• More than anger it is the emotion of sadness that Vijay Krishna Acharya’s hat-trick disaster epic period drama Thugs of Hindostan drives in me, watching thespians like Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan resort to tomfoolery and idiocy in the middle of a self-proclaimed freedom fight in the late 1700s whose shaky plot is, as a whole, as restricted as the number of expressions on the faces of the leading ladies, Fatima Shaikh and Katrina Kaif. TN.

    November 12, 18
  • Tumbbad made me sit up from my chair and take notice at how a thriller can be told without resorting to cheap tricks that are prevalent in other titles coming out of the Hindi film industry in recent times. Sohum Shah produces and acts in this fantastic narration of the quality of greed in humans using a folklore about a mythological god-like creature that is itself a symbol of greed. Based on and named after a village in Western India, Tumbbad is told in a way that captures your attention from the first frame and does not let you stray. With some quality performances and an electric background score by none other than Jesper Kyd (I was in tears when I saw his name in the credits), the horror thriller depends on the folklore to carve a story that emphasizes humanity’s greed for everything – from money to food to exclusivity. The amount of references it throws at you – as a period drama set in pre-independence India – is further bound to fascinate you while you get embroiled in one man’s (Shah) quest for greed which he hopes to pass down to his future generations. Tumbbad is nothing like you have seen before and it should be seen on the big screen and revered for its creative art. TN.

    November 03, 18
  • There is some comic relief in Harsh Chhaya’s comedy drama Khajoor Pe Atke which tries to mock the serious issue of death by bringing members of a huge family together to mirror the opportunistic nature of human beings even in times of death and despair but ends up being a tone-deaf escapade that has all the social elements and cliches that we are currently trying to eradicate. TN.

    October 29, 18
  • It baffles me how director Akarsh Khurana can manage to release two films (the other being Karwaan) in a matter of three months and still hope to earn what he spent on them while trying to entertain people who end up watching an aspiring DJ (Sumeet Vyas) become one of the hostages in a flight hijacking situation that is as silly as it can get. TN.

    October 24, 18
  • If you thought Sharat Katariya was the only master household storyteller (who directed Sui Dhaaga this year) then think again. In Badhaai Ho, director Sharma crafts comedy out of thin air; out of routine familial conversations, which is so sweet to watch that it melts in your mouth like the caramel popcorn you prefer while watching such comedy dramas. There is no shortage of such palpable moments in this honest drama that you will complete watching it with a big smile on your face. But, when you go in to watch Badhaai Ho this week, don’t go in to be outsmarted by a relevant story, but instead go in to get your mind blown with a crispy drama that will make you laugh and cry – in a way that Bollywood hasn’t been able to in a lot of years. TN.

    October 20, 18
  • Watching Raj Kumar Gupta’s fantastic thriller, Raid, is like an exercise in suspense that gets better and better as you follow Ajay Devgn’s Income Tax department official raiding the mansion of city’s most corrupt and lovable kingpin (Saurabh Shukla) and not finding what he looks for until predictability hits in and you experience some political movement that reflect close reality of India. TN.

    October 16, 18
  • Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War is perhaps the first superhero movie that takes into account the large number of civilian casualties that these vigilante fellows cause and then try to do something about it, which, along with some spectacular action shots, make it an engaging watch despite the same vigilantes causing a great number of non-human destruction around the world. TN.

    October 06, 18
  • Vikram Bhatt’s 1921 is so extraordinarily bad despite being lavishly produced that even the actors find it difficult to enact their characters, which is very much evident from their dull faces and duller dialogue delivery. TN.

    October 06, 18
  • Andhadhun briefly reminded me of the good old days of silent comedies where everything on the screen was extraordinarily entertaining majorly supported by the score. There’s a scene at the start where Akash is playing the piano and two people in front of him are foolishly resorting to their basic instincts. Not a word is spoken in those 10 minutes and yet it is the perhaps the most memorable scene in the film. It’s pure cinematic brilliance, which unfortunately fades away in the second half as you complete watching the film in labored breathing. TN.

    October 06, 18
  • Sui Dhaaga transforms into a motivational tale that warms your heart with its pleasantness and a lovely play of characters. It is a film that will make you smile all the way – either through the natural humor or the comic drama that it cultivates with brilliance. It might even make you chase that business idea that you dusted off during college days because hope is audacious as ever, much like Mauji and his optimism. Sui Dhaaga is also the first film in a long time where I didn’t mind the ad placements by Usha and Raymond because it felt real, much like most of the film.

    September 29, 18
  • The division in genres into the two halves, sheer horseplay in and outside of the court, and zero proximity to realism are what makes Batti Gul Meter Chalu a coarse, dull film. Much like the issue that it addresses, a lot many parts in the film are akin to darkness, which is not ideal in a world of flashing lights. TN.

    September 22, 18
  • If Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s Hope Aur Hum was any more simple, I would be looking at a plain piece of paper for 100 minutes. That is the type of calmness and whiteness that the makers concoct in this family drama that talks about aging in general. Naseeruddin Shah plays a grandfather who is in love and respect with his WWII-era German photocopying machine so much that it is housed in a room big enough to accommodate an Indian politician’s ego. The rest of the family has a problem with it is not something that he pays attention to unless he realizes one day that old is not always gold. What prevents Hope Aur Hum from becoming dull with this lackluster story arc is the other characters played with finesse by Sonali Kulkarni and Naveen Kasturia to name a few. Ignore the acting performances of the two kid artistes and you will complete watching this film in a much more light mood. It has some great conversations that you can relate with and that will put a smile on our face. Hope Aur Hum is a bonafide feel good movie and one that might stay with you for a few days. Which is, let’s agree, not very rare in the Hindi indie scene. nairtejas.com.

    September 18, 18
  • What put me terribly off is the concocted diversity of issues that a couple face in Rakhee Sandilya’s Ribbon, a sweet little film that turns sour right when you are enjoying it. But that’s exactly the whole point of showcasing what a couple transforming into a nuclear family face in a metro city in India. From unabashed gender discrimination at work to familial tiffs to issues with the functioning of a household, Ribbon has it all, topped with a violent performance by Kalki Koechlin and an equally competing one by Sumeet Vyas. Parenthood hits them like a typhoon in the US and all that follows is what I like to call new-age problems that do not have solutions. Along with fitting music and numbing dialogues by Raghav Dutt, director Sandilya takes her viewers on a journey that is relatable and nonchalant, eventually taking them to the end of a cliff and threatening that she will push. Ribbon is heartbreaking but it does not fool its audience. It has its flaws – with the major one being convolution – but then indie films have stories to tell. With it with your partner and you will take away a thing or two. TN.

    September 18, 18
  • Director Pa Ranjith’s Kaala is a chaotic and inconsequential crime drama based on fantasy surrounding the popular area of Dharavi in Mumbai and uses its aging lead star Rajinikanth’s pointless style and glamour to create a mockery of itself – primarily of what it sets out to do – with the help of a weaker remaining cast (Hume Qureshi, et al) who all act hunky-dory and fool around romancing while not focusing on the main agenda to gradually reduce itself to highfalutin claptrap. TN.

    September 05, 18
  • The overall dumbness, the ridiculousness and contradicting nature of the plot, and the non-helping dry humor are what causes Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World to slip into a territory unseen in the MCU so far (as of Phase II) but which are only second to the marvelously annoying Nicole Kidman and Kat Dennings and their respective characters. TN.

    September 02, 18
  • Other than the usual Bond embellishments (thanks only to Q this time), there is nothing clever or fresh in Sam Mendes’s Spectre unless you consider a poker-faced, lethargic Daniel Craig, a predictable and cheesy narrative made to look like convoluted, or a surprisingly unconvincing Cristoph Waltz who was born to a play a Bond villain anything even remotely good for human consumption. TN.

    August 31, 18
  • It’s a wild concept, alright. A world where humans are hunted and ruthlessly killed by unknown blind creatures who seem to have ultra-sensitive ears and zero tolerance for sound. John Krasinski directs and acts in this emotional thriller that has been sugarcoated with a familial arc just to help it tug at your heart strings as you watch his character and his family of a wife and kids live their life while hiding from these creatures and working towards a future where everyone is wise. The lack of dialogues made A Quiet Place a splendid experience for me because like the creatures I hate noise. But the contrived drama – between Krasinski’s character and his daughter – put me slightly off, which was later aggravated by the multiple holes in the plot. The biggest issue was the lack of insight – what are these creatures, where did they come from, and what exactly is their problem – because at one scene they seem to be tipped off even by the slightest noise and the next the characters are running with all their might (even though it’s on sand). Non-heterogeneous sequences that make up A Quiet Place makes it an average watch, and a shorter one, thankfully. It could excite people who don’t think while watching. Escapists will love this and rave about this. Rumor has it they still do it on Reddit. TN.

    August 18, 18
  • Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is an equally dull and boring yet visually appealing sibling of the 1982 Ridley Scott film, both of which basically have the same plot, same setting, and even the same characters to some extent, and which can only be completed watching with a struggle unless you doze off somewhere in the 31st minute, or if I want to sound pretentious like the film looks, the 49th minute. TN.

    August 15, 18
  • If Mulk was a documentary, I would take it more seriously for the diversity of issues and their severity that it brings to the fore is amazing. I was enthralled by how brutally honest writer Sinha is in his dialogues, but all of that does not translate in the present setup. The final 30 minutes of Mulk are extraordinarily fantastical, which is why I will recommend you to watch it but also request you to take the proceedings with a pinch of salt. TN.

    August 14, 18
  • I don’t know if I should take Atul Manjrekar’s Fanney Khan seriously or lightly. On one hand it shows the struggle of a man (Anil Kapoor) who wants his daughter to be a star singer while on the other it resorts to screwball comedy to make me laugh. These two shades of this comedy drama hardly blend, while also giving me withdrawal symptoms. A lack of logic in the plot – starting from the point where the man kidnaps a famous singer (Aishwarya Rai) to the climax – pushes Fanney Khan into a territory that can be best defined as contrived storytelling. Everything is easy for director Manjrekar’s characters, and thanks to some brilliant performances by Kapoor, Divya Dutta, and Girish Kulkarni, it feels effortless. I am also not sure what the non-righteous climax is trying to convey – is it okay to be bad when you are fighting for a good cause? Is it okay to break the law and put someone’s life in danger just because you are a naive, old man passionate about your daughter’s future? Ridiculous as it seems, Fanney Khan ends like a fairytale without even shedding light into what happened to some of the characters. The only thing that it gets right is criticizing the notion that stardom is usually a product of luck and compromise, as it poses as a question in front of the man’s daughter (Pihu Sand) several times, yet Rai’s character sabotages it in one scene by taking a defensive when the man asks her the same question. Director Manjrekar is ahead of himself, in trying to compete with Advait Chandan’s Secret Superstar (2017), in trying to show the dark world and politics of the music industry, in fighting taboos related to body shapes and stardom, yet the container he uses to serve his dish made me look at my family members and shrug. No, really. There’s a scene sometime in the 15th minute where Kapoor’s character mimics to an instrumental in front of his wife and daughter. It’s a great screwball moment, inducing no laughter, but that’s exactly when I turned to my mum and dad and we all shrugged referring to the dull madness that is happening on screen. Don’t waste your time. TN.

    August 08, 18