• ‘Kedarnath’ is a surprising film, all the way. It’s climax is naturally haunting and the settings of devastations will, nevertheless, make you stay for the film and curiosity about what happens to the fate of these lovers and their unflinching desire for each other is bount to come. The climax then takes a slightly (spoiler!) ‘Titanic’ tune to it.
    But you know this, and still are satisfied with it. The writing is mostly emotional. The content comes with visual coherence. But the strength of the film lies in its boundless performances: while Sushant Singh Rajput as the Muslim ‘pitthu’ Mansoor is interesting enough, it is Sara Ali Khan’s Mandakini who makes the film a mostly enjoyable one. She unleashes passion with sincerity and comedy with conviction. The other cast performs respectably too.
    But the film really shoots to a palpable high when the religions come into the play. First is about the excellent casting choice: Sushant is Hindu and Sara is Muslim, in the film their orthodoxy has been exhchanged. It also has to make a comment on “Just because he is a man…” and the screenplay by Kanika Dhillon paves way for a funky, solid female character in Sara’s Mukku.
    My problem with the film is that it is awfully stretched. You are incredibly bored by the dazzling song sequences, too-much-stalking and all. Mansoor’s economic conditions are low, says the film, but his house is way more beautifully shot to be a poverty-struck one.
    But you stay watching the film nevertheless because of the emotional depth. There are more than a few moments that are heartbreaking, and many of them, moving as well.

    November 12, 19
  • ‘Soorma’ isn’t a befittingly jingoistic or feeble biographical film: instead it goes from the rousing, via evocative, to the soaring aspects of the filmmaking. While Diljeet Dosanjh is refreshing, Taapsee Paannu brings surprises in her leading lady. The excellent cast also does well.
    But the scriptwriting is the best thing about ‘Soorma’. It never flickers, even when it doesn’t show enough light to the circumstances. It is a film that mugs up all of it lazily towards the climax, but finally, you stay with the film, despite these contrivances.

    November 10, 19
  • ‘No Fathers in Kashmir’ is an unabashedly political film which creates tense surroundings and fills it with further, turbulent scriptwriting. These things do make it a very bold film. But the style of direction and tge cinematography of Kashmir are regressive and the performances by Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Shivam Raina are far from convincing, making it a contrived little feature where there is little to convince us.

    November 10, 19
  • ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ doesn’t carry the racy drive which powered hugely the very entertaining, very refreshing ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, nor does it have any sort of nuances: if you gave yourself, just like me, to the amazingly written Malayalam film ‘Take Off’ about the same issue of rescue of Indian nurses from an Iraqi city, the plot point here for a Salman Khan-saviour would be especially disappointing. You know- this- this- barrel of jingoism and mellow emotional inconsistencies which Ali Abbas Zafar tries to spoon-feed you with. But it’s still a respectable enough drama which has a coherent, layered script with sharper romance between Tiger and Zoya (played by Katrina Kaif). You can watch it. It’s solid.

    November 10, 19
  • ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ has its share of flaws, including the flat-out general storytelling and a tedious flow of character-sketches which come repeatedly, but the scripting of it is not-so-obvious: it is coherent, narrative-driven and laden with ample emotions through its core. It is problematic, but it is a hugely entertaining Salman Khan movie because it makes you suspend disbelief and look at the screen with amazement.

    November 10, 19
  • Rang De Basanti was the best film that year. Starring Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Kunal Kapoor and Atul Kulkarni in prime roles, the film is a majestical ode to our revolutionaries. It is also the best political drama to come out of India in the history of Indian cinema, since it told us what many people couldn’t talk about. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra levels up the game, as does Alice Patten as a historian and researching filmmaker. But what works more that the film also carries within it an impeccable style of filmmaking, something we rarely get to see.

    November 09, 19
  • Mardaani starring Rani Mukherjee was a fantastic experience I had at the cinemas. It was about a cop woman fighting against sex trafficking. Seriously, this film is unnecessarily roughly packed and there are a bunch of action scenes which we didn’t need, but it has a lot to offer especially on its protagonist’s side, who is easily the best feminist character in the history of Indian cinema since Rosy from ‘The Guide’.

    November 09, 19
  • Ayan Mukherjee’s latest outing has a title very unsuitable- because it sounds plainly B-grade, but the movie strictly isn’t! There is an exciting premise which grows further exciting- I am willing to spend my time anny-time if you give me fun of Dil Chahta Hai and Om Shanti Om in equal parts. But the film has its own magic- a nicely styled filmmaking, an inspired storytelling(inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s immensely artistic short story The Guest) and just- you know- immserses into the glamorous waters of Dharma productions were even a fucking nerd like Naina could throw her specs without any proper operation and dance in a sequins saree! But there’s not enough lack of logic to say it’s too much Bollywood- because the emotions are deeply real. Characters find comfort in the familiar- Deepika Padukone is the Preity Zinta from Kal Ho Na Ho and Aditya Roy Kapoor is Abhay Deol from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara but the most subtle and well-written character of the film is Ranbir Kapoor as Kabir, who is adventurous, romantic and interesting equal parts. On the whole, the film offers you much. Also, the film really amounts entertainment with an intelligent tonality. It carries a powerfully textured animation in the second half’s storytelling, as Kabir gets in a drive exploring the world- his dreams. It is then that the film becomes solid-er. I loved this film.

    November 09, 19
  • Shuddh Desi Romance which is a truely up-standard, masterclass romance which celebrates the unusal extents a love story can twist itself to just like Yash Chopra’s very own, Silsila did. But I find this one a better journey, because despite being packed with the kuta hua masalas (of Jaipur), it has relatable scenes from any new couple’s lives. It has real conversations- between the characters and characters and between the characters and the audience. It has got the performances of Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra and a good-looking Vaani Kapoor. A romantic comedy narrated with stringing, high brush-strokes..

    November 09, 19
  • ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is a solid life story, an engaging docu-drama that makes its resonant points count with a solid, searing affection for the man in this frame- the cricket god, Sachin Tendulkar himself. The film’s first half is pure goosebumps- it explores the childhood of Sachin, the youth days, the academics-cricket balance quiet effectively. You see where the drama lies despite the real camcordings.
    But in the second half the film questionably meanders. You look up and find the FILM here wearing down- the second half is more a documentary. The story is solid, as well as smashingly effective- but far from a soaring fairytale. Sachin deserved more. My, possibly yours also, India’s- literal sports-god, needed more drama. The film is a well-crafted one, but the soul isn’t exactly as great in the rendering as it could have with all those great shots out there. But still, please watch ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ because it is a sappy, all-heart and well-executed documentation of the life of the man of the times. Needs to be seen, but needed to be more cinematically done.

    November 09, 19
  • I am giving in my political opinion here, since I can do this. It is a documetary about one of the most talked-about, joked-about and really well-loved for most part politician who entered from the back door ajd undeniably took the country by storm- this man, Aravind Kejariwal, with shirt not tucked into the oddly fitted trousers, a dusty pair of eye-glasses just of the right number. A common man’s appearance he has. But that Gandhian-style topi that he wears- the one which has a broom printed over it- that has made all the talk, all the resonance.
    I don’t really like his work. I don’t really like his party, called ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ (translated as a Common Man’s Party), or ‘AAP’. It seems to reflect YOU, but for me, it signifies nothing. Now, see the pollution levels Delhi has, already!
    But as a document of the life of this ordinary, generic man- this not-so-extraordinary politician, this… this common man slog, the film ‘An Insignificant Man’ stands out as an extraordinary one. It raises questions, suppresses the answers when they want to rise and present themselves, pose another questions and yet again, leave no room for the answers. But the questions make you go for the film. The magic is in details- the answers needn’t rise. The languid pace, the original texture and rationality in the common-ness delivers it all. It’s readings make it a farirly done, engrossing and well-appointed story in these regressively tonal times.
    Finally, a bio-pic that doesn’t bio-fuck. A superbly made, standout story of the man, whom, atleast I don’t really appreciate. The dynamics of non-politics now appeal.

    November 09, 19
  • ‘Pataakha’ is an adaptation of a Hindi short story which has been written in modern times: and it does get the atmosphere of the rustic small-town India quiet right. The sequences are well-fleshed-out and absolutely far from flashy. It makes cultural resonance and the language is well-studied.
    But the narrative uses dark undertones. This film is hugely entertaining because it is interestingly enough, a contrast palette: you see that this war between the two sisters Badki and Chhutki is a sparkling, colorfully eye-catching affair which has the Diwali sparkle, but it uses meaty, gritty, capturing undertones which make the light of the film a grim one: these people look like real village people and their fights are as interesting.
    My problem, however, with the film is that its awfully stretched in the first half. Also, the narrative is very entertaining but it needed more seamless interweaving. In fact, Vishal Bhardwaj uses his time-tested formulas to picture the selfishness inside these sisters.
    But the film makes up for these flaws when all of it comes hilariously together in the end. This film, then, turns into a full-bodied, modern folktale. The performance by Vijay Raaz as the frustrated but caring Baapu is wholesome. But it is these sisters: the marvelous Radhika Madaan and the arresting Sanya Malhotra- who truly win you over. The film makes crisp comments about the situation across the India and Pakistan borders through the lives of these sisters, and this helps as hell, thanks to the humorous, harmlessly fun performance delivered by Sunil Grover.
    Watch ‘Pataakha’. It’s entertainment is like never before.

    November 09, 19
  • ‘Luka Chuppi’ has a surprising script- it doesn’t overbring its themes of Islamophobia, ghoonghat system relevant still in the north Indian small towns, the liberal heart of live-in opinions and uses a striking location- Mathura, where the couple in question lives in. The story of live-in is overwrought, over-simplistic, too complex and insanely silly. But Kartik Aaryan and Laxman Utekar work for creating a film that’s an entertaining small town comedy somehow. Rest, all is a drag. Especially when the film wants to be a feel-good, sweet one. And surely, when it sermonizes and teaches about freedom of a love story.

    November 09, 19
  • In these times of action films with progressive writing, I wonder why franchises like ‘Terminator’ have to run. And if they have to run, why, pray, make an unentertaining, absolute bore like ‘Dark Fate’? It’s directions are intresting and funny in places, but there’s no denying that its ideas are a whole lot contrived. The climax also is a very inconvinient. The violence too is handled nonchalantly. This is a film that’s far from entertaining, and just like ‘MIB International’, a testimony on why it should not have existed.

    November 09, 19
  • ‘Bala’ is a comical film which unabashedly faces lookism, eye-to-eye: its small town comedy tropes are seamlessly driven, and not once do you feel bored by the narrative. The writing of the film is surprisingly coherent, and the performances by Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar and Seema Pahwa were my favourites. The film takes a roll on a good-looking TikTok star, a dark-skinned girl who wants to be fair, and the lead- Bala, the bald, played boldly by Ayushmann Khurrana. You should watch ‘Bala’ if you, just like me, suffered ‘Ujda Chaman’: this is a masterclass on how to make an entertaining, comical film a message one without being sermonizing in tone.

    November 08, 19
  • ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ suffers from a melodramatic script take. It doesn’t quiet tackle its narrative strands as effectively as it should have had. But it still soars, even if through a limited high. The best thing about the film is that it doesn’t fall off the cliff. It is a great love letter by late Sir Yash Chopra to his previous greats, and it delves deeply into the swan-song. Shahrukh and Anushka deliver constantly. Overall, a lazy byt charmingly executed Yash Raj romance which reaches, with its elements, straight to the heart. Watch it. It’s sweetly effective.

    November 07, 19
  • ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ is an ultimately unconventional love story which has convinient performances and an ultimately strong, inventive script which speaks the language of both: the time it’s set in, and the time it has been released.
    Directed by Sharat Katariya and starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar, the story which evolves in around a workless person who gets married to an ambitious, over-weight girl is set in the nineties, when Kishore Kumar was… what Arijit Singh is today. The film is constantly, consistently reflective of the 1990s and the filmmaking style of those days.
    But the slow-paced, but rhythmic second half of the film is what makes it a promising feature- you get a poignant, heartfelt and natural love stories where violin doesn’t have to be tuned. It also turns an unabashedly underdog idea into a full-bodied championship where couples have to participate, pave way to romance in oodles of mud.
    Above anything, watch ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ because in equal parts, its hilarious, brilliant and romantic. It might be one of the top best movies of the year. Everyone involved in the film is going to dazzle. Ideas are truly what makes the film smile unwaveringly through sunshine across the mountains in the setting of Uttarakhand.

    November 07, 19
  • ‘Sui Dhaaga’ is an ultimate, rag-tag, underdog story. But it is also unconditionally high on its heartfelt bits. You feel these characters, their urgency to reach out to each other, and their tendency to practice and make things work when they don’t. This makes it a wonderful, delightful drama.
    But, this love story has an extremely dull start. It’s sequences feel overtly manipulative, and the sympathetic strands don’t reach out to the audiences as they should have: it tries a languid, emotional pace. But the magic that made ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ a winner all the way doesn’t make the Sharat Katariya film that poignant. But you can still watch it because its easily high on sweet content. Its progress is dissatisfactory, but you’ll love how these people win you over. Varun Dhawan, Raghubir Yadav and Anushka are strong enough. It’s textures don’t dwell into a boring heart or a weak script, however overtly simplistic it may be.

    November 07, 19
  • ‘Gold’ directed by Reema Kagti is a product of a familiar voice. The story, based on India’s first victory in Hockey Olympics, is a certainly unabashedly imperative narrative which history books shoukd have taught us: that the Indian Hockey team won a gold medal in the Hockey Olymoics of 1948, just an year after the independence from British Raj, in Britain, against the British, amidst a London-rains-soaked stadium. But in keeping with the tradition of most of the success-story-sports-dramas, the action, ofcourse, unfolds in the latter half of the film- that too, in the last minutes. We don’t have any problem with this if this clikax we were waiting for unfolds with richness- and Reema does just that. A surprisingly resonant climax gives you a swell of pride and absolute satisfaction. The climax is the greatest thing about this Bollywood-style sports entertainer.
    Akshay Kumar is the most whimsical thing about the film. He brings out a large barrel of comedy to his character ajd spreads it throughout. Even through the earnest shots, he brings a little humor. His performance isn’t promising at all- but he constantly delivers. Although Mouni Roy makes her screen presence count, a little of her acting chops are used.
    The wondrous are the team members who are given the screen timing: Sunny Kaushal’s got meat and bones, and he proves his mettle in acting debut. Vineet Kumar Singh as an ex-Indian and present-Pakistani hockey player is a lot interesting. But the film is duly stretched, and suffers from a convoluted script. It slows down Amit Sadh’s character map, as it does, to many in the star-cast. It has a visual ensemble- a platter serving glittery golds, all over the screen right after the film starts. But this rarely helps.
    And still, it’s a bold attempt on Reema’s behalf, who helms a story of male sportsmen being a woman. She doesn’t exactly do the ‘Chak De! India’ effect. Far from it. But still, ‘Gold’ works because it shoots to a great deal up as the tricolour unfurls, first in hiding and then into the open.

    November 07, 19
  • 3D directed by Zoya Akhtar only explores the single, unvaried dimension of families and turbulence in relationships. While Aamir Khan’s urban storytelling is just animated enough to be called a progressive move for Zoya, this is a film which speaks in Hindi and thinks in English. This is a especially disappointing thing, because it has been released in an year when the filmmakers are pushing boundaries and explaining to the audiences in different flavourful mannerisms about the nature of their tonality. The film is artificial, and the urban legend rarely comes to play. It is the worst by Zoya. And, she can’t make worse than this, I believe. The film is decent, but it is also a little lot boring. Not recommending this two-hour-plus extended cruise party. Instead, attending one with the relations and neighbours and friends for real is more engaging.

    November 06, 19