the ordinary, In short, you can give it a try!!!

    Rating: 2.5/5

    Regards…Ben

    January 29, 17
  • "Mr. Perfectionist & his on-screen daughters nails this excellent sports drama!!!"

    Christmas eve is upon us & what better way to celebrate it than being with our loved ones. As it is the season of giving, let each one of us do our bit to spread the message of love & brotherhood. Apart from the customary X’mas goodies, namely cakes, wine & spicy non-vegetarian dishes (started salivating??? well I did); it’s bonanza time for movie buffs as all film industries will have some major release or the other. The biggest release this year is undoubtedly, Aamir Khan’s “Dangal”, whose trailer was fantastic which has taken the expectations through the roof. So will Aamir who usually turns up as Santa bring smiles to the audience & makers alike with yet another blockbuster???

    An Aamir Khan movie is a huge occasion in itself due to his sporadic releases which always lives upto expectations. Due to this, the media scrutiny is immense courtesy of which many of you would already be having an idea that this movie is the biographical depiction of former National wrestling Champion Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) who trained both his daughters, Geeta (Fatima Sana (older) & Zaira Wasim) & Babita (Sanya Malhotra (older) & Suhani Bhatnagar) to become Commonwealth Champions. Mahavir had to give up wrestling in his prime to support his family but always harboured hopes that he would live his dream through his unborn son. But as fate would have it, he was blessed with only daughters. As wrestling was predominantly a male dominated sport, Mahavir presumed his dream would remain a dream until he decides to train his daughters. How Mahavir makes his dream into reality against all odds forms the crux of the movie. It was much tougher than one could expect since the mindset of the Haryanvi community which has one of the worst child sex ratios is that the girl child is not entitled to do anything apart from household chores.

    The idea to this story came from Divya Rao who was part of Disney’s creative team & which was then subsequently properly fleshed out by Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain & Nikhil Mehrotra. Nitesh Tiwari was given the responsibility of direction, which happened to be his third venture after “Chillar Party” & “Bhoothnath Returns”. The screenplay is brilliant which was equally well picturised by Nitesh as it keeps the audience hooked to the movie. The first half is top notch as it is a proper concoction of humour, emotions, action & drama. Even the latter half is good though mid way through it gets a tad too repetitive with the wrestling sequences but the gripping conflict between father-daughter & goosebump evoking climax more than makes up for the lag.

    All the wrestling matches were brilliantly choreographed by Kripashankar Bishnoi & even people who had no idea about this sport would be adequately educated by the time they finish watching. So much so, I wont be surprised if more people would be interested to follow this sport the next time it is shown on TV. Pritam’s BGM has helped the movie immensely & even his music was in sync with the mood especially the title track rendered by Daler Mehendi which will become a rage & the “Haanikarak Baapu” song. Sethu Sriram has done a fine job with the visuals while Ballu Saluja’s editing was crisp.

    Even before I talk about Aamir Khan, I feel it is only right that I mention about the girls who were absolutely brilliant. Each one of them have done their parts exceptionally with Zaira Wasim (younger Geeta) being my personal favourite. It’s hard to believe that it is the debut venture of all of them & each one of them apart from their acting have done their wrestling sequences unbelievably well. Since it is more focused on Fathima Sana, she deserves a special mention. Now what do I say about Aamir? he knows how to choose scripts & once he takes up a project, he gives his 100% to the role which is there for all to see. His physical transformation for the movie was awe evoking & the way he has enacted his part as a middle aged father was fantastic, taking care that he didnt overshadow the others & kept his stardom in check. Kudos to Nitesh & Aamir for that. Sakshi Talwar was a surprising choice as Aamir’s wife but she proved as to why she is a much sought after artist in the silver screen. She might not have much dialogues as her expressions conveys volumes. Aparshakti Khurana & Ritvik Sahore both of whom essayed the role of Mahavir’s nephew also deserves special mention as he provides the comic relief to the movie.

    Verdict: The movie will take the box-office by storm & will break all records set by “Sultan”. Frankly speaking, I feel this is one of Aamir’s best performance to date if not the very best. Actually, it might seem like a tall ask but I have a feeling that it will usurp “PK” as the biggest blockbuster of all time. In short, it has all the ingredients that one could ask for & though I might sound a bit biased being a sports drama; I would suggest that you guys got to definitely watch it!!!

    Rating: 4.5/5

    Regards…Ben

    December 24, 16
  • "Audience needs to fekir if they want to spent time on this!!!"

    If one takes up the list of the biggest blockbusters in Bollywood, then one name which will figure prominently in the top is “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge”. So much so, it is still running in Maratha Mandir for close to 1100 weeks. Now the man behind this timeless romance saga which established SRK as the King of Romance is Aditya Chopra. The reclusive director & chairman of Yash Raj films, have done just 3 films in the past two decades, all of which had raked in the moolah. So when Adi announced his latest venture “Befikre”, the expectations were pretty high which seemed justified after all the songs & trailers had captured innumerable number of eyeballs. So can Adi be befekir as to whether this matches his previous releases???

    Dharam (Ranver Singh) is a quintessential Delhi guy who had moved over to Paris to work in his buddy’s club as a stand up comedian. He meets up with Shyra (Vani Kapoor), who was brought up in France after her parents had migrated into the country as chefs. The duo hit off famously with their no holds barred attitude as neither of them were keen on a commitment. In due time, they break up but continued to remain friends which is when they started to realize the importance of the other. Though both of them get into other relationships, it didnt quite have the same vibe that the two shared. But will they risk getting back together & if so, is it possible???

    Aditya’s credentials as a film maker is well documented, so I guess there is no point in harping about it. But the question is, was he able to regain his touch after such a long hiatus??? The answer is an emphatic No, as his script neither offers anything new that we haven’t seen nor does the treatment engrosses us. It seemed like the mish mash of several movies that we had seen over the years & true to Yash Raj movies, it is shot in beautiful locales with the characters making constant references to their desi roots, All the technical aspects deserves browny points be it the visuals which were exquisite thanks to Kaname Onoyama or the smashing choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant. Vishal Shekhar’s music was foot thumping stuff along with Mikey McCleary’s BGM which was in sync with the mood of the movie.

    In one of the recent interviews, Adi had mentioned that he had written the script keeping Ranveer in mind & wouldnt have made the movie if the latter had refused. Anywaz I have to admit that Ranveer was an apt choice for the character as his unbridled energy & crazy attitude which even goes to the extent of showing his bare ass, carries the movie inspite of the weak script. Vani Kapoor who was last seen on the big screen more than four years back in “Shhudh Desi Romance” was full of spunk & fire. However even though the two indulge in a kissing spree & makes out with gay abandon, they just didnt have any smoking chemistry between them. As for the rest of the cast, though they didnt have much to do all of them have done a decent job.

    Verdict: The catchy trailer & brand value of Adi, will ensure a commendable opening in the multiplex. But with the script so mediocre & hardly anything happening, apart from the innumerable kisses, the number of footfalls will drastically decrease in the coming days. In short, watch the thrilling Mumbai Test match befikre but not this movie!!!

    Rating: 1.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    December 11, 16
  • "Kahaani is bogged down by expectations & predictability!!!"

    Seems like the season of sequels hasn’t ended as we had yet another one hitting the screens this weekend. Incidentally, it happened to be “Kahaani 2”, the prequel of which had impressed both the critics & audience alike. Apart from a couple of guest appearances, it’s been more than a year since Vidya Balan had graced the screens & since she will be playing the protagonist again, the expectations are sky high. So will the sequel be able to rise above or atleast equal the benchmark set by “Kahaani”???

    As in the prequel, the story unfolds in Kolkata where Vidya Sinha (Vidya Balan) is a single parent to her handicapped daughter, Mini (Tunisha Sharma). Life moved along peacefully for the two, until Mini gets kidnapped & Vidya frantically goes in search of her after a call from the kidnapper. However, she meets with an accident & slips into a coma. Sub Inspector Indrajeet Singh (Arjun Rampal) is called in to investigate the case & is stumped by the fact that she looks like Durga Rani, a wanted criminal. So was it the same person or a dopple ganger & will Vidya wake up from her coma before it is too late???

    Sujoy Ghosh who had thrilled the audience four years back with “Kahaani” is back on the director’s seat for the sequel. In between he had directed the Radhika Apte starrer “Ahalya”, a short film which had wowed the audience with its thrilling script. In his latest venture as well, he has penned the script which takes up the disturbingly relevant topic of “child abuse”, that very few Bollywood movies has explored. Armed with a credible thread, Sujoy executes the first half of the movie excellently as it captures the attention of the audience & steadily builds towards an even more riveting latter half. Unfortunately that’s not what happens as the central theme gets sidelined & the movie culminates towards a predictable climax. The emotional trauma that the victim(s) goes through is barely touched upon & it is eventually turned into an attempt by Vidya to save her daughter in a rather passive manner unlike the prequel where she takes it upon herself to wreck havoc on her enemies. Tapan Basu has done a commendable job with the picturisation while Clinton Cereja’s music blends with the movie.

    Vidya Balan has rocked as the protagonist & plays both the parts with conviction though I cant help saying that the script couldnt do justice to her caliber. I would have to admit that I was pleasantly with Arjun Rampal’s performance as he has done his part pretty well & is provided adequate screen space to showcase his skills. Jugal Hansraj has been in the wilderness for quite a while & makes a comeback with a decent performance, though he was reduced to a mundane villain in the climax. As for the rest, Kharaj Mukherjee, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Tunisha Sharma etc have done their parts adequately.

    Verdict: The film will surely have a decent opening thanks to the response that the prequel had garnered. However, if the prequel had the word of mouth going in its favour in the subsequent weeks; that is unlikely to happen here which means the initial collections will be better but in the long run it will lag behind. The film had met the expectations in the first half, but in the latter half it spirals down to an ordinary thriller. In short, if you watch it without keeping the prequel as the benchmark, then you wont be disappointed!!!

    Rating: 2.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    December 05, 16