Friday, 29 April 2016

Baaghi :: Movie Review

Baaghi helmed by Sabbir Khan touted as love story of rebels is a heady cocktail of thrills, romance and jaw dropping action making it an entertaining watch for action lovers. The best part about Baaghi are its action sequences which have been outstandingly orchestrated and brilliantly executed by its cast especially Tiger Shroff. In fact, Tiger wins you over with his fitness level right in his introductory scene where he is shown upside down, balancing his full weight on a thumb and a forefinger. It's a treat watching this young actor so much in command of his body. As a director, Sabbir Khan scores brownie points by casting two well chiseled, brawny actors who play the characters of Ronnie (Tiger Shroff), the protagonist and Raghav (Sudheer Babu), the antagonist. Both these actors are so fit and agile that they take the fight sequences to a new level. You bet, Baaghi has some of the best action that Bollywood has witnessed in recent times. The drawback of the film is its predictable screenplay and some shoddily written characters who are introduced in the film to induce humor but instead fall flat. Sabbir Khan's last flick 'Heropanti' also featured Tiger Shroff  as the main lead, so Sabbir knows the strengths of Tiger and has utilized them to the optimum. Sabbir has given Tiger a character to portray that suits him to the TEE i.e. of a Rebel. Tiger is at his best when he is in action (fighting) and you see plenty of that in Baaghi. In short, it is the action that elevates the stature of this ordinary film to another level. 

The story of the movie that has been penned down by Sanjeev Dutta is very ordinary and massy. He fails to etch out the characters convincingly which acts as a deterrent. Moreover, he has tried to project the tale as a modern day Ramayana with reference to the kidnapping of the heroine Sia (Shraddha Kapoor) by the antagonist Raghav who even goes on to say in the film that in present day Ramayana, Raam will die. The basic storyline of two guys falling for the same girl is very average and routine with nothing new to offer. Even the ploy of inserting characters ( including a blind cab driver ) to generate forced humor doesn't add value to the film. It is only the earnest performances and great action that make this movie a watchable entertainer. The movie begins by introducing us with Ronnie (Tiger Shroff) who is a rebel but fails to tell us how and why he is a rebel. Moving ahead, Sia (Shraddha Kapoor) who is an upcoming actress is kidnapped by Raghav (Sudheer Babu) and taken to Bangkok. Ronnie who needs money for treatment of a young boy takes on the task of getting Sia back for the sake of money. But has Ronnie undertaken this task just for the sake of money or there is something else.....A flashback ensues in which we are subjected to the events that led to blossoming of love between Ronnie and Sia. We are told how Ronnie arrived in Kerala to become a student in Academy of kalaripayattu where fighting skills along with discipline are taught by Guruji. Meanwhile, Raghav who is Guruji's son also falls in love with Sia and wants to marry her at any cost. Raghav is a big businessman in Bangkok who owns several fight clubs there with turnover of several hundred crores.  He not only uses money power and manipulates Sia's father (Sunil Grover) to create a misunderstanding and rift between Ronnie and Sia but also kills his own father as his father wants him to marry someone else. Flashback ends as Ronnie reaches Bangkok. To save Sia from clutches of Raghav is a herculean task as Raghav resides in a multi tower building whose each floor is guarded by well trained fighters. Will Ronnie be able to save Sia, Will the misunderstanding between them get sorted out is what forms the rest of the story. 

Tiger Shroff is a pro and definitely in league of his own when it comes to action sequences and its a sheer delight watching him perform action scenes in the movie. Mind you, he has not used a body double for any of the high octane action stunts which is exemplary. The most remarkable aspect is the flow with which he uses his build, hands, legs in perfect sync. Tiger has his own distinctive style of action which is unparalleled and none of the present day Bollywood Heroes can perform that. He seems to have worked really hard to learn these fight techniques which can be gauged from his performance in Baaghi. Whether jumping from buildings or kicking his opponents, there is an easy going unflappable attitude to Tiger's on-screen persona, as though to say, there is much more to movies than just flamboyant machismo. Tiger's sincerity in it all is quite winsome. Though, he needs to improve on dialogue delivery and emotional deftness but when it comes to action, Tiger is a star. An action star who has set real high standards for his contemporaries to follow. 

Shraddha Kapoor has delivered a power packed performance in Baaghi. There are two facets to Shraddha's character in the movie ; one being a vivacious, bubbly girl who loves chirping and dancing in the rain while the other being a strong willed girl ready to kick the ass of her opponents. To her credit, Shraddha has come out equally endearing in both. Though, we have seen her in her chirpy avatar before but be ready to get surprised by watching her perform some amazing action in the movie. Shraddha seems to have invested a lot in action training and you will realize this once you see her performance in the movie. It's good to see Shraddha pushing herself to the limits to portray a character convincingly. 

Sudheer Babu is pitch perfect and looks utmost convincing as the main antagonist in Baaghi. With his well chiseled body, he has taken action sequences to an altogether new level in the movie. To match the Heropanti and action skills of Tiger Shroff, an equally impressive opponent was needed and Sudheer Babu has perfectly fitted the bill. Though, his conventional Hero looks and charm make Sudheer Babu look like protagonist but with his acting prowess and able use of eyes and expressions, Sudheer plays the part of antagonist in Baaghi to perfection. Sudheer has made a perfect debut in Bollywood and looking forward to seeing more of him. 

Sunil Grover has given a delightful performance as the funny and mean father of Shraddha in the movie. 

The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Meet Bros, Amaal Mallik, Ankit Tiwari & Manj Music is ear pleasing and comprises of varied numbers. But, it is the background music composed by Julius Packiam which is outstanding. Julius's score is neither loud nor jarring but is apt enough to elevate the cinematic experience and provides a further impetus to the visuals we watch on-screen. A big round of applause for Kecha Khamphakdee and Javed-Eizaz for their effective contribution in action department. They have masterfully orchestrated some of the best action scenes that we have ever witnessed on Bollywood celluloid. The cinematographer of the movie is Binod Pradhan who has ably captured the scenic locales of Kerala and Thailand with aplomb. The movie has been edited by Manan Sagar who has kept the run-time of movie to 149 minutes. As a director, Sabbir Khan has done a fantastic job as he made Baaghi an entertaining film despite its ordinary and predictable storyline. Sabbir has made the film in a very slick, stylish manner and the way he has captured the action sequences is worth applauding. Sabbir knew the strengths of his film's protagonist i.e.Tiger and not only utilized them in the most effective way but also gave him a worthy opponent in form of Sudheer Babu. It is only because of Sabbir's good direction that an average script got converted into an entertaining film. 

Baaghi is a typical masala entertainer embellished with some real high-octane action portrayed effectively by its cast especially Tiger Shroff. If you have penchant for action thrillers featuring brawny men, Baaghi is cut out for you.   

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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Laal Rang :: Movie Review

                               Image result for 4 stars out of 5

Laal Rang helmed by Syed Ahmad Afzal is brilliantly conceived drama soaked in reality about illegal blood trade racket which is taken several notches higher by bravura performances delivered by Randeep Hooda & Akshay Oberoi. Few films have their heart at the right place, few capture the spirit of what heart wants to convey and fewer still stay focused on what they set out to state. Laal Rang is one of those rare films that is high on pertinent social issues (Illegal blood trade, get-rich-quick path), is cryptically funny and amusing in parts, meaningful all through and yet steers clear of homilies and sermons. It is heartening to see new age directors redefining mainstream Bollywood by doing away with typical Bollywood stereotypes. They are breaking new grounds with their choice of fresh concepts soaked in reality. And, Syed Ahmad Afzal is one of those directors who comes up with invigorating subjects while helming his films.  His last venture, Youngistaan (2014) was a love story set against the backdrop of politics in which a young man has to fine tune his personal and political life. And, now he is back with Laal Rang which talks about blood theft racket in Haryana but in an engaging manner as the script delivers several emotional detours like friendship, love, betrayal and redemption. If Kanu Behl's Titli captured the underbelly of Delhi's carjackers with aplmob, Syed's Laal Rang captures the underbelly of blood racketeers based in Karnal, Haryana to pitch perfection. Laal Rang has a story to tell, it's own story that's rooted in the place it is set in - Karnal and its adjoining areas. It's an interesting story and it belongs to its characters. But the style that it chooses to tell this story is intelligent. And Fun. But it's not germane to its story and people. Syed Ahmad Afzal has a penchant for detailing which is quite evident in Laal Rang. Syed along with his co-writer Pankaj Matta has etched out the characters replete with their characteristics masterfully and the candid portrayal of them by his actors, acts as icing on the cake. On top of it, Syed's choice of real locales to shoot the movie provides a further impetus to the on-screen proceedings. The humor laced quirky dialogues lend some of the most plausible moments to the movie. And, when Syed signed Randeep Hooda to play the role of Shankar, the protagonist, it was half the battle won. Firstly, Randeep is one of the hottest talents around but secondly and most importantly Randeep belongs to Haryana. So, Randeep's dialect, body language is so apt in the movie that we are not able to locate Randeep in the movie but only Shankar. In short, Laal Rang is a endearing watch as it presents a serious pertinent issue in a entertaining manner backed up by some bravura performances.

The story, screenplay and dialogues of the movie have been penned down by Syed Ahmad Afzal along with Pankaj Matta. Firstly, we have to give due credit to the writers for penning down a script based on such a serious issue which has seldom been presented on big screen. They have cleverly concocted the screenplay lending the movie certain intonation coupled with tumult. Also, the writers need to be lauded for the way they have etched out the characters. Each & every character is significant and contributes to the movie irrespective of its on-screen duration in the movie. Despite being involved in nefarious activity of blood trading, Shankar (Randeep) is shown to be a man of good traits with sound sense of humor. This is evident in one of the scenes where Shankar hails a cycle rickshaw and every rickshaw-puller on the street comes to a halt. While we think they might have done it out of fear but we soon find out that they did so out of their affection for Shankar. It is Shankar who has helped them earn extra bucks by buying their blood for trading. Most of the dialogues have a quirky feel and the one which stands out is Shankar's defining dialogue, " All work, good or bad, must be done with honesty". The movie is set in Karnal, Haryana and revolves around the blood trade business and corruption in blood banks. Shankar Malik (Randeep Hooda) runs a successful blood donation racket. He plans to become a Government insider so as to make his illegal activities easier. To execute this plan, Shankar enrols in a Medical Lab Technology course at a Government hospital. The narrator of the story Rajesh Dhiman (Akshay Oberoi) also enrols in the same hospital. Though, Rajesh is an ambitious student from a humble background but he gets smitten by the lifestyle and charm of Shankar  He is in awe with the way Shankar conducts the business of illegal blood trading. Influenced by Shankar's lifestyle and to earn quick bucks, Rajesh joins Shankar. Shankar takes Rajesh under his wings and a bromance develops between both of them. Rajesh also falls in love with Poonam (Pia Bajpai) and wants to marry her. Soon greed enters the mind of Rajesh and he has a fall out with Shankar. To make things worse, new S.P. of town, Gajaraj Singh (Rajneish Duggal) has taken upon him to shut down this ugly business of blood trading. Will Shankar & Rajesh get back together, Will Gajaraj Singh be able to catch hold of Rajesh & Shankar for their illegal activities is what forms the rest of the story.

Randeep Hooda is one helluva natural and effortless actor and his performance in Laal Rang is a bonafide testament to it. Randeep is one those rare actors who delves deep into the skin of the character that he is assigned and than portrays it efficaciously on-screen. Shankar was not an easy character to portray as despite having grey shades, the character has a charming human side to it but to his credit Randeep Hooda has essayed the complex character with effortless ease.  He looks smoking hot in the movie as the swagger who wears loud printed shirts while riding Yamaha RX 100.  I personally can't think of any other actor who could have enacted the character of Shankar in more apt way other than Randeep. The amount of visceral energy that Randeep has put into the character of Shankar is worth applauding and he truly deserves an ovation for this performance.

Akshay Oberoi has turned out to be the surprise package of Laal Rang with his impeccable performance. Akshay seems to have imbibed the finer traits of his character and portrayed them effectively on-screen. The remarkable ease with which Akshay has portrayed the transformation of his character from being a humble student to greed driven criminal is commendable. I feel Akshay is one of the underutilized actors who if given a well etched out character to portray, can prove his mettle as an actor. Akshay's bromance with Randeep in the movie has to be seen to be believed.

Pia Bajpai is endearing as Poonam who is the love interest of Akshay in the movie. Her linguistic quirks in the movie are bound to bring smile to your faces.

Rajneish Duggal delivers a power packed performance as no-nonsense S.P. who is out to destroy the blood trafficking racket in his area.

Amongst others, noticeable performances have been delivered by Meenakshi Dixit, Shreya Narayan, Rajendra Sethi and Sanjay Kumar Saha. 

The musical soundtrack that has been composed by Vipin Patwa & Shiraz Uppal has the regional feel to it which gels very well with the screenplay and on-screen proceedings. The background music of the movie that has been composed by Mathias Duplessy is excellent and heightens the kitsch of the settings. A special mention of Sachin Lovalekar (Costume Designer) and Nishi Singh (Make up stylist) for their effective contributions in their respective fields. The cinematographer of the movie is Dhirendra Shukla who has done a swell job at capturing the visuals. While on one hand Dhirendra's camera ably captures the rustic surroundings of hinterland, on the other hand it often glides down inside the psyche of its principle characters bringing their ambitions, turmoil and greed to the forefront.  The movie has been edited by Shounok Ghosh who has done a great job at the editing table and kept the run-time of the movie to 148 minutes. Some people might have a problem with the languid pace of the movie at certain junctures but i think it was important to establish the characters and their affinity.  As a writer-director, Syed Ahmad Afzal has hit all the right notes with this film. He has not only penned down a novel premise but also ably created an equally effective milieu to film the premise. Syed seems to have invested a lot while researching on the subject but his eye for detailing can be hailed as his biggest attribute. Right from the settings, costumes and dialect, everything comes across as extremely authentic with respect to milieu. For example, the poster that adorns the wall of Shankar's room is of Netaji's face that states ; You give me blood, I will give you freedom.  The best part is that Syed has crafted an engaging tale of love, bromance around the grim and serious issue of blood mafia. Any other director would have fallen prey to commercialization by sprucing up the movie with typical Bollywood en-trappings but thankfully Syed steers the film away from cinematic cliches.    

Laal Rang has a unique, interesting plot revolving around the grim and serious issue of blood mafia which has been executed with excellence and stellar performances. It is a must watch for those who have a penchant for reality soaked cinema. 

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Friday, 22 April 2016

Vaisakhi List :: Movie Review

Vaisakhi List helmed by Smeep Kang is a light, breezy entertainer laden with drama, emotions, romance and above all good amount of situational comedy making it a descent watch. Smeep Kang is a name to reckon with when it comes to helming comedies and one of his directed Punjabi flick 'Carry On Jatta' has attained cult status in comedy genre. Most of Smeep's films have featured singer turned actor Gippy Grewal in the main lead and it is for the very first time that he has made a movie featuring Jimmy Sheirgill in the main lead. Another first is that while most of Smeep's earlier flicks have been slapstick comedies, Vaisakhi List is amalgamation of romance, drama, comedy with strong undercurrents of emotional turbulence. Vaisakhi List is embellished with taut screenplay and some great performances especially by Jimmy Sheirgill and Sunil Grover well aided by Jaswinder Bhalla. On top of it, the movie is laden with genuine wit, humor and laughter which comes naturally as the screenplay progresses. On surface, this might seem like an uncomplicated story, but scratch the exterior and there's a strong undercurrent of comic elements ready to explore and engulf you. That is probably why Vaisakhi List appears to exude much greater energy and exuberance than it intrinsically possesses.   This movie, with its comic plot and wickedly spot-on characterizations is the kind of apt, witty comedy which with several moments will surely bring smile to your faces. It's not that movie is picture perfect as it has its share of glitches too. Some unwanted as well as extended scenes spoil the fun and add to the length of the movie. More crisp editing would have hugely worked in favor of the movie as its run-time of 145 minutes seems a tad too long for movie of this genre. Vaisakhi List, wickedly moves at its own volition with a crazy pattern of comic chaos that stops short of being anarchic due to finely tuned situational satire simulated. 

The story as well as screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Vaibhav Suman along with Shreya Srivastava where as the dialogues have been written by Naresh Kathooria. The writers must be given due credit as many of its punch lines are quite funny, and some of the desperate measures that the protagonists are compelled to take recourse in order to wriggle out of sticky situations border on the uproarious. What makes it watchable is that most of the humor quotient comes from the funny situations finely simulated in the movie which catapults the movie into a finely tuned situational comedy. The sheer daftness and goofiness of the script makes it a likeable smartly paced wild ride. The basic premise of the movie where two convicts who have escaped from prison are now trying to break in back into the prison is quite interesting. 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, the script delivers some emotional detours like Sunil Grover's doting affection for his son which hits the right chords with the audience. The writers managed to weave a interesting premise, add some real quirky one liners but somehow lost the way, towards the climax of the movie. I personally feel that the ending of the movie could have been better. The movie begins inside the jail premises of town Bassi Bathana whose jailor ( Jaswinder Bhalla) shares a great rapport with the prisoners. Aman (Shruti Sodhi) comes to meet a prisoner Jarnail (Jimmy Sheirgill) and tells him that she is getting married the next day. Flashback ensues and we are subjected to the story of Jarnail and Aman who were to get married until one day Jarnail is implicated in the case of opium smuggling. A visibly distressed Jarnail is sitting in the jail premises when he is approached by Tarsem (Sunil Grover). Tarsem tells him that has dug a tunnel in the jail and Jarnail can escape along with him to save the love of his life. Both of them escape from the prison but fate plays a cruel joke on them as they learn that Government has decided to pardon their remaining jail term on Vaisakhi which falls on the same day. Now, instead of running from the law, they decide to get back into the prison so that they can come of the jail legally. What will happen to Jarnail and Tarsem after escaping from jail, Will Jarnail be able to stop Aman's marriage, Will Jarnail and Tarsem be able to sneak back into the prison is what forms the rest of the story. 

Jimmy Sheirgill is like picture-perfect in Vaisakhi List and has looked every inch the character he has portrayed in the movie. Jimmy is so apt as Jarnail that it is hard to imagine anyone else who could have essayed this character of being charming, witty and strong willed too. Jimmy is simply outstanding and delivers a performance that certainly deserves an ovation. I've always held the view that Jimmy is one of the under utilized actors who can set the screen ablaze, if given a well etched out character and Vaisakhi List offered him that opportunity which Jimmy has utilized to the optimum. While conveying his heroic side he also gives a comic interpretation to the chaos around in a charismatic way. For sure, Jimmy Sheirgill is having a blast while working in Punjabi flicks and is entertaining audience to the core. 

Sunil Grover shows the audience the actor he can be with his impeccable performance in Vaisakhi List. We have all seen and cherished his comical side as Gutthi in CNWK but this movie gives him a chance to showcase his emotional deftness and Oh Boy ! Sunil hits all the right notes. He simply nails the character of Tarsem who is a single father and loves his son to the core. Leaving his comical scenes aside which is his forte, Sunil has come out exceptionally well in the emotional scenes. His concerns and wishes for his son have been so well portrayed that we could walk in his shoes. Hallmarks of a fine actor. 

Shruti Sodhi has given earnest and natural performance as Aman in the movie. Shruti has done complete justice to her character of being a confident girl who doesn't want to for arranged marriage and instead wants to fall in love with the guy, she marries. Shruti understood the tropes of her character well and has managed to portray them effectively on-screen. 

Jaswinder Bhalla once again manages to tickle your funny bones with his impeccable comic timing and quirky one liners. Amongst others, B N Sharma, Binnu Dhillon, Rana Ranbir have delivered commendable acts. 

The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Jaidev Kumar comprises of some good tracks. The cinematographer of the movie is Binendra Menon who has done a fine job behind the lens and has done a swell job at capturing the visuals. The movie has been edited by Ajay Sharma who has kept the run-time of the movie to 145 minutes. I feel he needed to be precise at the editing table by toning down or doing away with some scenes to keep the duration more crisp. As a director, Smeep Kang  has successfully managed to helm a film which offers plenty of comic respite despite strong emotional undercurrents running in. Till date comedy has been the forte of Smeep Kang but with Vaisakhi List, he has dished out a wholesome family entertainer which is a blend of romance, drama, emotions and comedy. 

Vaisakhi List is a wholesome family entertainer which makes you laugh, cry and is embellished with some brilliant performances.       

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Friday, 15 April 2016

Fan :: Movie Review

Fan helmed by Maneesh Sharma which tells the story of a psychotic obsessed fan of a star begins well holding its ground firmly in the first half but than it begins to loose its steam and finally ends as a average thriller drama. First things first, Maneesh must be credited for making a film with Shahrukh Khan that has neither got any leading lady nor any songs. I mean, lot of SRK fans go and watch movies for his trademark sway of arms in songs. SRK is also known as king of romance, so to make a movie in which he is not romantically paired is a bold move. Also, after a long time a SRK movie brings out the actor in SRK to the forefront rather than the star SRK, though he plays the part of a star in the flick too. The film begins in Delhi with the introduction of Gaurav Chanana (Shahrukh Khan) who is a die hard fan of Superstar Aryan Khanna played by Shahrukh again. Maneesh sets the tempo rolling by creating the perfect urban class milieu of Inder Vihar in Delhi where Gaurav lives. Than, comes a masterfully helmed scene where some local competition is being held in Inder Vihar where Gaurav performs as Aryan aided by his parents played by Deepika Amin & Yogendra Tiku. By this time, you are completely sucked into the movie due to the perfect etching of Gaurav's character and its perfect portrayal by Shahrukh.  By than, you start anticipating that a good, different and logical film featuring SRK is on the anvil especially after his last commercial potboilers like Happy New Year & Dilwale. But, once Gaurav reaches Mumbai and after having a bad experience with Aryan, decides to get back at him things begin to go haywire. Pertinent to say, as an audience you feel bad that a movie which was sailing along so smoothly, suddenly changes its course and goes off mark. Logic takes a backseat as a revengeful Gaurav begins to stalk Aryan and tries his level best to destroy his stardom. Unending chase sequences and illogical scenes begin to destroy the basic fabric of the premise around which the film was woven. The movie tries to portray that it is normal to be a fan of any celebrity be it sportsperson, politician or filmstar but getting too much obsessed about a celebrity can lead to a psychotic disorder. It is fine to follow or emulate a celebrity but in the process one should not loose one's own identity. As mentioned earlier, the best part about Fan is that it brings the actor out of Shahrukh Khan at his best. It's a double delight for SRK fans as in Fan he gets to portray the role of both the protagonist as well as antagonist but the performance that stands out is of  a young star struck fan i.e. Gaurav.

The screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Habib Faisal where as the dialogues of the movie have been penned down by Habib Faisal along with Sharat Katariya. The premise of Fan might not be an original piece (as several Hollywood flicks have been made on same subject) but the characterization in Fan is spot on. The manner in which Gaurav's story unspools  especially in the first half, you get attached to the character and begin rooting for him. Had the writers not gone overboard with too many cinematic liberties in the second half, Fan could have emerged a winner all the way. The transformation of the obsessed fan into abhorrence, his stalking and impersonating as the star on numerous occasions seems superficial. On top of that, when the star decides to take the fan right on all by himself without any support ( including several chases and fight sequences) it all looks real filmy. The perfect premise that was masterfully woven in the first half looses its sheen and gets convoluted in the second half. The film begins in Delhi with the journey of a child Gaurav who is a die hard fan of Aryan Khanna (Shahrukh Khan) so much so that he picks up fight with anyone who says anything against Aryan. Cut next, young Gaurav (Shahrukh Khan) is known as Junior Aryan Khanna in his vicinity not only because he is obsessed by him but also because he has a stark resemblance with Aryan. He runs a cyber cafe and has named it after his beloved star i.e. A.K. Cyber cafe. Gaurav imitates Aryan at local competition held in his area and wins a trophy and some prize money by emerging victorious in competition. Now, Gaurav wants to go to Mumbai to meet and wish Aryan on his birthday. His father (Yogendra Tiku) and mother (Deepika Amin) pack his bags and give him a box full of sweets for Aryan. But, things take a different turn when Gaurav takes his ardour beyond acceptable limits in Mumbai by taking on a upcoming star who has had a spat with Aryan. When Aryan comes to know about this, he is furious and angry with Gaurav. When slighted by the person he admires the most, Gaurav engineers a bitter confrontation between fan and idol that is played out at London, Dubrovnik, Mumbai which finally ends in Delhi. 

Pertinent to say, Shahrukh Khan is the soul of Fan. He has carried the entire movie on his shoulders. It is a sheer delight watching Shahrukh Khan portraying two contrasting characters in the movie. It is a bold move by SRK to act in a movie which has no romantic track or songs in it and the move has paid off well because Fan showcases the acting prowess of SRK to the hilt. It's not a mean task to enact two diverse characters in a movie but SRK has done it to pitch perfection. His body language as the young, energetic star struck fan is commendable. And, the ease with which transformation of star struck fan into intimidating stalker has been essayed by SRK, once again reaffirms that he is one of the most versatile actors. As Aryan, SRK is oozing with confidence, attitude and charming persona. But, it is his portrayal of young Gaurav that acts as icing on the cake. After watching Fan, you will be carrying back the memories of Gaurav, the antagonist rather than Aryan, the protagonist. Watch out for SRK in the scene where Aryan imitates Gaurav on the same stage where Gaurav has been imitating Aryan in Delhi.

Yogendra Tiku delivers a subtle yet impactful performance as Gaurav's father in Fan and so does Deepika Amin as Gaurav's mother.

The background score of the movie has been composed by Andrea Guerra which further propels the drama and tension. The cinematographer of the movie is Manu Anand who has done a swell job at capturing the visuals. The movie has been edited by Namrata Rao who has kept the run-time of the movie to 142 minutes. I feel that duration of 142 minutes is a tad too long for a song-less movie having no romantic track also. So, a little crisper editing would have helped the movie. As a director, Maneesh Sharma has explored the thriller genre for the first time and hence fumbles a bit in the second half when the movie gets into thriller mode. Maneesh is at his best when he masterfully creates the typical urban class milieu of Delhi. The local competition scene at the annual Dussehra mela organized by Inder Vihar's DDA colony is a treat to watch and so is the routine conversation between Gaurav and his parents while packing his bags when he is going to Mumbai. Unfortunately, Maneesh is let down by some bad writing and typical Bollywood insertions in the second half. But, Maneesh must be credited for his brave attempt and above all giving the audience a chance to see Shahrukh Khan as an actor, not as a star. 

Fan could have turned out to be a brilliant movie if the cinematic cliches in the second half were done away with. Still, it's a descent one time watch especially for SRK lovers as Fan brings out the acting prowess of SRK to the forefront. 

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Friday, 1 April 2016

Ki & Ka :: Movie Review

Ki & Ka helmed by R.Balki is a simple, sweet film that talks about role reversal between a husband and wife in marital life albeit in amusing and thoughtful manner. Trust R.Balki to come up with something unconventional whenever he helms a movie. He is one filmmaker who has not fallen prey to commercialization of Indian Cinema and comes up with new fresh concepts on Indian Celluloid. Right from Cheeni Kum to Shamitabh, Balki has offered something invigorating to Indian cine audience. And, Ki & Ka is a step forward in the same direction. Who else other than Balki could have thought about casting Arjun Kapoor in a role which requires him to play a character of homemaker. Ki & Ka talks about gender disparity and is able to make its point, to a certain extent. The movie throws a gamut of questions at the audience ; how would society react if the husband decides to be homemaker while staying at home while wife goes out to earn. Would there be personal insecurities between the couple if he were to be a stay-at-home spouse and she the bread earner ? Above all, it compliments all the house wives by giving them a new name i.e. artiste. An artiste who has the art of holding and managing the house in most efficient manner. It raises a pertinent question that is it the money which is a major root cause of gender disparity ? As men go out to do a job and earn they are considered superior and since women don't go out to earn, their efforts of running a household is taken for granted. We forget that women also do a job i.e. of managing a home. Women's line of work (we don't call it job as they work at home) is more tough and challenging as apart from doing the household chores, they also take care and bring up the children. They neither ask or are paid any money for this because it is considered as their duty. So, if men go out and work hard to earn money, women also work hard or even harder at home. All these questions that form the starting point of Ki & Ka are very tantalizing. And, they are very relevant too as in our society men are considered to be the bread earners and women are supposed to play the role of a housewife, leaving their ambitions behind. And, to give credence to this notion Balki has roped in Amitabh & Jaya Bachchan to play a cameo as themselves in the movie. In that masterly executed scene, Jaya asks Amitabh if he could have played the role of a homemaker whilst she continued to act in movies. The movie tries to portray that there is nothing inimical if men decide to stay at home doing housework and women go out with their ambitious career plans. If the couple is happy with this arrangement, no outsider has the rights to judge them. All these thoughts are novel and intriguing but somewhere down the line, the movie looses its steam in the second half. It's the same thing which happened with Balki's last flick Shamitabh. He begins the film with a novel concept but falters with the storyline. 

The story of the movie has been penned down by R. Balki who has done a swell job at conceptualizing a novel concept. I loved the way that he has sketched the characters and introduces them to the audience. He also needs to be applauded for conveying a powerful message through this film. But, right in the middle story begins to falter and looses its main focus. The movie is quite entertaining in the first half and it is in the second half that things begin to go haywire. The movie begins with a wedding party where Kia (Kareena Kapoor) stuns everyone by talking about the stature of wife in today's society. Cut next, Kia is in a flight where she finds her co-passenger Kabir (Arjun Kapoor) sobbing. When Kia asks Kabir why is he  sobbing, he replies that it is his deceased's mother's birthday and he is missing her. A few meeting later, Kia comes to know that Kabir is not only a topper of IIM but also the only son of a construction magnate Mr. Bansal (Rajit Kapur). But, Kabir has no interest in business and he wants to be like his mother. On the other hand, Kia is an aggressive corporate woman who aspires to become a big shot. Soon, they fall in love and decide to get married with an arrangement that Kabir will stay at home and look after household work while Kia will pursue her corporate ambitions. Kia's office colleagues express an desire to meet Kabir and party is arranged at their place. During the party, Kia tells her colleagues that Kabir is a house-husband. Kia's office team decides to rope in Kabir as brand ambassador for their product. After that, Kabir becomes a hot property who gets to deliver lectures, feature in news channels, cookery shows and debates on gender disparity. But little do Ki & Ka know that their decision of gender role reversal will take its toll on their relationship in the form of societal views, jealousy, misunderstandings and ego clashes. Will Ki & Ka be able to overcome these challenges and stay happily married ever after is what forms the rest of the story. 

Arjun Kapoor delivers a fairly impressive performance in Ki & Ka. Arjun has ably enacted the character of Kabir in a subtle, balanced manner which is applause worthy. It was quite a challenge to portray this character as Kabir's character is a blend of vulnerability, endearing charm and thoughtfulness which Arjun has portrayed with ease. Arjun's fine performance has lent sheer credibility to the character which the audience will be able to relate to. I am sure that his female fan following is going to increase manifold after they watch him playing the Super Husband in this movie. 

Kareena Kapoor Khan is the epitome of confidence in the movie with her superlative act. She looks stylish, poised and perfect as the ambitious corporate woman. But, it is when the jealousy creeps in between the relationship that you get to see the best of Kareena. After a long time, Kareena Kapoor got an author backed role to portray and she has taken to it like fish takes to water. Kareena is at her best in the climax scene where she blasts Kabir for negligence and later repents for her folly and confides about her love for Kabir to her mother. 

Rajit Kapur shines and makes his presence felt as Kabir's father. His anger over his son not joining his family business and deciding to become a house-man comes across as very genuinely reflected. Swaroop Sampat who has appeared on screen after a long hiatus does a fine job as Kia's mother. 

Amitabh Bachchan & Jaya Bachchan play a special appearance in the film as themselves and are as endearing as always. It's a treat watching make Amitabh indignant face and mouth famous dialogue ' Teri Jaat ka...... ' on Arjun's visit to his place. 
The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Ilaiyaraaja, Meet Bros., Mithoon is delightful with two tracks namely 'High Heels' and 'Mohabbat Hai' standing out amongst others. The cinematographer of the movie is P.C.Sreeram who has done brilliant job behind the lens. His camera has not only ably captured the outdoor locales but also captured the gamut of emotions portrayed by its stars especially Kareena Kapoor through effective close up shots. The movie has been edited by Chandan Arora who has kept the run-time of the movie to 126 minutes. As a writer-director, R.Balki has once again reaffirmed that he is one of the finest talents to come up with newfangled concepts. He wants to try something out of the box and is not keen to hem movies on akin subjects. With Ki & Ka, he has once again tried to offer something different and thoughtful to Indian audience. He had germane of an idea in the concept of Ki & Ka but it couldn't get translated into a gripping story. But, still he deserves all the brownie points for coming up and making a film on such subject when commercialization rules the roost in Bollywood. 

Ki & Ka could have been a formidable film because it's woven around an unconventional subject and pertinent issues but its cliched and melodramatic treatment make it loose its steam. Yet, Ki & Ka can be watched once for its noble intentions, breaking stereotypes and earnest performances by its lead pair. 

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