• Padman review: "Akki & Balki tackles a relevant social issue engagingly. Period!!!"

    Ever since GST was rolled out on Doctor’s day last year, it has received a lot of flak over the taxes imposed on various products. One such item of basic necessity happened to be the sanitary pads that was imposed a tax of 12% (marginally lower than the earlier 13.68%). In a country where only 12% of the women use pads, there needs to be more impetus on the part of every Govt in power to encourage menstrual hygiene & one such act will be to reconsider the tax on it.

    At the turn of the new millennium, Arunachalam Muruganantham, the social activist from Tamil Nadu decided to come up with an alternative for the costly sanitary pads. Incidentally, his life became the inspiration for R Balki’s latest movie “Padman”. Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) is a mechanic by profession who had recently married to Gayathri (Radhika Apte). Despite having discontinued his education, he was a master innovator & used it to good effect with interesting creations of his own. When Lakshmi realises that his wife puts herself to risk with unhygienic menstrual practices, he decides to solve the problem by making a low cost sanitary pad. However, it was much easier than done as his pad didnt have the deserved quality. In time, his obsession to perfect his creation virtually ostracizes him from his family and village. But he stuck on to his mission with unwavering determination & how he eventually manages to make people who ridiculed him sing praises about him forms the crux of the movie.

    Based on “The Sanitary Man of Sacred Land” by Twinkle Khanna, it is inspired as mentioned earlier from Arunachalam’s life. R Balki’s credentials as a director is well established with movies like “Cheeni Kum”, “Paa” etc to his credit. There is no doubt that making a movie on a social issue is not an easy task for the simple reason that it could turn out to be rather preachy. However, Balki & Swanand Kirkire has made sure that they kept the mood light wherever necessary with interesting sequences peppered throughout. They keep us engaged with the events that unfold & it was well picturised by P C Sreeram. Even Chandan Arora’s BGM & music tracks were in sync with the mood of the movie & deserves praise.

    The success of any movie lies in the hands of the audience & there is precious little that the artists can do except make sure that they always try to bring some novelty in their roles. This is exactly what Akki has been doing since the past couple of years with some wise & intelligent choice of movies. In his latest outing, he is brilliant as the protagonist as it keeps us invested in it. He has been given excellent support by Radhika Apte, who continues to impress in whatever role she appears. Even Sonam Kapoor who kinda overacts in most instances was fantastic.

    Verdict: This was supposed to be on a collision course with “Padmaavat”, but Akshay’s magnanimity meant that it’s release was postponed by a fortnight. Anywaz the decision has done both the movies a lot of good as evidenced by the box office numbers. After promotion of “Swach Bharat Abhiyaan” through “Toilet:Ek Prem Katha”, Akki has given a subtle promotion to “Make in India” through this. Kudos to both Balki & Akki for tackling a social issue both engagingly & realistically. In short, it deserves to be watched!!!

    Rating: 3.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    February 11, 18
  • Padmaavat review: "Impressive tribute....so why have the Karni Sena gone bonkers ???"

    Last couple of months had seen violence unleashed in various parts of the country over the release of “Padmaavat”. So much so, it had to be postponed by a month & required the involvement of the Supreme Court to hit the screens. Even then there has been no dearth of atrocities with one incident being the stones pelted on a school bus in Gurugram. Incidentally, ever since the project was announced, it had run into rough weather with the Karni Sena who assumed (by their own figment of imagination) that Sanjay Leela’s depiction of Rani Padmini wasnt accorded the honour it deserved. So were their arguments valid ???

    The film unfolds in the 13th century where Jalaluddhin Khilji (Raza Murad) puts an end to the Mamluk dynasty& establishes himself as the first ruler of the Khilji dynasty. He was assisted in his endeavours by his nephew and son-in-law. Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh). After Alauddin thwarts the Mongol invasion on the Delhi Sultanate & conducts an unsanctioned raid on Devagiri, his uncle rewards him with a slave Malik Kafur (Jim Sarbh). But Alauddin had his eyes on a bigger prize & kills his uncle to usurp the throne. In another part of the land, Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor) married the Singala princess Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) & brought her to Mewar. The news of her beauty & intelligence, travelled far & wide and it also reached the ears of Alauddin. As he always craved for unique creations, he decided to acquire Rani Padmini by any means possible. But the Rajput valour & honour was something he had not fathomed.

    Based on the epic poem “Padmavat” written in the 16th century by the Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi, the story is a concoction of fact & fiction. Even the historical authenticity of the events mentioned in the poem itself cant be verified as Jayasi himself had mentioned that he had made up the story and related it.Whatever might be the case, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made an excellent movie in terms of richness, elegance & sheer scale. But the plot as such is rather thin & the pace is sluggish at times. However, it still keeps us engrossed courtesy of Sanjay’s mastery over his craft & the build up as well as execution of jauhar in the climax deserves special praise.

    On the technical side, it is top notch in pretty much all the departments be it the visuals by Sudeep Chatterjee, costumes by Harpreet, Maxima, Chandrakant & Ajay or the art direction by Subrata Chakraborthy & Amit Ray. The BGM by Sanchit Balhara was in sync with the mood of the movie while the music tracks by Sanjay Leela were also decent. When it comes to performance, Ranveer Singh was brilliant as the flamboyant nasty no holds barred Khilji. Deepika Padukone has done an impressive job as well along with Shahid Kapoor. As for the rest, each & everyone of them have done justice to their roles.

    Verdict: Without a shadow of doubt, the film is a brilliant tribute to the valour & principles of the Rajput clan. I seriously fail to understand why Karni Sena is creating all this ruckus as the Rajputs & Rani Padmini are shown in the best way possible. Despite the restrictions, the film has fared decently at the box office & should continue to attract attention at the box office. In short, surely check it out!!!

    Rating: 3.5/5

    Regards…Ben

    January 28, 18
  • Tiger Zinda Hai review: "Salman roars to yet another blockbuster!!!"

    On the auspicious occasion of Xmas, I would like to wish each & everyone a peaceful & joyful festive season. Since there was hardly any movie that caught my eye in the past month, my blog was off the radar until this weekend. Being Xmas, a plethora of movies have released in all languages hoping to cash in on the extended weekend. The biggest release is undoubtedly from Khan, well it’s not Aamir (who invariably releases during this time) but rather Salman with “Tiger Zinda Hai”. It is the sequel to “Ek Tha Tiger” & Salman will be hoping that it will make amends for the abysmal “Tubelight”. Hmm…will the box-office go gaga???

    ISC was creating havoc in the Middle East under the leadership of Abu Usman (Sajjad Delfrooz) & all the nations were at a loss as to how to contain this terrorist organisation. ISC’s latest act of terrorism was to take 25 nurses (mostly Indian & Pakistani) as hostages & convert the Iqrit hospital in Iraq into their terrorist base. With negotiation virtually impossible with Abu, the US army decides to launch a drone attack on the hospital which would effectively decimate every living being in the vicinity. However, they agreed to hold off the attack for a week as the Indian Government through their RAW Chief Shenoy (Girish Karnad) had requested time to rescue the nurses. Since a mission of this magnitude had to be handled by the best, Shenoy gets in touch with his former agent Tiger (Salman Khan) who had vanished from the scene eight years back. Though Shenoy convinces Tiger to come out of retirement, will the latter be as ruthless as before especially with a family now ???

    Unlike the prequel, this is helmed by Ali Abbas Zafar who was last seen with “Sultan” which I personally consider as one of Salman’s finest performance. It is inspired from the actual hostage situation that had unfolded in 2014, which had earlier led to the brilliant “Take Off”. Being a Salman movie, you cant lament the fact that it belies logic after all “over the top” stuff is what he is known for. To be fair to Abbas, he has given what the audience expects with an all out action thriller. Though a shade too long, it remains true to being an action thriller with no unnecessary romantic scenes that impeded the pace in the prequel. The action sequences & Marcin’s visuals were awesome while Vishal Shekhar’s music was average.

    Tiger was a role that was tailor made for Salman with loads of action & ripping muscles. He has done utmost justice to the role & was given excellent support by Katrina who carried out her action sequences brilliantly as well. Sajjad was an apt choice as the antagonist which he performed impressively. There was a host of supporting artists as well such as Paresh Rawal, Kumud Mishra, Girish Karnad etc, all of whom have done their parts aptly.

    Verdict: Without a shadow of doubt, the audience will lap it up with glee making it yet another humongous blockbuster for Salman. It is a sure shot 250C at the box-office with the question being, how much will it eventually make. It’s an ideal choice for a bindaas time pass & if you know what to expect from a Salman movie, you can rest assured that you will be thoroughly entertained. So check it out for some high voltage action!!!

    Rating: 2.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    December 25, 17
  • Justice League review: "Despite clunky script & mediocre villain, it's still enjoyable!!!"

    Finally the eagerly awaited “Justice League”, the fifth installment in the DC Extended Universe is here. Just like millions of fans, I have been waiting to watch this ever since it was announced a couple of years back. However, I would have to admit that I was a touch concerned with the mixed reviews that I had come across. Anywaz I was really impressed with the trailer & that made me believe that Snyder will make amends for “Batman vs Superman”, which was horribly massacred on the editing board. So did the congregation of superheroes work for me???

    Time have passed since the death of Superman but the world still mourned for their beacon of hope. Even Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) didnt get over his guilt & kept a constant vigil to ensure that the planet was safe. He gets wind of an alien invasion when he happened to combat with a parademon & comes across mysterious pictorial depiction of three boxes in several places as well as in Lex Luthor’s journal. He reaches out to Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) for help & comes to learn that those were “Mother Boxes” of power. Incidentally Steppenwolf & his army of parademons were in pursuit of them which were under the guardianship of Amazoneans, Atlanteans & humans. In order to thwart Steppenwolf’s evil designs, Batman & Wonder Woman decides to form a league & sets out to recruit metahumans. They bring in Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen/Flash (Ezra Miller) & Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) into their team. But will they be able to stop Steppenwolf, who already had two boxes in his possession by the time they joined forces???

    As is evident for most of the people by now, the project is helmed by Zack Snyder who justifiably received a lot of flak for the “Batman vs Superman” debacle. Apart from calling the shots, he has also penned the script along with Academy Award winner Chris Terrio (for “Argo”). The plot as such lacks impact & way too many things are stuffed here which made it incohesive. Just as in the prequel, the mediocre editing is to blame for that as I presume the director’s cut will be much better. However, I felt the screenplay by Chris & Joss Whedon managed to improve the proceedings with some humorous sequences & team bonding. Since Snyder had to leave abruptly towards the end of production due to a personal tragedy, Joss was also in charge of the re-shoots (surprising considering he directed “Avengers”). Another major flaw was the choice of villain, which was neither intimidating nor threatening enough.

    In an movie like this, the overload of CGI is understandable but the quality wasnt quite upto the standard that we would have expected. As for the music by Danny Elfman, it left a lot to be desired. With regard to performances, Gal Gadot was awesome as ever (I might be biased) while Ezra Miller provides the light moments with his hilarious one liners. Jason Momoa rocked as the tattooed hunk with an attitude, Ray Fisher actually makes us empathize with his character while Ben Affleck was better. Henry Cavill was fine while Amy Adams & Diane Lane were completely wasted.

    Verdict: Despite the shortcomings, I personally enjoyed the movie & that is primarily due to the screenplay which brings a light mood to the proceedings when the team bonds. As of now, it has grossed close to $282M which is a decent figure though lower than BvS. However, if you ask me; in terms of entertainment, I would place it above BvS & lower than “Wonder Woman”. In short, it wont hurt to give it a try!!!

    Rating: 3/5

    Regards…Ben

    November 20, 17
  • Tumhari Sulu review: "Helloooo...Vidya delivers a smashing performance!!!"

    The much awaited weekend is finally here as “Justice League” have hit the screens to mixed reviews. Well I intend to watch it on Sunday & hopefully it will satiate my expectations. Anywaz another movie that had grabbed my attention was Vidya Balan’s “Tumhari Sulu”. Since she plays the protagonist, I didnt to have think twice as to whether I wanted to watch it or not. The trailer promised it to be a bindaas flick with oodles of laughter. So does it deliver what it promised???

    Sulochana aka Sulu (Vidya Balan) is a middle class housewife whose hallmark was her exuberance & confidence to take up any challenge. This was very much evident from the hoards of prizes that she had won from random competitions that she participated in. The latest prize that she had won was a pressure cooker from a radio station & as she went there to collect it, she happened to come across an ad calling for candidates who were interested to become a RJ. Despite having no prior experience, being the optimistic person that she is; she decides to give it a try. As always, her husband Ashok (Manav Kaul) was her pillar of support & urged her to pursue her ambitions. Her charismatic & “happy-go-lucky” nature lands her the job though it was a late night slot that she had to fill in. How she manages her job & household chores forms the crux of the movie.

    Scripted & directed by ad-man Suresh Triveni, the film gives us a slice of reality with the incidents that happens in the life of a middle class household. The best part was undoubtedly the husband-wife relationship, as both of them look out for each other & keeps their romance alive. It’s a feel good movie that doesnt delve too much into the problems that arise in Sulu’s life after she takes up the job. The tensions that her husband faces in his job & the problems that her son finds himself in at school, all of which affects the dynamics in their life. But Suresh has opted to wade over it & keeps the mood light throughout the whole 140 minutes. There are quite a few tracks in the movie that has been handled by many individuals, but my favourite was “Ban ja Rani” by Guru Randhawa. As for other technical aspects, all of them were aptly executed.

    Vidya is the heart & soul of the movie, & she has nailed her performance yet again. The way she expresses array of emotions with utmost ease makes her a delight to watch. Equally impressive was the performance of each & every artist irrespective of how brief their role was, as they have done utmost justice to their roles. Manav Kaul pleasantly surprised me with his act as I never thought he would be able to pull it off so effectively. Neha Dhupia continues to grab eyeballs whenever she is given a substantial role & hopefully more directors will cast her.

    Verdict: It might not a glitzy type of movie or one with mass heroes, but it is surely one that will entertain the audience. There is no doubt that it will have positive word of mouth in its favour & should be able to make decent collection at the box-office. In short, do check it out for Vidya & her exuberance!!!

    Rating: 3/5

    Regards…Ben

    November 18, 17
  • Qarib Qarib Singlle review: "Engaging rom-com showcased over a road trip!!!"

    Over the years we have had numerous Malayalam movies being remade in Hindi which has fared satisfactorily at the box-office. However, not many technicians from the Malayalam industry has been able to make a mark in Bollywood except for a few like Priyadarshan, Sabu Cyril etc. It’s even tougher for an artist to break into Bollywood, which is the reason why very few appear in more than a single movie. In recent times, Padmapriya appeared in “Chef” & this week we have Parvathy in Tanuja Chandra’s “Qarib Qarib Singlle” along with the dependable Irrfan Khan. To be frank, they did seem like an odd couple at first glance & it remains to be seen whether their combination will endear to the audience???

    Jaya (Parvathy) is a widow who has been single for quite a while that her friends tells her that she must have turned virgin. She was rather unsure as to whether she wanted to be in a relationship again but decided to give it a try courtesy through an online dating site. This led to her meeting up with Yogi (Irrfan Khan), a rather loud, instinctive, no holds barred type of character who considered himself a worthy Urdu poet. In simple words, their personalities were pretty much like chalk & cheese. As expected, Jaya wasnt keen to take it beyond their first meeting but Yogi’s charm & her urge to meet his exes whom he claimed still loved him, makes her embark on a journey with him. Little did they realise that it was a journey towards their self discovery.

    Tanuja Chandra is a well known director who has been off the radar for quite a while. However, mention of movies like “Dushman” & “Sangharsh” gives us ample proof about her capabilities. Her latest venture is about two charmingly different mature individuals finding each other in the premise of a road trip. Over the course of their trip from Hardwar to Jaipur & finally to Gangtok, we are hooked onto the manner in which their equation with each other changes. Kudos for that goes to the script by Tanuja’s mother. Kamna who has movies like “Chandni” ,”1942-A Love Story” etc to her credit. Equally impressive was the screenplay & dialogues by Ghazal Dhaliwal. With regard to other technical aspects, all of them were fine especially the music by Rochak Kohli & Vishal Mishra which was soothing to the ears & didnt impede the flow of the movie.

    As usual, Irrfan was brilliant as the loud Yogi coz in the hands of a lesser artist; it would have come across as rather artificial & superficial. This makes it really difficult for his co-star to match upto him, but Parvathy (whose acting credentials in Malayalam & Tamil speaks volumes about her) matched him step to step in pretty much all the sequences. As for the rest, they have done their parts aptly in their brief screen space they were allotted.

    Verdict: It is undoubtedly one of the finest rom-coms in recent times as the characters endears to the audience. An impressive script & odd looking couple enacted by brilliant performers, makes it a winner for ones who loves normal relatable movies. It is not a money spinning mass flick but you can rest assured you will be entertained. In short, do check it out!!!

    Rating: 3/5

    Regards…Ben

    November 13, 17
  • Thor: Ragnarok review: "Both the audience & producers will be in splits!!!"

    Just a fortnight more before the much awaited “Justice League” hits the screens, but before DC could make their move; Marvel has come out with the sequel of the “Thor” series. This is the 17th movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe & as per the weekend collection reports, it has taken the box-office by storm. To be frank, I have been so engrossed in the build up towards “Justice League”, that the Marvel trailer didnt quite blow my socks off. However, when I checked it out; I have to admit it was indeed the most hilarious Marvel movie to date.

    A couple of years have passed since the battle of Sokovia & Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was imprisoned by the fire demon, Surtur in Asgard. The God of Thunder manages to escape from the clutches of Surtur, who claimed that Asgard will be destroyed in the prophesied Ragnarok when his crown was put into the Eternal Fire. Thor averts the impending doom (or so he believed) & goes in search of his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) along with his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Based on what Surtur had said & with the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they locate their father on Earth. It is then Odin reveals to his sons, that he is dying which in turn will lead to the rise of his daughter Hela (Cate Blanchett). She had fought shoulder to shoulder with him on various conquests but her evil designs made him imprison her. As he predicted, his demise releases Hela from prison & she lands in Asgard to claim the throne. Both Thor & Loki are forced to flee from there as their efforts to stop her proved futile & they end up on the planet Sakaar where the former gets imprisoned by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). How Thor escapes from there & forms a team along the lines of Avengers, to rescue Asgard forms the crux of the story.

    As in the case of the prequels, the latest edition of “Thor” is directed by yet another individual, who happens to be Taika Waititi. The Kiwi is known for his horror comedy “What we do in the Shadows” (which I havent watched) & has brought that humorous streak to this venture. It turned out to be the USP of the movie as the screenplay by Eric Pearson was hilarious from the start to the end. The general mood of the movie was along the lines of “Deadpool” & it would be fair to say that it would totally entertain the audience. In terms of the plot, it’s pretty engaging though the highlight definitely is the interactions between the characters such as Thor, Hulk etc. All the technical aspects were top notch & each and every individual in charge deserves praise.

    Chris Hemsworth was awesome as he embraced the humour element with ease & gives a smashing performance. His partner in crime, Mark Ruffalo aced his part as Taika utilised him effectively by giving us ample exposure to both Banner & Hulk. Tom Hiddleston was rather underused, though in the opportunity provided he has done justice. Cate Blanchett was a natural for the role while Jeff Goldblum rocked as the Grandmaster. Among others, Tessa Thompson was fine while Taika’s portrayal of Korg was a scream.

    Verdict: There are no two words about it, except that it is an absolute entertainer. The plot as such might not seem too heavy. but when you have a screenplay as engaging; there isnt much to complain. In short, dont miss it!!!

    Rating: 4.25/5

    Regards…Ben

    November 07, 17
  • Ittefaq review: "Sluggish early on but finishes impressively!!!"

    November is here & this month boasts of some impressive movies lined up that I have been eagerly looking forward to for quite a while. Among them is “Ittefaq” which has hit the screens this weekend & has got Akshaye Khanna in the lead along with Siddharth Malhotra & Sonakshi Sinha. Interestingly, it is produced by SRK & Karan Johar among others; & from the looks of it, it seems like a stylized murder mystery. So will it do justice to the genre that it proclaims & give our money’s worth???

    The story unfolds on a rainy Mumbai night with the police hot on the heels of Vikram Sethi (Siddharth Malhotra), acclaimed writer based in Britain; for the suspected murder of his wife. He had flown down to Mumbai along with his wife for the launch of his second book, but before that event could materialize, his wife gets murdered in the hotel. Naturally Vikram was the prime suspect & that argument bore weight when he evade the polices. He eventually meets with an accident & seeks shelter in an upscale apartment which belonged to the lawyer, Shekhar & his wife, Maya (Sonakshi Sinha). Soon enough, the police tracks him down & discover Shekhar being murdered in the residence. The case was entrusted upon Inspector Dev Verma (Akshaye Khanna) & he had to solve both the murders in the span of three days. Even though, the initial circumstantial evidence painted Vikram to be the culprit; it wasnt exactly an open & shut case especially since both Vikram & Maya narrated different versions as to what transpired in the apartment. So were both the murders mere coincidence or was it connected???

    The project has been helmed by debutant Abhay Chopra, who as some of you guys might have suspected belongs to the famed Chopra lineage. So it’s quite natural for him to be influenced by his accomplished relatives which might be the reason why he had decided to remake Yash Chopra’s (uncle) “Ittefaq” (1969). The basic premise is the same except for a couple of changes that Abhay has incorporated in the screenplay. Even though it has a running time of just 107 minutes, the early part is rather sluggish as the script fails to impart the urgency. However, the latter half picks up the pace & culminates in a predictable yet thrilling climax. Michal Luka’s frames were exquisite while Nithin Baid’s editing could have been crisper.

    Akshaye Khanna was fantastic as the cop which he underplays it convincingly both in his body language & dialogue delivery. The same cant be said about the other two leads namely Siddharth & Sonakhi. The former looked rather unsure early on & lacked conviction, but from the second half onwards he was bang on in conveying his emotions. However, Sonakshi’s role didnt quite have any variations which meant it was a rather one dimensional performance that wont make the audience connect.

    Verdict: The genre & lack of huge stars, invariably means it will be a slow mover at the box office. Whatever it manages to garner will be solely based on whether the audience were hooked onto the murder mystery. Frankly speaking, it’s a movie that deserves praise for the effort it has gone into it as it will surely interest the audience for large parts. In short, give it a try!!!

    Rating: 2.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    November 04, 17
  • Secret Superstar review: "One of the finest portrayal of mother-daughter relationship!!!"

    Whenever we talk about Aamir Khan movies, we invariably associate it to be a creation that breeds quality. This is exactly the reason why his movies which appears once in a couple of years are received with much fanfare & expectations across the globe. His last release was “Dangal” which smashed all Bollywood box office collection records. However, his latest release “Secret Superstar” which is bank rolled by his production house has him in a supporting role. The trailer & the music has been impressive and with Aamir involved in the project the expectations are nigh high.

    Insia Malik (Zaira Wasim) is a 10th grade student with a passion for music who resided in Vadodara with her family. She dreamt of becoming a singer & with the talent that she possessed it wasnt a dream that was impossible to achieve. With a loving mother, Najma (Meher Vij) who constantly encouraged her & a doting younger brother, it felt like she had the freedom to pursue her dreams. But it was easier said than done, especially with an abusive father who lost his temper at the smallest of reasons & inflicted physical torture on his wife. Since her father detested her musical leanings, she decides to upload her music videos on Youtube under the name “Secret Superstar” as she was clad in a burqa so that her identity remained unknown. In due time, her videos became viral & she received offers from the music industry to become a playback singer. But will she have the courage to reveal her identity lest her father knows about it???

    This is the directorial debut of Advait Chandan after having served assistant for projects like “Dhobi Ghat” etc. He had taken on the responsibility of penning the script as well which focused on the bond between mother & daughter against the backdrop of dreams & domestic abuse. Despite the presence of a huge star like Aamir Khan, the director made sure that the focus is on Zaira & how along with Meher they tide over the challenges in their lives. Almost all the tracks by Amit Trivedi was in sync with the proceedings & didnt seem like a sore thumb at any point, with “Nachdi Phira” rendered by Meghna Mishra being my personal favourite. Equally praise worthy were the lyrics by Kausar Munir while Anil Mehta’s visuals were fine as well.

    Both Meher Vij & Zaira Wasim were equally brilliant & it would be hard to choose between the two. They have done utmost justice to their roles as their performance endears to our heart. They were adequately supported by Raj Arjun as Insia’s father while Tirth Sharma (as Chintan) & Kabir Sajid (as Guddu) were excellent. Last but not the least, what do I say about Aamir Khan??? This guy is an absolute legend & brings his A-game whatever might be the role that he takes up. He was fantastic as Shakti Kumar, the arrogant lecherous conceited yet harmless music director with a heart of gold.

    Verdict: This is undoubtedly one of the finest movies that had been picturised on the bond shared between a mother & daughter. It might not take the box-office by storm as it is not a flashy entertainer. The protagonist’s path towards stardom might seem a tad too easy but you can rest assured that the screenplay will moisten your eyes & also bring a smile to your lips. In short dont miss it!!!

    Rating: 3.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    October 22, 17
  • Newton review: "Clash between idealism & realism makes it an apt choice for Oscar!!!"

    Diwali, the festival of lights is here & the film industry will be hoping to make hay when the sun shines with the release of big banner movies across the length & breadth of the country. Hence there werent any significant releases last weekend & the only programmes on Tv that caught my fancy was the Shanghai Masters & the Celebrity Classico. It was then that I recollected an article about a fortnight back which mentioned “Newton” as India’s entry for the Oscars. Even though it’s been a while since it released, I thought to write about it as I am sure many of my friends wouldn’t have watched it.

    Newton aka Nutan Kumar (Rajkummar Rao) is a green horned government clerk who wore his honesty as a badge of honour. He was assigned the position of presiding officer entrusted with the task of conducting elections in one of the polling station located in the jungle of Chattisgarh. As it was in the Naxal hotbed region, it was always going to be a uphill task that Newton soon realised much to his dismay. Neither did the natives had any clue about the candidates or the election procedure nor were they keen to vote as they feared backlash from the Naxalites. Even the security force led by Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) didnt seem so enthusiastic with the idea of election though he made arrangements for Newton & his team. In such adverse circumstances, was it even possible to conduct a fair & free election???

    Directed by Amit Masurkar, “Newton” is a political satire that has been making headlines in the last couple of months bagging awards at Berlinale 2017 & Hong Kong International Film Festival. It is his second venture after Sulemani Keeda which by the way I havent watched. Apart from direction, he had also penned the script while Mayank Tewari had assisted him in the screenplay. It was liberally sprinkled with humour but not at the cost of trivializing or mocking the realities . The main thread is the question whether the democratic process of election that we are all proud of is actually as fair as we believe it be. It throws light on the plight on tribals & downtrodden who dont see any change in their lives irrespective of whoever comes to power as they are virtually shoved around by the Naxalites & the security forces. Kudos to Masurkar for the brilliant casting which has enhanced the overall impact.

    We never associate music which such type of movies but both the tracks by Rachita Arora were soulful with the lyrics by Irshad Kamil & Varun Grover deserving praise. Even though it runs for just 106 minutes, some portions does lag quite a bit that Shweta Mathew ought to have taken care of. As far as performances are concerned, Rajkummar Rao continues to blow us away with his acting skills. Whatever might be the role, this dude just brings his A game to the table each & every time. Equally praise worthy were the performances by Pankaj Tripathi (who is on a roll this year), Anjali Patil, Raghubir Yadav & Sanjay Mishra.

    Verdict: Being a low budget movie, it has already reaped profits at the box office. But it deserves to been seen by even more people as it is an eye opener to the election process in conflict regions. It might be a tad slow for quite a few especially in the latter half but you can rest assured that it is definitely worth the time spent. In short, dont miss it!!!

    Rating: 3.5/5

    Regards…Ben

    October 18, 17
  • Chef review: "Falls short of being a mouth watering delicacy!!!"

    Food has an undeniable part in Indian culture as it occupies centre stage whatever might be the occasion be it everyday life, weddings or festivals. Being a foodie, I have always loved to sample various cuisines & thanks to Mom, I would consider my culinary skills to be quite good. This is the very reason why I love reality shows like “Masterchef Australia” & look upto Chefs like Heston Blumenthal, Marco Pierre White, Jamie Oliver to name a few. So when Saif’s “Chef” was released this weekend, I was excited to check it out despite being a remake. Hmm….will it be able to whet our appetite???

    Roshan Kalra (Saif Ali Khan) is a three Michelin star chef who worked at an upscale restaurant in New York. But the spark that had elevated him to this position had diminished & it started to show in his food as well. When one of the customers did question the quality of his food, he loses his cool & ended up losing his job. On the advice of his friend, he returns to India to visit his son Arman (Svar Kamble) & ex-wife Radha (Padmapriya) in Cochin. It is at this time that the idea of a food truck is mooted by Radha’s friend Biju (Milind Soman) which Roshan doesnt buy into initially. However, it seemed like an ideal opportunity to re-discover his passion for food & spent quality with his son.

    As mentioned earlier, this is the official remake of Jon Fraveau’s “Chef” & Raja Krishna Menon had taken on the task. He is best known for “Airlift” though he had garnered critical acclaim for his debut venture “Barah Aana” as well. In his latest effort, he deserves praise for the apt casting but his direction left a lot to be desired, The biggest flaw is undoubtedly the lack of highlight on the food which was surprising especially since that was meant to be a character as well. Anywaz brownie points for capturing the father-son relationship realistically. Priya Seth has done a fine job with the cinematography while Raghu Dixit & Amaal Mallik has given us decent tracks.

    Saif Ali Khan has done a fantastic job as the chef going through a crisis & seemed a natural for the role. Padmapriya has always been a fine performer but for the people in the North, she is a new face & will surely be impressed by her performance. Svar Kamble was both adorable & talented while Mr. Ironman Milind Soman deserves praise for his brief role. Each & every artist in this movie have done their parts aptly which has gone a long way in elevating the movie that has been let down by the script.

    Verdict: It’s the kind of movie that is unlikely to create waves at the box office & would appeal only to the urban audience. Even then, it doesnt quite match upto the original nor with other excellent food based movies that we have such as “The Lunchbox”, “Ustaad Hotel”, “Nala Damayanthi” etc. It had the potential to become a mouth watering delicacy, but is let down by a rather bland script. Despite that, you can give it a try as it is definitely a feel good movie!!!

    Rating: 2.5/5

    Regards…Ben

    October 08, 17
  • "Kangana nails her role though the screenplay doesnt quite!!!"

    This weekend could be termed as the week of “Girl Power” as we had Sindhu making the nation proud with her exploits at the Korean Super Series. Even in Bollywood, we have a women centric movie with Kangana Ranaut, the reigning queen in the lead. There were numerous controversies leading to the release of the movie with regard to her statements on her male counterparts & nepotism. Whatever might be the case, the trailer of “Simran” seems to convey that it is going to be yet another gem from Kangana. With Hansal Mehta calling the shots, the quality of the movie wont be in question. But will it be able to satiate the audience???

    Praful Patel (Kangana Ranaut) is a divorced, independent Gujarati female who worked in the hospitality industry in Atlanta. As her parents constantly nagged her to get hitched, she has been on the lookout for a suitable apartment where she could move into. After years of hard work, she finally managed to hoard sufficient savings along with a loan from the bank that would enable her to get a place of her choice. But before she could seal the deal, she goes on to Sin City with her cousin. Just like it has happened to many, she loiters into the casino & gets hooked onto the dealer’s table once she starts winning. Hoping to cash in on more money, she gambles the next day as well & that’s when reality hits her hard as she looses whatever she had including the deposit to her apartment. Her desperation to win it back makes her borrow money from a loan shark. Little did she realise that she was in an absolute quagmire which would change her life forever.

    Hansal Mehta’s credentials as a director is well established with movies like “Aligarh”, “Shahid”, “City Lights” etc to his credit. His latest venture is loosely based on Sandeep Kaur aka “Bombshell Bandit”, a Punjabi Sikh nurse who is presently serving jail time in the US for robbing several banks. The story by Apurva Asrani as such is interesting especially the complex character of Kangana that is intriguing, childish & crazy all rolled into one. But his screenplay falters in the second half, as the robbery, police investigation & climax seemed rather silly & preposterous. All the technical aspects has been handled adequately be it Anuj Rakesh’s cinematography, Antara Lahiri’s editing & Sachin Jigar’s music.

    Coming to performances, it was a one woman show with Kangana being absolutely brilliant. Her goofiness in Vegas reminded me of Mr. Bean which was spot on. Equally impressive was her ability to convey her vulnerability & establishes her position as one of the finest actresses in the industry. Since the story basically revolved around her, none of the other characters barely got much screen space but even then Sohum Shah as Sameer deserves praise along with characters like Praful’s parents & the bar attender in Vegas.

    Verdict: Well it’s not a type of movie that will be lapped up by the masses but it will have the urban audience interested. There is no doubt that the film has flaws in the screenplay just like the protagonist. But if you ask me, Kangana’s performance definitely makes it worth watching. In short, do check it out!!!!

    Rating: 2.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    September 18, 17
  • Last couple of days has been rather eventful with the Supreme Court passing the judgement that triple talaq is illegal, the Solar eclipse over the US & Nadal back to World No.1. Even I was quite busy with work commitments that I didnt quite find the time to pen down my thoughts about ‘Bareilly ki Barfi”. In normal circumstances, I wouldnt have bothered to write the review since it’s been in the theatres for more than half a week. But I would have to admit, I was pretty entertained by it & as it doesnt have huge stars there is a good chance that many of my friends would have skipped or even be unaware about it. Hence I felt I should give you my opinion as to why it is worth a try.

    As the title indicates, the story unfolds in the bustling small town of Bareilly where Bitti Sharma (Kriti Sanon), a strong opinionated free spirited girl lived who was quite unlike other girls in the area. So much so, her mother (Seema Bhargava) constantly worried about the prospects of her daughter getting married off in the traditional manner. On the other hand, her father (Pankaj Tripathi), who ran a sweet shop gave his approval to all her crazy antics. None of the prospective grooms gave her the impression that they were ready to embrace her for the person that she was, until she stumbled across a novel called “Bareilly ki Barfi”. Incidentally, the girl mentioned in the book had her same traits which made her decide to meet the author Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkkumar Rao). But all her efforts to locate him drew blank & therefore she sought the help of Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurana), the publisher of the book who was said to know about his whereabouts. However, she was oblivious of the fact that Chirag was indeed the author. So why was Pritam being credited as the author???

    The creator of this hilarious rom com is Aswiny Iyer Tiwari, who had made an impressive debut with “Nil Battey Sannata” that was critically acclaimed far & wide. She was aided in her task by her husband Nitesh Tiwari (of “Dangal” fame) who along with Shreyas Jain & Rajat Nonia had penned the script. It was sprinkled with humorous dialogues & situational comedy which was both realistic and in sync with the region where the story is based.Personally speaking, I absolutely loved the speech in the climax which kinda reminded me of Aamir in “Dil Chahta Hai”. There are hardly much twists & turns making it fairly predictable.All the personnel involved in the technical aspects have done their jobs well.

    Frankly, I never thought Kriti Sanon would be able to do justice to the feisty character of Bitti as it seemed like a role which was up Kangana’s alley. But she aced it in style along with Ayushmann who portrayed the forlorn lover as well as the grey shades in Chirag convincingly. But the star of the show is undoubtedly Rajkkumar Rao who was brilliant in the two avatars that he appeared. Equal praise needs to be vested upon Pankaj Tripahi, Seema Bhargava & Rohit Choudhary who have done utmost justice to their roles & also to Javed Akhtar’s narration which made the viewing experience all the more enjoyable.

    Verdict: Undoubtedly one of the finest rom coms to have come out from Bollywood. Many a time, good movies do get overlooked due to the lack of star power. Hopefully this doesnt turn out to be one & therefore in case, you guys havent watched it; it wont hurt to give a try!!!

    Rating: 3.25/5

    Regards…Ben

    August 24, 17
  • "Impressive satire that gets constipated towards the end!!!"

    As we step foot into the 71st year of Independence, we are at the cusp of becoming the next global economic powerhouse. But we fail to reach our potential as there are many areas where we are still stuck in the medieval period. At times, it is due to the Governments in power while at most instances it’s due to the lackadaisical attitude of the population . One such problem that has plagued the country is lack of hygienic toilet practices & this issue is presented as a satire in “Toilet-Ek Prem Katha”. The trailer was interesting & with Akki in the lead, there are high hopes about the project. So will it quell the dry spell at the box office after all Bollywood hardly had any big hits this year???

    Keshav (Akshay Kumar) is the 36 year old son of a hard liner Brahmin, Panditji (Sudhir Pandey) who was the proprietor of a cycle shop. So dogmatic was his father, that Keshav was forced to marry a buffalo to ward off the ‘maanglik’ effect that was believed to have delayed his marriage. To add to his woes, his father was adamant that he should be married to a female who had polydactyly to ensure that he had a peaceful life. Around this time, he meets Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar) a state topper & with time, they enter into a relationship. He comes up with an ingenious idea to fool his father into believing that Jaya had an extra finger which paves the way for their marriage. But this was hardly a problem, until Jaya realizes that Keshav’s house doesn’t have a toilet & she would have to go with the ‘lota party” in the wee hours to empty her bowels. She was livid about it & Keshav had to come up with an idea to resolve the problem lest she walks out on him.

    It’s not surprising that Shree Narayanan Singh is a relatively unknown name after all he only has a forgetful “Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai” to his credit as a director. However, with his latest venture he will be heard with more regularity as he has done a fine job with the execution of the satire for large portions of the movies though it falters towards the end. Inspired from real life characters such as Anita Narre & Priyanka Bharti (you would have see her in the Vidya Balan UNICEF Total Sanitation ad); it has been scripted by Siddharth Singh & Garima Wahal. The predicament that Akshay finds himself in & the ‘jugaad’ that he comes up with evokes laughs. The manner in which the movie tackles the core issue is hilarious & thought provoking, but the hurried climax seemed rather unconvincing & kinda misses the mark as it stretched a tad too long. Despite his praise worthy credentials as a editor in movies like “A Wednesday”, “Baby” , “M. S Dhoni” etc.; he has come up short here as it ought to have been trimmed much more efficiently. Anshuman Mahaley has done a commendable job in maintaining the rustic feel while the music which was done by a host of artists were satisfactory.

    Over the past couple of years, Akshay’s choice of movies has been nothing short of brilliant whether it hits the mark or not. His conscious effort to dabble with various genres be it comedy, social issues, action etc., makes him the actor that I most look forward to (apart from Aamir). He was fantastic as Keshav especially in the marriage scenes where he does goofy stuff that made me almost fall off the seat laughing. Equally impressive was Bhumi who portrayed the fiesty spirit & romantic avatar with ease. It’s hard to say who hasnt aced their part as each & every artist has done utmost justice to their roles be it Sudhir Pandey, Anupam Kher, Divyendu Sharma etc.

    Verdict: The box collections at the end of the opening weekend stands at an impressive 51 C, which gives ample proof that if the content is good then the audience will lap it up. Even as our nation talks about going digital, the stats shows us that close to 45% of our population still dont use toilets even when the authorities offer to build it. From time to time, we have had movies with strong messages; but I sincerely hope that this one will atleast make people make a conscious effort to deter from open defecation. In short, dont miss this hilarious satire!!!

    Rating: 3/5

    Regards…Ben

    August 15, 17
  • Jab Harry met Sejal review: "Wish they never met!!!"

    On the occasion of Friendship Day, I would like to tell to all my buddies that I do cherish the support & brotherhood that we have shared over the years. As Aristotle said “friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies”. Even as this weekend that celebrated companionship, it also saw the release of Imtiaz Ali”s “Jab Harry met Sejal” with King Khan & Anushka Sharma as the lead pair. With such a deadly combination, the expectations are nigh high, but will it be a milestone in Bollywood’s array of romantic movies???

    Harinder Singh aka Harry (SRK) is a tourist guide in Europe, who is adept at his work but emotionally disturbed with memories from the past haunting him. His latest assignment was with a Gujarati family who were dropped off at the airport at the end of the tour. But before Harry could leave the airport, Sejal (Anushka Sharma) a member from that team stayed back & sought his help to find her engagement ring that she had lost during the tour. Though reluctant, he was eventually coaxed into helping her when she threatened him of complaining to the agency. Thus begins their search for the ring across the length & breadth of the continent.

    It’s been a couple of years since we had a movie from Imtiaz Ali, with the last one being “Tamasha”. I have been a fan of his brand of film making which invariably focused on his distinct take on romance that is expressed through self discovery in a travelogue setup. As in the case of his previous ventures, he has scripted this one as well & it deals with the same topic. The biggest flaw with the movie is the script itself as it seemed more like a travelogue of exotic locations with scant regard for the characters. To put it bluntly, hardly anything happens in this 144 minute drag fest. The one aspect that deserve brownie points is the cinematography & kudos to K U Mohanan for it. The same applies to the stylist as well, who made sure that the protagonists looked good together. As for the music, there were way too many songs; some of which were forcibly inserted into the proceedings. Unfortunately for Pritam, none of his tracks actually registers while I wont out the blame of Aarti Bajaj’s mediocre editing solely on her.

    In recent times, SRK hasnt been able to juggle up the numbers at the box office in proportion to his star appeal. So is it because of his acting skills or choice of scripts? From my point of view, even though he isnt the most gifted artist around; he is beyond doubt the most charming one. To be fair to him, I actually feel his performance has been impressive in recent times (“Dear Zindagi”, “Raees” & “Fan”) but his choice of scripts has been pathetic for large parts. Even Harry will go down as one such misfire where the script slips worse than a banana skin. Anushka does capture our attention with her histrionics, though it seemed artificial & over the top at various instances.

    Verdict: As per box office reports, “JHMS” was one of SRK’s worst opening in recent times. It might sound harsh to the makers, but it’s a welcome sign that more & more people are giving importance to content rather than the artists involved. With a rather non-existent script, this is more like a travelogue that you can watch in the confines of the cool theatre. In terms of the emotional baggage that is portrayed (no semblance to the story at all), it felt like the inferior sibling of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”. In short, taking cue from their tagline “this movie is definitely not what we seek”!!!

    Rating: 1.75/5

    Regards…Ben

    August 06, 17
  • "Hardly worthwhile apart from the controversial hype!!!"

    One of the biggest blemishes in Independent India was the Emergency imposed during the period of 1975-77 by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed on the behest of the PM Indira Gandhi. The mastermind behind this decision was said to be Sanjay Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru dynasty & it was a curb on all sort of freedom of the citizens, not to forget the forced sterilization of men. Madhur Bhandarkar’s films have always focused on the vices & virtues of various industries be it “Fashion”, “Page 3” etc. This time around he has turned his attention to Emergency & it remains to be seen whether he has given an unbiased account of events???

    The protagonist of the movie is an orphan Indu (Kirti Kulhari) who suffered from a congenital stammer. It proved to be a hindrance during her days at the orphanage as many potential parents refused to adopt her. In time, she grew up to be an educated lady with a flair for poetry though her ultimate wish was to get married & settle down. However, her stammer was too big a problem for many prospective grooms & their mothers. But destiny finally smiled on her as she got married to a civil servant, Navin Sarkar (Tota Roy Chowdhury) who was the go-to man of a prominent minister in the Government. It was around this time that Emergency was imposed, which made Indu witness to many unsavoury events. How it brings about a change in her attitude forms the crux of the movie.

    Madhur Bhandarkar’s credentials as a director needs no introduction as it is well documented with some classic films. But it’s been quite a while since his movies have made an impact at the box office which is understandable as most of them were abysmal. This track record is unlikely to change for his latest venture as well as his script doesnt offer anything substantial rather than just barely skim through some of the prominent events. Despite the uncanny similarities to prominent political figures, he refrains from using their names & reduces them to typical Bollywood villains, rather than attempt to make it into a thrilling political drama.

    On the positive side, credit ought to be given for the casting; as the choice of artists was impressive & they have delivered as well. Kirti Kulhari continues her fine form from “Pink” & was spot on with her portrayal of the protagonist. Tota Roy. Sheeba Chadha (as Mekhla) & Manav Vij (as Inspector Sodhi) have done justice to their roles. Neil Nitin Mukesh could have been the doppelganger of Sanjay Gandhi but he was handicapped by being reduced to a stereotypical Bollywood villain.

    Verdict: Apart from the clever choice of words for the title, there is hardly anything worthwhile contrary to what the trailer conveyed. There was ample scope for a riveting political drama but what we get is mundane stuff. However, kudos to the sincere effort of the artists though the same cant be said about Madhur. In short, wont hurt to give it a miss!!!

    Rating: 2.25/5

    Regards…Ben

    August 01, 17
  • "Typical run of the mill though it does evoke laughs!!!"

    Hilarious comedies has been far & few in recent times for reasons best known to film makers. Invariably, majority of the so called “comedies” that hits the screens are inundated with sexual innuendos. I would have laughed at some of the jokes though frankly speaking, I am not a huge fan of such comedies. This week saw the release of Anees Bazmee’s “Mubarakan” which was in the news as it featured the first reel collaboration between uncle Anil Kapoor & nephew Arjun Kapoor. So will it be as hilarious as some of his previous ventures???

    Karan & Charan (Arjun Kapoor) were twins who were orphaned in their infancy when their parents met with an accident. They were then raised by their aunt & uncle, with Karan in London under the care of Jitto (Ratna Pathak Shah) & Charan with Balvinder (Pavan Malhotra) in Punjab. Both of them grow up to become handsome hunks & Jitto decides to fix Charan’s alliance with Bickle (Athiya Shetty), daughter of Sandhu, a rich industrialist. Since Charan was already in a relation with Nafisa (Neha Sharma), he sought the help of his uncle Kartar Singh (Anil Kapoor) to somehow get out of the proposal. But instead of solving the issue, the situation got messier by the minute.

    It’s been a while since Bazmee had a release with his previous one being the forgetful “Welcome Back” a couple of years back. It’s common knowledge that Bollywood does struggle to make movies that belong to the comedy genre without going under the belt. In that respect, this one stands out though its plot is neither unique nor executed in a fresh manner. But there are a number of sequences that will genuinely make us laugh. However, it is awfully long & Rameshwar Bhagat ought to have cut it short by half an hour. None of the other technical aspects deserves mention.

    Arjun might be the protagonist, but it’s his uncle Anil who walks with the applause courtesy of his comic timing & buffoonery. Equally impressive were Ratna Pathak & Pavan Malhotra, who shoulders many of the scenes expertly. Arjun has done a decent job though there is much scope for improvement. As for the female leads, Ileana is spirited, Athiya didnt have much to do while Neha was given a raw deal.

    Verdict: It’s been a while since we had a comedy movie which should work in its favour as it ticks that box. For a weekend spent out with family, this movie will be an ideal choice to lift the spirits. In short, it wont become a money spinner for Bazmee but you my give it a try !!!

    Rating; 2.25/5

    Regards…Ben

    July 30, 17
  • "Non linearity at its best as Nolan beckons Oscar!!!

    Over the years, Hollywood has had some extraordinary directors such as Hitchcock, Spielberg, Lucas, Ridley Scott, Tarantino etc etc. But one person who has absolutely fascinated me with each of his films is Christopher Nolan. I became his fan with “Memento” & since then he has never ceased to surprise the audience with his craft. On the contrary, he kept setting the bar higher & higher. So when the trailer of his war thriller “Dunkirk” hit the screens just before Xmas, it created an unprecedented hype & anticipation. Is it indeed one of the greatest war movie ever made???

    As the name suggests, it is about the evacuation of the British forces who were stranded on the beach of Dunkirk in France during WWII. The enemy (interestingly not even once, Germany is mentioned) was unleashing hell on the 400,000 soldiers who were virtually sitting ducks on the beach. The movie moves in a non linear pattern with three separate tracks, each of which focuses on land, water & air respectively. The first track happens over a week & is about a young British soldier Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) who had managed to reach the beach alive & was trying to find a vessel which would take him home. With the Royal Navy ships coming under heavy fire, they opt to command private boats for evacuation. Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) joins the mission but rather than wait for the Navy, he sets sail on his own with his son Peter (Tom Glynn) & his friend, George (Barry Keoghan). This track unfolds over a day while the third segment happens over an hour in the sky. The Royal Airforce spitfire fighters which included Farrier (Tom Hardy) tried to keep the airspace clear to provide a safe passage for the rescue boats.

    Apart from donning the director’s hat, Nolan has penned this brilliant script as well. The beauty of the movie is that even though there are very few dialogues, the impact that is able to create on the audience is unbelievable. He has weaved all the three segments so well that even though there are difference in time duration, we dont feel it at all. All the technical aspects are brilliant & so realistic especially the aerial sequences that we actually feel we are on the fighter planes, kudos to Hoyte’s breath taking visuals. Another major factor that elevated the viewing experience to a whole different level was Hans Zimmer’s music which instills chills & goose bumps in equal measure.

    As far as performances are concerned, each & every actor has done utmost justice to their roles. Tom Hardy with his mask on reminded me of Bane from “The Dark Knight Rises” but that didnt handicap him as his expressions conveys the emotions effectively. The same applies to Kenneth Branagh as Commander Bolton, Mark Rylance & Tom Glynn as well.

    Verdict: It is undoubtedly one of the greatest war movies ever made which is more than reason enough not to miss this gem. Even without the gory scenes that is part & parcel of movies in this genre, it still manages to keep us on the edge of our seats. In short, just rush to your nearest theatre if you havent done it till now!!!

    Rating: 4.5/5

    Regards…Ben

    July 23, 17
  • "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