Saturday, 31 January 2015

Rahasya :: Movie Review

Rahasya is a well made, taut, gripping, intricate whodunit murder mystery which not only provides edge of the seat excitement but also keeps the audience guessing about the murder's identity till the very end with its enough twists and turns. The film 'Rahasya' is a work of fiction as the movie has a disclaimer in the beginning that it is based on fiction and bears no resemblance to any person dead or alive. But, the film is based on and was earlier publicized as dramatization of the famous 2008 double murder of teenager 'Aarushi Talwar' and her family servant 'Hemraj' for which her parents Dr.Rajesh n Dr.Nupur Talwar have already been convicted. In 2008, this case hogged the media limelight for months' altogether and became the most talked about murder case in India as well as abroad. How often, does it happen that a teenager girl sleeping in her room gets killed that too when her parents are present in the house. Several questions were raised. The Talwars, in fact unsuccessfully tried to stall the release of this film by stating that their were too many similarities between the movie and the circumstances that led to the death of Aarushi and Hemraj. Rahasya's crime seems very similar to the Talwar case, replete with the settings, the bungalow type house where crime takes place, and the fact that the victim was found with her throat slit in her bedroom. But after that the film takes on its own character, which is slick and wickedly delightful, fitting into the old whodunit format. The two hour long murder mystery is taut; with the atmospherics ensuring that the story never sags, keeping the audience engaged throughout. Ayesha, the 18 year old daughter of a doctor couple is found dead in her bed with her throat slit. The needle of suspicion immediately falls on her father, who disapproves of her Muslim boyfriend and has been threatening her over the relationship. Enter Sunil Paraskar (Kay Kay Menon), a meticulous CBI officer who is convinced that things are not what they seem. Every character associated with the case is a suspect, each with a stake in the consequences of the murder. There are red herrings, skeletons in the closet, and a couple of more murders before the truth finally comes to light. Most of Whodunits in bollywood frequently flounder in their end-game or climax but not Rahasya. In trademark Agatha Christie fashion, the detective makes the grand revelation at the scene of the crime, in the presence of all the characters, by cornering the murderer with facts and evidences. 

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                     ::                      The story as well screenplay of the movie has been written by Manish Gupta who is also the director of this movie. Similarities and dissimilarities to the 2008 murder case aside, writer-director Manish Gupta manages to engage you in this complex web of lies, deceit, revenge and conspiracy. Without beating around the bush, he comes straight to the crime and its ramifications. Sufficient twists and turns manage to keep the story largely unpredictable with audience hooked on to the screen as to what's gonna happen next. Also, admirable is the way he has sketched the characters with the needle of suspicion constantly hovering around. The film starts off with the murder of Ayesha Mahajan (Saakshi Sem), the only daughter of her parents Aarti Mahajan (Tisca Chopra) and Sachin Mahajan (Ashish Vidyarthi). Soon, the cops arrive on the scene led by a corrupt cop (Nimai Bali) who after examining the crime scene and interrogating the suspects, arrest Sachin Mahajan for the murder of his daughter on the basis that he is the prime suspect. While he is lodged in the jail, his wife appeals to various commissions and the case is transferred to CBI. Now enters, CBI Inspector Sunil Paraskar (Kay Kay Menon),who after studying the case holds a view that Sachin is innocent and has been falsely implicated. He makes it his mission to prove Sachin's innocence and embarks on an journey to nab the actual culprit. During this journey, he discovers many ugly truths. During the course of investigation, he is even offered bribe indirectly and is further coaxed by his wife to accept it so that they can lead a better lifestyle. Added to this are various twists and turns in the story, which also include a string of murders. Everytime there is a person in the form of a 'clue' leading to the actual murderer; that person gets bumped off in very mysterious circumstances. These incidents make Sunil more determined to find out the truth but to unravel the mystery, he must navigate the various loose ends to piece together what really happened. The fractured marriage of the dead girls's parents (Ashish Vidyarthi & Tisca Chopra) comes under the scanner, as does the nature of the father's relationship with a close friend's wife (Mita Vashisht), the role of family's maid of over 30 years (Ashwini Kalsekar), the whereabouts of the victim's no good boyfriend (Kunal Sharma), and the missing servant who is later found dead and buried in Talwar's house only. Will Sunil Paraskar be able to solve the complicated case, who is the master mind behind all the killings, what was the real motive to kill innocent Ayesha and what are the ugly truths that Sunil Paraskar uncovers during the process of his investigation is what forms the rest of the film.

STARCAST                                                                                       ::          Kudos, to Rajshree Sikchi, casting director of this movie for assembling apt ensemble cast who have given earnest performances as per the characters they were given to perform. Generally, you need Big Stars to pull a movie through but here some real good actors with their solid performances have made this movie, a thoroughly enjoyable fare. Kay Kay Menon once again proves that he is a powerhouse of talent. On the acting front, Kay Kay Menon raises above the film as the walnut eating, sharp and witty CBI Inspector. His is the performance that holds the film and its characters together. As a central protagonist of the movie, Menon does a fine job and shows how quite a seasoned performer he is. Watch out for his reaction when he is offered bribe in a scene, he simply raises his eyebrows and reconfirms if he was offered bribe and the other person denies saying it might be a misunderstanding. Ashish Vidyarthi in his role of Dr. Sachin Mahajan deserves an big applause. His body language speaks volumes for his character in this film even though he hardly gets to mouth any dialogues in this movie. This theater actor is natural at his work and deserves to be seen on-screen more frequently. Tisca Chopra who has already proven her mettle in motherly roles through her previous flicks like 'Taare Zameen Par' & 'Ankur Arora Murder Case', once again gets to showcase the plight of a mother in this movie. She has portrayed her character with utmost conviction. Ashwini Kalsekar who has played the role of nanny is good in some parts and hysterically loud in others. Mita Vashisht gets to play a dual character ; wife of Ashish's good friend and the other woman in Ashish's life and she has a done a fine job out of it. With her backless attires, she gets to prove her acting prowess more with her expressions rather than dialogues. Another noteworthy performance has been delivered by Nimai Bali who has graduated to big screen from telly screen by portraying the character of corrupt cop to perfection.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                            ::       The background music of the music composed by Ranjit Barot is apt enough as per the genre of the movie. The background music not only enlivens the proceedings but also provides much required impetus to the screenplay. The cinematographer of the movie is Faroukh Mistry who has done a fine job. His camera roams the city restlessly. The long shots of the city waking from uneasy slumber every morning merge into microscopic view of the traumatized family. He has shot Mumbai's underbelly -- the chawls, chase sequences in narrow lanes and local trains with aplomb. The film has been edited by Suresh Pai who has kept the runtime of the movie to 123 minutes which is apt enough. The editing of the film is taut which manages to hold the attention of the audience throughout the movie never giving you a dull moment to go out for a loo break. As a writer-director Manish Gupta has delivered a rare tight thriller sans any song-dance sequences added for commercial viability, hence helming a no-nonsense, straightforward thriller. His real achievement is the superbly crafted tight climax of the movie and extracting earnest performances from relatively non-star cast. He ably builds up the situations, motives of multiple characters involved in the case and their actions as well as confessions in fairly fast paced and gritty manner which lends credibility and authenticity to this film.

CONCLUSION                                                                                              ::          Rahasya is a superbly crafted whodunit flick backed up by some earnest performances which maintains the suspense and keeps you guessing till the end. If you like good murder mysteries, this one won't disappoint you. 

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Dolly Ki Doli :: Movie Review

' Dolly Ki Doli ' is a light, breezy entertainer which works primarily because of two reasons ; its neat packaging in a crisp duration of 100 minutes sans any melodrama and sparkling performances from its ensemble starcast especially RajKumar Rao, who bowls you over with his witty Haryanvi dialect and mannerisms. Kudos to Arbaaz Khan for coming out of his Dabangg mode and investing in a movie which has a female protagonist playing the main lead. Sonam Kapoor plays Dolly, a seasoned con artist who ensnares eligible young men in her love & then proceeds ahead to marry them, before drugging them with sedative laced milk on the marriage night and running away with their wealth. She's a part of slick gang that poses as her family and helps pull off these elaborate con jobs. Though, the movie has taken the basic premise from Neeru Bajwa starrer 'RSVP', a Punjabi rom-com that hit screens last year, Dolly's screenplay and its unpredictable ending lends it a different touch. In the climax of the film, Dolly could have easily settled down after tying down the nuptial knot and lived happily ever after. But, Dolly is a smart 21st century girl, who has lost faith in the institution of marriage and wants to live her life in her own way, More to women power !! Despite having a whimsical and wafer thin plot, the movie manages to entertain due to the humor quotient which flows along with the screenplay through its quirky characters. Debutant director Abhishek Dogra has kept the con bride story simple and refreshing, filled with laughable moments, hilarious performances delivered by quirky characters.

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                             ::                The story as well as screenplay of this flick has been co penned by Abhishek Dogra along with Uma Shankar Singh. Though, the story of the movie is wafer thin with lot of logical loopholes, it is the screenplay peppered with some real witty dialogues which elevate the stature of this movie. Some of the scenes especially involving RajKumar Rao will have you roaring in splits and one scene where Dolly's fake grandmother is taken to Police Station for investigation where she repeatedly mouths one dialogue " Beti de di, Sab Kuch De Diya " is a laugh riot. In this flick, it is the characters and the situations that provide delightful moments to the audience and not the storyline. I would like to make it clear that if you start applying your brains than you would not be able to relish this movie. Dolly Ki Doli is the story of a girl,  Dolly (Sonam Kapoor), who is fraudster. Her full time job is to pretend falling in a love with a boy, marry him and then run away with all the jewllery from the house on the first night after mixing sleeping tablets in milk offered to all the members of house including her husband. She has a man (Manoj Joshi) posing as her father, a lady (Zeena Bhatia) who acts like her mother, a young man, Raju (Zeeshan Ayyub) who poses as her brother and an old lady (Rajani Vaidya) who pretends to be her grandmother. The five of them have looted a number of homes in the same style - hook a boy, marry him and make away with the jewellery. The film begins with Dolly and Sonu Sherawat's (RajKumar Rao ) romance. A love struck cane farmer from Haryana falls head-over heels for this beauty and wants to marry her at any cost. The only son of his parents, Sonu convinces his father (Rajesh Sharma) to accept Dolly as their Bahu. And as they say "marriages are made in heaven", Sonu and Dolly get married but sadly do not remain happy ever after. Dolly executes her well chalked out plan and flees with her gang to con yet another family. And when the Sherawat's wake up in the morning after being made to drink drugged milk the previous night, they realize that they have been duped by their Bahu. Sonu, who is badly smitten by Dolly's love bug, tries to file a complaint with the police to look out for his missing wife. In the meanwhile, Robin Singh (Pulkit Samrat), a police inspector has been entrusted with responsibility of solving "Looteri Dulhan's" case. On the other hand, Dolly & her gang have zeroed in on their next victim, Manjot Singh Chaddha ( Varun Sharma). Manjot's mother (Archana Puran Singh) tries to play spoilsport but Manjot is so smitten by Dolly that he manages to convince her and gets married to Dolly. On the night of marriage, Sonu enters Manjot's house posing as Dolly's relative but still Dolly manages to complete her con job and run away. Soon, it emerges that Dolly has a past connection with Inspector Robin Singh also. So, Does Robin Singh arrest Dolly ? How does Dolly know Robin Singh ? Are Sonu and Manjot able to get justice and their valuables back ? Does Dolly finally settle down with someone is what forms the rest of the plot.

STARCAST                                                                      ::                   Sonam Kapoor is growing in stature as an actress with each of her release. The growth displayed by Sonam Kapoor as an actor in Dolly Ki Doli is excellent. Her approach towards playing this character is brilliant and it won't be wrong to say that Sonam has nailed Dolly to perfection. There's a steeliness in her performance that filters out in a subtle manner. Even though she's enjoying the con act, there's an underlining air of enigmatic mystery which is engrossing. But, the movie belongs to RajKumar Rao who floors the audience with his Haryanvi act. If you thought he is cut out for serious roles and not for naach-gaana, watch him dance with Malaika in an item number.He matches her step to step with same fervor. He has given an outstanding performance as Haryanvi Jat & is responsible for raising the maximum number of guffaws in the movie. Take a bow, RajKumar Rao. Rao makes you fall in love with him each time he bursts on screen with his conned-tomfoolery. Varun Sharma who delighted audience with his 'Choocha' act in Fukrey,continues his dream run at the box office. He has got an innocent face and expressions which he utilizes to the optimum. Pulkit Samrat as Inspector Robin Singh seems to have taken lot of inspiration from Inspector RobinHood Pande of Dabangg. His stiff body language, walking style and mannerisms reflect of that but it doesn't suit him as such acts are reserved only for Salman Khan who is able to carry them off in his own signature style. In short, Pulkit has failed to impress in this film. Zeeshan Ayyub is hugely talented actor who has proved his versatility in his previous flicks like Raanjhana & others. He gets to play an important character in this film who despite of posing as Sonam's brother, falls in love with her. He has played this character with immense maturity. Manoj Joshi as Sonam's on screen fake father is apt enough and so is Zeena Bhatia as her fake mother. Rajani Vaidya brings the house down with her class act in a scene where she is interrogated at the police station. Brijendra Kala, is an immensely talented actor who provides for lot of funny moments in this film as Inspector Khan and particularly his "Jigyaasa" is hilarious. Rajesh Sharma as father of Sonu Sherawat is a treat to watch and provides ample dosage of laughter with his Haryanvi act. Archana Puran Singh as mother of Manjot is a laugh riot with her loud mouthed Punjabi act. Ishtiaq Khan manages to impress during his short stint as Manjot's lecherous friend.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                       ::           The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by the talented duo of Sajid-Wajid who have belted out a descent album with some of the tracks being racy and peppy. "Fashion" song picturised on Malaika Arora Khan stands out and so does "Babaji Ka Thullu" track. The background score of the movie has been composed by Sanjay Chaudhary which is in tandem with screenplay and enlivens the proceedings. The cinematographer of the movie is Saurabh Goswami who has done a descent job as per the resources available to him. The movie has not been mounted on a lavish scale and hence doesn't boast of extravagant scenic locales and has been mostly shot indoors. The editor of the movie is Hemal Kothari who has restricted the runtime of the movie to 100 minutes which has worked heavily in favor of the movie. His editing is racy, taut and precise without giving any room for over the top melodrama or many high or low points in the movie. As a debutant director, Abhishek Dogra has come out real impressive. He has been able to make an entertaining flick out of an wafer thin storyline only because of his crafting skills. He has ably extracted the best from not only his main actors but also from the ensemble starcast. He has kept the screenplay of the movie lucid enough and it is his treatment of the screenplay which adds to the humor quotient of the movie. He also scores some additional brownie points for the unconventional ending of the movie.

CONCLUSION                                                                                                ::  Dolly ki Doli is a fun movie that you can enjoy with your family if you like light, breezy entertainers without awakening your logical senses.

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Friday, 23 January 2015

BABY :: Movie Review

Baby is unarguably one of the finest, riveting, taut, espionage thrillers to have hit Indian screens which not only provides edge of the seat excitement but also maintains that feeling of adrenaline rush all through its run time which is the pre requisite of any good thriller. It's seldom that Bollywood has been able to hit the right chords with its espionage thrillers with most of them either being laden with over the top melodrama or too many jingoistic statements in a potboiler script. But, Kudos to Neeraj Pandey for making 'Baby' which is a fast paced, well written movie with earnest performances that never wavers from its subject. Even if it doesn't always keep you in suspense, it doesn't let you wander too far. Pandey seems to have to taken inspiration from Hollywood espionage flicks most notably Ben Affleck's 'Argo', but adapts the genre to the Indian context, adding the right touch of patriotism and secularism to make it palatable, but never cloying. The movie has been extensively shot across the locations of India, Nepal, Turkey & Middle East giving Pandey a lavish scale to film on and he has made full use of that. The movie takes several references to the recent incidents that have made news on International front like 26/11 and the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad giving it a realistic touch. This is the fimmaking style of Neeraj Pandey who mixes Bollywood formula with his slick execution and adds some social commentary unto it making it look realistic. His films don't have clueless characters just for the heck of it and so in 'Baby', you won't see commandos talking on walkie-talkies but realistic depiction of police work. Baby is another perfectly balanced action thriller - a seemingly intelligent movie that provides you with ample dosage of entertainment which is worth your ticket's money. Despite, it being a mainstream film he has kept the movie devoid of songs, item numbers and has just stuck to the basics by maintaining the momentum of the movie through its well etched characters. It's quite refreshing to see a film that tackles an extremely sensitive subject of terrorism filtering from Pakistan with absolutely no prejudgment and more importantly, without glossing over certain uncomfortable truths. If one wants to know the real meaning of selflessness, than one should meet someone who is serving in intelligence bureau or secret service agencies. When someone is ready to sacrifice his own life for the sake of millions of others, it is selflessness personified. Neeraj Pandey's 'Baby' is yet another attempt to show the people of our country, what these men do out there in severe conditions, forgetting their loved ones. It was nerve wrecking to know that these are operations that are held at anonymous levels, and in case the agents are caught, their country wouldn't take responsibility of them. In fact, they would deny knowing them too. Despite of knowing about these consequences, these brave citizens still join the forces only so that the rest of the country sleeps peacefully. These brave ones indulge in several covert operations and in case they are killed during these operations, they die as "Unsung Heroes". The movie has been released on 23 January which is 118th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who is known as " The Unsung Hero". 

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                    ::                       The story as well as screenplay of Baby has been penned down by Neeraj Pandey. And, due credit must be given to him as the real hero of Baby apart from Akshhay Kumar is its exceptionally well written screenplay and proficiently etched out characters. The screenplay of the movie has several layers attached to it with lot of thriller elements and surprises thrown in at several junctures that work superbly in favor of this must watch flick. Undeniably, Baby reflects well researched writing giving it an authentic and realistic feel. As the story briskly moves through various locales from Mumbai to Nepal and Istanbul to Saudi Arabia, various characters are introduced. But the best part is that is that none of them hovers around for a long duration just because a star or recognizable face is playing that character. In short, characters play their part briefly and than they quietly skip away. Actors filter in only where required and they are not repeated just because it makes a commercial sense from a typical Bollywood perspective. Tapsee Pannu is part of one operation and Anupam Kher joins the team for the scorching climax shot in Abu Dhabi. Another highlight of the movie is its dialogues that are breezy, hard hitting and as believable as the characters who mouth them. Like Akshay's interrogation sequence with Jameel Khan where he clearly explains the difference between Religion and Nationality. Jameel says that he writes MUSLIM in all the government form columns and is proud of being a Muslim. Akshay tells him that when riots broke out in Gujarat, he was posted there itself and how he saved a Muslim family from the crutches of an enraged communal mob n he proudly writes INDIAN in all the columns. Kay Kay Menon says to his lawyer that he has heard that Kasab was provided with an AC room & he is even more dreadful, so he too deserves one.  The movie begins with grave and grim voice over by Danny Denzongpa who plays Feroz Ali Khan, the chief of a secret-undercover-counter-intelligence-anti-terrorist unit named Baby. Feroze tells us that Baby has been the most successful force against Pakistan based terrorism, and sine 2008, has dismantled several terrorist attacks in India. The film chronicles Baby's final mission, starring Akshay Kumar as Ajay who's hunting down Bilal Khan (Kay Kay Menon), an escaped terrorist. Ajay's hunt for Bilal takes him through seedy streets of Mumbai, the bylanes of Turkey, the mountains of Nepal and the desert sands of Saudi Arabia. Also in the mix is a nutty, India bashing, hate spewing Mullah Maulana Mohammad (Rasheed Naz). While Rasheed Naz appears to be a super powerful terrorist, Akshay Kumar along with his 'Baby' team comprising Jai Singh Rathore (Rana Daggubati), Priya Suryavanshi (Tapsee Pannu), Om Prakash Shukla (Anupam Kher) and others thrive to eradicate terrorism once and for all. Whether Akshay Kumar along with his 'Baby' team is able to stand strong against the mighty evils or terrorism wins is the plot of Baby.        

STARCAST                                                                   ::                I would like to applaud Vicky Sidana, casting director of this movie for choosing the appropriate actors as per their characterizations. Each and every actor, however small his part might have been, has been able to leave an impact while portraying the character on-screen. Although, it won't be wrong to say that Baby belongs to Akshay Kumar. As Ajay, Akshay Kumar has delivered the finest performance of his career till date. From his dialogue delivery to his body language, he is spot on. Even while handling the emotional sequences with his family, Akshay lives the character of Ajay. His performance is a tribute to many unsung heroes of the country who have sacrificed their lives while working on undercover operations. Khiladi Kumar is exceptionally well during action sequences too. Danny Denzongpa is cast to perfection and delivers a mature performance. Watch him in the scene where he tells the minister that we do not do enough for those who sacrifice their lives for the country. He is a picture of precision in giving the right expressions. Anupam Kher as ShuklaJi appears towards the last 40 minutes of the film and brings a smile to your face as soon as he appears on-screen. His bickering with Akshay are a treat to watch. Tapsee Pannu plays Priya Suryavanshi to pitch perfection and leaves a marking impression in her short cameo. Watch her fight sequence with Sushant Singh where she overpowers him. Not one frame in the entire fight looks exaggerated. Rasheed Naz as Maulana is the find of the film. His character, body language, dialect establishes the fact that there could have been no better villain for Baby, than him. Kay Kay Menon as Bilal Khan gets less screen time but his performance reinstates that great performances are all about quality rather than length of the role. He delivers more with his dead pan expressions and hazel eyes rather than words. Rana Daggubati has perfectly fitted the bill as the brawn man "Jai Singh Rathore" and delivered an apt performance. Sushant Singh has simply excelled in the character of Waseem Khan and brings humor in the least expected situation. Jameel Khan is truly impressive as Taufeeq and his interrogation scene with Akshay will draw many a claps from the audience. Madhurima Tuli as Akshay's wife and Mikaal Zulfikaar as Ashfaq have portrayed their respective characters effectively. Karan Gupta in his brief appearance as Jamal leaves a lasting impression.  

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                       ::                  The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Meet Bros Anjjan which comprises of just two tracks. One short song comes during middle of the movie n the other is reserved for the end credits. The background music of the movie has been composed by Sanjoy Chowdhry who has done a good job out of it. The tempo of the music is high and goes in tandem with the on-screen proceedings. The cinematographer of the movie is Sudeep Chatterjee who has done a brilliant job as Baby is definitely one of the best shot and visually appealing films in recent times. The movie has been shot across Kathmandu, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, hence providing him a bigger canvas to showcase his skills. His lens has captured every location beautifully and every sequence is captured with such grandeur and scale that it enlightens the experience of watching a high adrenaline film. Some of the aerial shots that seem to have been taken via usage of drone camera are a treat to watch. Lot of scenes have been shot on live locations like busy streets to keep the authenticity of the script intact. I would also like to applaud the work of Cyril Raffaelli & Abbas Ali Moghul who are the action directors of this movie for they have orchestrated, not only the best of raw action but some death defying stunts too in Baby. Apart from Khiladi Kumar's stunts, one fight scene between Tapsee Pannu n Sushant Singh has been very well orchestrated. The editor of the movie is Shree Narayan Singh who has kept the run-time of the movie to 150 minutes. His editing is racy, taut and never provides for a dull moment throughout the movie. As a director, Neeraj Pandey has once again proved that he is master of his craft. The best part about his directorial skills is that he gets straight to the point right from the word go and manages to entertain the audience without adding any extra frivolous elements or so called Masala in his movies. Neeraj is able to extract the best from his cast n crew, hence making his movies a delightful cinematic experience in all contexts.

CONCLUSION                                                                            ::           Baby keeps you glued to your seats with its thriller quotient and is a must watch. Don't miss this one !! 

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

I :: Movie Review

I is lavishly mounted, extravagant romantic thriller full of glitz n glamor which despite of its unusually long 189 minutes long runtime keeps you engrossed only because of the superior craftsmanship of its director, Shankar and endearing performance of its male lead, Vikram. The biggest movie in recent times, Shankar's I has finally hit the theaters. In I, he has taken up a genre that is remarkably different from all his previous flicks - a romantic thriller. However, the screenplay, still can be fitted into his typical pattern. Also, he makes sure that he puts forth some succinct messages in the areas of cosmetology and medical negligence. Shankar as director tends to translate psychological split in his protagonists on screen, mostly through a double role (sometimes triple ). Also, he's a director who's known to bring out the villainous elements affecting the productivity or harmony of the society. And while he is grandiose in creating Harvey-'Two face dent', society is not what he is trying to save in "I". This time it is personal, and revenge shall be served to the wrong doers. "I' is fable - like, like Shankar's interpretation of Beauty and the beast. The characters in the movie are either good or bad, so the boundary gets set early on between the hero and the villains. Lingesam aka Lee (Vikram) is a gymtard contesting for the Mr.Tamil Nadu title, and is a huge fan of an ad-model Diya (Amy Jackson) who keeps appearing in magazines, TV ads and Billboards. By chance, Lingesan gets to meet Diya, and lands in an ad spot with her. Henceforth, the film gets slightly ho-hum, and we just wished that a story this squishy squeezed a little more juice. Visually, the film scores high on various occasions - the music videos, where the film technicians get to work their magic with well-imagined visual effects. The bicycle fight in China where local goons attack our protagonist riding bicycles, and in a very Skyfall-like situation chase him on rooftops. This is one of the best choreographed action sequence. Vikram gets the maximum screen space in the film, and he utilizes it very well. He is seen in three different avatars in the movie ; as a bodybuilder ( Kudos to him for working out real hard and making such a chiseled body ), as a handsome model and as a hunchback. The hunchback avatar is his most prominent one in the film, and one can imagine how difficult the make up for the same would have been. This was the character which was least liked while watching the trailer but it turned out to be the best in the movie. Vikram steals the show in a bodybuilding musical round, where he has to dance and show his body to the tune of Azeem-O-Shaan Shahenshah. This was hilariously good. How far can one go for their love and how deep an emotional journey would be ? Shankar's "I' is a take on this and somehow manages to keep the audience engaged because of the Vikram's iconic performance.        

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                             ::            The story as well as screenplay for this flick has been penned down by Shankar who has concocted a very unusual love story which can be termed as really different from the usual love stories that we have been watching lately. Undoubtedly, this is a masala movie but with a difference and the credit goes to Shankar for penning down an intriguing screenplay as the movie alternates between the light hearted moments of the past and the thrilling present which keeps the audience engrossed in the movie. Shankar, has yet again proved that by penning down fresh, novel ideas and crafting them well, you can even make masala laden movies engrossing & entertaining, albeit in a different way. Although, the romantic portions could have been more heart warming, the novelty of drama, which unfolds after the romance is over, makes up for the lack of the warmth. Dialogues, written by Swanand Kirkire are effective. If the dialogues in the light scenes evoke laughter, those in the dramatic scenes enhance the impact. The second half of the movie in which suspense keeps unfolding, is superb. The revelation of the last bit of suspense is shocking and truly gives the audience a jolt. The film starts off with the kidnapping of Diya ( Amy Jackson ), when she is just about to get married. The kidnapper is a very strange looking man with a hunch back and also the movie's protagonist Lingesan (Vikram). In order to establish the reason for kidnapping, the viewers are treated to a flashback of events that have lead Lingesan to kidnap the very Diya, who meant the world to him. A glimpse into Lingesan's past reveals that he happens to be an aspiring and hardworking body builder. Despite all the odds and challenging situations, he still manages to participate in the 'Mr. Tamil Nadu' body building championship and wins it. Day in and day out, he dreams of participating and winning the prestigious 'Mr. India' competition, which also explains the reasons of his strenuous workouts at the gym. Besides his bodybuilding, he is obsessed with Diya, who happens to be a model. He likes and loves her so much that he doesn't leave a single chance to ogle out at her in magazines, TV ads and billboards. If that wasn't enough, he even lands up buying all the brands and products which she endorses, which also include sanitary pads and women's lingerie. Diya, who is constantly harassed by her fellow model John (Upen Patel), gets blacklisted by him after she refuses his sexual advances. Diya is removed from several ads and feels dejected. Diya and her mother closely know Dr. Vasudevan (Suresh Gopi) who doubles up as their family friend. Lingesan also, in a way, owes his bodybuilding championship to Dr.Vasudevan's help and guidance. That's when, Diya thinks of Lingesan and with the help of Dr. Vasudevan persuades him to become a model. She seeks the help of gay, stylist Osma Jasmine (Ojas Rajani) to transform Lingesan into a supermodel. She seeks the client's permission to let Lingesan work in an ad film opposite her. The unit leaves for China to shoot the ad film. As Lingesan is too intimidated by Diya, he is just not able to perform in front of the camera. Exasperated, ad filmmaker Sushil (Mohan Kapur) asks Diya to feign romance with Lingesan to make him feel at ease. As ad film is very important for her career, Diya tells Lingesan that she has fallen in love with him. The ad film becomes a rage with Diya and Lingesan becoming the hottest pair in ad world. In this journey of becoming a supermodel, knowingly or unknowingly, Lingesan rubs many people the wrong way, who include transgender stylist Osma, Supermodel John, a businessman (RamKumar Ganesan) whose soft drink brand Lingesan refuses to endorse & a bodybuilder, all of whom come together as one and team up against Lingesan. They are aided in their mission against Lingesan by one more person whose name I would not like to reveal as it will act as a spoiler as it is the main suspense of the movie. One day, Lingesan realizes that large chunks of his hair are falling. Soon, a tooth comes out and he develops large blisters all over his body and also gets a hunchback. In short, the handsome Lingesan soon turns into a very ugly looking man. The film suddenly changes its course and has a startling revelation towards the end. Will these guys destroy Lingesan forever, what was the actual reason for him to kidnap Diya, what happens when Diya finds out that the creepy looking man is Lingesan and what is the startling revelation, is what forms the rest of the movie.

STARCAST                                                                    ::                Coming to the I - man, Vikram, he doesn't take time to warm up, and instantly wins over the audience right from the moment he hops onto the screen - as the hunchback. Entirely covered under a world class prosthetic make up, the actor emotes via his eyes, and also with his body language and posture rather than his curbed up voice. I would like to mention a scene, when the hunchback character is given a minute of hope when Diya calls him towards her car, letting him catch a glimpse of a long lost happiness, before taking it back in the next when she hands him over a coin as charity, leaving him pendent all alone in the middle of the road. Kudos to his passion and dedication as he has performed all the three avatars in the movie with equal amount of finesse. Also, watch out for the scene where Vikram matches muscle to muscle with some of the best professional body builders. It won't be wrong to say that Vikram is the soul of the movie. Amy Jackson looks every inch, Diya, the supermodel character that she has portrayed on screen. She is picture perfect for this role and has also acted ably apart from looking pretty and glamorous. Upen Patel who has appeared on-screen after a long hiatus has done full justice to his character of Supermodel, John who is upstaged by Lingesan as the movie progresses. As the jealousy ridden, conniving John, Upen has given a noteworthy performance. Santhanam as Lingesan's comic friend is able to raise aplenty of guffaws and some of his scenes towards the climax where he poses as a journalist are quite hilarious. It is Santhanam, who provides the much required comic relief in this otherwise intense romantic thriller. Ojas M. Rajani is apt enough as the stylist Osma who falls heads over heels in love with Lingesan cause of his chiseled body. Suresh Gopi, gets to play a very important character as Dr. Vasudevan and he has done full justice to his character. RamKumar Ganesan who plays the role of a businessman bears an uncanny resemblance to a famous liquor baron. Mohan Kapur excels in his short stint as the ad filmmaker.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                              ::           The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by the music maestro, A.R.Rahman who has charted out a descent album which is a blend of various melodies. Two songs, namely "Issaq Taari" & "Ladyo" stand out. The background music of the movie has also been composed by A.R.Rahman which raises the tempo of the movie to the required hilt. The cinematographer of the movie is P.C.Sreeram who has done a splendid job behind the lens. He has been able to capture some real breathtaking visuals with his camera. He has not only captured the beautiful, exotic outdoor locales but also the terrific action scenes with equal precision, making the movie a visual treat for the eyes. The stunt directors of the movie are Anal Arasu & Peter Hein and together they have orchestrated some of the most jaw dropping stunts and action sequences that we have ever watched. The bicycle fight sequence in China & a fight scene between Vikram and other bodybuilders in a local gym where Vikram holds two bodybuilders on each side of a rod bar are a treat to watch. The special effects in the movie have been done by Joaquin Loyzaga ( Weta Workshop ) which are simply spellbinding and have to be seen to be believed. The visual effects in the songs, in which inanimate objects are converted into human forms, are simply marvelous. Muthuraj has excelled as an art director with his created sets being grand and ostentatious. Not to leave behind the contribution of Sean Foot & Davina Lamont, who have worked in the make up department. Their prosthetic make up of Vikram is simply, world class. The editor of the movie is Anthony who has kept the run time of the movie to 189 minutes which is a tad too long in comparison to the other movies being released these days. I can understand his predicament, it becomes difficult for you to chop off scenes when you have to edit a movie shot on such a lavish scale but I feel the movie would have fared better if one or two songs could have been done away with or some of the scenes could have been trimmed down. As a director, Shankar once again has again scored full brownie points and proved that he is a master story teller. While watching the movie, you feel delighted in Shankar - brand inventiveness such as the Royal Enfield morphing into Amy, and when Vikram's shoelaces get tied off itself with him just flipping his legs. And, the stunt sequences as well as the songs that he has shot. His direction is first rate. His vision is unique and the translation of his vision on celluloid is brilliant. He has given the film a huge canvas and made the movie an audio-visual treat.

CONCLUSION                                                                     ::                I is a grandeur filled extravaganza that needs to be enjoyed on big-screen for its stunning visuals, jaw dropping action ably helm ed by Shankar and an endearing performance by Vikram.  

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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Tevar :: Movie Review

Tevar is formulaic, average entertainer that has been laden with all the Masala elements required to make a typical Bollywood commercial potboiler aimed mainly at single screen audience. While 2014 ended with the feel good factor of Pk mania, 2015 has started with a commercial entertainer that takes you on a ride with its well orchestrated fight sequences, chase scenes and cleverly written dialogues. Although, the movie is a remake of famous Telugu hit "Okkadu" but the makers have smartly given it a makeover and staged this thriller around the hinterland of U.P. especially Mathura & Agra. First things first ; the movie has nothing novel to offer in terms of its storyline......A corrupt politician ( Rajesh Sharma ), his younger Bahubali brother ( Manoj Bajpayee ) who kills people right on the crowded streets, a young girl ( Sonakshi Sinha ) who becomes a damsel in distress when Bahubali gets so smitten by her that he wants to marry her at any cost and her savior ( Arjun Kapoor ), self proclaimed blend of Rocky, Terminator and our own Salman Bhai who himself falls for her whilst saving her from the clutches of her tormentor. From the outset, the story looks to be very ordinary and seen it all kinds but debutant director Amit RavinderNath Sharma has executed the plot in such a brilliant way that even the familiar premise looks fresh and engaging. To his credit, he has structured the plot in an entertaining manner and develops the characters in a interesting way. And, he has has been ably supported by his starcast who have given earnest performances especially Manoj Bajpayee. On one side, his verbal duels and heated exchanges with Arjun Kapoor are full of vengeance showing his real ugly side making audience hate him like anything & On the other side, Bajpayee has portrayed the besotted Goon's character with such intuitive warmth that you almost feel like rooting for him when love strikes him. As the love smitten sociopath, Bajpayee excels while portraying the inexperience of his character while dealing in matter of love. Like when he proposes to Sonakshi, he says pointing towards his heart " Tumhein kya lagaa yahhan peetal ka godown hai, dhyan se dekho yahaan Rose Garden hai ". Another highlight of the movie is that it has been shot on real lanes & by lanes of Agra ( with ample of footage of Taj Mahal ) giving all the action that takes place, a real and authentic look. The first half drags a bit as characters are intertwined and the premise is set but it is second half when the real action unfolds and movie picks up the pace. I would also like to mention here that I felt that the movie has been stretched a bit and its runtime of 160 minutes could have been shortened with some more crisp editing.       

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                             ::                                       The story of the movie has been penned down by Gunasekhar, Shantanu Srivastava and the screenplay has been written by Amit RavinderNath Sharma. The writers have taken a very basic plot of a small town Goon who gets smitten by a girl and how she is rescued from his clutches by a small town boy and garnished the screenplay with ample dosage of emotions, drama, comedy and action. It is meticulously sketched characters, well crafted and executed screenplay that has elevated this basic plot into an above average film. The film begins with Agra based Ghanshyam aka Pintoo Shukla (Arjun Kapoor) who is the son of an IPS officer Satyapal (Raj Babbar) and the 'journey' that he traverses to participate in a kabaddi match. Beneath the careless and carefree Pintoo lies a heart of gold which not only knows how to treat women with respect, but also how to punish the miscreants. Meanwhile, in Mathura resides Radhika Mishra (Sonakshi Sinha), who is the sister of Mahesh Mishra, a TV journalist working with 'UP News'. Because of his righteous reporting, he becomes the target of 'Bahubali' Gajendra Singh (Manoj Bajpayee), who happens to be the brother of the politician Mahendra Singh (played by Rajesh Sharma). But the very moment Gajendra's eyes see Radhika, he falls madly in love with her. Wasting no time, he lands up in her college to propose to her at 'gunpoint'. On being refused, he murders her brother in broad daylight. That's when Radhika's parents decide to send her to US so that she can be away from the evil eyes and clutches of Gajendra. And when she is just about to escape to Mathura, the evil Gajendra finds and tries to forcefully take her away. That's when the ever-so-helpful Pintoo accidentally gets involved and helps Radhika in fleeing away from Gajendra. As a result of which, Gajendra and his men start search operation for both Pintoo and Radhika. Does the villainous Gajendra succeed in finding Radhika, does Pintoo manage to free Radhika from the clutches of the villains and does Radhika ultimately manage to go to the US... is what forms the rest of the film.

STARCAST                                                                         ::           Kudos to casting director, Mukesh Chhabra for not only choosing the apt starcast but also for scoring a hat-trick as this is third film after PK and Ugly where he has scored brownie points as a casting director. Being his home production, this movie offers ample scope to Arjun Kapoor to display his histrionics on the celluloid and Oh Boy ! he has made full use of this opportunity by portraying the character of Pintoo Shukla with aplomb. Right from his intoductory sequence where he makes late but stylish entry ( Typical Bollywood Ishtyle ) in a kabaddi match to his confrontational scenes with Manoj Bajpayee, the guy is all charged up and full of energy. Manoj Bajpayee, the effortlessly brilliant actor that he is has nailed the character of Gajendra to utmost perfection. He has portrayed the dual shades of his character with equal amount of finesse. While he looks real mean & menacing as the ruthless killer, his expressions and body language change to the hilt whenever he comes in front of Sonakshi. Coming to Sonakshi Sinha, it is not for the first time that she has played the character of damsel in distress but this time she has outshone her earlier performances. This time her character doesn't allow her to do much of talking with words, so she has made brilliant use of her eyes to do the talking and has excelled in it. I would rate this as her best performance after "Lootera". Raj Babbar has given a commendable performance as IPS officer and Arjun's father. Deepti Nawal has given a restrained performance as Arjun's mother. Rajesh Sharma is apt enough as the corrupt politician. I would like to make a special mention of Subrat Dutt who manages to get himself noticed amongst all these stalwarts by playing the character of Mahendra's aide Kakrri.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                      ::                         The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Sajid-Wajid, Shafqat Amaanat Ali and Imraan Khan. The album features some peppy numbers like "Superman" and has a soulful rendition in the form of "Jogniya". The cinematographer of the movie is Laxman Utekar who has done an outstanding job. He has not only captured the real shots of small towns with aplomb but his aerial shots and chase sequences show his master craftsmanship. The production design by Aparna Sud and the art direction by Amit Lad also earn a special mention for bringing the streets of these cities alive and recreating the festival of Holi so beautifully. The movie has been edited by Dev Jadhav who has kept the runtime of the movie to 159 minutes which seems a tad too long. Had he let his scissors work more effectively, it could have done a big favor to the movie as the movie drags in some parts. I would also like to applaud the work of action director, Shyam Kaushal who has orchestrated some real high octane action and chase sequences in the movie. As a debutant director, Amit RavinderNath Sharma has come out real impressive. He has proved that his knows his craft well and has a penchant for storytelling. It is only due to his style of execution that this decade old stale plot gets converted into a somewhat engaging and watchable film. If he could make an engaging film with this script, I am sure he can do wonders if provided with a good script.

CONCLUSION                                                                   ::                                  If you have a flair for stylish masala films where action does more talking than words, than this is the movie for you else you can skip this one.
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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

PK creates history at Indian Box Office

Standing tall ad-mist controversies and protests " PK " which has been on a record breaking spree has finally created history at Indian Box Office. Days after becoming Bollywood's biggest grosser, Aamir Khan starrer 'PK' has pulled another one from its ' magic hat of tricks ' to become the first ever Hindi movie to cross the Rs.300 crore mark in box office collections. The humongous collections of 'PK' have come in merely 17 days, cementing the film's position as the best ever Hindi movie. The formidable trio of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, RajKumar Hirani & Aamir Khan has once again set the cash registers ringing after their last collaborative movie ' 3 Idiots ' which also set new records at the time of its release. Director RajKumar Hirani, while breaking the news, said the film's word-of-mouth performance has been overwhelming. " I had never in my wildest dreams thought this film will cross these numbers. It reinforces faith that content is king. We can continue making films we believe in. The messages I get are overwhelming. People are watching the film over and over again. It's humbling." Rajkumar Hirani said in a statement after 'PK' dethroned 'Dhoom 3' to become the top grossing movie of all time. According to Financial Express, The manner in which 'PK' movie has kept up its momentum in building up box office collections burnishes the Aamir Khan aura further and gives greater credence to the trend of his movies packing great stamina for the long run - his movies may start a little slow, but as the days turn into weeks, they show no signs of slacking in pulling in the crowds into theatres. In fact, it is Aamir Khan only whose movies have started the trend of 100 crores club. Aamir starrer ' Ghajini ' was the first movie to enter 100 crore club which was followed by his ' 3 Idiots ' being the first movie to collect more than 200 crores and now 'PK' has collected 300 crores and is still running strong. 
                                                                             'PK' mania is not just restricted to India as its collections overseas have also been not only phenomenal but also trendsetting as 'PK' has become the highest grossing movie worldwide. Its 17 days overseas collection has been reported to be $ 21.18 million or Rs.134.32 crores gross. According to Rentrak, the worldwide collections of 'PK' have been in the range of $89 Million ( $89,896,724 ) or Rs. 568.54 crores in estimates. In USA and Canada : PK is the first bollywood movie to reach $ 10 Million mark and is the highest grossing foreign language movie in North America. The film is still going strong and trade analysts feel that the movie will still earn handsome revenue in its third week also with little or no opposition from any of the current releases. It is expected to cross 350 + crores in India and 600 + crores in Worldwide collections.    

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