Friday, 26 February 2016

Tere Bin Laden Dead or Alive :: Movie Review

Tere Bin Laden Dead Or Alive helmed by Abhishek Sharma which is the sequel to 2010's sleeper hit "Tere Bin Laden" tries too hard to be funny and in the process looses its steam failing to tickle your funny bones. It's become a sort of trend to make sequels of hit movies but very few have been able to match up with the expectations and prove to be worthy sequels. Unfortunately, TBL 2 also falls in the same category. Undoubtedly, the movie has its share of LOL moments but they are too few and too far. When TBL released in 2010, it was widely appreciated for its refreshing story, well etched out characters and quirky satirical screenplay. TBL 2 seems like an extended version of its prequel minus the fun quotient and satirical screenplay. Where as TBL had a layered screenplay in form of satire with ample moments of situational comedy making you laugh your heart out, the prequel relies more on gags which also seem repetitive. 

The sequel also revolves around the lookalike of Osama played by Pradhuman Singh and has been titled TBL Dead Or Alive because this time he is caught in the middle of two opposite factions. While the U.S. President wants him dead to show the proof to the world that Osama has been eliminated, a terrorist Khalili (Piyush Mishra) wants him alive to get mileage and raise funds by airing his videos. The story had lot of potential but a weak and non cohesive screenplay spoils the fun. The story of the movie has been penned down by Abhishek Sharma where as the credit for writing the screenplay goes to Neha Sharma & Pradhuman Singh. Had the writers invested more in etching out characters and sticking to their guns rather than jumping guns, TBL 2 could have turned out to be a much better and entertaining motion picture. The movie begins with Sharma (Manish Paul) who wants to become a film director instead of helping his father in his business who is Halwai and makes Jalebis. While trying his luck in tinsel-town, he sights Paddi (Pradhuman Singh) who is a lookalike of Osama. He persuades Paddi to act in his movie and makes Tere Bin Laden with Paddi and Ali Zafar in lead which proves to be a success at box office. A sequel to the movie is planned but Osama is killed by U.S. forces and the sequel is shelved. In U.S.A. media wants to see the proof of dead Osama in form of video footage which is giving sleepless nights to American President. A CIA Agent David (Sikandar Kher) gets into the guise of a Hollywood producer and approaches Paddi to shoot a Hollywood film with him. He plans to kill Paddi in reality while shooting for the film so that he can show the recording to the media. Meanwhile, a terrorist by the name of Khalili (Piyush Mishra) also comes to know about the presence of Osama's lookalike Paddi and decides to kidnap him. A complete chaos ensues hereafter and what happens to Paddi forms the rest of the story. 

Manish Paul delivers a first rate performance as the director, Sharma. Manish is one of those few actors who have been able to make a smooth transition from Television to Films. Manish has a natural flair for comedy and he truly excels in comic scenes as his comic timing is seamless. 

Pradhuman Singh as Paddi Singh is as natural and effortless as any good actor could be. As the wannabe folk singer turned actor, Pradhuman Singh is spot on in his character. He makes you smile with his funny face expressions and dialect. 

Sikandar Kher has turned out to be the surprise package of the movie with his impeccable act. We get to see Sikandar play two different avatars in the movie ; as a CIA agent with broad accent and as a pot bellied NRI Hollywood loud mouthed producer. And, to his credit Sikandar has fared exceptionally well in both these avatars. 

Ali Zafar, Piyush Mishra, Sugandha Garg and Rahul Singh have played their respective characters convincingly. 

The musical soundtrack composed by Dhruv Dhalla is nothing to write home about. The cinematographer of the movie is Chaudhary Amalendu who has done a descent job. The movie has been edited by Chandan Arora who has kept the run-time of movie to 110 minutes. As a writer-director, Abishek Sharma has failed to live upto the expectations with this sequel of Tere Bin Laden. While the prequel was a well made satire with continuous flow of laughter, the sequel works in patches and fails to live up as a whole film. 

Tere Bin Laden Dead Or Alive is nowhere close to its prequel which was original, refreshing well made satire and is more like a half baked product which satiates your hunger but fails to pamper your taste buds. You can skip watching it in theaters and wait for for it to be aired on satellite channels.     

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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Neerja :: Movie Review

                                        Image result for 4 stars out of 5

Neerja helmed by Ram Madhvani is a MUST-WATCH biopic as it pays a befitting tribute to the indomitable spirit of young Indian brave girl who made the supreme sacrifice in line of her duty. Neerja's story is a story that every Indian should be aware as well as proud of. It really baffles me that it took 30 years for Bollywood to come up with a film on Neerja Bhanot. But, the timing couldn't have been better as the movie has released at a time when the nation is going through a turbulent phase as some destructive forces are trying to divide the country over caste and political issues. 

Neerja stood for and was face of genuine humanism as she made no distinction between nationalities of her passengers when their life was in danger. The film is based on the true story of 1986 when some Palestinian terrorists hijacked a Pan Am flight in Karachi. That was Neerja Bhanot's first flight as a chief purser and the film chronicles how Neerja with her presence of mind and bravery not only saved the lives of her passengers but also laid down her life in the process. 

There are ample moments in the film that celebrate the fine qualities that Neerja possessed which include grit, resolve, presence of mind and above all extreme humanism. These moments make you rise and salute Neerja, the extraordinary story of this brave girl. The screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Saiwyn Quadras who has smartly packaged the narrative in nonlinear pattern. The movie begins with Neerja Bhanot (Sonam Kapoor) returning back to her home in a taxi and mouthing a line of her favorite superstar Rajesh Khanna to the taxi driver, '" Zindagi lambi nahin badi honi chahiye, babu moshay".  She is lovingly called Laddo by her doting mother Rama Bhanot (Shabana Azmi) and ever encouraging father Harish Bhanot (Yogendra Tiku). On September 5, 1986, while Neerja is getting ready to fly as chief purser for the first time, four terrorists owing allegiance to Palestine's Abu Nidal outfit are offering their last prayer in Lyari, Karachi. When the terrorists are able to board the fight along with ammunition, a timely alert by Neerja to the pilots helps the pilots to run away from cockpit through an overhead cockpit hatch.. Without pilots in the cockpit, the plan of terrorists suffers a huge setback. Hereafter, the exemplary traits and qualities of Neerja Bhanot come into display. With her presence of mind, she ably hides the passports of U.S. Nationals who were the immediate target. During the hold up that lasted 16 hours, Neerja Bhanot never let the terrorists overpower her indomitable spirit.

Sonam Kapoor has delivered performance of a lifetime as Neerja Bhanot in the film. Succint to say, Sonam is the soul of this movie. She every inch looks the woman of substance who follows her heart and achieves what she wants. Sonam has come out completely convincing as the bubbly girl with nerves of steel. Sonam seems to have imbibed the traits of Neerja of being courageous, bold, level headed and vulnerable (at times) and portrayed them effectively on-screen. 

Shabana Azmi delivers a stellar performance as Neerja's mother, Rama Bhanot. You could relate to her worries and aspersions regarding safety of her daughter. Her speech at the end of the film was so heartfelt that i was left with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Need, I say more. 

Yogendra Tiku's performance as Neerja's father is applause worthy. He keeps on instilling fearlessness and self strength in his daughter during their conversations. His performance is so genuine that you could walk in his shoes when you see him sitting in his office in a hapless state knowing that the plane carrying his daughter has been hijacked. 

Shekhar Ravjiani (special appearance) has given an earnest performance as Neerja's friend, Jaideep who loves her and wants her to take a second chance after her bitter experiences from first marriage. 

The musical soundtrack as well as background music for the film has been composed by Vishal Khurana which is apt as per the narrative and the genre of the movie. The cinematographer of the movie is Mitesh Mirchandani who has done a swell job at capturing visuals. Mitesh has ably captured the exigency and neurosis in the narrow cabin by using jerky handheld camerawork. The movie has been edited by Monisha Baldawa who has kept the run-time of the movie to 122 minutes. Monisha's editing is spot-on,crisp and flawless. As a director,  Ram Madhvani has hits bulls eye and done full justice to Neerja's tale of valor. Ram scores all the brownie points for sticking to the chosen line and not crafting the events that unfurled in over dramatized way. He has portrayed the historical story of model-turned-air hostess in the most apt and justifiable manner. He wastes no time as the film arrives straight to the point and builds a tension that remains till the very end. It is because of Madhvani's spotless direction that you remain glued in your seats till the end credits roll out. The way that Madhvani has shown Neerja's troubled past during the moments of her vulnerability when the plane has been hijacked is applause-worthy. 

Neerja is a MUST WATCH as it shows that its natural to live & die for oneself but most Super-Heroism & Humanism to do for others. Neerja is a portrayal of the most powerful person whose pro-action and perfect decisions made her an immensely celebrated and gallantry decorated Legend of Martyr. A story of a REAL LIFE HERO whose fears to her courage, life-threats to her determination and duty to true humanity, felt too short comparatively. 

Know her, Acknowledge her and Salute her, right away !!!!!  

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Friday, 12 February 2016

Fitoor :: Movie Review

Fitoor helmed by Abhishek Kapoor is a well packaged film which moves at a languid pace with mesmeric visuals, melodious music but its meandering story with too many loose ends spoil the fun. First things first, Abhishek Kapoor along with his cinematographer Anay Goswami has captured the spell binding beauty of Kashmir like never before. I mean, the movie is literally a visual treat. The stunning visuals of the movie capture your imagination right from the beginning. Fitoor is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic 'Great Expectations' and hence it primarily revolves around its three principle characters 'Noor' played by Aditya Roy Kapoor, 'Firdaus" played by Katrina and 'Begum Hazrat' essayed by Tabu. Though, the makers have tried their level best to paint the canvas at its magnificent best but what the film lacks is an intense love story. Several sequences in the movie seem artificial and illogical ; like Noor becoming a big artiste in such a short span of time and buying a second hand Mercedes-Benz or Firdaus rubbing away the lovelorn Noor and than eventually coming back to him. The movie has too many loose ends which the director tries to tie up towards the climax but they come up as hurried. As a result, the movie which was moving at a languid pace suddenly becomes pacy towards the climax which acts as a deterrent. The choice of using Kashmir as a backdrop for the story is a masterstroke by Abhishek as on one hand it gives the partly sad story a pristine icy, heartless look and on the other hand the lush red chinar leaves lend an aura of love. If the writers had invested more in the script, Fitoor could have turned out to be a winner, all the way. Despite of enchanting visuals, earnest performances, Fitoor fails to tug your heartstrings emotionally. 

The adaptation of Dickens classic has been penned down by Abhishek Kapoor along with Supratik Sen. Together, they have ably crafted the milieu of present day Kashmir. Some of the dialogues of the movie have been penned down meticulously and make the desired impact like ' Khud se azaadi to sirf maut hi dila sakti hai ya ishq'. In this Dickens adaptation, Noor (Aditya Roy Kapoor) is orphan Pip, Estelle is Firdaus (Katrina Kaif) and mercurial Miss Havisham is Begum Hazrat (Tabu). The film begins with Noor (Aditya Roy Kapoor) mouthing "Qayamat Bhi Kya Cheez hai" and we are taken back in time when young Noor met young Firdaus (Katrina Kaif). Young Noor is a Shikara boy from Kashmir who lives with her elder sister and her husband. One day, he along with his brother-in-law are called to Begum Hazrat's haweli to run some errands. It is there that Noor sees Firdaus for the first time and is be-smitten by her. Noor falls madly in love with her unaware of the consequences. But, Begum Hazrat is well versed with the pain associated with love as she herself has been a victim of the same. So, after developing a bond between Noor & Firdaus, she sends Firdaus to London for studies. Later on, it seems as if Begum was playing with the emotions of both as though seeking a revenge for her lost love. Coming back to the story, Noor is a born artiste who sketches very well. Years pass on and Noor makes it big thanks to a mysterious benefactor who gets him enrolled in a big art gallery in Delhi. The art works created by Noor are auctioned at hefty amounts and he becomes a big name in art world. It is in Delhi that Noor has his first rendezvous with Firdaus as Adult. Noor confesses his love for Firdaus but she says she is about to get engaged to a Pakistani politician Bilal (Rahul Bhatt). Will Noor let go Firdaus who is the love of his life or Will Firdaus leave Bilal and come back to Noor is what forms the rest of the story. 

Aditya Roy Kapoor gives a Rock-Solid performance as Noor Kazmi in Fitoor. His character in the movie is layered and he has performed it with full conviction. Whether be it love smitten Noor or lovelorn Noor, Aditya has simply nailed it with his performance. Watch out for Aditya in the scenes where he shares the screen space with Tabu as those scenes bring out his nervous knack around Tabu's character. Aditya seems to have invested a lot in this character which is visible from his eyes in the movie. 

Katrina Kaif not only looks bewitching but has also portrayed her character to the TEE in Fitoor. She has portrayed her character of being indifferent, steely heart breaker to pitch perfection. She seems to have imbibed the finer nuances of her character and essayed them on-screen efficaciously. Her graph as an actress is on an upsurge with every subsequent film of hers. 

Tabu is truly the scene-stealer of Fitoor as Begum Hazrat. Her portrayal of the mercurial Begum, translating the turbulent character's moderate declivity into lunacy is worth applauding. She has literally made Dickens character of Miss Havisham come alive on-screen. 

Rahul Bhatt shines while portraying the character of Bilal who has no qualms about the past of his fiancee but wants a firm hold on her future. To his credit, Rahul Bhatt has played the character with effortless ease. 

Amongst the ensemble starcast noticeable performances have been delivered by Aditi Rao Hydari, Akshay Oberoi, Lara Dutta and Talat Aziz. 

The soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Amit Trivedi is quite melodious and the best part is that the songs arrive at the opportune moments maximizing their impact. The cinematographer of the movie is Anay Goswami who has done astounding job behind the lens and definitely deserves all the praise for the same. Anay definitely knows, recognizes, acknowledges and records beauty in every form, right from the devastating charm of Kashmir to stunning Katrina Kaif. The film has been edited by Deepa Bhatia who has kept the run-time of the movie to 131 minutes. Some people might have a problem with the pace of the movie as it moves at a languid pace. As a director, Abhishek Kapoor has painted the canvas so beautifully that it truly mesmerizes you. Abhishek has ably captured the rawness of this love story on celluloid but he is let down by a weak storyline. Had the writers invested more on the screenplay, it could have taken Fitoor several notches higher. 

 Despite having visual deftness (overwhelming beauty of Kashmir) in its frames, earnest performances and soulful music, Fitoor on the whole struggles to make a mark because of its incoherent narration. 

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Friday, 5 February 2016

Ghayal Once Again :: Movie Review

Ghayal Once Again written & directed by Sunny Deol which is the sequel to 1990 blockbuster Ghayal lags far behind to its prequel in terms of storytelling and execution making it a drab affair which fails to leave the desired impact. There is a scene in Ghayal Once again in which the Firang bodyguards of the antagonist tell Sunny Deol to drop his weapon and be ready to die in a fist fight. We, sitting in the audience could sense what is going to come their way and take pity on those firangs. Probably, it's not their fault as those firangs might not have seen Damini or else they would have known about Sunny's dhai kilo ka haath or for that matter Gadar in which Sunny Bhaji uprooted a hand pump with his bare hands. So, no prizes for guessing what happens to those firang bodyguards afterwards. Obviously, they are beaten black & blue to the pulp. This scene very much sums up the essence of Ghayal Once Again where our Superhero is out on streets to fight against the corrupt. What the film lacks is originality as we have seen umpteen movies revolving around the same premise. It's been 26 years since Ghayal hit theaters and times have changed since than. So, it comes as a shocker right at the beginning of the film when you come to know that a rape victim has committed suicide because the victim feels that she will be ostracized and the incident will affect her family especially the future of her sisters. Undoubtedly, being a rape victim puts you in a hapless state but when a media intern working in a leading publishing house commits suicide after being raped by her boss, it reeks of shoddy writing. I mean, aren't we living in 2016 where girls are fighting for their equal rights even when it comes to visiting those sacred shrines where their entry is prohibited. So, watching a young educated girl ending her life just for the fear of being ostracised puts you off right at the beginning of the movie. And, these glitches while stitching the screenplay continue to stare at your face right throughout the movie. You see a business magnate controlling the official machinery sitting well within confines of his home. He is aided by his tech savvy staff who not only hack into other computer systems including a Government portal but also track down their targets with the help of their sim cards. It is the shoddy screenplay that fails to elevate the stature of Ghayal Once Again beyond the realms of an average action drama. 

The story of the movie has been penned down by three writers namely Sunny Deol, Shaktimaan and Sagar Pandya. I personally feel it takes special kind of talent to come up with such a kind of story-line especially when three people are involved in writing it down. Literally, they have turned the movie's protagonist unto a Superhero with special powers. Else, how would you explain a man lying down beneath running vehicles and coming out scratch-less or him hopping on to one running train from another. He also ably gatecrashes a helicopter right into the high-rise abode of his adversary. In the movie, Sunny Deol is not less than any Superhero, the only difference being that he doesn't wear a cape or Superhero costume. The film begins by telling us that Ajay Mehra (Sunny Deol) who was behind bars for killing Balwant Rai and his men in 1990 is a free man now. He has come out of the trauma of his troubled past with the help of doctor (Soha Ali Khan) and has started a news-channel by the name of Satyakam. He is an upright journalist who along with his team is out to weed out corruption and injustice. ACP Joe (Om Puri) who once caught Ajay has also retired from Police force, is an RTI activist and is in touch with Ajay.  Raj Bansal (Narendra Jha) is a business magnate of Mumbai whose son Kabir is a arrogant druggie. Joe has filed RTI application against some malpractices adopted by Bansal's company while procuring some land. During a meeting, Joe is shot dead by Kabir in a fit of rage. This incident is captured on camera by four college going youngsters namely Zoya (Daina Khan), Varun (Rishabh Arora), Anushka (Aanchal Munjal) and Rohan (Shivam Patil). The youngsters decide to hand over this evidence to Ajay Mehra unaware of the danger lurking at them. Will Ajay be able to save these four youngsters and avenge the death of Joe is what forms the rest of the story. 

Sunny Deol as Ajay Mehra is at his best when it comes to action sequences. Sunny packs quite a punch in his angry avatar with his eyes growing wide but he is a let down in emotional sequences. It is a treat watching him tear apart his opponents in some of the well captured action scenes. 

Soha Ali Khan shines and makes her presence felt with her subtle yet powerful act in the movie. 

Narendra Jha has played the role of antagonist to the TEE in the film. He has ably portrayed a character who is in a dilemma as despite of knowing that his son is wrong, he goes all out to defend and save him. 

Tisca Chopra once again manages to leave a lasting impression with her impeccable act in the movie. 

As newbies, Daina Khan, Rishabh Arora, Aanchal Munjal and Shivam Patil have given descent performances and have portrayed their respective characters with conviction. 

Amongst ensemble starcast, noticeable performances have been delivered by Om Puri, Manoj Joshi, Zakir Hussain, Sachin Khedekar and Neena Kulkarni. 

Ghayal Once Again comes nowhere close if compared to its prequel Ghayal. A disjointed story-line and a scratchy screenplay which is a blend of contemporary with the modern, never lets the movie rise above a  tame affair.       
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