• This is such a landmark film to come out of Bollywood. A woman’s journey from being dumped on the eve of her wedding, to her self-discovery and self-reliance. It will definitely go down in history as one of the game changers for the roles of women in Indian cinema.

    May 18, 15
  • Inter-STELLAR

    Interstellar is the kind of film that makes you feel under-qualified for criticizing it. In fact, I refuse to pick faults with it because I don’t remember the last time I was so taken by a science-fiction film. And Chris Nolan continues to dumbfound me with every element of his filmmaking.
    Interstellar is highly cerebral without being vague or throwing scientific jargons at you. It is a truly immersive, meditative and exhilarating movie experience. For the first 30 minutes or so, the pacing felt slower than we’re used to, but before I knew it, my mind was locked (or ‘docked’) into the inter-galactic space travel, the laws of space-time continuum, the fragility of our life-sustaining planet and just how very little we know about the universe.
    Please take your children to watch this instead of movies that offer mindless entertainment and item numbers. They might come out of the theater wanting to become future astronauts and scientists.

    November 15, 14
  • Superficial and episodic

    To begin with, the chemistry between the lead pair is cringeworthy at best. And when that’s the premise of your film, it’s a major problem. The love affair that was probably the best kept secret of the princess’ life, appears lop-sided, nearly one-sided for the most part. Maybe it was off limits for the filmmakers, but the lack of any deeper insight into the future queen’s final struggles with the Buckingham palace adds to the film’s unsatisfactory feel. However, it does throw light on the humanity and vulnerability of the people labeled as ‘royalty’, and that things can be very different from what they appear.

    A+ for hair, make-up and costume design, although it doesn’t quite guise the fact that Naomi Watts is almost a decade older than Diana was at that time. Nevertheless, she does an excellent job portraying the most famous woman of the 20th century. It’s a shame the movie couldn’t do her the same kind of justice and takes liberties embellishing (and tainting for the sake of drama) a very personal story.

    November 14, 14
  • Magnificent tragedy

    ‘Haider’ may turn the tide for Shahid Kapoor, much like ‘Omkara’ had for Saif Ali Khan. He has long deserved to play a role like this one and he genuinely exceeds our expectations. I don’t remember when was the last time I was mesmerized by a song and dance number in Hindi cinema, as I was by ‘Bismil’. How refreshing to see a male star do that, in folk costume and tribal make-up. For once, the choreography is so powerful that I wasn’t even paying attention to the lyrics.
    Situating Hamlet in the Kashmir situation is a pretty clever idea and Vishal Bhardwaj manages to stay faithful to the original play to a very large extent. The dark ominous undertones are present from the first frame to the last, so it doesn’t make for a light-hearted family outing at all. The editing is patchy and abrupt at times, but it can all be excused for the powerhouse acting by Tabu, Kay Kay Menon and Irrfan. Shraddha Kapoor is also perfectly cast. The mother-son chemistry between Tabu and Shahid is so strong and arresting – not at all like the superficial ‘ma-beta’ stereotypes that we are used to.

    October 06, 14
  • Setting the screen ablaze

    I was disappointed with the first movie because it failed to capture the terror and some important nuances in the book. This movie is far superior. The characters are well-rounded, the acting is top-notch, the story is every bit worth the movie’s length and the costume design and art direction is perfect. I have always loved Jennifer Lawrence for playing the ‘fiesty young woman’ roles – from ‘Winter’s Bone’ to ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. And as Katniss Everdeen, she embodies that unflinching quality with utmost ease. Young people around the world can take away some important messages from the series – about the virtues of righteousness, sacrifice and rebellion against an unjust society.

    December 07, 13
  • Watch it for the Raas-Leela

    This is not exactly Bhansali’s comeback or even fourth best work (the best being Devdas, Hum Dil Chuke Sanam, Khamoshi and Black – in that order), but there is a feral chemistry between the lead actors which drew me into buying this version of the classic. In my book, Deepika Padukone proves her mettle with this film. She is pitch perfect for the role. Ranvir Singh may not be a lady-charmer like Ranbir Kapoor, but he is sincere and endearing as the fearless Romeo. Visually, the film is beautiful in parts but not flowing eye-candy like ‘Hum Dil De Chuke..’ or ‘Devdas’, even though it’s the same excess of fictional locales and costumes in Gujarat. Some of the scenes are straight out of Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – like Leela leaning out of her balcony that overlooks a pool, to talk to Ram and some are repeat Sanjay Leela fare – like Garba and dhols.
    Supriya Pathak deserves the best villain award this year for her impeccable performance and accent. Rarely do we see an intimidating female antagonist in Bollywood, so that was greatly refreshing. The story feels baseless from the beginning and struggles to keep you invested till the end. But I did care about Ram and Leela.

    November 29, 13
  • Never gets old

    Few films can move you like Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa. Each time I’ve watched it, it becomes more profound, more poetic, more relevant. It’s like deep diving into the darker layers of the human soul and realizing that the pollution is so pervasive under the shimmering false surface. That people who see this with clarity have little or no respite in their lives. The story revolves around a poet struggling to get his work published. His suffering is universal and the viewer can experience that as they watch him on screen. The heart rending “jaane woh kaise log the jinke..” probably offers the highest quality in songwriting in Hindi cinema. Guru Dutt’s genius, both as director and actor, is unmistakable. Waheeda Rehman and Johnny Walker are delightful in their memorable roles.
    This is a must watch film for many more reasons than I can enumerate.

    October 06, 13
  • The role that leaves a lasting impression.

    The question that kept springing in my head while watching this film was, “why did it take me so long to discover this?”. I’ve watched most of Shyam Benegal’s work and this one stands out as one of his finest pieces. Smita Patil was such a natural talent and her intensity in this role pierces through every frame. I couldn’t help but regret that she isn’t still here today to portray such powerful and meaningful female characters as she did in her short life. I can’t think of one name who could fill her shoes today. Her graduation from a bubbly teenaged starlet who acts for a living to a middle aged actress who is struggling to keep it together while dealing with the pressures of fame and fractured relationships, is flawless. The cinematography by Govind Nihalani is so beautiful – esp. the black and white parts. The part when Smita realizes that she had yet again fallen into a trap (a literal one) by walking into yet another man’s life, is so powerful and present, it makes you feel stifled with her.
    It’s ridiculous by today’s degenerate standards that this film has an ‘A’ certificate and that explains why we never saw it on prime time television in the 80s or 90s. It is far more dignified and proper than any family film of the present.

    October 02, 13
  • One of Chopra's less stellar efforts

    I have much respect for Yash Chopra’s body of work because in Bollywood’s world full of copycats, he was an original. I cherish many of his heart tugging classics but sadly this one doesn’t make that list. First, the chief premise of the lovers’ separation is completely unconvincing and out of line with the mini-skirted, British bred punjabi kudi’s characterization. She doesn’t even have a ‘Bauji’ from DDLJ for a dad, so why would she be so foolisly superstitious and timid is beyond me. Second, there are plenty of younger actresses with whom SRK had convincing screen chemistry, but Katrina as Meera is not one of them. So the age defying, era defying love story doesn’t work at all. Anoushka is trying too hard to top everyone in the camera’s frame which makes her an annoying third wheel. Some of the better moments in the film were Neetu Singh’s cameo as Meera’s estranged mother and a few interactions between Shahrukh and Anoushka. But overall, the film lacked imagination and the Yash Chopra quality of an epic love story. I refuse to call this his swan song because this is not how he would’ve chosen to bow out.

    August 15, 13
  • Milkha for the masses

    So after sitting through over 3 hours of this melodramatic, generously spiced biopic of a sportsman who did our nation proud, I knew not much about his technique or tactics that have eluded our athletes for over six decades, thereafter. Instead there were inconsequential love stories filling the plot for much longer than they should have, a mystery that goes on for three hours even though you’ve guessed it in the first 30 seconds and a child’s rogue behavior glorified more than it mattered in any way to the so-called story.
    If you’re going in for your money’s worth, look no further. It’s everything bollywood promises to offer with its big budget summer blockbusters. But it’s not a sports film like ‘Moneyball’ or ‘The Fighter’. Farhan has worked much harder than the industry demands and that’s been flaunted for several minutes in the film. In my mind, a 20 something Milkha Singh would look more like a Kunal Kapoor from RDB, but maybe he was too tall for the role.
    I have no doubt that the film will have a major presence at every award show next year for its guise of trying something new. I only hope the little boy who played young Milkha has a bright acting career ahead of him because he was effortlessly brilliant.

    August 03, 13
  • The charm of simplicity

    A winner all around! An everyday story related with utmost humor, charm and credibility. Gauri Shinde breaks the bollywood mould of picture-perfect families and glamorous millionnaire NRIs and gives an account that would hit home much easily for Indian audiences. Sridevi comes back with a vengeance, looks impossibly younger than her age and plays her role of the innocent, subdued housewife as only she could. The supporting cast is splendid and charming. The english class (which took me back to the British TV comedy ‘Mind your language’) had the most endearing characters. Plenty of laughs and heartwarming moments. Highly recommended.

    August 03, 13
  • Great mystery until it's solved

    I would’ve certainly given this movie a higher rating if I didn’t feel cheated in the end! While I was waiting for the finale to surprise me, it disappointed by falling back on a supernatural scheme. I don’t want to add any more spoilers, but let’s just say breaking into a different genre in the last 10 minutes of the film gives the audience a very hard pill to swallow. I’d much rather accept a convoluted logic behind a mystery as long as it’s a plausible one.
    The performances are all very good. Kareena is beautiful.

    August 03, 13
  • Poetry on celluloid

    I give this movie a perfect score because it’s a triumph for Indian filmmaking at so many levels. There is no melodramatic, over-the-top acting, no flamboyant palacial sets and no jarring song and dance sequences that are usually meant to fill a thin plot. Vikramaditya Motwane’s film is art at its best. Acting is top-notch, especially Sonakshi’s portrayal of Pakhi. A lot has been conveyed through facial expressions rather than dialogue. The pacing did not bother me at all because there is so much lyrical quality on screen that I’m glad it isn’t rushed (unlike the music video pace that Bollywood has lately adopted). The Art direction gets my biggest applause for transporting the audience to the 50s with such careful attention to detail. Its not a fantastical environment like in Bhansali’s ‘Devdas’- rather it comes across as a well researched recreation of history. And Pakhi’s wardrobe is completely drool worthy.

    The inspiration from O. Henry’s “The last leaf” comes only in the second half and it is interwoven extremely well with the rest of the story. The last 30 minutes do become predictable even if you haven’t read the story, but that’s excusable considering that you’re watching poetry on celluloid.

    July 14, 13
  • A smashing debut for Dhanush

    This film belongs to Dhanush. Using his unconventional looks and quirky style to his best advantage, he carries his role of the hopelessly love-struck street Romeo with absolute and effortless charm. It was so refreshing to not see the cliched muscle-flexing, chocolate boy, stereotypical Bollywood hero who always manages to save the world and get the girl.
    Sonam Kapoor has always picked meaty scripts for herself and this one’s no exception. However, she will likely get more recognition for this performance than her previous work because of the film’s success. She too fits her role perfectly and looks like a million bucks as always.
    The story and direction were outstanding in the first half, but it got derailed after the interval. The mood changes, the genre changes, the characters change…it’s a bit too much to swallow. But despite this disintegration, the storytelling is tight and it keeps you guessing. And even if you’re not satisfied by the ending, you’ll have spent your time watching a really good film. In the end, it is the performances that stay with you. The supporting roles are all remarkable, particularly Dhanush’s two best friends.

    July 04, 13
  • A different point of view for a beloved hero

    This was an interesting take on one of the most interesting and beloved heroes in the Mahabharata. I like that the designs and color palette stay true to the mythological comic books that we grew up reading in the ’80s and ’90s and that gives it a distinct and unique Indian flavor. Much like anime does for Japan.
    Story-wise, you feel a bit dissatisfied when it ends because of its abruptness (but that could be because there’s a part 2 coming) and mainly because of our common knowledge of the epic story. Those versions in our minds will always see gaping holes in any retelling that is so short. I was especially dissatisfied with the deliberate watering down of Krishna’s role (so as to not outshine Arjun’s). However, in all fairness, this is one of the best works in animation from India and something the team deserves to be proud of.

    June 07, 13
  • Clever writing with crude humor

    Even though I’m not a fan of crass, toilet humor, I have to say this film was very clever and fun. All the quirky characters and their disastrous botch-ups (inspired by movies like Snatch) keep you guessing and interested till the end. Tight script, great plot, interesting characters – what else could you ask for your money.

    June 02, 13
  • A poignant debut for Kiran Rao

    Kiran Rao is in a league of her own. She has no intentions to pander to a commercial taste or use any tried and tested formulas here. It appears as though she has pretty much made this film from her own inspirations and not from popular influences. In short, you are more likely to appreciate it if you have a taste for experimental cinema and you don’t mind the abruptness that leaves you lingering in the dark, like in many European films.
    I was pleasantly surprised by Prateik Babbar’s immense acting talent and strong screen presence (much like his mom, Smita Patil). Aamir Khan never fails to impress. What I liked most about the film is that it stayed with me a long time after the end credits rolled and I realized that I really cared about the characters – the regular people of Mumbai – who pass you by in the crowds, each harboring an interesting story of their own.

    June 02, 13
  • Gritty and hilarious

    I loved this movie for its courage and its comical and satirical flair. Paresh Rawal is a gem of a talent and he doesn’t disappoint in any regard. Akshay Kumar’s Krishna avatar is also endearing. Mithun Charkraborty and the others have all played excellent supporting roles. Had me laughing throughout. Religious fanaticism and insurance policies are two things the world could certainly live without!

    June 01, 13
  • Great cast, fresh cinema

    In one word, this movie was ‘refreshing’. In large part because of its new faces, all of who delivered fantastic performances. The friendship and bonding between the three lead men feels authentic and masterfully layered with their social and economic backgrounds and their personal ideals and priorities. The success of the script lies in the fact that you root for the protagonists from beginning to end.
    On the downside, the film has dealt with too many serious social themes and historical incidents with fleeting references and that leaves a lot to desire for and you would hope that not all those subjects were squeezed in forcefully. But I can attribute that to Chetan Bhagat’s treatment of themes. While I’ve not been impressed by his books, Abhishek Kapoor’s interpretation of his work was far more rewarding than ‘Three Idiots’.

    June 01, 13
  • Shallowness galore

    Even though I went in expecting an over the top, candy floss, run of the mill Bollywood bonanza, I was sorely disappointed. The story flitted around from one theme to the next, never delving deeper after scratching the surface. Almost every piece of the mindless melange has no build up and no consequence. I have no idea what Madhuri Dixit’s item number was doing at the beginning and I absolutely don’t buy the ending.
    I wish the movie was half as good as ‘Wake Up Sid’, which was a triumph on so many levels. Alas, this one just tried to pickle together DDLJ, ZNMD, KKHH and more and all it gave me was yawns. The performances of the cast saves the film from tanking completely. Ranbir is his usual charming self and my favorite one was Kalki. The guy who plays her fiancĂ©e particularly provided some laugh out loud moments for me.

    June 01, 13