Friday, 30 October 2015

Main Aur Charles :: Movie Review

Main Aur Charles is a intelligently conceived crime thriller flick by Prawaal Raman and is as hypnotic as the principle character of the movie that has been enacted with panache by Randeep Hooda. Though, the makers claim that that this is a work of fiction with a disclaimer in the beginning but there is no iota of doubt that the movie is based on the famous Charles Sobhraj who is also known as 'The Bikini Killer' or 'The Serpent'. Since the makers didn't have rights from Charles to make a biopic on him, so they have cleverly concocted a tale on the version of Amod Kant, the cop who worked on Sobhraj's Tihar jailbreak case. Hence, the movie is not a biopic on him but is centered around his escape from Tihar jail and how he is caught again. The story follows a non-linear way of narration which requires you to invest your brains whilst watching this movie. Hollywood has made several cult films based on serial killers but on the contrary Bollywood hasn't been able to explore this genre in justifiable manner. Though, several films have been made on serial killers in Bollywood too but very few were able to hit at the right spot. Main Aur Charles is one of those rare Bollywood movies that explores the genre in most justifiable and able way. The movie is not about Charles Sobhraj but about his hypnotic charisma which he encashed to the optimum by manipulating people around him. The movie ably showcases a certain life period of Sobhraj - the half Vietnamese and half Indian con artist, smuggler who racked up a series of convictions for murder and robbery in the 1970's, and who is currently lodged in a prison in Nepal. Such was his hypnotic charm that right from Princesses, law students, Jail staff and even Criminal Psychologists, fell prey to it and very few remained insusceptible. Prawaal Raman has crafted his character in the movie meticulously with lot of detailing and this is something which works in the favor of the movie hugely. And, an uncanny resemblance of Randeep Hooda coupled with his acting prowess has acted as an icing on the cake. 
                                                                                        The story as well as screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Prawaal Raman who has done a swell job at it. It is no mean task, penning a script that holds your attention while its intention is to throw you off the mark. To the credit of strand remains untied. Taut and refreshing, the script of Main Aur Charles keeps you on your toes with its tendency to throw surprises at several junctures. Moreover, I feel when a director helms a film written by him, his vision gets crafted on celluloid in the most justifiable way. The film begins with a non-linear pattern of narrative by showing Charles (Randeep Hooda) escaping from Thailand after a dead tourist is spotted at a beach wearing a bikini. After that, the film moves on to Charles's infamous jail break from Delhi in 1986. Charles escapes from the prison with three other convicts. The case is handed over to Amod Kant (Adil Hussain) who begins investigations into the case by visiting the jail and suspending the Jail warden (Vipin Sharma). Amod Kant detains Meera (Richa Chaddha) who is a law student on the suspicion of aiding Charles in his escape from prison. Charles moves to Mumbai from Delhi and a Mumbai cop Sudhakar Zhende (Nandu Madhav) who had arrested him in the past is directed to track him down. Soon, Charles moves to Goa after committing a con in Mumbai and Sudhakar follows his trail. One day, an unknown caller calls Sudhakar informing him about Charles's presence at a party. Sudhakar goes to the party and arrests Charles. Amod Kant flies to Mumbai and after taking custody of Charles, brings him back to Delhi. Won't like to spill the rest of the story as what transpires next is a mix of shocking revelations. 

                                                                                     Succinct to say, all the actors have been cast perfectly as per their characters in the movie and they have portrayed their respective characters with utmost conviction. Leading from the front is......Randeep Hooda. Randeep is a powerhouse of talent who has been underestimated & underutilized by our film Industry. But, Main Aur Charles gave him an opportunity to play a complex character and Oh Boy! he has ably carried the movie on his broad shoulders. Pertinent to say, Randeep is the soul of this movie. Randeep Hooda along with the technical brilliance of the movie hold the key to the film's efficacy. To his credit, we are not able to locate Randeep Hooda in the movie but only Charles. And, this is the best compliment an actor can get for his performance in the movie. His hard work towards portraying this it in form of dialect, body language can easily be gauged from his on-screen performance. Same holds true for Adil Hussain who has essayed the character of Amod Kant with effortless ease. Adil has truly delivered a subtle, mature performance which speaks volumes about his acting finesse. Whether be as the tough cop relentlessly chasing Charles or as the husband who is miffed at his wife over her questioning about Sobhraj's charming exuberance, Adil nails it to perfection. Despite being on hot trail of Charles, Adil displays a cool demeanour which is hallmark of a fine actor. Richa Chaddha has ably portrayed the character of Meera, a law student who is lovelorn about Charles upto the extent of being stupid. She has literally lived her part as you can feel for her when she keeps on saying 'Mera Charles' despite knowing that he is a convicted crook. Tisca Chopra shines as Amod Kant's wife. Tisca is one fine actress who always manages to leave a impression with her effective performance. Nandu Madhav is apt as Sudhakar Zhende. Vipin Sharma is another good actor who has proven his versatility by playing diverse roles. In this movie, he provides some comic relief by playing a jail warden who is in awe of Charles. He addresses Charles as Charles Sir & tells Charles's female friends to feel at home while they are partying in his jail office. Not to forget, Shaanti who plays the part of a  princess and becomes a victim of Con-game played by Charles. Shaanti looks every inch the charming princess that she's supposed to portray on-screen. 

                                                                            The musical soundtrack as well as the background score of the movie that has been composed by Aditya Trivedi not only gels wells with the narrative but also provides a further thrust to on-screen proceedings. The cinematographer of the movie is Anuj Rakesh Dhawan who has done a swell job at capturing visuals. Trippy Goa's party culture, even in the rundown bits, lends a wonderful edge to Anuj's visual commentary. Long shots, wide camera angles and apt usage of color palettes as per the requirement of the shots by Anuj is praiseworthy. A special mention of Salim Asgar Ali, Josie Paris (Costume Designers) and Jeetendra Kawa (Production Designer) for their effective contributions in their respective fields. The movie has been edited by Nipun Gupta who has kept the run-time to 123 minutes. Nipun has done great job at the editing table as he manages to hold your interest despite the non-linear pattern of narrative. As a director, Prawaal Raman, with the skills of a master storyteller, amalgamates a mysterious charming person's story in a thriller format. With his adroit direction, Raman not only springs many surprises but also concentrates on fine detailing. There are no exaggerated dramatic flourishes here, no playing to the galleries. Unlike other biopics or period films which have conveniently and lazily restored to antiques, artifacts and vintage songs, Main Aur Charles simply and effortlessly emerges from the character and his persona. 

Main Aur Charles is a 123 minutes epical noir with its unescapable gritty tone. It's a well made thriller and if you have penchant for slowly cooked up crime thrillers moving at a languid pace, this one is cut out for you.     
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Saturday, 24 October 2015

Shareek :: Movie Review

Shareek helmed by Navaniat Singh rakes up the age old but pertinent issue of family feuds owing to land disputes albeit in able, entertaining and thought provoking manner. There's no denying the fact that several sons have lost their fathers and several mothers have lost their sons because of land disputes in hinterland of Punjab. Possession of land to plough has been a bone of contention between extended families leading to rivalries between them. These rivalries get passed on from generation to generation with court cases pending in the court related to land disputes. Several members of these families opt to take law unto their hands and don't shy away from killing members of their extended families for the sake of land. This very scenario has been ably captured by Navaniat Singh and his team on the celluloid. It's not that this subject is new to Punjabi celluloid. In fact, this issue used to be the favorite subject of Punjabi film makers, a couple of decades ago. But, what sets Shareek apart from films of its ilk is its treatment and the way it sticks to its chosen path without any deviations. When you walk-in to the theater to watch a Punjabi movie made on this subject, you expect lot of blood savagery coupled with choicest of abuses, gory violence, heavy duty melodrama. But thankfully, Shareek sails smoothly avoiding cinematic cliches. It's not that these elements are not there in Shareek, they are, but in measured and restrained quantity. The movie definitely makes you ponder with respect to sibling rivalry which has made brothers kill their own brothers for the sake of land. Well written detailed script, powerhouse performances and eloquent direction make Shareek a must watch movie for Punjabi cine lovers. 
                                                                  The story as well screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Dheeraj Rattan who has done a swell job at it. He has ably etched out a collage of characters, each having his/her own distinguished traits and it is through these characters that Shareek offers its most plausible moments. Dheeraj has ably painted the grim side of Punjabiyat where brothers are fighting and killing each other just for the sake of land. He has not only explored the depths of this issue but also has highlighted the need for its eradication. The story revolves around rivalry between members of a clan over a piece of land. While one family comprises of two brothers namely Guggu Gill & Jimmy Sheirgill, the other family is represented by Mukul Dev, Kuljinder Sidhu and their other two brothers. Rivalry becomes more fierce when Mahie Gill enters the scene as Kuljinder Sidhu proposes Mahie for marriage and she accepts. But later, she falls in love with Jimmy Sheirgill and decides to tie nuptial knot with him. So, the rivalry which was restricted to land now involves a woman also. One fine day, while diverting water to their fields Kuljinder & Mukul kill father of opposite clan. In retaliation, Jimmy Sheirgill beats Kuljinder Sidhu to death. To prevent situation from getting worse, Guggu Gill sends Jimmy along with one of his sons to England. After 10 years, Guggu Gill's other son gets married. They also win the case filed in the court pertaining to land. Mukul Dev is not able to digest the happy fortunes of his Shareek's family & gets Guggu's son killed in a road accident. After hearing this tragic news, Jimmy returns back to his village from England. I won't like to spill the rest of the beans as what happens thereafter is for you to go and watch at a theater near you. 
                                                                                       Major impetus to Shareek has been provided by its talented and well cast actors who have portrayed their respective characters to the hilt. Leading from the front is Jimmy Sheirgill as Jassa who has ably carried the movie on his shoulders. It was not an easy character to portray as Shareek illustrates Jassa's journey from being an exuberant youth to matured wise person. To portray this journey, an actor needed to display gamut of emotions which Jimmy has done with remarkable ease. Jimmy literally enlivens his character on celluloid which speaks volumes about his acting skills. Be it as doting brother, affectionate uncle, jilted lover or a brooding person, Jimmy has hit the right notes every time. Jimmy has enacted the movie's principle character with panache and delivered an exemplary performance. Matching Jimmy step by step is Mukul Dev. With his brilliant performance in Shareek, Mukul Dev has shown us the actor he can be. I've always held Mukul in high esteem as an actor & knew he would nail it if given an well etched out character to portray. And, Shareek gave him that opportunity which Mukul didn't let slip away from his hands. As the Shakuni minded antagonist, Mukul lends a certain aura to his character. He has ably emoted myriad number of emotions in Shareek proving his versatility as an actor. His frequent banters with Jimmy lend several plausible moments to the film. Kuljinder Singh Sidhu who proved his mettle as an actor in 'Yoddha' is back with a bang in Shareek. He has ably essayed the character of 'Pali' who is the most short-tempered member of his clan. With his apt face expressions and body language, Kuljinder breathes fire into his character proving his prowess as an actor. Though, Kuljinder's character is restricted to the first half of movie, yet he manages to leave a lasting impression. Mahie Gill not only looks ravishing but has also portrayed her character in the most effective manner. Guggu Gill has given an apt performance as elder brother of Jimmy. Simar Gill & Oshin Sai have played their respective characters with conviction. 

                                                                                 Another highlight of Shareek is its melodious music composed by Jaidev Kumar. The songs come at the opportune moments during the on screen proceedings, hence never hampering the narrative. 'Dil Kafira' and 'Mere Saiyan' stand out amongst others in the soundtrack. The cinematographer of the movie is Harmeet Singh who has done an excellent job of capturing the visuals with roving eye of his lens. His cinematography is plush,passionate, heightens the kitsch of the settings with warm-hued interiors as well as captures the outdoor locales of London with aplomb. The movie has been edited by Manish More who has kept the run-time of the movie to 141 minutes. Manish has done a descent job by maintaining the tempo of the movie at a constant pace throughout its run-time. As a director, Navaniat Singh has hit the right chords with Shareek. With his deft & adroit direction, Navaniat etches out and develops the characters in such a way that audience are able to relate to them. Navaniat has done a swell job of portraying the screenplay unto on-screen and in the process has also extracted the best out of his cast and crew. 

Shareek stands tall amongst mindless entertainers being churned every other week in Pollywood and is a descent watch for thought provoking message ably infused in the film.    

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Friday, 23 October 2015

Shaandaar :: Movie Review

Shaandaar which was supposed to be the most grandeur work of director Vikas Bahl has turned out to be his most tepid work till date and is quite Un(Shaandaar) in stark contrast to its title. I felt so restless while watching this movie that i felt i needed some fresh air. Trust me, I have watched worse, really and even survived the ordeal of watching them. I survived Katti Batti, Welcome Back, even Mr. X in 3D. But this one beats all of them to a frigging punch. 20 minutes into the movie and I was like...WTF (Pardon my language). 1 hour into the movie and I could watch several members from audience making their way out of the audi of the multiplex. Thankfully, interval flashes on screen and the reviewer in me cajoles me to remain seated with the hope that things might improve in the second half. Post interval, I am still fiddling with my smartphone checking out & replying to my WhatsApp messages. Simultaneously, I am scratching my head thinking as to how, why and for whom this movie got made.....perhaps, only the makers could answer my queries. Reason being, I went in to watch this movie with huge expectations. And, why not, when you have experienced, established production houses like Dharma Productions & Phantom backing this project, a talented, versatile director Vikas Bahl helming this flick and some really good actors like Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Pankaj Kapoor featuring in the movie. But, what you get to see on-screen is a supposedly fairy tale with lot of animation thrown in getting killed by cinematic cliches and all its jokes falling flat. Anyone who has seen Vikas Bahl's Queen would have expected Shaandaar to be a delightful movie, given that he was provided with bigger glossy canvas to play with courtesy Dharma Productions but no one would have even thought that Vikas will make such a mess of it with such a drastic drop in storytelling and directorial skills.
                                               The story has been written by Vikas Bahl and Chaitally Parmar and the dialogues have been penned down by Anvita Dutt (all of whom were part of writing Queen). Shaandaar is one of the most mind-numbing stories, sorry, did I say stories ? Damn, that will be misleading. Because there is neither any story nor any screenplay. There are only banal sequences, funny, only to the writer/director. The supposedly fairy-tale has two nocturnal s i.e. two creatures (let me have the liberty to call them creatures) who can't sleep at night in the form of Alia (Alia Bhatt) & Jagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor) who meet and eventually find solace in each other's company. The story features two families i.e. Aroras and Fundwanis who are bankrupt and decide to get their kids married to save their sinking ships , oblivious about the financial condition of each other. But, the kind of designer costumes, stretch limos, expensive jewellery and the lavish destination wedding they organize makes you ponder that if this is the lifestyle that bankrupts live with, let me be a bankrupt soon. To add to your woes, there are several other caricatures apart from the 2 insomniacs in the form of characters. There is a gold loving Sindhi who is always boasting about his connections, his younger brother who has precisely eight and a half pack abs and is the groom There is a maha Khadoos granny for whom marriages are simply business deals and her goatee bearing son who has adopted a girl child who is insomniac. He also has a biological daughter who is a real fatso having no qualms about it and is the bride. There is no coherent storyline in the movie and it looks as if several scenes have been stitched together to make and present this film to the audience. Save me from the ordeal of jotting down the plot of this film for you. 
                                                     The only saving grace of this movie is the performances by its actors. Shahid Kapoor has effortlessly portrayed the character of Jagjinder Joginder who is an insomniac but an able wedding planner & organizer. He not only looks handsome but tries his level best to keep you entertained with his acting mettle and dancing skills. Alia Bhatt has really evolved as an actress and her performance in Shaandaar is a prima facie example of this. She truly lives her part in the movie proving her prowess as an actress. She has enacted her part with utmost sincerity and confidence. There is no denying the fact that Pankaj Kapoor is one of the finest, versatile actors that we have today and he proves it in Shaandaar with his impeccable performance. Though, his character has been shoddily written but he still breathes life unto his character with his own signature style of acting. His frequent banters with Shahid Kapoor (his real life son) lend some plausible moments to the film. The film also marks the debut of third Kapoor i.e. Sanah Kapoor ( Pankaj's daughter & Shahid's sister in real life). Sanah has effectively portrayed the character of a obese bride whose weight makes her the butt of many people's jokes. Sanjay Kapoor has essayed the caricaturish character of a typical Sindhi who is always boasting about his connections with aplomb. 
                                                As a director, Vikas Bahl has proven his forte in the past by directing two diverse flicks i.e.Chillar Party & Queen. While the first was a children's movie, the second was centered around a female protagonist who wants to break free and explore herself. Both of Vikas Bahl's previous flicks belonged to different genres. So probably, he wanted to break fresh ground with his third outing but has completely failed this time. Weak storyline (or simply lack of storyline) coupled with sloppy editing has let him down badly. On a lighter note, I was wondering how will Vikas Bahl respond post the debacle of Shaandaar. At the very moment, I remembered a dialogue from the movie in which Alia Bhatt says to Pankaj Kapoor, "How Cool ! Main aapki naajayaz aulaad hoon". It immediately brought a smile to my lips and made me think whether Ajay Bahl will say, "Shaandaar, Meri naajayaz film hai". (It has been Ghost directed by someone else). The finesse and the potential of a director that Ajay showcased in his previous two flicks is totally missing from this film. 
                                                                          Shaandaar is a movie that can be skipped without any regrets, instead take your family for an outing this weekend. Trust me that will be a breeze in front of this nonsense that spools out mercilessly for 145 minutes.
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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Dildariyaan :: Movie Review

                                      Image result for 3.5 stars out of 5

Dildariyaan helmed by Pankaj Batra is full on family entertainer that takes you on a fun ride that has been embellished with quirk, emotions, drama, good music, soulful romance making it an enthralling watch. Pankaj Batra who has earlier gifted two baguettes to Punjabi Celluloid in the form of 'Naughty Jatts' and 'Goreyaan Nu Daffa Karo' is back with his latest offering 'Dildariyaan'. Comedy has been Pankaj's forte which he has showcased in his previous two flicks but Dildariyaan is a soft romantic movie which is peppered with ample dosage of laughter. What sets apart Dildariyaan from films of its ilk is the way this movie has been crafted. Though, the basic premise of storyline is unrelentless love but the movie breezes past at a swift pace without any unnecessary melodrama or cliches. That is the biggest U.S.P. of this entertainer. Dildariyaan is embellished with a taut screenplay and good performances especially for audience who like entertainers laden with genuine wit, emotions and humor which comes naturally as the screenplay progresses. On surface, this may seem like an uncomplicated story, but scratch the exterior and there's a strong undercurrent of comic elements ready to explode and engulf you. That is probably why Dildariyaan appears to exude much greater energy n exuberance than it intrinsically possesses. This movie, with its apt plot and wickedly spot- on characterizations is the kind of fast paced and witty love story whose several moments will surely make you roll with laughter in your seats. Pankaj Batra and his team have fashioned a fiercely funny love fable filled with loads of innocuous innuendos. Dildariyaan, wickedly moves at its own volition with a crazy pattern of comic chaos that stops being short of being anarchic due to finely tuned situational satire simulated. Exclamations are the only punctuations in this seamless comic love fable played at an impossibly high octave, without getting shrill. 
STORY & SCREENPLAY                       ::                                                         The story,screenplay as well as dialogues of the movie have been penned down by Jagdeep Singh who has smartly constructed a collage of characters who further lend several plausible moments to the film. He has cleverly interlaced this love story with ample moments of genuine humor with his effective writing skills. I'll say one of the main strengths of this film has turned out to be its writing as erudition sits easily, spontaneously and unobtrusively on Jagdeep's narration. What makes it watchable is that humor has not been forcibly added in the form of gags but funny situations have been finely simulated which catapults the movie into a finely tuned situational comedy. The most recognizable elements of PUNJABIYAT are in full florid display, hence making it a full on entertainer. The best part is that the script breezes past without any major breakdowns primarily because it doesn't get too adventurous and sticks to its chosen line. And to top it all, it delivers some quirky detours that are made all the more engaging due to consistent quality of acting by most of the actors. The film begins in Punjab where team of Guggu Gill and his daughter, Sagarika Ghatge is flexing their muscles in a local village fight tournament. Cut next, Sagarika is leaving for a town to study and appear in IELTS test. As she boards the bus, running Jassi Gill arrives and sits next to her. Jassi gets be-smitten by Sagarika at her first sighting and falls heads over heels for her. He comes to know that she has come to town to study for IELTS test, so he starts hunting for her at coaching centers. After locating her, he too enrolls for the coaching classes. Soon, friendship engulfs between both as Sagarika finds him to be a good natured guy. Before Jassi is able to disclose his feelings to her, Sagarika tells him that she is already engaged which comes as a shocker to him. A relentless Jassi, follows Sagarika to her home at the village in hope of winning over her and her father. I won't spill the rest of the beans as what follows next is for you to go and watch at a theater near you.   
STARCAST                                                     ::                                Jassi Gill, singer turned actor has featured in some films before this one. But after watching Dildariyaan, one can succinctly say that Jassi Gill has truly arrived in the acting arena. He has portrayed his character of being cute, witty, funny and strong willed too with a fair sense of conviction. Jassi is simply outstanding in the movie which proves that he's really worked hard on honing up his acting skills. Sagarika Ghatge who makes her debut in Pollywood via this movie doesn't let an iota of doubt cross your mind regarding her being a Non-Punjabi with effective portrayal of her character in the movie. She not only looks drop-dead-gorgeous but also enacts her character with panache. Sagarika has ably enacted her part with right amount of confidence, attitude and ebullience making it a treat to watch her perform on-screen. Binnu Dhillon......just the mere mention of his name is good enough to bring a smile on many faces. He's got a perfect slapstick character to play as it is through his character that most of the sleazy, juvenile humor comes. But, the ease with which he has portrayed and expressed a synthesis of the slimy and the slippery without falling out of his character is commendable. Binnu is definitely one of the best comic talents around. Karamjit Anmol's straight faced, matter of fact style of comedy coupled with his innocent face expressions is bone-tickling to the core. Karamjit is one fine actor who essays varied characters assigned to him with complete conviction. It's a welcome change to see Guggu Gill portraying a mellowed down character of Sagarika's father in the movie. Baninderjit Singh Bunny has also come up with a fine performance. Baninder's hearty banter with his friends coupled with his distinctive style of dialogue delivery is a treat to watch. He is at his comical best in the movie. Not to miss out, Master Anmol Verma who manages to raise aplenty of guffaws in the movie as the younger cousin of Sagarika.  
TECHNICAL FINESSE                                          ::                  The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Jatinder Shah is a winner all the way with its varied numbers. Two numbers which stand out in the album are 'Hor Na Azmaa' & 'Pagg'. A special mention of Manmeet Bindra (Costume Designer) for his effective contribution in his field. Plenty of credit for the tonal correctness of the movie must go to the cinematographer of the movie i.e. Vineet Malhotra who has captured stunning visuals with the roving eye of his lens. The movie has been edited by Praveen Kathikuloth who has kept the run-time of the movie to 117 minutes. Praveen has done a swell job at the editing table as with his crisp editing, he has been able to maintain a constant tempo throughout the movie without letting the narrative dip at any given duration. As a director, Pankaj Batra has once again hit the bulls eye once again after his last two successful outings i.e. Naughty Jatts & Goreyaan Nu Daffa Karo. As captain of the ship, Pankaj has ensured smooth sailing for Dildariyaan. With Dildariyaan, Pankaj has proved that he knows the pulse of the audience and is a name to reckon with when it comes to helming entertainers. Pankaj's eye for detailing can be attributed as his strongest point as in every scene, the ambiance he sets, the mood he creates, the pitch of it all shows the director's potential with regard to attaining finesse in the matter at hand.

CONCLUSION                                                                 ::            Dildariyaan surely pampers your funny bones and relieves you of all your stress with some brilliant performances & witty dialogues which have been knitted together to entertain you to the core. This fun filled romantic fable is full of entertainment quotient and is a good family watch for Punjabi Cine Lovers. 

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Friday, 9 October 2015

Jazbaa :: Movie Review

                                  Image result for 3.5 stars out of 5  

Jazbaa helmed by Sanjay Gupta which is the comeback vehicle of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is a fast-paced, taut thriller peppered with some outstanding dialogues, excellent performances and a formidable climax. Sanjay Gupta, a name to reckon with when it comes to making sleek, stylish movies is back with his latest outing Jazbaa. Like his previous flicks, the one aspect that stands out in Jazbaa is that it offers a catch-you-unaware story to Indian cine-goers. In the past, Gupta borrowed stories from the West. This time, for Jazbaa, he looks at the East for inspiration. Based on acclaimed director Won Shin-yeon 's Korean crime thriller Seven Days (2007) starring Yunjin Kim and Park Hee-Soon, what sets apart Jazbaa from films of its ilk is its interesting premise. Besides a story that is indeed a novel experience for Indian moviegoers, Jazbaa is embellished with several twists and turns in the tale that come as a complete shocker. For those who haven't watched the original Korean flick, Jazbaa will take you by complete surprise. The best part about Jazbaa is its unrelenting pace and power which keeps you on edge of your seats. It's not that Jazbaa is flawless; a couple of over melodramatic scenes are there that don't gel well with the flow of narrative but still Jazbaa has more pluses than minuses. The fast paced narrative of the movie also ably brushes upon couple of social relevant issues during the course of its run-time;  Jazbaa talks about loopholes in our Judiciary and how some criminals take advantage of that and walk out free without getting convicted when aided by smart lawyers. It also talks about that even in today's world how morality of young independent women is questioned after they go through trauma of rape. It also talks about the issue of female foeticide through the movie's female protagonist who got separated from her husband only because he wanted her to abort the baby girl in her womb as he wanted a male child. But, all these issues don't sound heavy or preachy in the film as they have been cleverly interlaced in the narrative by Sanjay Gupta. The fast paced narrative, unexpected twists in the storyline and some deadly punchlines dotted with wry humor that are mouthed by Irrfan Khan make Jazbaa, a delightful watch.       

STORY & SCREENPLAY (SPOILERS AHEAD)      ::               The screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Sanjay Gupta along with Robin Bhatt where as the dialogues of the movie have been written by Kamlesh Pandey. The U.S.P. of this film is its fast paced, taut screenplay with lot of unexpected twists and turns. A special mention of Kamlesh Pandey for his well written dialogues which are a combination of feisty as well as punchlines laced with wry humor. And, when you have Irrfan Khan delivering them on-screen, it acts as an icing on the cake. The film begins with a take on Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) who is one of the leading criminal lawyers in Mumbai and a single mother to her daughter Sanaaya (Sara Arjun). She has a best friend in the form of Inspector Yohaan (Irrfan Khan) who has been dismissed from the service on corruption charges. Anuradha's life is turned upside down when one fine day her daughter is kidnapped from her school. The kidnappers instead of asking for a ransom money, want Anuradha to fight the case of a drug peddler Nayaaz (Chandan Roy Sanyal) and get him free from the clutches of law. Nayaaz has been convicted of raping and murdering Sia (Priya Banerjee), daughter of a college professor Garima (Shabana Azmi). Left with no other option, Anuradha takes up Nayaaz's case and starts collecting evidence to get him free. She takes up Yohaan's help in gathering information about the case. Initially, she doesn't tell Yohaan about the kidnapping of Sanaaya as the kidnappers are keeping a tab on all her activities but later on she confides everything to Yohaan. Despite being dismissed from service, Yohaan gets into Sanaaya's kidnapping case and begins his own investigation. Yohaan & Anuradha come to know that a prominent politician (Jackie Shroff) and his son (Siddhant Kapoor) are also connected with the case and Siddhant was present in the room when Sia was murdered. Who are the kidnappers, what is their motive behind getting Niyaaz walk out of the prison, Will Anuradha be able to get Niyaaz walk away scot-free, Will Yohaan & Anuradha be able to get Sanaaya back is what forms the rest of the story.   

STARCAST                                                         ::                          It's difficult to think of anyone other than Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for the role of female protagonist in the movie. Aish is simply stupendous in the film and has ably displayed myriad number of emotions in the movie, making her character look so believable. Whether be it as the grieving mother who is going through the trauma of her missing daughter or the poised, confident lawyer defending her clients in the court....Aish has portrayed her character with equal amount of finesse. There couldn't have been a better comeback film for her as Jazbaa offers her chance to portray gamut of emotions and Oh Boy! Aish doesn't let the opportunity slip away from her. Irrfan Khan is seen in a truly young angry man avatar in this movie and as expected he excels in it. With his impeccable performance in the movie, Irrfan truly captures your heart and imagination. On top of it, he gets to mouth some real good liners which he does with aplomb. Sample this ; Main Tumhara wo baap hoon, jiske baare mein tumhari amma ne tumhein nahin bataya. & Mohabbat hai isi liye jane de raha hoon, zid hoti to baahon mein hoti. In his own impeccable style, Irrfan has lent several clap trap moments to the film. Shabana Azmi has lent exceptional gravitas to this movie with her acting prowess. Shabana has enacted the character of Garima Chaudhary with shrill theatricality which enlivens the progress of the film. Chandan Roy Sanyal has played the part of film's principle antagonist with sheer brilliance. With his apt body language & dialogue delivery, Chandan has literally lived the part. Chandan is one of those brilliant actors who deserve to be seen more frequently on-screen in more meatier roles. Though it is her first outing in Bollywood yet Priya Banerjee has come out real impressive in Jazbaa. Priya has essayed the character of Sia, a young independent,outgoing & creative girl who has lived a restless life, firstly after separation of her parents and than demise of her father with right amount of confidence, attitude and conviction.  Jackie Shroff & Atul Kulkarni manage to impress during their brief stint on-screen. Amongst ensemble starcast, noticeable performances have been delivered by Abhimanyu Singh, Siddhant Kappor, Kaizaad Kotwal & Sara Arjun.              
TECHNICAL FINESSE                                            ::     Technical finesse has always been the forte of Sanjay Gupta while helming his movies and he has stood his ground firmly with Jazbaa too. The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Arko, Amjad-Nadeem along with Badshah packs quite a punch with its varied numbers. The background music of the movie has been composed by Amar Mohile who has done an outstanding job as the apt BGM provides a further propulsion to the visual commentary of the movie. The cinematographer of the movie is Sameer Arya who has captured different locales of Mumbai with aplomb. Sameer's camera roams the city restlessly. Sameer Arya has captured the emerging skyline of the city as well as its underbelly with equal finesse. The long shots of city waking from an uneasy slumber every morning merge into microscopic view of the movie's traumatized protagonist. Also, Sameer's usage of apt color palette as per the narrative is praiseworthy. A special mention of Wasiq Khan (Production Designer) & Subodh Srivastava (Costume Designer) for their effective contributions in their respective fields. The movie has been edited by Bunty Nagi who has kept the run-time of movie to 122 minutes. The editing of the movie is taut enough to hold the attention of audience throughout the movie, never giving you a dull moment to go out for loo break. There's no denying the fact that as a director, Sanjay Gupta is one of the most stylish filmmakers in the Indian film fraternity presently. As a writer-director, Sanjay Gupta has hit the right chords with Jazbaa. With his adroit direction, Sanjay Gupta has not only managed to extract the best out of his cast & crew but also manages to keep you hooked unto the screen till the very end. The best part is that Sanjay sticks to one chosen line and keeps the proceedings on a tight rein all through the movie's run-time. 

CONCLUSION                                                            ::         Jazbaa is a stylized, whodunit fast paced thriller peppered with wry humor and some towering performances making it a descent one time watch.

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Singh is Bliing :: Movie Review

Singh is Bliing helmed by Prabhudheva takes you on a joyride replete with well synchronized comedy, romance, action, drama but to enjoy this joyride, you have leave your brains outside while entering the theater to watch the movie. There has been a lot riding on this film and why not, when you have Prabhudheva & Akshay Kumar teaming up again after immensely successful 'Rowdy Rathore'. Just a word of caution before you make your mind to go & watch this film; Singh Is Bliing is neither for intellectuals nor for those who seek logic whilst watching a movie. It's a hardcore entertainer made with the sole purpose of giving you a good time which it does, provided you just don't look for logic. The plotline maybe paper-thin, perhaps ludicrous and farcical but Prabhudeva's film is very high on entertainment. Prabhudheva has the knack of making immensely watchable fares that cater to the aam junta. Singh is Bliing isn't a foolproof movie. It has its share of flaws, the turns of events aren't captivating at times, but Singh Is Bliing moves so fast (Thanks to its pacy editing by Steven H Bernard) and packs in so much, there's no time to analyze or ponder. Singh is Bliing works because it delivers what it promises: Full On Entertainment. In essence, the Sikhs are a community of immensely hard-working men, who like their chicken spicy and their whiskey strong. The Singh goes wild in Singh is Bliing, and -- just like their weddings are the most spirited, and their music the most dancefloor-worthy -- this one might not have much thought behind it, but Holy Harbhajan, the film thumps with the rhythmic, excessive energy of a loud dhol. It's a hoot. As a director, Prabhudheva himself has thankfully avoided the catastrophically high-pitched attempts at amalgamating slapstick with high octane action he pitched in both R...RajKumar and Action Jackson, as this is a film that doesn't try that hard. As a result, it's significantly funnier----despite the fact that the script, in itself, isn't really laden with jokes but with whacky situations. What it does have is detail, and detail comes across so much better when charmer is devilishly filling in between the lines, creating inanely irresistible humor out of the wideness of a grin, the yanking of kurta-sleeves or just the essential addition of lines so natural they can't be anything but improvised. He might look like a simpleton, but this Akshay Kumar is a maestro for sure. Final word ? Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment.....thy name is Singh Is Bliing.         

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                             ::             The story as well as screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Shiraz Ahmed where as the dialogues of the movie have been written by Chintan Gandhi. While the central plot is pretty commonplace, the screenplay packs a solid punch, with several clap-trap situations interlaced in the narrative, though it slips into the knowable zones at times. Surely, there are a few limp moments but a swift narrative outweighs this inadequacy. The film begins in Punjab with musical introduction of Raftaar Singh (Akshay Kumar) who is leading a carefree life but is apple of his mother's (Rati Agnihotri) eyes. Fed up with his silly antics, Raftaar's father (Yograj Singh) gives him two options. While the first option is to marry his friend's overweight daughter, the second option is to pack his bags and leave for Goa and help his friend (Pradeep Rawat) in his business. A reluctant Raftaar chooses the second option and heads for Goa along with his two bosom pals (Arfi Lamba & Anil Mange). Meanwhile, in Romania Sara (Amy Jackson) who is the daughter of a mafioso (Kunal Kapoor) upsets another mafioso Mark (Kay Kay Menon). Mark is quite upset with Sara and is gunning for her life. Sara decides to leave for Goa and reside with her father's friend who co-incidentally is Raftaar's boss. Raftaar's boss gives him the responsibility of being with Sara for her protection and well being. Now, there is catch....Sara doesn't speak Hindi and Raftaar is miles away from English language. To overcome this situation, Raftaar's pals hire a translator Emily (Lara Dutta). While Raftaar is a tad too emotional, Sara is blunt. Emily intentionally does wrong translations of Sara's blunt relies to Raftaar leading to various hilarious moments. Sara has another reason for landing up in Goa which is to find her long lost mother. With the help of Raftaar and his pals, Sara begins to locate her mother in Goa. While Raftaar develops an instant liking for Sara, Sara too begins to fall in love with Raftaar with due passage of time. As romance starts brewing up between both of them, Mark threatens to kill Sara's family in case she doesn't marry him. Our Punjab da puttar, Raftaar reaches Romania along with Sara's mother. Will Sara marry Mark to protect her family, Will Raftaar be able to express his feelings for Sara, Will Raftaar be able to thwart the evil plans of Mark, Will Raftaar & Sara get married is what forms the rest of the story.      

STARCAST                                                                      ::     Mukesh Chhabra (Casting Director), once again proves why he has become a name to reckon with in his field by assembling a fine coterie of actors for this movie. Akshay Kumar takes rapid strides with Singh Is Bliing. Sure, you've seen him in comic fares time & again and perhaps, there might be a doubt, Will he carry it off yet again ? Oh yes, he does ! There seems to be no saturation point as far as Akshay Kumar is concerned. Akshay holds your attention in every sequence, irrespective of how strong the scene is, and that's the biggest compliment for any actor. Singh Is Bliing without Akshay is like an ocean without Marine life. Easy to understand why Akshay is proving to be a King Midas at the box office. His rustic, anti-urbane heroics in film instantly raise the underdog on a pedestal and strike a chord with the aam janta. The camera loves Amy Jackson and it shows in Singh Is Bliing. She looks bewitching and enacts her part with tremendous confidence. Amy is evolving as an actress with every subsequent film of hers. Kay Kay Menon once again proves that he is a powerhouse of talent. As the central antagonist of this movie, Menon does a fine job and shows how quite a seasoned performer he is. Lara Dutta as Emily is a delight to watch in this movie. As the geeky translator, she manages to raise lot of guffaws in the movie and has portrayed her character with utmost conviction. Lara has ably showcased her comic finesse in this movie with her perfect comic timing and delivering some great punchlines with ease. Rati Agnihotri & Yograj Singh have perfectly fitted the bill as Raftaar's parents. Kunal Kapoor (Shashi Kapoor's son) who has appeared on screen after a long hiatus has portrayed the character of Sara's father earnestly. Arfi Lamba has given a measured and hilarious performance as Raftaar's friend. But, it is Anil Mange who is a delight to watch as Raftaar's other friend. Anil Mange's career seems to be on an upsurge as he was recently seen in Baankey Ki Crazy Baraat, Hero and now Singh Is Bliing. Anil seems to have penchant for comedy and his facial expressions are a treat to watch. Pradeep Rawat is first rate as Raftaar's boss. Mohan Kapoor manages to leave a impression during his short stint on-screen as Kunal's trusted aide.   

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                    ::               The musical soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Sneha Khanwalkar, Manj Musik, Sajid-Wajid along with Meet Bros Anjjan. To sum up, the songs of Singh is Bliing are at best, fun while they last. The background score composed by Amar Mohile is apt enough to enliven the on-screen proceedings. The cinematographer of the movie is Dudley who has done an excellent job of capturing visuals and deserves all the praise for the same. Dudley has ably captured beauty in every form right from scenic locales of Romania to sizzling beauty of Amy Jackson. Cinematography by Dudley is tempting enough to lure your eyeballs for a visual treat. Apart from Dudley, Sunil Babu (Production Designer) and Esha Amin (Costume Designer for Akshay & Amy) deserve a special mention as they have given a real stylish feel to the movie with their respective contributions. The movie has been edited by Steven H Bernard who has kept the run-time of the movie to 141 minutes. Steven Bernard's work at the editing table deserves appreciation as he has ably kept the momentum going throughout the movie with his crisp editing. It is because of Steven's razor sharp editing that the movie moves so fast and packs in too much that flaws in the script are outweighed. As a director, Prabhudheva is back in form after his debacle 'Action Jackson' and has helmed another full on masala entertainer. Prabhudheva's spirited execution of the subject forms another USP of the movie. With Singh Is Bliing, Prabhudheva has proved that he is a name to reckon with when it comes to filming formulaic commercial potboilers. 

CONCLUSION                                                                   ::        Singh is Bliing is the emblematic formula movie with distinct essentials that Indian masses yearn for. If you savor typical masaledaar fares, this one should be on your have-to-watch listing for certain. 

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