Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Happy Bhag Jayegi review: "Film zaada nahi bhagega!!!"

The Olympic flame has been doused after a fortnight of exciting competitions with Japan’s PM Abe dressed up as Super Mario being handed the baton at the end of it.  Unfortunately we haven’t been able to achieve as much as expected but thanks to the brilliant Sindhu & Sakshi the ignominy of returning empty handed was averted. Since there was hardly anything else to do this weekend, I decided to watch “Happy Bhag Jayegi” & hopefully the movie will be able to make me happier as opposed to India’s medals’ tally.



The film unfolds in Amritsar where arrangements are in full swing for the wedding of Happy (Diana Penty) with the local corporator Bhagga (Jimmy Shergill). However, this was pretty much against the wishes of Happy who harboured feelings for the jobless aspiring musician Guddu (Ali Fazal). They decide to elope but their plans go awry when she ends up travelling on the wrong truck which takes her to Pakistan. She eventually lands at Bilal Ahmed’s (Abhay Deol) residence who is the son of an ex-Governor & being trained to be the next big thing in Pakistan politics. In order to avoid his family name being tarnished, Bilal proposes to deport Happy to which she disagrees & he is forced to come up with a plan which will unite Happy with Guddu. But how will Bilal manage to do it without his father getting wind of it???

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This is the second venture of Mudassar Aziz who had a forgettable directorial debut with “Dulha Mil Gaya” in 2010.  As in his previous movie, he has scripted this one as well & though it is definitely much better it is hampered by the predictability and unnecessary sub-plot that fails to provide any added impetus. However, the screenplay makes the movie enjoyable with humorous dialogues and situational comedies being pitched in. There is surely a whiff of “Tanu Weds Manu”, which indicates that Anand Rai might had an influence in the making rather than being solely concerned with the production. None of the technical aspects deserves special mention as the visuals were average while the music was passable.

It’s been almost 4 years since Diana Penty made her return back to the silver screen after her debut in “Cocktail”. Since her character of Happy has distinct similarities with Geet in “Jab We Met” & Tanu in “Tanu Weds Manu”, comparisons are inevitable & I would have to admit she falls short. Abhay Deol has done his role aptly inspite of his character not being properly etched while Jimmy reprises a variant of his role from “Tanu Weds Manu” adequately. Piyush Mishra rocked as the Pakistani cop while Ali Zafal was average and Momal Sheikh seemed quite stiff.

Verdict: With “Rustom” going great guns, it will be tough for this to have a foothold at the box office. To add to their woes, the film fails to offer anything unique which the audience hasn’t seen. In short, the actors though let down by a lack luster script makes it watchable!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards…Ben





Monday, August 15, 2016

Mohenjo Daro reviews: "Give it any random name, it would still be the same!!!"

On the eve of our Independence day, I would like to request to my fellow Indians that let us all strive to make our nation better with our rightful thoughts & actions  rather than always point fingers at the Government. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Dipa Karmarkar for her brilliant performance at Rio. After a day of disappointments, her performance brought smiles to many of us & gave me the interest for some entertainment in the form of "Mohenjo Daro". So will Ashutosh Gowariker's effort strike gold at the box office???


The Indus Valley civilization was considered as the cradle of the early civilization in the Old World & Mohenjo Daro was one of its prominent settlements apart from Harappa. The film unfolds in 2016 BC where we are introduced to Sarman (Hrithik Roshan) who with his brave acts is shown to be the darling of his village. Though he led a contented life with his uncle & aunt, he had a recurring dream of a unicorn (not exactly..seemed like some other animal) as well as making a visit to the famed Mohenjo Daro. Finally after much coaxing, he is allowed to make the trip & as expected, it turned out to be life changing. 

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Prior to the start of the movie, there is a disclaimer which states that the makers doesnt support or dispute any interpretation of the Indus Valley civilization. Well I do accept that it is pretty difficult to vouch for the authenticity, but attention was barely given to that aspect as it was all about a typical Bollywood hero who had come as a messiah as well as for vengeance. The movie could have been named Harappa & we wouldnt have noticed any difference to be frank as Ashutosh's script was downright ordinary. C K Muraleedharan has done a decent job with the cinematography while Rahman's music was impressive though it fails to linger due to the trite screenplay. The art direction manages to catch the eye but the costumes & computer graphics were mediocre.

Coming to performances, it's been a while since we have seen Hrithik on the big screen but this role barely challenged him & he does try his best to carry the movie but is let down by the weak script. Pooja Hegde is attractive for sure, however she has a long way to go before being addressed as an actress. Kabir Bedi was an ideal choice as the evil chieftain while the rest were just about average at best.

Verdict: This film has been in the news for quite a while primarily because of the people involved i.e Hrithik & Ashutosh. If the audience is expecting an encore of "Jodha Akbar", then they are bound to be disappointed as this cuts a sorry figure in comparison. In short, it would struggle at the  box-office & if you ask me, it wont hurt to give it a miss.

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Rustom review: "Lacked the sensationalism of the actual case!!!"

It's been a while since I saw a Bollywood movie & that was primarily due to a dearth of trailers that caught my fancy. However, this Friday we have two big starrer movies lined up with the producers hoping to cash in on the long weekend. With the Olympics in full swing & the new season of EPL kicking off, it is a matter of what the audience want to spent their time on. Anywaz I found the time to check out "Rustom" which was inspired from the Nanavati murder case that had caught the fancy of the public in 1959. But will the movie reap similar results???


Just a decade into Independence & India was finding its feet in the new world order. Our defense forces were making steady strides through the efforts of dedicated officers with Commander Rustom Pavri (Akshay Kumar) being one among them. Rustom was a decorated naval officer who led a happy married life with his wife, Cynthia (Ileana D'Cruz). His duty required him to be away from home for months together which provided the fodder for his friend, Vikram Makhija (Arjun Bajwa); a playboy businessman to work his charm on Cynthia. Eventually he managed to swoon her which Rustom discovers in due time that leaves him distraughted. Seeking a closure to his pain, Rustom kills Vikram & surrenders to the police. What subsequently followed was the drama which unfolded at the courtroom that left the judicial system bewildered.

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Based on the Nanawati murder case, even to the point of naming characters which sounds quite similar to the real ones; there was absolutely no excuse for the director Tinu Suresh Desai to mess it up. The actual event had all the ingredients of a potboiler but it seemed the writer Vipul K Rawal had other ideas. His plan to include a sub-plot barely provided an impetus to the movie but also diluted the main thread. Hardly anything happens in the first half as Tinu takes his sweet time to set the ball in motion while the second half also doesnt quite arrest the attention of the audience. Apart from the trite screenplay, even the whole watching experience wasnt gratifying as it looked extremely artificial thanks to the mediocre art direction, makeup & visuals by Santhosh Thundiyil. The music done by a host of individuals fails to leave its impression & also proved to be undesirable appendages.

In recent times, Akshay has made conscious efforts to juggle with a variety of genres & kudos to him for that. Even as Rustom, Akshay has given a decent performance as he seemed an ideal choice as the officer but somehow the emotional aspect of the character doesnt get displayed for some odd reason. Pawan Malhotra has done a fine job as the investigating officer while Kumud Mishra was wasted in a comic relief role & lacked the impact that the real character had on Nanavati's release. 

Verdict: Since the movie is based on a real life event, there is definitely a certain deal of curiosity which the makers would hope to cash in. There are a couple of factors which could work in its favour such as the relatively lower budget, long weekend & patriotic fervor due to Independence day. It will be able to recover its investment but making a sizable profit seems like a long shot. In short, the basic thread had the content but the makers made a mess of it!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben




Saturday, July 23, 2016

Kabali review: "Didnt evoke as much neruppu or maghizchi as expected!!!"

After months of impatient waiting, Thalaiva is here with "Kabali" hitting the screens all over the world this weekend. Such has been the impact of the brilliant trailer & promotional events, that the excitement had literally hit sky high (thanks to Air Asia). So delirious has been the response of the public that some companies even decided to give holiday for their employees to check out the movie. The question now is whether this unprecedented hype has hurt the prospects of the flick or can the Superstar satiate the lofty expectations of his fans???


The film unfolds in Malaysia where Kabali (Rajini) was released from jail after having served 25 years of imprisonment for a falsely framed crime that took the life of many including his wife. He had initially made his mark as a leader of the Malaysian Tamil community before he became the trusted lieutenant of the gangster Tamilnesan (Nasser) who was assassinated by rivals such as Tony Lee (Winston Chao), Veera (Kishore) & Co. This saw Kabali ascend to the position of power much to the displeasure of the others who hatched the plan to have him jailed. Even after release, his enemies were relentless in their efforts to see the end of him that they hired assassins but to no avail. So does the ageing don have it in him to exact revenge on his foes???

One of the most promising directors that has emerged from the Tamil industry in recent times is Pa Ranjith who displayed his talent with movies like "Attakathi" & "Madras". So when "Kabali" was announced, it was believed to be a marriage between mass & class. However, the fact is the movie came short on both accounts. It definitely had the scope to become more meaningful considering the backdrop of the story such as injustice to the Tamil community, mafia etc. But it seemed the writer in Ranjith was content to just touch the emotional cord & skim over the rest which virtually proved to be the bane of the movie. I love to watch Rajani in a character backed role but not at the cost of his aura which includes his swagger, punch dialogues etc. The only sequences that we get goosebumps in the whole movie is pretty much shown in the trailer as the wait for a cracking climax proved to be futile. In the technical department, Santhosh Narayanan needs to be applauded for his impressive music & impactful BGM. Murali has done a decent job with the visuals while Praveen K L ought to have been better with his editing.

The superstar has done justice to his role with his screen presence & acting skills (which other directors rarely make him do) as he was impressive in the emotional scenes.  He is the backbone of the movie & does his best to resurrect it even when it meanders along at a lethargic pace. Radhika Apte barely got adequate screen space but still manages to showcase her talent. Dhansika rocked as Yogi while Kishore and Dinesh Ravi did their parts aptly. 

Verdict: Rajani movies are expected to deliver earth shattering initials & this time around, thanks to the awesome trailer it would surely break all the records. However,  the lack of a captivating storyline along with a toned down mass formula will not appeal to many of the audience. But if you would ask me, watch it for Rajani provided you dont have much expectations!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben




Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sultan review: "Poised to become the Sultan of box office this year!!!"

On the auspicious occasion of Eid, may Allah shower his blessings on each one of us. Apart from the celebration of breaking the fast, it's time to check out some entertainers & Bollywood expectantly displays its wares to cash in on the festive mood. As in the previous years, Eid heralds the release of a Salman flick & this time around we have his "Sultan" hitting the screens. The promos has been a mixed bag with it's trailer being well received while Salman's irresponsible statement a couple of weeks back in comparison with the stunts of the movie being aptly slammed. So will it affect the overall collections???



In recent times, several sports leagues had mushroomed in the country & the latest to join the bandwagon was the MMA event, Pro Take Down. Though launched with much fanfare, it was now on the brink of shutting down & as a last ditch effort, the entrepreneur Akash Oberoi (Amit Sadh) decides to recruit the services of yester year champion wrestler, Sultan (Salman Khan). However, Sultan who was reduced to a pale shadow of his former self refused to step back into the ring. So what had made him to walk away from the sport when he was at the peak of his powers???

Ali Abbas Zafar has been a constant name in many of the Yash Raj productions in the past decade & "Sultan" marks his third directorial venture after "Gunday" and "Mere Brother Ki Dulhan". This is surely his best among the lot though it doesnt tread on unfamiliar territory & banks on standard sports movie cliches. As one would expect, it's the oft discussed tale of the rise of the underdog who falters in between before making it back on top again. The second half kinda reminded me of "Brothers" which also dealt with MMA & focused on the conflict between siblings rather than the couple here. But what sets this apart is the fact that we get to see the character Sultan & not Salman which is kinda unheard of since Salman's persona invariably takes over the character in almost all his movies. Equally brilliant was the realistically choreographed wrestling sequences while the MMA fights could have been better. At close to 3 h, Rameshwar Bhagat could have done away with a couple of songs. The music by Vishal Shekhar was average at best however the BGM was pretty impressive.

We never associate Salman for his acting skills as his movies are invariably about wholesome entertainment in true Salman style be it his comedy, characteristic dance moves or bare torso. However, that opinion will change after one watches this as he has done a wonderful job. This was a role which required him to showcase his varied emotions along with the physical exertion & he has done it with elan. Anushka gets a meaty role early on which she gleefully bites into before getting sidelined in the latter half. In addition, Randeep Hooda rocked in a brief role along with Anant Sharma as Govind, Amit Sadh & Kumud Mishra as Anushka's father.

Verdict: The film has all the makings of a blockbuster & likely to set records on a regular basis with a credible probability of crossing 300 C. It doesn't boast of a script which offers anything new in terms of the story-line but one can rest assured that we will see Salman in a new avatar. In short, it's a paisa vasool entertainer!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben






Monday, June 20, 2016

Udta Punjab review: "Censor team's udna ought to be kept in check!!!"

It's been a couple of weeks since I got to check out any movie as I was kinda held up with a couple of work commitments. Anywaz when I finally got the time, the decision to watch "Udta Punjab" was quite an easy one thanks to the hysterical attitude of the Censor board which had flooded the news portals since the past few weeks. The trailer blew me off with it's rather distinct flavour & to add to the excitement the controversy that was raging over the unholy nexus that existed between the drug mafia & the politicians in Punjab. So did the antics of the Censor board make sense???


The film unfolds with a packet of heroin being thrown into a field situated across the border by a Pakistani discus thrower. However, even before the packet could be picked up their agent it was whisked off by a Bihari migrant worker (Alia Bhatt). In another part of the state, pop sensation Tommy Singh's (Shahid Kapoor) appeal on the investors wanes as his dependence on drugs makes him a tough client to deal with. The usage of drugs was rampant among the youth as the police which included Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) was hand in glove with the politicians and mafia. But his attitude changes when his brother becomes a victim to this deadly poison & he seeks the help of the doctor, Preeti Sahni (Kareena Kapoor) who also happened to be an activist. It is a fact that nothing could be benefited with the use of narcotics and how this shapes the life of these four characters forms the crux of the movie. 

If one has followed the track record of Abhishek Chaubey, it provides ample evidence about his ability to be part of impressive projects right from his assistant directorial days to his previous venture "Dedh Ishqiya". As expected his latest venture is a hard hitting realistic movie scripted by himself & Sudip Sharma, which doesn't hesitate to proclaim that we have a flawed system in place which needs to be rectified before it is too late. However,the film does stretch a tad too long which Meghna Sen ought to have taken note of & some sequences seemed rather vague in detail. Amit Trivedi has done a fine job with the music along with the BGM by Benedict Taylor & Naren Chandavarkar while Rajeev Ravi's frames were satisfactory.

There is no doubt that the movie had a meaty story-line but it had to be well enacted to produce the desired effect & that's exactly what all the main characters have done. Alia Bhatt was the pick among the lot as she was outstanding to say the least with her myriad of expressions. Diljit said to be a popular Punjabi star (though I have never seen his work), was impressive with his effective portrayal of the cop. Shahid Kapoor was brilliant for most parts as the pop sensation & his character's appearance reminded me of Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages". Last but not the least, Kareena has also done justice to her role which wasnt as complex as the others but still delightful enough. Many of the the other artists, have also given credible performances which imparted authenticity to the movie.

Verdict: Thanks to the Censor board, the film didn't have to invest much into their publicity campaign as the controversy translated into more footfalls. To be frank, I seriously dont understand what was the big deal about all this hungama as it wasnt as bad as it was portrayed to be. Whatever might be the justification of the censor team, I would suggest not to miss out on this as it provides a fleeting glimpse as to how our system itself is facilitating the drug mafia to flourish!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Oru Murai Vanthu Parthaya review: "Dont attempt to watch it even oru murai!!!"

The summer holidays are over & it's time to step foot into another academic year. Invariably, school reopening days are marked by showers & yday was no exception. Since I had some time to kill, I ventured out into the town after the afternoon downpour & decided to check out a movie. This decision led me to buy the ticket for "Oru Murai Vanthu Parthaya" with virtually no expectations. Hmm...was it a judicial decision to go for the movie???


The story unfolds in the village, Mallapuram more than a decade back where Prakashan (Unni Mukundan) plies his trade as an electrician & is also a competent wrestler. He harbored feelings for Aswathy (Sanusha) who hailed from an affluent background though he didn't have the guts to proclaim it to her. Things moved along uneventfully until a beautiful damsel, Parvathy (Prayaga Martin) walks into his life. Even before he could set the record straight, the assumption that they were in a relationship took centre-stage. So who was this stranger after all & what was his connection with her???

Just like any other debutant, Sajan K Mathew would have crafted his movie with utmost care & expectations. But unfortunately,the audience isnt going to echo the same sentiment after seeing the final product. The script by Abhilash Sreedharan is like a rudderless ship & it becomes unstuck on all counts. Was it a rom-com or horror flick or family drama, I cant lay a finger on any specific genre nor can we say it is a mish mash as it hasn't done justice to any of them. Except for sporadic scenes like the interval sequence, there is hardly anything which could be considered worthy of praise. However, there are a couple of bright spots in the technical department such as Vinu Mohan's music & a few frames by Dhaneesh Raveendren; but the editing was way off target.

When "Vikramadityan" released, I was pleasantly surprised to see the capabilities of  Unni Mukundan as an actor & it also proved that in the hands of an able director, he can be an actor to look out for. But his choice of scripts is as erratic (including this) as Afridi's batting & that has invariably made most of the audience to label him as nothing more than a pretty face with a chiseled torso. Sanusha barely had anything to do apart from flex her facial muscles into a smile while Prayaga inspite of being a debutant was impressive. As for the rest of the cast, most of them tested our patience.

Verdict: Less than a week into its release & the theatre barely had anyone except for a few lovebirds and others who wanted to relax in the AC. I guess that very much proves what the people think about the movie even though the producers are indirectly requesting people to watch it through such a title. In short, dont bother watching it even on TV!!!

Rating: 1.5/5

Regards...Ben