Saturday, 29 March 2014

YOUNGISTAAN :::: Movie Review

Youngistaan  is as much a political drama as a romantic comedy about a young Prime Minister and his fun-loving outgoing girlfriend who suddenly finds herself under house curfew just because her lover has a rather important job to perform. The film tells us - it's okay to have dynastic rule as long as the job gets done. It also tell us that there's no need to get hysterical if our Prime Minister is in a live-in relationship. It may not be cool for a Prime minister to get his girlfriend pregnant at a time when he has a responsibility towards nation, but if it happens, there's no need to get righteous and holier- than- thou. You have to hand it to this film for making an effort to be headline-ish without toppling over with the temperament of topicality. This is a genre never cracked in Hindi cinema. There is a sense of mischief underlining the very powerful message about the young shouldering the governance of the country without resorting to the the stereotypical morality and dress code of Netagiri in Hindustaan. “Youngistaan” simplifies things to a large extent, and never seems to be able to decide whether it is a romance or a political thriller. As a result, it ends up being neither.      
STORY & SCREENPLAY                            ::           The credit for story as well as screenplay has been shared by trio of Syed Ahmed Afzal, Ramiz Ilham Khan & Maitrey Bajpayee. Although, the movie has a very interesting premise, but it is totally diluted by lazy scriptwriting. The film also lacks shades of grey and hence as a political drama, remains somewhat unconvincing. It focuses more on the personal life of the Prime Minister instead of his professional one -- which is not a bad idea either, except the director fails to choose between focusing on how Abhimanyu makes his politics work and how Abhimanyu makes his relationship work. Abhimanyu Kaul (Jackky Bhagnani), the son of the incumbent premier, is partying one minute and sitting by his dying fathers bedside the next. Our young hero is oblivious to his parent dying of cancer and knows nothing about the vagaries of politics in India, but is still trusted with the highest office in the country. Abhimanyu’s wardrobe undergoes a transformation — from grungy tees to crisp, linen shirts. He makes rousing speeches at the United Nations and pushes for youth reform. What does not change though, is his whiny girlfriend and her whims and fancies, which the young prime minister insists on fulfilling, even when they are unreasonable and childish. Anwita (Neha Sharma) hates politics, so she insists they move into a private home instead of the official residence, wants to visit the Taj Mahal when her boyfriend is on a work trip to Agra, and feels offended by media scrutiny into the life of the prime minister.

STARCAST                                             ::               Every character, big or small is effectively cast. Jackky Bhagnani as the Prime Ministerial candidate, conveys a whole lot of sincerity in his performance. His scenes with his dead father ( Boman Irani ) are emotionally resplendent. They play off well against the stark, sometime funny and outrageous reality of Indian politics. Jackky manages to deliver his most mature performance till date. Sure, he has miles to go, but Youngistaan is the big step he needed. Neha Sharma as his untameable girlfriend plays her character with intelligence and grace. This girl deserves more than what Hindi cinema has offered her so far. But it is Farooque Sheikh as Jackky's quietly efficient personal assistant who brings a twinkle eyed wisdom to the table.He’s effortless as the personal assistant to the PM, his twinkle-eyed wisdom making the narrative all the more engaging. His scenes with Jackky are not exactly laden with emotion but stay with you because of their simplicity. Meeta Vashisth looks real convincing as Jackky's Right hand lady but alias she has been given just couple of scenes. 

TECHNICAL FINESSE                              ::           The music department of the movie has been handled by Jeet Ganguly, Shree Isshq, Sneha Khanwalkar & Shiraz Uppal and the album has turned out to be decent enough with some of the songs turning out as chart busters. The production value of the movie is top class and credit must be given to Suman Roy Mahapatra & Pallavi Bagga who are the production designers of the movie. The movie has been shot well under the lens of cinematographer Amalendhu Chaudhary who has captured the locales well. The movie has been edited by Anuradha Singh who has restricted the length of the movie to 133 minutes. Now, coming to direction, i feel that Syed Ahmed Fazal has done a very average job and could have made this tale in a more convincing & engaging manner. The director has not used much intelligence or wit in handling his film and he has kept it modest, one dimensional and convenient. Everything happens too easily in the film and well the postulates of the constitution obviously doesn’t hold much value for the filmmaker.

CONCLUSION                                          ::         All in all, Youngistaan makes claims like Modi, implements policies like Rahul and has a persistent cough like Kejriwal. With a solid script on paper though trivial direction and sloppy execution, the film manages to remain engaging.

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Saturday, 8 March 2014

QUEEN :: Movie Review

Before, I pen down the review I would like to candidly admit that Queen is a movie which has shown the positive side of human spirit at its best and reflects Never say die attitude to the core. As a director,Vikas Bahl, eloquently traps the gradual transformation of Rani’s middle class terminology into a self assured laconic ‘thank you’. The movie not only leaves a zesty after-taste that lingers on until long after the ride has ended but also warms the heart and tickles the funny bone with equal force. Queen is easily one of the most accomplished films made in a long time. Its thematic elegance and narrative wisdom surpasses anything that you might have come to expect from the frothy ebullient trailers. Frothy and cheery, Queen certainly is. But it’s a lot more. At the end you are left so close to the characters and their life-defining milieu that you you don't leave them at the theatre when movie ends, but carry their cherishing memories along with you in your mind.

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                            ::                        The credit for the  story as well as the screenplay has been shared by the trio of Vikas Bahl, Chaitally Parmar and Parveez Sheikh. The brilliantly transitional screenplay has no jagged edges. Every component somehow slips into place. As Bahl tells his story we become one with Rani’s journey. The desperate optimism of her marriage-less honeymoon directs her to inner reserves of strength and will-power that she didn't know existed. By the time Rani’s journey ends, you are supremely attached to her soul. The story opens with a wedding ceremony and an adorable bride you’ll take an instant liking to. There is an immense delight factor in how the script is written. It is relatively plain and without the superfluous airs (read melodrama) you would expect. Just as you begin to pity her, the story ups itself for the better losing itself in the by-lanes of Paris and Amsterdam,with Kangana’s rolling eyes doing more of the talking than her. The girl’s childlike innocence is hard to miss as there is more of care than judgement in the way she advises her new found friend about not indulging in casual sex or as she compliments a stripper on how well she dances. Even the silent dinner she eats all by herself, with the eye popping out, off the fish, is metaphorical in its tone. But the entrancing moments are when Kangana vents herself out after bearing through a hard night, under the spell of alcohol. The intoxication makes her bold and she manages to exhibit more hues of her real self than her silently restrained atmosphere back home had allowed her in her entire life. It is from that wild beginning that Rani begins her journey towards self analysis and eventual learning. I am glad the writers did not dilute the story with a sappy and predictable romance angle and kept it sweet in just the correct measure. And of course, when it comes to how the story ends, I don’t think there could have been a more befitting climax written for a film of this expression. Rani attains an eventual carte blanch of sorts and yet it is less emphatic and more reinvigorating to see the final canter.

STARCAST                                                                       ::        Undoubtedly, its a Kangana's movie all the way And how! Kangna is so in-sync with her character that you wonder if the story was written according to the emotions that the actress had stored away in her heart. There is stark honesty about Kangna’s portrayal of the Delhi girl who is deserted by her husband-to-be days before the wedding. Kangna’s face and body-language justify the character of Rani to the core. She lives through every moment of Rani’s journey from a Delhi middle-class cocooned existence to a girl making her way through the dark sinister alleys of Paris and strippers’ joints of Amsterdam. Kangana Ranaut delivers a performance that marks her light-years ahead of any of her contemporaries. Lisa Hayden is breathtakingly gorgeous and just as good an actor expressing with a natural flair all that she has been entrusted with. This can definitely be rated as one her best performances till date. Rajkumar Rao as usual has given an excellent performance while portraying dual shades of his character. In the first half, as a lover-boy who is smitten in love of Rani trying every trick available in the book to woo her and in the second half as a dejected lover who is repenting for being a selfish fiancĂ©e. In fact, all the artistes having even the smallest of the roles have performed with unconditional conviction.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                     ::      The music for this movie has been composed by the talented Amit Trivedi who deserves accolades for composing some real fine tunes which are completely in sync with the situations of movie's screenplay. The cinematography by Late Bobby Singh is plush and passionate and yet the film's visuals never topple over into the kingdom of the garish. He definitely knows, recognizes, acknowledges and records beauty in every form, right from the architecture to the plush locales. The movie has been edited by Anurag Kashyap & Abhijeet Kokate who have done their job to utmost perfection as you won't find a dull moment during the movie's run-time of 146 minutes. And as far as direction is concerned, Vikas Bahl has done an astounding job by turning the oft-repeated tale of betrayal and self-realization into an ode to womanhood. Here is that rare director who knows how to articulate his characters’ feelings through the spaces that they occupy. There is something magical about the way Bahl uses Kangna’s artless vulnerability to express the character’s hurt and desire, sometimes both in the same breath. And despite following a non linear track of storytelling, basing the film solely on its vivacious moments, Bahl risks not following the easier route out here and yet makes this work magically. In many aspects Queen is a director’s product.

WOW MOMENTS                                                                       ::     There are innumerable wow moments in this movie but still some are there which you will cherish for a long long time. One of the scenes, where Rani's room-mates are playing & dancing on her Mehndi's song video and when she enters the room her face drops down. Her friends understand her pain and as soon as she looks up, Taka tries to cheer her up. Taka is a survivor of the Tsunami that wiped out his entire life. In that one moment, Kangana’s look changes perhaps with the feeling that her pain is nothing compared to his. Another scene, where Kangana gets drunk along with Lisa Hayden and the wild merriment that follows is a treat to watch.

CONCLUSION                                                                                 ::      Queen is a winner and does it all in a regal style almost to give most film lovers a cinematic orgasm of sorts. Queen is definitely one of the best movies to have come out in recent times and I would highly recommend this movie as a must watch.

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Thursday, 6 March 2014

LAKEER KA FAKEER, is a small budget movie which released in June 2013 but sadly i could not watch it as the movie did not garner Pan India release. I just saw it on DVD, a few days back and could not stop myself from penning down the review of this flick. The theme of this movie revolves around underworld albeit through the eyes of three friends who get caught in nefarious nexus only because of the area and surroundings where they reside. It stands out from the normal Bollywood gangster movies, being a rather dark and gritty look at how the crime erupts in Underworld of Mumbai. This is a film that brings very distinct points to its subject matter in comparison to previous films dealing with similar themes. The film is not about underworld , its about a guy who finds himself trapped in the crossroads of mafia as well as cops once he decides to become an informer. Its about the pluses and minuses of being involved in such a terrible world. The best part of the movie is its authenticity along with its treatment as after a certain period of time, everything on the screen seems so natural that you dont feel like as if you are watching a movie. And, for this full marks go to its director i.e. Zubair Khan who has made sure that everything right from locations, characters, dialect is so picture perfect as if its happening in real.  

SCRIPT & SCREENPLAY                :          The story as well as screenplay for this flick has been jointly penned down by the duo of Salim Sheikh along with Zubair Khan who have written a subtle script and concentrated more on sketching the characters especially the three main protagonists of the movie. You wont find those typical bolly heroes or anti-heroes in this flick. The characters are all simple having dreams of making it big one fine day but the biggest hurdle that stands in between is their address where they reside which is known for nefarious activities. The story of each character is presented through the eyes of Fakeer ( Azaz Khan ) in a unique way. The film clearly shows that anyone who enters this world will end up living under constant threat for his life and eventually find himself killed in the most dire of circumstances.The success, the friendship, the love the film's hero finds, all of it is lost in one unfortunate chain of tragic incident. The movie also touches the issue of exploitation of small time crooks who are lured by so called big fishes right from Cops to politicos to Smugglers. Kudos to the writers as although, the movie revolves around three characters only but still it manages to hold your interst throughout.

STARCAST                                                      :               Performances wise, this movie is a treat as most of the artistes are at their natural best and it doesn't seem as if they are acting. I have seen Azaz Khan ( Fakeer ) doing some negative roles in other flicks but here he looks to be totally a different actor. He has given a superlative performance as right from his expressions, body language to dialogue delivery, he seems to be in best of his elements. Javed Hyder (Chotu Mobile), whom we have seen doing small roles & in fact he has featured as Junior Chunky Pandey in movies of late nineties surprises you big time in this movie. Apart from his intense acting, he scores heavily in some comic scenes too. But, the surprise package is Vicky Ahuja who has played the character of Suleiman. He is an actor who i feel has not been utilized and has got real potential in him. Aksshey Verma, who has essayed the character of a cop looks every inch like a typical shrewd cop. Maarisha, too deserves a special mention as she has really impressed in her brief appearance.   Here again, the credit goes to Zubair Khan for extracting the best from his artistes who at least i could never imagine had the potential to carry a movie on their shoulders.     

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                    :                           The music for this flick has been composed by Dilshad which is on an very average scale. The cinematographer of the movie is Sanket Shah who has done a commendable job and has captured unfussy, grounded images with the right amount of light required for each frame as per the screenplay. The editing department has been handled once again by duo of Salim Sheikh & Zubair Khan who have done exceedingly well but i feel they could have restrained on blood gory violence and excessive usage of cuss words. Now, coming to the captain of the ship i.e. director Zubair Khan, he has done an excellent job keeping in mind the resources that were available with him. His hold on the subject and especially on the area where he has shot the movie seems to be tremendously good as he has shot the movie exceedingly well. We have seen ample number of movies made by various makers on underworld but his take is very different as the tale of underworld is intertwined through the incidents happening in lives of three friends. Zubair Khan has tried to keep proceedings as authentic as possible and has been successful in it to a big extent.

WOW MOMENTS                                             :    The scene where a techie Geek, approaches Chotu Mobile to buy an Apple handset and the conversation that they have will make you go roaring with laughter and is one of the most hilarious scenes. Also, the scene where Maarisha tells Azaz about her exploitations during her previous jobs has been shot well and is quite intense.

CONCLUSION                                                        :     It is a real hard hitting movie which covers various sides of human emotions especially of three friends who are victimised and fall prey to negative situations only because of their adventurous attitude & the area they reside in. Although, made on a modest budget with no star value, the movie still manages to catch hold of your eyeballs throughout its runtime.

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