Friday, 21 February 2014

HIGHWAY :: Movie Review

Anyone who has tagged Imtiaz Ali as a maker of big Bollywood blockbusters is in for a surprise with Highway.The RockStar and Love Aaj Kal director’s first foray into digital filmmaking sees him use a documentary-style aesthetic. The result is a stylish two-hander that is defiantly unconventional, if not entirely satisfying. But it isn’t just the visual and auditory delights on offer that make Highway a sensitive, understated entertainer. Its two exceptional characters sway to the kind of subtle emotional riffs that usually elude mainstream Hindi cinema. But that is not to say that Highway is anywhere near perfect. It has many a moment that is endearing and exquisitely etched, but the film is not always engaging enough to be able to offset the occasional inertia that stems from its lack of physical action.The director’s attempt to move away from his trademark candyfloss-ness has mixed results: this is perhaps the most picturesque road movie I have seen coming out of Bollywood, but the story struggles with its twin threads and uneven tone. ‘Highway’ is a patchy ride, with the occasional high spot. It is a film about nature and travel; about a meandering journey without a definite destination. It is purely incidental that two interesting characters find themselves while traversing this ever-changing array of bewitching landscapes. It is also precisely why this couple is even more visible, more relatable and less contrived, despite their unlikely circumstances. The focus is not entirely on them, they just happen to be there.

STORY & SCREENPLAY                           :       In an interview last year, Imtiaz Ali said he didn’t have a script when he set out to make “Highway“. All he had was a one-line draft and he wrote the film during the shoot. What you get is a complete departure from Ali’s usual fare – a film that is as pristine as some of the locations it is shot in; almost meditative in parts and wonderfully understated. It adopts a novel mode to address issues pertaining to the class and culture divide, the exploitation of women in feudal communities, and the safety, or lack of it, of the girl child within and without the family. Imtiaz Ali litters the narrative with little touches that speak of human connections in ways that are disarmingly simple but effective. The story is simple enough. Veera (Alia Bhatt) is the daughter of an influential man who is kidnapped after a freak incident at a lonely petrol pump two days before her wedding. Her kidnapper is Mahabir (Randeep Hooda), a brooding contract killer with a troubled past. Taken out of the world she has known all her life, Veera is at first disoriented, then bewildered, and takes her time coming to terms with her situation. When she does, the façade of her seemingly normal, privileged existence comes crumbling down, much to Mahabir’s surprise. The biggest achievement of “Highway” is that there is never any compulsion to label the relationship between the two characters – you could call it an unconventional romance, a strong friendship.

STARCAST                                                        :         The ever-dependable Randeep Hooda delivers a solid performance. A measure of his confidence in his craft is provided by the restraint that he brings to the characterisation, never seeking to get ahead of the plot. He manages to deliver a restrained performance and not overdo it for the sake of capturing more attention. Randeep Hooda has backed up the flick with a staggering performance and sketches the rugged Mahabir’s volatile personality with remarkable subtlety. A scene where he breaks down when he sees a life he cannot own is the most poignant. Alia Bhatt is a revelation. She responds to the demands of the role with all the skill at her disposal, nailing both the vulnerability and the tenacity of a harried but spirited ingénue. Her Veera is effortlessly fresh-faced, absurdly young, scrubbed and vulnerable. Although there are a few slip-ups along the way, for most parts she has fairly stood her ground.She has captured Veera’s emotional upheavals, her childish quirks and stubbornness with earnestness.It’s her impromptu jig with her captor Aaddoo in the middle of a rocky road that’s the most endearing.She also nails the scene that exploits Veera’s desperation and subsequent breakdown as she fails to discover anescape route despite being challenged by her abductors.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                     :           The biggest asset of the movie is its technical finesse for which credit must go to Imtiaz for choosing the perfect crew & extracting the best out of them. The music for the flick has been composed by the maestro, A.R.Rahman who has given some of the most soothing & melodious tracks. Sound design by Resul Pookutty, plays a major role in making this film a mini-vacation, a calming experience for its viewers. The background score is minimal; moments are not punctuated with annoying cues, instead letting the performances do the talking (or no talking).  The cinematographer Anil Mehta’s lovely, unfussy images ground the film and show us a good bit of India. (It was shot in Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir). The cinematography is plush and passionate & makes the visuals an occasion for optical enchantment. The movie has been edited by Aarti Bajaj who has kept the running time of the movie to 133 minutes but i personally feel that lot of scenes could have been edited as far as their duration is concerned. As a director, Imtiaz Ali has again excelled who through this movie has tried to portray that :  when the home and the world feel like a cage, the wide open road, no matter where it leads, is a surefire path to liberation. Imtiaz Ali articulates this thought with a sense of quiet purpose, and with Zen-like serenity.

CONCLUSION                                         :         Highway is a sprawling stretch of splendour, created by a director who shoots every frame in a painter’s vein but At the end we are left with a deeply dissatisfying film whose very incompleteness lends a sense of beauty to the narrative. It is a totally character driven movie which will appeal to a certain section of audience but it is a must watch for cinema connoisseurs. 

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014


 Subhash Kapoor         Geetika Tyagi

The casting couch drama has hit Bollywood, once again. And, this time the allegations of sexual assault have been made by former journo turned small time actress, Geetika Tyagi who lately appeared in movies like : One by Two, Aatma  and What the fish. And, the man in the line of fire is acclaimed director, Subhash Kapoor who has made movies like Phas Gaye Re Obama & Jolly LLB. 
                                               The whole drama which seems to have been captured on a spy camera, seems to have transpired at Subhash's place where Geetika Tyagi went to confront Subhash along with her boyfriend i.e. Atul Sabharwal ( Director of movie Aurangzeb). In the video, wife of Kapoor, Dimple Kharbanda can be seen pleading with Tyagi and her boyfriend to bury the hatchet and keep the matter private. Kapoor, too, says he is ashamed of what happened and has already apologized and is ready to face the consequences. " I dont know what to to do," he says, while Tyagi is heard crying hysterically, before she appears in the frame of the video, to slap Kapoor.
                                           In what can be called a perfectly orchestrated move to capture all the tamsaha happened in the private space, Jolly LLB director Subhash Kapoor and actor Geetika Tyagi are seen in altercation over their relationship in this video. Geetika, further says that “ I cannot trust a single man. I cannot face my father, brother-in-law or any man who asks me out for coffee without feeling Fu#%$* jittery,” as she is seen screaming and howling for what happened to her.
                                           There are several angles of this episode which seem controversial including shooting the whole incident on a spy cam. In their conversation, it is heard that she is saying that you forcibly held my hand and there seems to have been no mention of him having forced himself upon her to molest her physically.  
  Did Jolly LLB director Subhash Kapoor sexually abuse actor Geetika Tyagi ?: Watch videos whose link have been pasted below

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Friday, 14 February 2014

GUNDAY :: Movie Review

GUNDAY is a flick packed with liberal servings of kitsch and colourful quirks from the flamboyant 70s, three good-looking actors and incredible tunes reminiscent of a glorious past. Ali Abbas Zafar’s visual extravaganza ‘Gunday’ has all the commercial ingredients to keep audience hooked unto the screen. The plot of Gunday kicks off from the violence that surrounded the creation of Bangladesh and takes you on a whirlwind journey with several twists n turns in it. I would not say that its a masterpiece or a classy flick but let me assure you that you won't regret paying for the ticket of this film. It's packed with action, emotions, friendship, drama and some terrific performances. Friendship is forever and many Bollywood flicks have shown its various shades. And now director Ali Abbas Zafar has come up with Gunday and has been successfully been able to portray the camaraderie between his main leads i.e. Ranveer Singh n Arjun Kapoor by extracting great performances from both of them. And mind you,  Gunday’s muscular leads are fitter and better oiled than the heroes they are supposed to resemble, but they remain just as virtuous, apolitical and virginal. And they are boys, rather than men (the heroine’s words, not ours).

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                   :          The story as well as the screenplay of the movie has been written by Ali Abbas Zafar. Kolkata features as a location provider, the name of a night-club, and a playground to stage a spectacular tribute to 1970s’ cinema in Ali Abbas Zafar’s Gunday. This flick is a retro tribute to 70's with good-hearted heroes pushed by circumstances to the wrong side of the tracks, an ultra-glamourous heroine who might lose her nerve but never her poise, a hot-on-the-trail policeman, games of loyalty and betrayal, anachronistic period details, proper introductions for key characters, spectacularly staged action, a pre-climax loo break song sequence, and a pantomime of social commentary.As far as the storyline is concerned, the movie is Set in the backdrop of 1970s, when an independent Bangladesh was formed, the film tracks the story of two inseparable friends Bikram (Ranveer Singh) and Bala (Arjun kapoor). These two young orphans are refugees, who find shelter in Kolkata. Since their first meeting they become inseparable and stand by each other in ups and downs. They battle each and every day for their living and finally the two find themselves in murky mafia world of arms carrier and coal bandits. With the passage of time, the two best friends become the most influential goons in the city. The story progresses and the duo fall in love with cabaret dancer Nandita (Priyanka Chopra). Nandita sweeps both Bala and Bikram on their feet. When everything seems to be fine, ACP Satyajeet Sarkar (Irrfan Khan) appears into the scene.He sets out to put an end to their black market business. How the friendship of Bikram and Bala survive through all these hurdles, forms rest of the plot.

STARCAST                                                 :               A big asset of the movie is its performances and credit must be given to Shanoo Sharma for choosing the right artistes as per their characters. Ranveer Singh is setting the bar higher up with each film and fairly emerges unscathed as he effortlessly slips into the character of Bikram. The actor’s impulsive vein comes handy in this role especially because he acts with such ease, that it will be hard to take your eyes off him. Arjun Kapoor has given his best shot. He is intense, brimming with emotions but the rendering is not done to rightly tinted perfection. Priyanka Chopra does not have much to do as the focus of the script is on camaraderie between male protagonists but she still captivates you whenever she appears on screen as the dancer and proves her acting forte in the climax as the tough cop. But, the icing on the cake is Irrfan Khan. He is nuanced as the shrewd cop and his charming subtlety is hands down, the most irresistible thing about the film. He gives you the required giddiness with a well blended smoothness. Amongst, the ensemble actors it is Saurabh Shukla, Pankaj Tripathi, Victor Banerjee and Manu Rishi who are noticeable.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                           :         The music for this flick has been composed by Sohail Sen who has given an above average score although couple of tracks have become rage and chart busters. In fact, it is the back ground music that really scores high which has been composed by Julius Packiam. Credit must also be given to Rajat Poddar for his fashionably distressed production design. Aseem Mishra as cinematographer of the movie has done an excellent job as each and every frame bathes in lush colors. He has given a flamboyant touch to most of the shots and used bright color palette which flourishes especially during " Tune Maari Entriyaan " song. The editor of the movie is Rameshwar S Bhagat who has edited the movie very sleekly n sharply and kept the duration of the movie to 154 minutes. As a matter of fact, each department seems to have worked really hard and in consonance to realize the director's vision on celluloid. Now, coming to the director i.e. Ali Abbas Zafar whose has done an excellent job as his last offering " Mere brother ki dulhan " was a totally different genre. Although, he has made an age-old formula flick, but Ali makes sure he reinvents it with flourish, serving the formula in a contemporary format. GUNDAY is designed as an entertainer and it serves it all unabashedly.

CONCLUSION                                                         :         Gunday moves at a satisfying clip from the beginning to the end. It’s formula food for the present day, spiced with flamboyance, a fair sense of rhythm that occasionally slackens during the 153-minute running time, and a clear understanding of the meaning of popular entertainment, Hindi movie Ishtyle.  

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Friday, 7 February 2014

HASEE TO PHASEE :: Movie Review

Wrapped in bag of drama, chaos and amply quirky situations which will tickle your funny bone, ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ is all about how love takes over all odds. Two people who are poles apart finally end up engaging their emotional chord is what keeps the audience engaged. No genre of cinema is as prolific and palliative as the Hollywood romcom—an index of our appetite for the quickie fairy tale. If the milieu is urban and somewhat damaged, it’s likely to prove more abiding on the multiplex screen. Director Vinil Mathew’s debut feature film, Hasee Toh Phasee, is a smart and winning feint of that formula. It is an extremely likable balance between light and shade, the sadness in his beautiful lead woman sitting happily alongside her smiles. The sugar is pleasingly granular.

SCRIPT & SCREENPLAY                      :          The story as well as screenplay of this flick has been penned down by Harshvardhan Kulkarni who deserves real accolades for chalking out some interesting characters in his storyline which is the basic strength of this movie. The detailing to each character strikes. They have professions, they have family and the story sails through both. You see the scientist Meeta blabbering jargons and talking in Mandarin with her Chinese colleague, Nikhil trying to get money for his event company, the families into their respective businesses... and behaving accordingly! Needless to say there are umpteen moments which will make you smile, wishfully. And that's apart from all those moments which will at least let a chuckle out of you, if not a laughter. The night Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) runs away from home, she has a fleeting encounter with Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra), who goes on to fall for her sister Karishma (Adah Sharma), a woman with porcelain skin and an hour-glass figure. After seven years, Nikhil is struggling to hit the professional jackpot with a contract that is somehow dependent on the Indian Premier League mania. Karishma insists that without money her marriage to Nikhil would be hopeless. Meeta returns, with a psychotic bluster about her, and Nikhil and Meeta build a friendship built on sympathy for each other’s little tragedies and quarrels with the world. There is a tragicomic unease from the moment Meeta appears in this suburbia of designer dreams. By the end, Nikhil calls Meeta a “phattu” (emotional coward in this context) and challenges her addiction to psychotropic pills. Thereafter, no force, even as big as the Gujarati conviction on monetary supremacy or the misplaced egotism of a retired police officer, can stop this couple from the happy-ever-after upshot. 

STARCAST                                                      :         Parineeti is at her best. She makes it virtually impossible for the audience's eye to waver from her when she is on screen. She plays two avatars - a druggie genius and a lovable girl next door - with class. Chopra adopts Meeta’s rough edges with a confidence that belies the work that has gone into it. The role is refreshingly free of jerky, over-the-top physicality. Meeta reaches her personal redemption—which is not necessarily the socially correct one—revealing the character’s innocence as well as selfishness scene by scene. Siddharth Malhotra surprises in his second film. He finds his own and manages to establish himself as someone who cannot be ruled out. Malhotra is the good-natured man, a black sheep in his own family, and not self-aware enough. Although he starts off by exhorting everybody to ‘shake it like Shammi’, his elegantly gangly gait and cool, confident screen presence are reminiscent of the mannerisms of the early Amitabh Bachchan. Adah Sharma is comfortable in her relatively smaller role and has managed to impress. The delights are the seasoned Sharat Saxena and Manoj Joshi. They have moments which take your heart away. After Jai Ho, you once again get to see Sameer Khakkar on screen. 

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                  :       The music for this flick has been composed by the seasoned duo of Vishal & Shekhar who have belted out some good numbers including a robust Punjabi wedding song. The various hues,shades of the locales have been captured by the lens of cinematographer Sanu John Varughese who has done a fairly descent job out of it. The movie has been edited by Shweta Venkat who has kept the length of the movie to 141 minutes and has done well as there are no major dull moments which could dampen the proceedings. Vinil Mathew who is an ad-film maker, has made his debut as a movie director with this flick and has proved his mettle by making an entertaining movie. He has invariably managed to get some freshness onto the big screen with his quirkiness. He has focused on effective, gimmick-free technicalities, and it is obvious the director is concerned largely with tapping his actors, and making performance the praxis of his film-making. 

CONCLUSION                                                   :       Hasee Toh Phasee, notwithstanding its rather unimaginative title and its muddled core, is a mildly diverting, if somewhat woolly-headed, entertainer held together by its unapologetically absurdist spirit. It definitely works out and is an interesting watch.

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