Friday, 14 August 2020

Gunjan Saxena : Movie Review


Gunjan Saxena helmed by Sharan Sharma is an inspiring biopic on India's first female combat pilot who flew helicopter missions during the 1999 Kargil war. What sets this film different from other films of this genre is the treatment given by director and the writers. While most of the films based on this genre often indulge in jingoism, chest thumping with loud jarring music, this film relies on moments and that too in most subtle way. A good movie can be characterized by its fine moments or scenes that remain etched in your memory for a long time and this movie offers plenty of them. To describe a few ; the steely resolve to become a pilot comes to Gunjan's mind when she is fighting over window seat with her brother in a plane and an air-hostess takes her to the cockpit. As a kid, she gets besotted by cockpit of a commercial aircraft and aviator wearing pilots. She starts wearing aviators even during late evenings and her explanation for the same is that eyesight of pilot should be perfect and she is saving her eyes from harmful rays. Still a kid, when Gunjan says to her father that she wants to become a pilot, her brother jokingly says that he wants to be Kapil Dev. He further taunts her that at best she can become an air-hostess. It is pertinent to mention that the journey for Gunjan Saxena to become a pilot was not easy, rather it was full of obstacles. Right from the time of applying for the post of Indian Air Force pilot, to the training time she faces hurdles at every stage. But, her unflinching resolve to become a pilot keeps her floating even in the muddled waters. Yes, there comes a moment when she gets confused and talks with her father which i would rate as the best scene of the movie. Confused, Gunjan asks her father that Air Force needs cadets who are patriots but i just want to fly planes. The father asks,"Do you think  Air Force needs people who only shout 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' ? They want cadets who are sincere towards their goal, have a passion for flying and will complete their training with sincerity. Once, you become a good pilot with hard work, you automatically become a patriot. This scene becomes very relevant in today's time as it juxtaposes with some of the views that have been forced by several people in context of being patriot. And, on top of it this dialogue is mouthed by a person who is himself serving in the army. 

                                                           The movie has been penned down by Sharan Sharma along with Nikhil Mehrotra. The best part about the writing is that it never goes over the top. Most of the times we have seen biopics infused with fiction to make it look more commercial. But, in Gunjan, the writers have stuck to the basics and haven't exaggerated the plot which could have been very easy as its a war based movie. The film chronicles the journey of Gunjan who nurtures the dream of becoming a pilot since childhood and unflinching support from her father. It also showcases misogyny that she faces once she is inducted into Indian Air Force for being the only female cadet at Udhampur base. And, finally it highlights the feat of Gunjan being the only pilot to have flown during Kargil war. The film very cleverly steers away from the debate of difference between nationalism and patriotism which is a hot topic these days. 
                                                   Janhvi Kapoor excels in the scenes where is conversing with her father or putting her best efforts to become a pilot. She has a childlike exuberance which gets reflected from her eyes. But, she falters when she dons the uniform as she lacks the body language and attitude reminiscent with being a pilot. 
                                                   Pankaj Tripathi has portrayed the character of Gunjan's father with a great sense of maturity. He is the only one who stands with her in every situation. Watch out for him in the scene where he tells Gunjan to make parathas and explains about different spices to her. 
                                                           Vineet Kumar Singh & Manav Vij as Gunjan's seniors, Angad Bedi as her brother have justified their parts.  
                                                                  The musical soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Amit Trivedi which is in tandem with the movie. The cinematographer of the movie is Manush Nandan who has done a swell job at capturing visuals. The film has been edited by Nitin Baid who never lets the momentum of the movie slip away with his fine editing skills. As a writer-director, Sharan Sharma has done a commendable job. He has brilliantly infused the story with two wars that Gunjan fights ; one at the border with Pakistan and the other at the base in form of gender discrimination. And to his credit, Sharan has shown both the wars with a touch of subtlety without going over the top. 

Gunjan Saxena is now streaming at Netflix. 

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Saturday, 25 July 2020

Dil Bechara :: Movie Review

Dil Bechara helmed by Mukesh Chhabra may not be the perfect adaptation of John Green's popular novel, 'The Fault In Our Stars" but the performances of lead pair especially Sushant Singh Rajput, their palpable chemistry make it a worthy watch. Before the movie begins, we get to see a clipping of Sushant - playing guitar and looking happy with a smile on his face. A quote appears below the clipping, which says, " Perhaps, the difference between what is miserable, and that which is spectacular, lies in the leap of faith." This quote very much emulates the character that Sushant has portrayed in this film. And, it is the sole reason why this movie brings smile as well as tears in your eyes. You smile as Sushant plays the character of a wacky, full of life, sappy guy to pitch perfection and when you realize the utter depravity of the untimely demise of Sushant, your heart chokes. Ironically, Sushant's last film talks about celebrating life and love even in the face of impending death. Although, the female lead of the film believes in the age old saying of 'Ek tha raja, ek thi rani, dono mar gaye, khatam kahani" but Sushant makes her believe in the charms of living life to the fullest. Dil Bechara is a film that talks about looking at the brighter aspects of life while dealing with terminal illness and how to overcome the fear and experience of loosing a loved one. It's a love story with a difference - cute, flirtatious, hesitance of first love and above all selfless love in times of distress. 
                                    The screenplay of the movie has been adapted by Shashank Khaitan along with Suprotim Sengupta from The Fault In Our Stars. They have only borrowed the basic plot and blended it with several deviations as per the liking of Indian audience. I feel, this has been a major let down in the movie. While some portions of the movie move at a brisk pace, others move at snail's pace. The characters have not been etched down in a proper manner apart from the lead pair which acts as a dampener at times. Had more prominence been given to the parents of lead pair, it would have immensely added to the emotional quotient of the movie.  The movie is set in Jamshedpur where we are introduced to Kizie Basu ( Sanjana Sanghi) who is the only daughter of Basu family. Kizie is suffering from thyroid cancer which has affected her lungs forcing her to carry an oxygen cylinder along with her all the time. Though, she wants to lead a normal life with a steady boyfriend and enjoy life, yet, she has restricted herself as she knows that her end is near. On the other hand, we are introduced to Immanuel Rajkumar Junior alias Manny (Sushant Singh Rajput) who has lost a leg due to osteosarcoma. For the first time, Manny and Kizie meet in a college fest and later they meet in a cancer support group where they come close to each other. Manny woos Kizie with his charms and soon they become best of buddies. He believes in living life to the fullest and is a die hard fan of Rajnikant. Manny lives with his best friend, Jagdish Pandey (Sahil Vaid) who is also a cancer patient and is about to loose his eyesight. Jagdish wants to make a Bhojpuri film. Manny makes Kizie shed her inhibitions about life and live life to the fullest. He soon starts visting Kizie'shome and wins over her parents played by Swastika Mukherjee and Saswata Chatterjee. Kizie who is earlier reluctant about dating Manny also falls in love with him. Kizie has a wish of meeting her favorite musician, Abhimanyu (Saif Ali Khan) which she confides to Manny. Manny tracks down Abhimanyu in Paris and they fly down to meet him there. Also, Kizie helps in getting the movie of Jagdish completed by playing the female lead in his film. But, a tragedy is awaiting their love story and blissful life. 
                                 Sushant Singh Rajput portrays the character of Manny with effortless ease. His character had many layers to it right from being a charmer, lover, doting friend, vulnerable and to his credit Sushant has portrayed all these traits with elan in his performance. With a heavy heart, you have to accept the fact that this is the last performance of a fine actor like him. 
                                Sanjana Sanghi who makes her debut as the leading lady in this film manages to leave a lasting impression on you. She not only looks cute but delves deep into the skin of her character with aplomb. She breathes life into Kizie who is shy, lonely at first and sheds her inhibitions after meeting Manny. 
                                    It's good to see Swastika Mukherjee back in a substantial role in a mainstream hindi film. She has portrayed the character of a mother who is always concerned & apprehensive regarding safety, well being of her daughter with utmost conviction. In fact, she has worked with Sushant in one of his earlier films, "Detective Byomkesh Bakshi". 
                             Saswata Chatterjee as Kizie's father is appropriate and so is Sahil Vaid as Manny's friend. 

                                                The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by A.R.Rahman where as the lyrics have been penned down by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Together, they have weaved magic and charted out some good numbers with 'Dil Bechara', 'Taare Ginn' and 'Khulke Jeene Ka' being the best of the lot. The cinematographer of the movie is Satyajit Pande who has done a swell job behind the lens. He has captured the landmarks of Jamshedpur - The Tata Main Hospital, Jubilee Park along with picturesque locales of Paris with equal aplomb. The film has been edited by Aarif Sheikh who has kept the runtime of movie to 100 minutes. I feel the movie had been more impactful if runtime of the movie could have been little longer as more time could have been utilized for character development. But, this is a collective call to be taken by director, screenplay writer along with editor.  This is the debut film of Mukesh Chhabra as a director which is very much visible in the film. Though, Mukesh has tried his best to make an interesting adaptation of 'The Fault In Our Stars' but the effort seems half baked. Glitches in screenplay, uneven pace of the film and under development of characters are some of the flaws. The film surely has some great moments due to acting prowess of Sushant and Sanjana.   

The fault in our stars, tugged at our heartstrings because of its youthful verve and flawless narration where as Dil Bechara will be remembered for the last performance of a fine actor, Sushant Singh Rajput (Though, it is not his best performance as i rate his performance in Sonchiriya, M.S.Dhoni to be his best). But, this movie deserves to be seen for the sake of this fine actor whose career has been unfortunately cut short and who deserved a much longer successful run in Indian Film Industry.   

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Friday, 12 June 2020

Gulabo Sitabo :: Movie Review

Gulabo Sitabo helmed by Shoojit Sircar is a well made film that expresses a gamut of emotions through its well etched characters and wry humor. In these times of Covid 19, when cinemas are shut, several filmmakers have decided to release their films on OTT Platforms. Gulabo Sitabo is the first biggie from Bollywood to stream on Prime Video. This is the fourth time that talented duo writer, Juhi Chaturvedi and director, Shoojit Sircar have collaborated together after Vicky Donor, Piku and October and have affirmed their supremacy over their craft. Mind you, they both have a niche of their own which gets reflected in their cinema. They never make run of the mill or formulaic cinema out to please every section of audience. They have always chosen disparate subjects and made invigorating films out of them. Coming back to Gulabo Sitabo, this film is based in Lucknow and you will find intricate details of town and its inhabitants through the various characters of the movie. In fact, the charm of the movie lies in the astounding use of dialect of its various characters. The humor doesn't come in slapstick form but from the banter between most characters of the movie who try to outsmart each other by taking jibes at each other. On the outset, it looks to be a simple story but it has several layers attached to it which get peeled off as the story progresses. At the center of the story is Fatima Mahal, an dilapidated Haveli owned by Begum Fatto (Farrukh Jafar) whose miser husband, Mirza ( Amitabh Bachchan) is waiting for her to die to so that he becomes owner of the property. There are several tenants living in the haveli and Banke (Ayushmann Khurrana) is one of them who pay measly rent as they have been living there since long. As the film progresses, Officers of Archaeological Survey, Lawyer and a Builder enter the plot, each with their own vested interest in the Haveli. The prominent characteristic depicted in the movie is greed about which Banke says to Mirza in a dialogue, " Laalach Zehar Hai" and Mirza replies, "Maine Zehar se kisi ko marte nahin dekha". Greed and yearning for more money often leads to despair which has been brilliantly showcased in the movie albeit with innuendo. 
                                                         The story, screenplay and dialogues of the movie have been penned down by Juhi Chaturvedi who has once again proved her mettle. Trust, Juhi to come up with something disparate when it comes to penning up a story. The backbone of the movie is its free flowing screenplay, brilliant dialogues and peculiar characters. Each and every character has its own idiosyncrasies who try to out wit each other with their dialogues. To her credit, Juhi has ensured that the dialogues are laden with typical Lucknawi language which are mouthed by the characters with utmost precision. Detailing is the key of good screenplay, dialogues and Juhi has mastered the art of that. Though, the film belongs to Banke and Mirza but Juhi doesn't let the female characters take a backseat. On one hand you have Banke's guileful sister, Guddo who has no qualms in romancing her third boyfriend on the terrace or going to a hotel with a Govt. Official to secure a Govt. Job. On the other hand you have Banke's ambitious girlfriend who turns up at Banke's flour mill after marrying a rich guy. She sarcastically asks Banke, " Aapki chakki pe organic atta milega" and than herself replies him teasingly ," Shakal dekh ke hi lagta hai isne organic atte ke bare mein nahin suna hoga". On top of all is Begum Fatto who comes up with the biggest surprise in the climax of movie. The movie begins with Mirza ( Amitabh Bachchan) stealing bulbs, cycle bells of his tenants to sell them to scrap dealers. He is fed up of his tenants who have been paying paltry amount of rent to him. He is at loggerheads with his tenant Banke ( Ayushmann Khurrana) as he wants him to vacate his premises. One day, Banke kicks the washroom wall  due to which a portion of it breaks down. An angry Mirza along with Banke rushes to the local police station to settle the dispute where a clever officer of Archaeological Survey of India, Gyanesh Mishra (Vijay Raaz) overhears them talking about a old haveli. Now, Mishra tries to convince Banke and other tenants that this haveli can become a National Heritage property and if they vacate the haveli, they will get LIG flats. But, the greedy Mirza is no less as he approaches Christopher ( Brijendra Kala) having an expertise in solving property disputes to get his property vacated and transfer power of attorney in his name. Mirza is coaxed by his bosom pal, Pandeji to pray for demise of his Begum Fatto as than Mirza will be the sole owner of property. Christopher approaches a renowned Builder to construct a housing complex after demolishing haveli. Guddo, duplicitous sister of Banke is in touch with with Gyanesh as well as Christopher to get her slice of pie. Will the haveli be declared a Heritage Property, Will Builder demolish the haveli, Will Mirza become the sole owner of property and what will happen to tenants is what forms the rest of the story.    
                          Amitabh Bachchan puts life into the character of crotchety, astute yet farcical, Mirza with effortless ease. With prosthetic makeup and in a pitch different from his rich baritone, Amitabh literally owns the character of Mirza. 
                        Ayushmann Khurrana literally makes you root for his character with his impeccable performance in the movie. He looks the part of a sublime guy who is burdened with taking care of his family especially sisters who in turn never miss a chance to poke fun of him. 
                              Vijay Raaz slips into the character of Gyanesh with such conviction that he literally looks like a typical Government Official. The way he climbs on top of tree to take pictures & than is reluctant in climbing down or the pride in his body language when he takes Banke to show him Archaeological department laboratory is a treat to watch.
                              Brijendra Kala is one actor who has carved out his own inimitable style of acting and dialogue delivery which is unparalleled. The way he proclaims that he only speaks English at home or the way he boasts about his relations with builder are bound to bring a smile on your face. 
                              Srishti Shrivastava has turned out to be the surprise package of the film. The way Juhi has scripted the character of bold, sly Guddo, Srishti has taken the character several notches higher with her brilliant portrayal. 
                                       The musical score of Shantanu Moitra is in tandem with the movie and effortlessly syncs with the narrative. The lyrics that have been penned down by Dinesh Pant, Puneet Sharma, Vinod Dubey are heart touching especially "Kya leko ayo jag mein" and "Aana hai jana hai,jeevan chalte jana hai" standing out. The cinematographer of the movie is Avik Mukhopadhyay whose roving lens eye has captured the milieu of Lucknow with utmost finesse. The movie has been edited by Chandrashekhar Prajapati whose work at the editing table has resulted in a crisp movie. As a director, Shoojit Sircar has scored all the brownie points as he has presented this simple, refreshing tale of human characteristics in the most captivating way. He has ably infused the film with some valuable lessons without making it sound preachy. Shoojit has become synonymous with presenting invigorating tales in his own indomitable style.   

If you have penchant for slice of life movies laden with wry humor with well written and enacted characters, than Gulabo Sitabo is the right movie for you. But if you are looking for a formulaic movie with usual Bollywood stuff, than it's not your cup of tea. 
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Friday, 5 June 2020

Kaali 2 (Zee5) :: Review

Kaali 2 is enthralling, profound thriller which looses its way somewhere in the middle but soon bounces back with an explosive climax. Kaali 1 was a runaway hit because its storyline of a single mother Kaali (brilliantly portrayed by Paoli Dam) going all out to earn money to bear the medical expenses for saving her hospitalized son resonated well with the audience. Season 2 carries the same story forward but this time ; the stakes are higher and the world around Kaali is more murkier. Hence, some renowned actors like Chandan Roy Sanyal, Abhishek Banerjee and Vidya Malvade add spice to the world of Kaali 2. In fact, the best moments of Kaali 2 are where you see Paoli and Chandan together on-screen. There is a palpable chemistry visible between the two, but, without any romantic inclinations. 
                                                             In Season 2, we find Kaali living with a different identity along with her son and running a beauty parlor ; all thanks to witness protection programme of Kolkata Police. She is totally unaware of the dangers lurking ahead because of her murkier past. In Season 1, Kaali had to confront only the Kolkatta Police and the local drug dealers. But, this time stakes are much higher as not only Intelligence officer from Delhi has come to join forces with Kolkata Cops but Drug Cartels are also after Kaali. The story begins with Kaali running a massage parlor and looking after her son, Sunny who is still surviving on oxygen cylinders. Things are going fine until the day arrives when drug cartel leader Jinliang (Abhishek Banerjee) is to be transported for deportation. A special officer (Vidya Malvade) arrives from Delhi to Kolkatta to supervise this deportation. Meanwhile, Jinliang sends a notorious assassin who kidnaps Kaali along with her son due to her proximity with Special Branch Officer, Aniket (Rahul Banerjee). This ploy works as Jinliang is able to escape from Police custody. But, Kali is rescued from Jinliang's assassin by henchmen of another drug lord, Swapan (Chandan Roy Sanyal). What follows thereafter is an all out drug war for power in underbelly of Kolkata between drug lords, Cops with Kaali being an integral part of it. What is motive of Swapan behind rescuing Kaali, Will Cops be able to nail the drug lords, Will Kaali be able to save her son & Will Aniket, once again go out of his line of duty to protect Kaali, is what forms the rest of the story. 
                                    Without an iota of doubt, Paoli Dam is the soul of the series as Kaali as she keeps you invested in the series which speaks volumes about her acting prowess. She mostly emotes through her eyes which is a treat to watch. The transformation in her body language from a simple working single parent to a confident, clever, opportunistic and cold hearted lady is exemplary. 
                                Chandan Roy Sanyal is one of those few actors who gets unto the skin of his character in an effortless way. He is such an actor that it becomes very difficult for us to distinguish between him and the character that he is portraying. He is so natural on-screen that it never seems like that he is acting. 
                             Abhishek Banerjee carries on the rough, menacing look that he portrayed in his last web series, Pataal Lok. Watch out for him in the scene where he has a banter with a South East Asian guy who has come to replace him. Unfortunately, Abhishek's character in the series is not that well etched out and could have been more meatier. 
                                 Rahul Banerjee & Vidya Malvade both have enacted their respective characters in utmost convincing manner. 
                     To sum it up, Kaali 1 was more pulsating because it revolved around Kaali and her efforts to keep her son alive with the help of Aniket. But, in Kaali 2, not only lot of characters have been added  but the screenplay is also uneven. The saving grace is presence of some brilliant actors who keep your interest alive with effortless portrayal of their respective characters. 
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Saturday, 21 July 2018

Dhadak : Movie Review

Dhadak helmed by Shashank Khaitan unfolds a tale about innocent love blossoming between vagaries & extremities of life making it a descent watch.  Dhadak being an official remake of 2016 Marathi blockbuster Sairat is bound to draw comparisons with Sairat. And, this is where craft of Shashank Khaitan comes into play. Mind you, it's a real challenging task to remake a blockbuster wherein you have to retain the essence, yet, present the same tale in a refreshing manner. In case of Dhadak, Khaitan has been ably aided by his leading stars i.e Ishaan & Janhvi whose palpable chemistry has lent a certain amount of credibility to Khaitan's canvas. Both Ishaan & Janhvi keep you invested in this simple tale of love and manage to entertain you. Dhadak is not only about celebration of young love but it also talks about pain attached with it. We might have developed as a nation, yet, the gulf between rich and poor is not able to transcend true love. The movie ably depicts that, though, we claim to be a progressed society yet we are bound in the shackles of caste, creed and money. Dhadak narrates the tale of a young couple who fall in love and their survival to live together defying the caste discrimination and societal hierarchy. 
The credit for penning down the story of Dhadak goes to Nagraj Manjule (writer & director of Sairat) where as the screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Shashank Khaitan. Shashank has meticulously tweaked down the screenplay of Sairat while retaining the essence of the original. The best part about Shashank's screenplay is that he has kept it very relatable through which he keeps you invested in the blossoming love and the hardships of the movie's lead pair. The movie begins in Udaipur where love blossoms between Madhukar (Ishaan Khatter) and Parthvi Singh (Janhvi Kapoor). Madhukar belongs to lower strata of society where as Parthvi is daughter of a wealthy politician Ratan Singh (Ashutosh Rana). Though, Madhukar's father tries to persuade his son for keeping away from Parthvi but love struck Madhukar is unable to keep distance from her. So, one fine day when Parthvi's father catches both the lovers red handed, he connives with the local police and sends Madhukar along with his friends to police custody. A defiant Parthvi reaches the police station and manages to free Madhukar along with his friends. Hereafter, both the lovers elope to Kolkata to begin a new life. Will Madhurkar & Parthvi be able to start a afresh life, Will they be caught by Parthvi's father is what forms the rest of the story.
The movie belongs to Ishaan Khatter who with his youthful exuberance and emoting skills simply bowls you over. His confidence and body language in the movie is so immaculate that it's difficult to believe that Dhadak is his just second outing. The effortless ease with which he slips into the character of a innocent lover and later his transformation as the movie progresses is commendable. Right from the scene where he sings English song to impress Parthvi to the penultimate scene where Parthvi's brother enters their home, Ishaan has expressed myriad of expressions which speak volumes about his acting prowess.

Janhvi has given her best to the character of Parthvi in the movie and it is her chemistry with Ishaan that has done wonders to the movie. She bowls you over with her beauty and radiance. Though, in the beginning it looks that Janhvi needs to improve on her emoting skills but she manages to make a powerful impact in second half of the movie especially the scene where is yearning for her family and calls up her mother.

The musical soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Ajay-Atul and they have charted out some great numbers. Right from the title track to "Pehli Baar" to "Zingaat", all the songs are soothing and melodious. The background score of the movie composed by John Stewart Eduri is apt enough and enhances the on-screen proceedings. The cinematographer of the movie is Vishnu Rao who has done a swell job at capturing visuals. His roving lens eye has captured the beauty of Udaipur and its lakes with aplomb. The movie has been edited by Monisha R Baldawa who has kept the run-time of the movie to 137 minutes.  The costume designers Manish Malhotra, Natascha Charak, Nikita Mohanty have done a fine job keeping characterizations in mind. A special mention of Nishi Singh who is the makeup artiste of Ishaan Khatter for her effective contribution in the movie. As a director, Shashank Khaitan ( who has earlier directed Humpty Sharma Ki dulhaniya, BadriNath ki dulhaniya) steps out of his comfort zone by helming this dark love story & does it with aplomb. He ably presents this naive romantic tale with capacious dramatics without hindering from the sensitivities of the subject. It's not a mean task to remake a hit movie and keep the audience engaged especially when they know the highs & lows of the movie but to his credit, Shahshank manages to keep your interest alive in the movie.     
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Saturday, 30 June 2018

Sanju : Movie Review

Sanju helmed by Rajkumar Hirani takes you on a whirlwind, engaging journey into the topsy turvy life of Sanjay Dutt which is taken several notches higher by the impeccable act of Ranbir Kapoor and its ensemble cast especially Vicky Kaushal. When one of the most intelligent film maker of today's times i.e. Hirani decided to make biopic on Sanju Baba (as Dutt is fondly known as) , it was bound to create ripples as Dutt's tryst with controversies is well known. Many were skeptical that the movie might be a P.R. exercise for Sanjay comparing it with the biopic made on Mohd. Azharuddin which tanked at the box office. But, all those speculations have been laid to rest after release of Sanju. Hirani had decided to make this movie after listening to Sanjay Dutt's side of story and that empathy is visible throughout the movie. Though, Hirani has taken liberties with certain true events of Sanjay's life to enhance the emotional quotient of the film but he has nowhere tried to project him as a Hero and that is what makes this biopic different, engaging when compared to movies of same genre giving it an authentic look.  With Sanju, Hirani has offered a perfect blend of humor, emotions and entertainment in his own indomitable style. 

                   The story as well as screenplay of the movie has been penned down by RajKumar Hirani along with Abhijat Joshi. Together, both of them have woven a bit fictionalized but compelling storyline around real life story of Sanjay Dutt, who started experimenting with drugs even before his first film 'Rocky' hit theaters and almost a decade later faced trials and tribulations in the Arms act case relating to 1993 blasts. Though, there is so much to offer in Sanjay Dutt's life story yet Hirani has focused on two major parts ; his addiction to drugs and how he overcame it and secondly his tryst with other side of the law. Sanjay was once branded as a terrorist and put behind bars under TADA act. He fought a long legal battle and the film goes on to establish that he wasn't a terrorist and was only convicted under the arms act for which he has duly served the prison term.  Hirani has scored brownie points by showing the humane side of Sanjay and his relationship with his father (played by Paresh Rawal) and his best friend Kamlesh Kanhaiyalal Kapasi "Kamli" (Played brilliantly by Vicky Kaushal). There has been so much in Sanjay's life ranging from his drug abuse, rehabs, womanizing, death of his mother, visiting strip clubs, wobbly stardom, tryst with law, links with underworld, prison term, death of his first wife, divorce with second wife that can't be shown in run time of 160 minutes. Presenting a biopic on a man with so many tribulations is no mean feat, so Hirani has meticulously woven a tale showing young Sanju as a guy who weighed down by the legacy of his parents foolishly fell into the trap of drugs. And, almost a decade later Sanju's love for his father and his family coupled with his insecurity to protect them led him to his worst decision of keeping illegal arms at home. While, many would mock at Sanjay for throwing away his life despite being born with a silver spoon to celebrity parents, Hirani emphatically looks at the insecure and vulnerable characteristics of Sanjay. It is only Hirani's craftily writing and skillful direction that not only makes you invested in the film but also makes you believe how some of Sanjay's foolish decisions wrecked his life. Watch out for the scene where Vicky Kaushal confronts Paresh Rawal and tells him that Sanjay might die before Nargis Dutt buoyed by the pressure of his legacy. He pleads with him to be friends with Sanjay and tell it's ok to be ordinary, it's ok be just Sanju. This scene not only tugs at your heartstrings but also sums up the basic tenor of the film. 

Ranbir Kapoor has simply nailed it as Sanjay Dutt in the movie. Ranbir is bang on in emaluating the persona of Sanju be it his mannerisms, body language or tread. It is very difficult to portray a living actor but Ranbir has done it with so much of effortless ease that it is commendable. To his credit, Ranbir has portrayed the character so diligently that after some time you fell like that you are watching Sanjay Dutt on screen and not Ranbir. He has truly delivered an award winning performance. 

The surprise package of the movie has turned out to be Vicky Kaushal as  Kamlesh Kanhaiyalal Kapasi "Kamli".  As the star struck Gujju friend of Sanju, Vicky has delivered some of the finest scenes in the movie. Vicky has got typical Gujju diction so right that it's hard to believe that he is a Punjabi and not Gujju. When he goes to a strip club with Sanju to the scene where he hears Sanju sing "Tera Jaisa Yaar Kahaan", Vicky is at his best. Mark my words, Vicky Kaushal is a talent to watch out for. 

Paresh Rawal excels while portraying Sunil Dutt in the movie. Mind you, it's not a mean task to portray the legendary Dutt Saheb but Paresh does it to perfection with dash of subtlety. His emotional scenes with Sanju might bring tears to your eyes. 

Amongst the ensemble cast Manisha Koirala as Nargis Dutt, Dia Mirza as Manyta Dutt, Anushka Sharma as biographer, Sonam Kapoor as Ruby and Jim Sarbh have given praiseworthy performances. 

The musical soundtrack of the movie is a disappointment with just one song "Kar Har Maidaan Fateh" sung by Sukhwinder Singh being an exception. The background score has been composed by Sanjay Wandrekar along with Atul Raninga which enhances the visual proceedings on-screen. The cinematographer of the movie is S Ravi Varman who has done a swell job at capturing the visuals. The movie has been edited by RajKumar Hirani who has kept the runtime to 160 minutes. His editing is crisp with no dull moment appearing on screen throughout the movie. As a director, RajKumar Hirani has hit Bulls eye once again. Though, Sanju might not be in league with his previous films yet Hirani has done full justice to this biopic. Hirani once again reaffirms the tag of being a master storyteller that has been bestowed upon him. He has skillfully explored the dark sides of Sanjay Dutt's life leaving the razzmatazz behind so much so that he shown glimpses of only two of his movie's namely Rocky & Munnabhai. It is Hirani who with his able direction has presented the dark chapters of Sanjay's life into a tale filled with optimism, grit and humor. 

Sanju is one of the finest biopics that perfectly blends emotions, humor, drama in a riveting manner making it an engrossing entertainer. Whether you a are a fan of Sanjay Dutt or not, this movie won't disappoint you. 

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Saturday, 28 January 2017

Kaabil :: Movie Review

                                         Image result for 31/2 stars out of five     

Kaabil helmed by Sanjay Gupta can be touted as one of his better works as it brilliantly amalgamates sweet innocent romance with riveting revenge drama taken several notches higher by the bravura performance of Hrithik Roshan making the movie worth your money spent on the ticket. Sanjay Gupta is known for making movies that are stylish, sleek and he has a penchant for technical finesse but his movies have been low on emotional quotient. This time he has collaborated with Filmkraft Productions ( Rakesh Roshan as producer) who has a flair for making masala potboilers laden with emotional content. And, the result is Kaabil, a motion picture which is a perfect blend of both immaculate style and heart warming emotions. Not to forget, Hrithik Roshan who has taken the character of a blind man as fish takes to marine life. Right from the first scene where he is making breakfast to the last scene where he converses with the cop to fetch evidence against him, Hrithik is flawless. Hrithik has imbibed and portrayed the finer intricacies of a visually impaired person in the pitch perfect manner. Pertinent to say, Hrithik is the soul of Kaabil and it is he who takes the movie to soaring heights with his convincing performance of a revenge seeking blind man.  Though, the story of a blind couple falling in love, their world turning topsy turvy with the entry of antagonists and then, the protagonist out to to seek revenge was quite clear from the promos. But, Kudos to Sanjay Gupta and his team, they have stitched the movie in such a manner that you remain glued to your seats till the very end in anticipation of what is going to happen next. After all, it is rare that you have seen an intelligent blind man taking on the mighty and corrupt and seeking revenge from them by playing mind games. We have seen umpteen revenge vendettas but what makes Kaabil riveting is its premise of a blind man seeking eye for an eye.  

                                                                               The story as well as screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Vijay Kumar Mishra. Though, the story has nothing new to offer but it is the fast paced screenplay that keeps you invested in the film. While the first half offers a breezy, cute love story blossoming between a self reliant blind couple until the baddies enter their life and play havoc. The scene before interval where Hrithik openly reveals about his revenge intentions and challenges the cops to catch him if they can is bound to attract whistles. Second half is dominated more by action and mind games played by the protagonist. The writer cleverly makes us acquainted with the protagonist's heightened sense of sound, smell, geography and voiceover skills in the first half so that we don't start using our logical skills when he puts them to use in second half. The movie begins with Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) going for a arranged coffee date with Supriya (Yami Gautam). Both of them are blind but self reliant. While Rohan is expert at modulating voice and works as a dubbing artiste, Supriya is a pianist working with a N.G.O.  Soon, they fall in love and get married. They are planning to move into their new house and lead a blissful marital life unaware of the dangers lurking in the corner. Amit (Rohit Roy) who is younger brother of a local politician Madhav Shelar (Ronit Roy) teases Supriya and a riff ensues between him and Rohan. Next day, Amit along with his friend rapes Supriya. Rohan files a report with the cops and the investigating officer (Narendra Jha) sends Supriya for a medical examination but they are kidnapped from the way as cops are hand in glove with the local politician. To make things worse, Supriya is raped again which forces her to commit suicide. A broken Rohan understands that law is not going to help him, so he decides to take things in his own hands by seeking revenge. How Rohan seeks revenge despite of being visually impaired forms the rest of the story. 

Hrithik Roshan is an actor par excellence and he has once again proved it with his efficacious act of a blind man in Kaabil. It won't be wrong to say that this is his one of his finest performances till date. He is so persuasive as Rohan in the film that you never doubt for a moment what he is doing on-screen. From the charming young man who dances with her beloved on floor to the revenge seeker who is not able to forgive himself for being not able to protect his wife, Hrithik has hit all the right notes. Truly, an award winning performance by Hrithik. 

Yami Gautam  pulls off her act as Supriya in the movie with the right amount of innocence, earnestness, simplicity and charm. It was not easy to portray a blind girl's character but to her credit, Yami has portrayed it with full conviction. 

Ronit Roy looks mean and menacing as the conniving politician. Rohit Roy makes his presence felt as Amit in the movie. Narendra Jha is apt as the investigating officer and so is Girish Kulkarni who plays the part of his deputy in the film.

The musical soundtrack of the film that has been composed by Rajesh Roshan can be rated as average as the songs seem good while they are playing on-screen but none of them manages to stay with you for a longer time after you exit the theater. But, the background score composed by Salim-Sulaiman is top notch as it ably provides a momentum and builds up a excitement. The cinematographers of the movie are Sudeep Chatterjee & Ayananka Bose who have done a swell job at capturing visuals. The editor of the movie is Akiv Ali who has kept the narrative crisp and taut. As a director, Sanjay Gupta has done a commendable job in Kaabil as he has altered his style of film-making with this movie. Almost, all of Sanjay's earlier works were more focused on singular color palettes and sleek camera angles with lots of slow mo effects but lacked that emotional connect with the audience. With Kaabil, Sanjay has hit all the right notes and delivered a film which is both emotional and stylish. With his able direction, Sanjay has turned a conventional story into an engaging fast paced dramatic film.

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