Priti Poddar's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews


'Khoobsurat' is the remake of 'Khubsoorat' (1980), a family drama, well directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and very ably enacted by Rekha.
Both these movies have some superfluous similarities - the name (with 'u' and 'oo' being swapped), the leading ladies Rekha and Sonam being the real life fashionistas, and hard core disciplinarian role essayed by Dina Pathak in the original and her daughter Ratna Pathak Shah in the remake.
The original 'Khubsoorat' was the celebration of emergence of free spirited but downright loyal and homely lass of modern India who attempted to break through the strict and stifling family codes of the old world with her smile and chirp intact. It was a real world scenario and the masses very well identified with both the situation and the solution. Whereas the remake 'Khoobsurat' shows a gawky but urban working woman unable to merge in with the codes of the royals, but still managing to achieve success in her task at hand with her enthusiasm intact. It is a kind of dream world scenario and the masses will identify with the bits and pieces of the same.
Dr. Milli Chakravarty (Sonam Kapoor) is a visiting physiotherapist at the mansion of the Rathores, one of the Rajasthan royals. Along with a train of staff, the mansion occupies the wheel chair bound family head aka Milli's patient (Aamir Raza Hussain), his boisterous, business savvy and disciplinarian wife, Nirmala Devi (Ratna Pathak Shah), his handsome and workaholic son Vikram (Fawad Afzal Khan) and his underage daughter (read seventeen) who nurses secret acting aspirations. Milli is gawky and free spirited, wears unmatched outfits, eats with hand and noise, stumbles every now and then, and video chats for all her big and small problems with her equally eccentric mother Manju (Kirron Kher), whom is refers as 'Manju' only! Everyone is courteous and patient with her. But she is trapped in a hostile environment - where her patient shows no wish or effort in getting well, Nirmala Devi's disdain towards her presence is quite apparent and the handsome son thinks of her as 'aafat' (problem). As expected, Milli finds her way around the place, reignites the passion for life in her patient and also manages to flutter Vikram's heart.
This is the first Disney Bollywood flick and it has total Disney world feel - larger than life setting, beautiful people, gentle comic approach and no real villain. But the movie also lacks well researched characterization and depth. The protagonist's wardrobe is color fanatic, so much so that, by the time the movie ends, you actually cannot differentiate one color from the other! With father and sister being the co-producers (Anil Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor), Sonam Kapoor is handled with utmost respect by the hero as well as the chanced upon villains!
Sonam Kapoor has given an OTT (over the top) performance. It's quite in your face. But still its somewhere better than her other flicks. Fawad Afzal Khan is a famous Pakistani singer and TV & movie actor. This is his Bollywood debut. With his chiseled good looks and baritone voice, he very well suits the character and has performed well. One looks forward to see his performance driven flick. Ratna Pathak Shah looks immaculate like ever. You expect her to be the lady with the iron fist. But she comes across as the one with strong head but broken will. And you get confused because you cannot really understand if it's successful enactment of a complex character or stepping away from the character. Kirron Kher has become a pro in playing a OTT Punjabi mother. Still, she could have adorned a little less of the countless oxide jewelries. Aditi Rao Hyadari plays a cameo (Vikram's girlfriend) and looks very royal. The director Shashanka Ghosh is known for well directing small budget eccentric flicks. You miss the expected eccentricity here. Music is OK. 'Engine ki ceeti' track is good and catchy.
All in all, it's a simple flick, best to be seen with tinted glasses and not much logic. Last but not the least, when Milli comes to confront her patient in the garden, her earrings magically change.

Happy Ending
Happy Ending(2014)

'Happy Ending' is like an age old and time tested multi course meal served in a new diner which calls out the name and necessity (also read as state-of-no choice) of each course before serving the same. It seems as if the sellers don't really believe in their wares, but end up offering the same (albeit packaged differently) acting on the law of demand and supply. But neither do they fulfill the buyer's expectation, nor is their new packaging attractive enough to hold the buyer's interest!

Yudi Jaitley (Saif Ali Khan) is a USA based 'one book wonder' writer and a casanova. He is phobic of love/marriage and has thus indulged into a trail of shallow relationships with the opposite gender. He likes to enjoy his relationships without any strings attached. So, the moment a girl utters the quintessential 'I love you', he mumbles and fumbles, but never reciprocates the same. Only two steady relationships of his life are Montu (Ranvir Shorey), his long time BFF and Divya (Preity Zinta), his ex GF, the one he actually loved. Both are married. Yudi also has a paunchy, beardy, bespectacled, shorts clad and ever-eating alter ego Yogi who forecasts the impending turn of events.

Yudi's free spirited lifestyle and the state of no new publication since five and a half years, result into his bankruptcy. While scouting for new assignment, he witnesses a rival writer, Aanchal Reddy (Ileana D'Cruz) gaining momentum with his publisher. As expected, in due course of time, their rivalry gives way to attraction and companionship. But this time, the tables are turned. And Yudi is the one who utters the magical three words in vain!

Alongside, Armaan (Govinda), an aging actor visits USA for dual purpose. First - to avail the top notch cosmetic surgery to attain a younger face and toned up body (read six-pack), and Second - to approach Yudi to pen down a highly inspired (read copying from a plethora of hit movies) rom-com that will change Armaan's status from a single screen actor to a multiplex actor. And yes, there is also the nutcase Vishakha (Kalki Koechlin), Yogi's dentist, who is in love with Yogi and too mesmerized to break up with him, in spite of him repeatedly trying to do the same!

As per the movie title, the protagonist is expected to avail happiness aka success in both love and career. And the movie progresses on the similar lines.

The movie has a story, but its execution is not up to the mark. It is a classic case of casting gone wrong. Also, in spite of good effort, there is no chemistry between the lead actors. Preity Zinta just plays a cameo in the film and surprisingly there is perfect chemistry between Saif and Preity. Alter ego concept could have been made so much interesting, but it comes out as plain vanilla. Saif has been a pro in playing such roles. But the well settled real life mid forties 'nawab' with his diva like new wife, grown up kids and estates galore, can no more look or act like a playboy. Music is average and a bevy of singers have been used. The track 'G Phaad Ke' will be a hit amongst the disc goers. Cinematography has well covered the west coast of America.

Saif looks charming and is good with comedy. Ileana has acted well. She looks stylish and confidant, in fact a little too confidant. Kalki appears like a psycho in love. Whether the role demanded the same, or it was her style of execution, its debatable. Ranvir and Shivani are OK. Its Preity, who doesn't try too hard and still brings the life in the couple of scenes that she is in. Govinda is especially good with his action-reactions and dancing. While dancing, he simply captures the screen. But you do miss the 'connection' that he had with his co actors in all of his earlier films. Call it computer wizardry or something else, but the scene towards the end where Govinda appears with a much younger face, six pack abs etc. is a pleasant surprise.


Producer - director team of Vidhu Vinod Chopra - Rajkumar Hirani is known to belt out brilliant movies that impart social message with humor and old world romance. And 'PK' is this duo's latest offering. Herein, the social message is very much on the lines of 'OMG - Oh My God', but the treatment of the subject is very unique and different.

Jagat Janani aka Jaggu (Anushka Sharma), a budding New Delhi TV journalist, in her perennial quest for scoop or 'breaking news' stumbles across P.K. (Aamir Khan), who is highly weird, amusing and different in his attire, walk and talk. In the recent past, Jaggu's heart has been broken by Sarfaraz (Sushant Singh Rajput), who apparently left her at the altar! Jaggu first spots P.K. while he is distributing pamphlets for missing persons, only the names and photos of the missing persons are those of different Hindu deities (Lakshmi, Ganesh, Shiv etc.)! Out of curiosity and professional interest, she trails and observes P.K. And she realizes that P.K.'s expectation and understanding of the environment around him is very different from that of a normal human being. It's stupid, humors law and at times also causes embarrassment. But it's definitely not illogical.

P.K. is also on a one track quest of his usurped belonging. With his never say die attitude, he is continuously learning, adapting and devising new ways to accelerate his quest. But his unconventional methods, often land him into trouble. During her following up, Jaggu witnesses one such crisis and lends a genuine helping hand, thereby winning P.K.'s trust. Upon askance, he readily agrees to tell her more about himself and obliges, which leaves Jaggu confused and bewildered. Initially, she brushes off his tale as absurd and fake. But further probe into the matter, establishes the fact that P.K. is actually an alien from a far off planet who is stuck on Earth because his remote control was forcefully taken from him in Bhiwandi region! Bhairon Singh (Sanjay Dutt) of Bhiwandi told him that his usurped remote control will be sold in a big city like Delhi, which prompted him to come to the city. Apparently this alien species looks exactly like humans, except for their protruding ears and walking style. Also, in their own planet, they neither wear clothes, nor are required to speak, as they are advanced enough to know the mind, just by holding each other's hands!

For some reason, this precious and big locket like remote control is found in the possession of Tapasvi ji (Saurabh Shukla), an acclaimed guru, who propagates it to be a broken end of Lord Shiva's musical instrument i.e. 'damru'! Tapasvi ji is known for his direct connection with God. Devotees flock his meetings to tell him their problems, to which he provides solutions after discussion with God! Coincidentally Jaggu and her boss Cherry (Boman Irani) also have their individual personal scores to settle with Tapasvi ji. Thus, Jaggu convinces Cherry and using the power of media and logical oration of P.K., devices a plan that will bring to light the fakeness of Tapasvi ji and also enable P.K.'s return to his planet.

'PK' is a brilliant movie with an amazing script. The whole ruckus of myriad relegions and self appointed religious managers aka God men has been questioned from the view point of an alien, who is like a blank canvas with no prior understanding or reflex of the human race. And when this canvas is exposed to a series of brush strokes carrying different colors, pressures and stroke styles, he needs to attach a unique purpose to each type of brush stroke. Whenever there is a breach in this uniqueness, he gets confused, and whenever the result is illogical, he questions the stroke itself! His confusion and questions seem bizarre, but are in fact very logical. In fact, due to years of wrong practice, we humans have unnecessarily got tuned to absurd practices. God is one, but we have divided Him into a number of relegions. God is to be loved, but we have associated Him with fear. God is same for everyone, but we seek God men to feel closer to God!

The movie also highlights the fact that the original purpose of clothing and speech has been lost upon the humans. They were simply meant to protect against the weather and provide a medium of expression. Instead, they are being used to create myriad sects and spread aggression and lies. A civilization sans these provisions may actually be superior and better, like that of P.K.'s planet!

The beauty of the movie lies in its simplicity. It doesn't cater to any burning social issue or condemns any social practice. It simply questions and expresses amusement over conflicting practices and ready subservience of the human race. The overall feel is of humor and amazement. Bhojpuri language was never better used in a Bollywood movie. Usage of words like 'gola' (planet) and 'lool' (meaningless) are bound to bring smile on the viewer's lips. Songs are situation based. The track 'Tharki chokro' has a nice rustic flavor and is also well picturized. Casting is also appropriate.

However, wherein the past productions (Munna Bhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munna Bhai,3 Idiots) of the makers of this movie have successfully focused upon a single issue, herein you get confused, whether the focus of the movie is diverse relegions or God men.

Aamir Khan as usual is brilliant. He is like Tom Hanks of Bollywood. Every new performance of his is a refreshing surprise. No one else can enact P.K. like him. In his own head, he understands the pulse of the character and develops the required persona and body language, complete with small nuances. Can anyone believe that such a young, innocent and gleeful looking character is actually an actor nearing fifty! Except for her daffy duck lips (no thanks to cosmetics), Anushka Sharma with her good height and flawless complexion, looks like a million bucks. She has also acted well and managed to hold her own opposite Aamir Khan. Sushant Singh Rajput is also a revelation in his small role. He has well matched the effervescence of Anushka. In fact, his dialogue delivery is better than many experienced actors. Saurabh Shukla, Parikshit Sahni and others have also acted well.

Last but not the least, in this movie, the heroine is considerably taller than the hero, and the movie is devoid of any attempt to camouflage the same. This is very much evident in the 'stress removal dance' performed by the lead pair. The dance is beautiful, but more beautiful is the journey of Indian cinema, where now the hero no more needs to be the taller one.


For both its director and lead actor, 'Baby' is the third super-sixer in their respective hat-trick of movies. Back to back direction of 'A Wednesday', 'Special 26' and 'Baby', clearly makes the young, dynamic and three films old director, Neeraj Pandey, a pro in terrorist based or equivalent thrillers. Similarly, power packed performance by Akshay Kumar in 'Special 26', 'Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty' and 'Baby' transition him successfully from a 'romancing, dancing, fighting Punjabi puttar' to a no-non sense, well trained and ever vigilant intelligence officer. Bye bye leading ladies. This macho man is now past your 'nakhras and jhatkas'!

Implementing the saying, 'Precaution is better than cure', post 26/11 (terror attacks in Mumbai), a Covert Counter Intelligence Unit is crafted, so as to nip the terror attacks in their budding stage, as well as to prevent their execution at any cost. Before making anything permanent or glorified, a five year trial period is granted to this Unit, and hence its termed 'Baby'. The movie 'Baby' showcases the final and fifth year of the Unit 'Baby', when only five of its officers are still alive! The Unit is headed by Feroze Ali Khan (Danny Denzongpa) and chiefly enacted by agile and fearless counter espionage agent, Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar), along with his team mates, which include - hulk-like Jai Singh Rathore (Rana Daggubati), comical and brainy computer whiz, Om Prakash Shukla (Anupam Kher), and docile looking but fearsome in fighting, Priya Suryavanshi (Taapsee Pannu).

The movie goes on to show, how these special agents travel far and wide (read Istanbul, Delhi, Mumbai, Kathmandu and Abu Dhabi), following their clues, collecting their targets, and last but not the least, preventing the terror attacks, ranging from bomb explosion in a mall, to that in multiple cities. All throughout, these agents are on their own, without any kind of diplomatic immunity or direct government aid. Their family life is highly unpredictable and their lives are in constant danger of termination as well as gruesome torture. In case of being assassinated, the government will never recognize them. If required, they have to be prepared to leave in lurch, or even kill their own teammate! In spite of knowing all these facts, these unsung heroes readily do, what they need to do, to protect their country and countrymen.

The best thing about the movie is its non-stop pulsating rhythm. From the onset, till the end, it keeps you glued to the screen. Throughout, you are curious to know what happens next. And this is no mean feat to achieve. Neeraj Pandey deserves full points for achieving this. The film does not cater to a new subject, but the screenplay and adaptation is good. Background music, cinematography, production design, editing and casting are apt. Thankfully, the movie has only two soundtracks, each of which appear twice. They are - 'Beparwah', which establishes the mood of the movie, and 'Main tujhse pyar nahin karti', which is good to hear and see, but could have been avoided. First half of the movie creates the platform, and the second half depicts the execution of the mega counter espionage act. At the end of the movie, rolling credits are shown along with Esha Gupta's item number.

However, the movie is mostly on the lines of 'the diary of a counter espionage agent', meaning to say, that it is made from the perception of an intelligence officer, rather than the perception of a common man. So, it does not cater to the actions-reactions of country men in the event of occurrence or seize of a terror attack. Thus, unless you survive on heavy dosage of international fiction thrillers via books/serials/movies, you will most probably enjoy the vintage wine, simply for its distinct taste and without any realization of its vintage quality!

Akshay Kumar lives and breathes his role, even in the scanty family based scenes. He sleep walks his role sans any glam-sham and kind of carries alone the first half of the movie. Rana Daggubati has a powerful muscular presence. Anupam Kher brings the much needed comic relief. But it is Taapsee Pannu, that totally takes you by surprise in her small but very effective appearance. She beautifully carries off a long hand-to-hand combat scene with the terrorist Waseem Khan (Sushant Singh). Her natural and lethal performance, very much remind you of Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) from the American soap 'The Americans'. In fact, in this film, Taapsee even resembles a lot like Keri. One cannot say if it is mere coincidence or the basic fact behind her getting this role. Madhurima Tuli as Akshay's wife shows a lot of resilience in her performance. Kay Kay Menon and Jameel Khan are expectantly good as Bilal Khan, the chief executioner of terror attacks, and Taufeeq, the ISI agent who stays hidden amongst Indian Muslims, respectively. Pakistani actors Rashid Khan as Maulana Mohammed Rehman, the terrorist leader, and Mikaal Zulfiqar as Ashfaq, the Unit's Abu Dhabi based asset, have also performed well. The former has good control over dialect and the latter can give many a models a run for their money. The actor who plays the role of Abu Dhabi based intelligence officer is pretty charismatic in his persona.

Congratulations to Neeraj Pandey for forming a successful team, which is successfully carving out meaningful and well researched hits.


Every time you shake and look through a kaleidoscope, you see a different and beautiful pattern. Thus, in general, you repeat the process a few times and pamper your visual senses. But, if the repeat mode exceeds the required loop, will your visuals be still as entertaining? Will your mind, still absorb the beauty or register the differences between two successive formations?

'Shamitabh', the movie, is a brand new and excellent concept, captured by an excellent team, with an amazing first half, but half baked and mindless iterations in the second half, and an unnecessary sad ending.

Danish (Dhanush) is a born dumb but not deaf Maharashtrian lad from Igatpuri. Since childhood, cinema is everything to him, and his only dream and ambition in life is to become a big Bollywood hero. Ironically, though his handicap in no way barricades his favorite activity i.e. watching any cinema on any medium, it definitely acts as a stone wall for fulfilling his dream. And this is exactly what he realizes after coming to Mumbai, post his mother's death.

Soon, Akshara (Akshara Hassan), a young and feisty assistant director, enters his life as the fairy Godmother. She not only realizes his potential, but also provides the means to showcase the same. She introduces him to a new Finland based technology, wherein implantation of a microchip in Danish's throat and wearing of Bluetooth type ear-devices by both Danish and an actual speaker, and coordinated speaking by the speaker and lip syncing by Danish, will make appear, as if the voice is coming from the latter's throat! It does not need saying that, as of now, this technology is a fiction.

Post the implantation, the duo's search for the right speaker ends at Robert aka Amitabh Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), a drunk old man with loads of attitude, but a strong baritone voice. Ironically, around forty years back, Robert himself could not make it big as an actor, as the film industry found his voice unsuitable!

Together, Danish and Amitabh create 'Shamitabh' i.e. Danish's screen name and presence. Akshara plays the able moderator between them, as well as between them and their first director. Together the 'Shamitabh' duo touch an altogether new height in the film world, till their day-to-day minor bickering, take the form of gigantic ego clash, wherein the voiceless actor and faceless speaker, refuse to abide by or bow down to each other, with each striving to become the primary beneficiary of new impounding limelight and recognition. Surprisingly, none of them is bothered about the money part. It is left to see, who will win out of the two and what has fate got stored for both of them.

By sixty, most actors, either retire or shift from main leads to character roles. Thanks, to R. Balki, Amitabh Bachchan is still playing the main lead, and that too with dignified success (Cheeni Kum, Paa). By now, the director, R. Balakrishnan aka Balki is very well versed with Amitabh's physical and theatrical extravaganzas and limitations, and he has used this knowledge to the 'T'. Hats off to him, for working on a super fresh and unusual script and carving out an interesting outcome out of it. But, since he is an ad man (Chairman & CCO of ad agency Lowe Lintas) by first profession, he has vastly used his movie canvas as ad films for products and services, like - Lifebuoy, Amazon etc. It may be a smart financial move, but such, on the face, advertisements cannot go down well with serious movie enthusiasts. Latter half of the movie, focuses a lot on ego clash. Unfortunately, to support the same, neither Danish appears thanklessly robust, nor Robert seems the one with the unfair deal. Also, with his impeccable reputation, international recognition and designer clad appearances, it's a tad bit difficult to imagine Amitabh Bachchan thriving and kicking for recognition!

Both of Balki's earlier movies were unusual, well appreciated and both showcased a demise towards the end. This one follows the same trait. Now, whether this is done to maintain the so-called superstition for hit movies, or, to appeal better at international film festivals, unlike his previous movies, this one does not create the aura of hope and good life towards the end.

The movie has six songs and cameo appearances by various celebrated personalities of Bollywood, including Rekha! 'Sha sha sha mi mi mi' and 'Piddly Si Baatein' tracks are nice. The latter is voiced by Amitabh Bachchan himself and its picturization is full five minutes of toilet humor! Barring, Amitabh's performance, the remaining movie transcends considerable dosage of South Indian sensibility. The movie also draws a lot of similes from its lead actor's lives. Like rejection of Amitabh Sinha for his voice vs. Rejection of Amitabh Bachchan for his voice, by All India Radio; Danish working as a bus conductor before becoming a hero vs. Dhanush's father-in-law aka superstar Rajnikanth practicing the same; etc. Art Direction is very good. Whether it is the swank new and themed urban apartment of Danish, or graveyard situated and rupees five hundred rented dump of Robert, there is distinct beauty and harmony in both the establishments.

Amitabh Bachchan is superb in soliloquy, as well as action-reaction scenes. Crossing seventy and with evident wrinkles, this great personality still manages to look quite a debonair, even when he is dressed in rags. In this film, arrogance, mirth, humor, nonchalance, despair, going into oblivion, and every other possible shades of emotion have been rolled into one and only Amitabh Bachchan. Dhanush, is again a different shade card with his own rich plethora of different shades. He simply stands out in the scenes, wherein he emotes frustrated arrogance, and that too in a speechless mode. Not for a single second, you as an audience will happen to miss the voice of his dumb character! Managing to stand tall in front of Amitabh is no mean feat, and Dhanush has successfully achieved that. Akshara, the debutante, appears a combination of Riya Sen and Kareena Kapoor, from their respective debut movies. She looks very young, boyish, genuine and strong minded. However, she will be required to work over her South Indian dialect. Rest of the cast is good as well.

In addition to, such great concept and execution, only if there was more humor, less altercations, and that too packed in lesser duration, the movie would have emblazed on an altogether different level.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns

'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' is the sequel of 'Tanu Weds Manu' (2011). The sequel is a logical continuation of its prequel, and also an independent and entertaining film in itself. With around four years gap in between, but almost the same cast and crew, and similar town type comic sensibility, two major differences noteworthy in the sequel are - a much more confidant and polished Kangana Ranaut and a much rounder (obese) R. Madhavan.

The prequel ended with the protagonists' marriage in Kanpur and the sequel starts with their marriage counseling in London. Tanuja aka Tanu (Kangana Ranaut) feels utterly lonely in suburban London housing and desperately seeks the 'fun and spark' of earlier romance, while Manu (R. Madhavan) considers his role of 'provider' of the family as task enough, and is considerably irritated by the naggings of his four year old wife.

Counseling gets heated and Manu's impromptu act of violence results into his detention in the mental rehabilitation facility. After sometime, bizarre as Tanu is, she returns to her parental abode in Kanpur. Prior to this, she informs Pappi (Deepak Dobriyal), Manu's Delhi based best friend, to fly off to London and get him released!

In Kanpur, Tanu is as stylish and robust as before. However, she is highly disillusioned with the institute of marriage, and is indulgent to all her suitors, both ex and present, which include - Deepak, a friend turned rickshaw puller; Chintu (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyun), her father's non-paying tenant and law student; and Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Shergill), Tanu's goon type ex-lover turned building contractor.

Pappi releases Manu and brings him back to his parent's house in Delhi. A disgruntled Manu sends a divorce message to Tanu, which is eventually replied by a divorce notice. The reply is masterminded by Chintu without Tanu's approval.

While in Delhi, Manu spots Kusum Sangwan aka Datto (Kangana Ranaut), a Haryanvi student-athlete and look alike of Tanu. With some initial hurdles, they fall in love and decide to get married. Coincidently, an arranged marriage is already on the cards between Kusum and Raja Awasthi! The film then goes through various twists and turns, ultimately giving in to the Bollywood style righteous action.

The movie is well written and directed. Its comical in nature and draws some serious laughs now and then, which is quite an achievement. Kangana is a revelation, especially as Kusum. She successfully creates a clear demarcation between Tanu and Kusum - in appearance, body language and dialogue delivery. Never before, the Indian screen has witnessed such an excellent take on double role. Her Haryanvi student-athlete impersonation - with bucked teeth, matter of fact and asexual attitude, pride for being a state level athlete, and last but not the least, super wide and honest eyes, is simply superb. Till now, the only other actor who has perfectly played a Haryanvi is Randeep Hooda ('Highway'), but then, he actually hails from Haryana. Deepak Dobriyal is excellent in his comic timing, and brings about most of the laughing roars. R. Madhavan, as usual, has well played the role of being subdued and well educated. Jimmy Shergill and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub have also acted very well. With time, Jimmy has been able to carve out a kind of magnetic screen presence. He has come a long way from 'Mohabbatein'. Rest of the cast has relatively miniscule role. But they have also acted well. Music is average.

In the movie, the storyline travels from London to Kanpur and Delhi, then to Chandigarh, and then finally to Jhajjar, thereby depicting a wide range of sensibility, ranging from that of an international metro to Indian metro, small city, and town. Be it set design, apparels or supporting caricatures, the right flavor has been maintained throughout the movie.

Bombay Velvet

Anurag Kashyap's 'Gangs of Wasseypur' saga reaches its closure with 'Bombay Velvet'. While the former dealt with the rural terrain of newly independent India, the latter deals with the mother of Indian urban terrain aka Mumbai, or Bombay, as it was called in those days.

Both the movies, more or less, have the same outline - new India with new policies and vast untapped potential; cartel of politicians, police, gangsters etc. striving for the largest chunk, power strife amongst men of power and ambition; rags to riches climb of ruthless and determined protagonist; and his vulnerable moments with his lady love. In fact, in both the movies, before taking his last breath, the protagonist guns down his foes like a driven maniac! However, in spite of the aforesaid similarities, the backdrop, narration, casting and overall sentiment is quite different in these movies.

In 1949, Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor) and Chiman (Satyadeep Misra) arrive at Bombay as kids. They come across each other, and end up becoming lifetime friends and partners in crime. They are street smart, self taught in the ways of the city and dream of making it big. Their prayers are answered in the form of Kaizad Khambatta (Karan Johar), who employs them, rechristens Balraj as Johnny and adds the required moolahs and style into their lives. On the surface, they are the managers of Khambatta's brand new and high end club, 'Bombay Velvet', but in reality they are the executioners of all his dirty works (read blackmailing, kidnapping, murder). Khambatta uses his club to hold meetings with the high and mighty, like - the mayor, Romi Mehta (Siddharth Bas) to execute vast land deals that will yield gold after Bombay's Reclamation. He also runs the paper 'The Torrent' and uses his wife (Shaanti) to seduce and catch his foes off guard!

Jimmy Mistry (Manish Choudhary) is Khambatta's arch rival, who runs his own paper and is against such closed door capitalistic deals. He is on his own mission to divulge the misgivings of Khambatta and company. He is also rich and efficient and considers himself a follower of Communism.

Rosie (Anushka Sharma), an aspiring jazz singer with abused Goan (Portuguese ruled) past reaches Bombay and travels the clichéd path of - semi nude photo shoots, small time bar singer, mistress (of Jimmy Mistry), and ultimately the cherished lady love (of Johnny) and celebrated jazz singer of a high end club (Bombay Velvet).

In a bid to make use, Johnny's immense liking for Rosie, Jimmy sends her to Johnny, to gather a game changing evidence. Instead, they end up becoming two youthful and passionate lovers. Alongside, Johnny becomes, more ambitious and is not satisfied with just managing the club. Instead he seeks a slice of Khambatta's real estate deals! This turns the cartel of high and mighty against him, leading to the onset of a cat-and-mouse game, which leads to Rosie's fake death and investigation of the same by Inspector Kulkarni (Kay Kay Menon), a detective.

Set design and Ranbir Kapoor are the two best things about this movie. The former shows immense r&d and immaculate detailing, and the latter has made full use of his acting genes, intelligence and histrionics to sink his teeth deep into the character. Its impossible to think that he is the same guy who played the couch potato in 'Wake Up Sid'. Throughout the movie, both by his body language and dialogue delivery, Ranbir exudes a sense of earnestness, which is a treat to watch. Anushka Sharma looks tall and elegant and surreal till she plays docile and silent. Her dialogue delivery is same as all her other movies, as well as TV appearances! She wears an enviable collection of larger than life gowns with immaculate jewelry, make-up and hair-do. In some of the initial frames, this hero heroine duo does remind you of Raj Kapoor and Nadira! Apparently, Karan Johar has acted pretty well. But his non-stop reality TV show appearances displaying his real life fun loving personality loom so large in your head, that you somewhere fail to connect with his on-screen character. Satyadeep Misra has acted very well. His understated acting is very precise. Raveena Tandon Thadani appears twice as the lead club singer and takes care of the required style quotient pretty well. Manish Choudhary, Kay Kay Menon and others have also acted well. Cinematography is very good. Music is good. Screenplay has some loop holes, which could have been taken care of. The movie is based on historian Gyan Prakash's book 'Mumbai Fables'.

P.S.: A yesteryear pairing that comes to one's mind, that would have done full justice to this movie, is that of Amitabh Bachchan and Parveen Babi.

Dil Dhadakne Do

For unperturbed existence, a society requires steadiness, which requires discipline, which gives birth to a list of dos and don?ts, which become unnecessary rigid and complex with time, as people start misusing them to suit their personal objectives and/or hide their personal shortcomings. Resultantly, these so called social rules and diktats give way to a perturbed society, which functions like a robot i.e. without any heart. Life becomes all about never ending materialistic gains, small time personal goals and jazzy & fake public appearances, whereas, it should be about strong and giving relationships, unconditional personal freedom and eternal true love. This is what the movie urges via both it?s screenplay and title ?Dil Dhadakne Do?, meaning to say that the society needs to switch from the dead beat robot mode to the heart beating human mode.

Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor), a Delhi based business magnate, decides to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary with full grandeur, on a cruise ship to Greece and Turkey, along with his family, friends and business associates. And thus, the luxury ship is boarded by him, his wife Neelam (Shefali Shah), son Kabir (Ranveer Singh), daughter Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra), her husband (Rahul Bose) and mother-in-law (Zarina Wahab). They are accompanied by - Kamal?s younger brother?s family, Kamal?s company manager, Neelam?s full-of-gossip girlfriends and others.

As expected, all host appearances are fake and they gradually unravel. Beneath the champagne glasses, lavish buffets and content Mehras, lie ? a bankrupt Kamal, who pops pills even to digest the cruise?s lavish bills, a lonely and on-the-edge Neelam, a trapped in unhappy marriage Ayesha and a confused Kabir, who is highly expected to, but has zero interest and ability to take up his father?s business!

Sood (Parmeet Sethi) and family were earlier uninvited, as they happen to be family foes with one of Mehra?s existing guests on the cruise. But if Sood?s left-at-the-altar daughter (Ridhima Sud) gets engaged with Kabir, then Sood will not think twice before investing in Mehra?s sinking company, thereby making it profitable. What better way than a cruise to let the two kids meet and gel? Keeping this in mind, the last minute invitations were sent to the Soods.

However, Sood?s daughter ends up falling in love with the aforesaid family foes?s son (Vikrant Massey)! Kabir, the supposedly trump-card son ends up falling in love with Farah Ali (Anushka Shetty), the lead dancer of a dance group on the cruise! Kamal?s company manager?s son, Sunny Gill (Farhan Akhtar) joins them midway, and he turns out to be Ayesha?s ex-flame (re-kindled)!

In short, gradually things get topsy turvey for conservative and upper class Kamal and Neelam Mehra, whose prime objective in life is to appear prosperous and well settled in the eyes of the society. The movie gradually unfolds myriad confusions, confrontations and eventually right actions.

?Dil Dhadakne Do? is a wisely made movie, depicting the problems and dilemmas of the Indian upper class, with the backdrop of a cruise liner and a comical approach. This saves the film from being corny and boring. Ugly lines of frustration are well hidden by well toned bodies, designer wear and smart dialogues.

It?s an effective satire on ? gender bias, social ridicules in the name of culture, and, use of children as business deal bait. Like ? post marriage, Ayesha sold her jewels to start an online portal ?Musafir?, and turned it into a successful mega operation. But still she is discouraged from doing business talks at the food table by her mother-in-law. Her husband feels elated that he has ?allowed? her to do her own business. Her father is dismissive about her achievement. Rather, he waits for the day when she will make him a grandfather; the Mehra couple blast their children for seeking/supporting divorce. They term them uncultured, while Kamal Mehra?s infidelity trips in the garb of business trips are quite an open secret, and his wife still chooses to stay with him, simply because she has nowhere else to go; and, Kabir is pressurized to get a scene going with Sood?s daughter, so as to revive the family business.

By now it?s well established that, the Zoya-Reema duo?s cinematic offering is sure to be heartfelt, original and well crafted, very much like a la Aamir Khan, who also happens to have lent his voice to the narrator of the movie, Pluto Mehra, the pet dog. They duo were pretty good with their last and second film (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara), but they are brilliant with their current and third endeavor. While the former could only touch base with the upper class metro youth, the latter touches the Indian pulse. Zoya Akhtar, the director captures the settings and emotion of upper class urban India, like Anurag Kashyap does the same with rustic rural India (Gangs Of Wasseypur). Also, she well handles the presence of multi star and supporting cast.

This is one of the best roles essayed by Anil Kapoor till date. He lives and breathes the role of a super rich business class Punjabi family patriarch. His appearance, dialogue delivery, pauses, and reactions are just perfect. The scene in which he stands up for his daughter and catches Rahul Bose by the neck, requires years of acting and passion for acting. Shefali Shah has matched him very well. Be it anger, frustration, or curt wife-type responses, she is bang-on in all the scenes. A steely scene between Priyanka and herself, enacted at a ?hamam? (Turkish bathhouse), is again a difficult one to crack. In the movie, Priyanka has the best defined character. In most of the scenes, she is required to play the submissive one, and she has played that well. It?s a welcome change from the usual robust and hero like Priyanka. Ranveer Singh is very natural and brings most of the comic relief. His pun filled soliloquy after a vomit scene is a treat to watch. Priyanka and Ranveer look very natural as brother and sister. Anushka Sharma has an extended cameo. Out of the three songs, she performs cabaret-cum-ballet dance on one, an impromptu jig on another, and shines in both. In fact in the former number, her body language, kind of reminds you of Catherine Zeta-Jones in ?Chicago? (2002). It?s a difficult dance that requires lot of speed and abundant grace, and she has managed to strike the right balance. Rahul Bose has a small role. For a change, he has also attempted quite opposite of what he has played till date i.e. the middle class submissive metro guy. Here, his character is rich, rigid and conservative. Almost everyone has looked well and acted well. Costume Designing is quite in tune with the characterizations. Casting is also apt. There is striking feature resemblance between Shefali & Priyanka and Anil & Ranveer. Cinematography is also good. There are lot of aerial angles, which well capture the Mediterranean sea region and charming Turkish locales.

Last but not the least, it?s an almost three hour long movie, and you don?t feel bored for a single minute. This really calls for a round of champagne.

Finding Fanny

'Finding Fanny' is like one of those medium paced Mexican flicks, that invariably contain - rural setting with old and unkempt style housings surrounded with nature, an unassuming village lass oozing with passion and sexuality, liquor influenced scenes, unconventional characterization of leading characters and a simple story, which will neither make your heart loose a beat, nor make your mind wander elsewhere.

The movie is based in Pocolim, an obscure Goan village with no presence on the map. It's a quaint and non happening village, with such dull routine that, when their old postman, Ferdie (Naseeruddin Shah) decides to embark on a road trip to find his long lost love Stefanie Fernandes (Anjali Gupta) aka Fanny, he is invariably joined in by four other villagers on one pretext or the other!

The movie opens with Ferdie receiving a return mail, which was actually his love declaration to the woman of his dreams, Fanny. This declaration was mailed forty six years before, and in the event of receiving no reply, Ferdie had been since living the life of rejection and solitude! The mere realization that such a life was lead in vain makes him utterly miserable and depressed. His good friend Angie (Deepika Padukone), the youthful virgin widow advises him to at least find his lost love and know her sentiments, so as to bring a closure to his questioning state of mind. She decides to accompany and arrange for his trip. And thus, another young but bitter villager Savio Da Gama (Arjun Kapoor), a recent Mumbai returned, is roped in because he knows driving and car repair. Don Pedro Cleto Colaco (Pankaj Kapur), a visiting painter with a roving eye and artistic musings for extra curvaceous women is also roped in, so as to use his car as the vehicle in the road trip. Angie's mother-in-law and mother to the deceased Joffrey (Ranveer Singh), Rosie Eucharistica (Dimple Kapadia), the self proclaimed first lady of the village, accompanies the foursome to simply ensure the safety of her daughter-in-law! On the front, it is an expedition to bring peace to the soul of a fellow villager, but in actuality all the co-passengers see the journey as an escape from their respective dull routines and silently hope to find some answers and solution to their own quests of life! Savio has the hots for Angie, while Don Pedro has the hots for Rosie. The ladies in question are also not really happy with their 'single'status. And so, the lost and pining five some along with Rosie's pet cat embark on their journey and in the process, get lost, find both expected and unexpected answers to their respective quests, and ultimately attain their destined closure.

Neither it's a perfect story, nor does it serve any cause. In fact, instead of harping on the occurrence of true love or 'united till death' syndrome, it emphasizes on the 'idea of love' and the need and pursue of the same, even in the event of loss of the original partner! Without promoting infidelity, it signifies that the basic need of life is to feel and share love and it is not dependent on the existence or fidelity of the one with whom you have united your heart and promised to share the rest of your life! The shoes of the deceased or betraying partner need to be filled by someone appropriate enough as per the present timeline of life, because the need to have a breathing and devoted partner is perennial.

This movie has a bilingual release i.e. in both Hindi and English. It also has a good measure of sub titled Goan lines. The genre is amalgamation of comedy, satire and drama. It's well made in its own way. The content and presentation is new for the Indian screen. It is meant for the 'thinking audience' and thankfully is devoid of unnecessary songs and/or titillation. More than the masses, the film seems to be targeted for the international audience (Fox Star Studios being the distributor). No wonder, it is slated to be released at both Busan (South Korea) and Toronto (Canada) International Film Festivals.

The movie is based on five main characters and all of them are well casted and have delivered flawless performances. But still you feel that Pankaj Kapur has stolen the show and Arjun Kapur is the weakest link of the lot. Deepika Padukone looks confidant, wise and very beautiful and that too in a non glamorous role. The lady is pretty regular with flesh bare clothing. But never before has she looked so illuminous and desirable. Dimple Kapadia seems to be becoming a pro with character driven roles, caring a damn about her looks. This is a far cry from her younger and much more successful diva days. To give the lady her due, one must mention that, nearing sixty, she still looks very glamorous. Naseeruddin Shah is an acting school in himself. The opening scene requires an ocean of emotions, followed by outburst and silent retreat. It is impossible to think of anyone else, who can even analyze the scene like him. Pankaj Kapur plays the most complex character of all. He is supposed to be a flamboyant artist (painter), find his muse in extra curvaceous women and appear disinterested in everything else to the point of appearing selfish. And he has successfully depicted all this in good dignity! Arjun Kapoor has acted average. Acting with such polished actors, he was expected to display much more depth in his character. Ranveer Singh and Anjali Gupta (remember the feisty naxalite from 'Chakravyuh') and Anand Tiwari (the priest) are effective in their small roles. The director Homi Adajania has well attempted a relatively new concept in movie making. Without caring to give in to the superfluous needs of the commercial cinema, he has neither diluted his philosophy, nor hastened the pulse of the movie. To do this, and that too after the roaring success of his commercial hit 'Cocktail', he must be a very confidant man. 'O Fanny Re' track touches your soul. Given the limited scope provided by the storyline, cinematography and costume design are exceptionally good. They are in-line and noteworthy.

To sum it up, in an art gallery where patrons mostly find and appreciate well defined forms and subjects (like human, God, nature), this movie is like a well made abstract painting, which many will fail to enjoy because of their routine preferences, and the remaining will derive their own meaning of a particular - brush stroke, shape or even corner!

Mary Kom
Mary Kom(2014)

The movie 'Mary Kom' is the biopic of Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, aka Mary Kom, the five time World Amateur Boxing champion from Manipur, India. Barring this, she is also the proud winner of various Asian and other championships, as well as civilian accolades. The prestigious 'Padma Bhushan' (2013) award by Govt. of India is the latest feather in her cap.

The aforesaid gender, sport, as well as the state, sadly don't enjoy enough prominence in our country. So, its obvious that during her struggling years, Mary Kom must have highly lacked the required infrastructure and support (both moral and financial). Her success story must have been a far cry from those sports personalities whose career were either carefully carved since their early age, or whose normal passion of a particular support, which they were never barred from playing, eventually turned into a career. It is for these reasons, that this amazing sports woman deserves double round of applause. Also, hats off to Omung Kumar for making his directorial debut with such a different and deserving subject.

In the movie, as a child, Mary Kom (Priyanka Chopra) lives with her parents and two kid siblings. She belongs to a very simple Manipur style rural household, sans any luxury, but is blissfully unaware of that. Rather, she chance finds a pair of boxing gloves in a destruction site and keeps it as her prized possession, much to the disdain of her father, who thinks that such a sport will spoil her face, thereby making her unfit for marriage. Even during her adolescence, she is unaware of the emotion 'fear' and sans any combat training, doesn't think twice before entering into a combat with a boy her age. Upon chance meeting with the Manipur state boxing coach (Sunil Thapa), she persuades him to teach her boxing. Initially, the coach ignores her. But finally he discovers one of his best pupils in her and sends in her name for the inter state championship. Thereby, one victory leads to the other, and Mary Kom embarks on her victorious journey, conquering Asian championships as well as World championships in the process!

But this is easier said than done. In an almost non existing infrastructure, she is required to work ridiculously hard on a body that can throw as well as bear international quality punches. And she is required to train for boxing, alongside being a regular daughter and/or wife which includes the regular plethora of cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. She faces opposition and irk of her father, for practicing a non woman type sport. At times, just because the opposing contestant belongs to a much more prominent state, she faces injustice in tournaments. And upon voicing protest, she is subjected to boycott, bad will and humiliation! The three facts that keep her going are - guidance and sheer expectation of her coach, unconditional love and support of her friend turned husband Onler Kom (Darshan Kumaar), and her personal grit and determination to simply win for India. When most career women, especially sports women willingly/unwillingly put an end to their career after marriage and motherhood, Mary Kom goes ahead and does the unthinkable. She gets married, gives birth to twin baby boys, faces emotional turmoil, re-trains herself and wins more championships! The biopic ends here. But the real Mary Kom, has since given birth to another baby boy and harbors the dream of bringing more medals for India!

Priyanka Chopra proved her acting excellence with 'Barfi'. But with 'Mary Com', she has entered a different league altogether. In fact her passionate and unassuming style of acting will remind you of Leonardo DiCaprio! For this movie, the actress has simply given in her body, mind and soul. She plays the age range of a school girl to a mother with elan. She also lives through the profiles of being a boxing student to a boxing champion with flying colors. The actress recently suffered the demise of her dear father. It seems that life without him, in itself was a strugglefor her, and that sense of struggle and anguish was portrayed in her training and boxing scenes. You feel like, she trains to contest, and she contests to win, and that is the only way she can proceed with living! Very few actresses will go through such difficult role that requires no make-up and athletic level of physical labor. Rest of the cast is good as well.

The movie is well paced and it well depicts the tale of a simple Manipur girl, who loves boxing, dreams of consistently winning for India and finally gives shape to her dream. What is noteworthy here is that, apart from simply winning, she doesn't attach any other gain, clout or mammoth change of lifestyle with her victories. She is well tuned in her family life, family chores and surroundings. It is an inspirational movie with deserving subject, world class acting by the protagonist, good screenplay and direction. Silent trusting bond enjoyed between the protagonist and her coach is something to watch out for. The movie also slightly touches the subject of poor nutrition, improper infrastructure and above all not enough respect meated out to sports women/men during their sports tours. With every sports based movie, hinting at this scenario, may be the sports federation will soon do the needful, and thereby enable winning of more medals by Indian sports personnels.

Singham Returns

This movie celebrates the successful actor-director partnership of Ajay Devgn-Rohit Shetty and the Mumbai Police. Of course, the movie has a good enough storyline and a popular heroine. But, in spite of being substantial, they haze out in the aforesaid celebration. Also, it is one of the very sequels, which is better (also read original) than it's prequel i.e. 'Singham'!

Instead of a core story, there is a core villain Satyaraj Baba (Amol Gupte), who is a religious preacher with enough power and clout, enabling him to have a substantial say in the functioning of the ruling political party! In contrast to him, there is Guruji (Anupam Kher), the party mentor, who is a man of principles and enjoys great respect of inspector Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn), as well as the Maharashtra CM (Sanjay Manjrekar). Guruji's strategy of introducing new and young candidates for the upcoming elections is not well received by Baba. While Guruji perceives their enthusiasm, professional training and capability as the door to better functioning of the new government, and thereby better living of the common man, Baba cares a damn about any of this and worries about loosing constituencies, in the absence of old and popular candidates. Soon Guruji gets assassinated by masked and heavily armed professionals. Alongside, a van is found in a river body, along with a dead driver and crores of rupees. The dead driver is a trusted subordinate of Bajirao. Both these events and their repercussions instigate the super cop in Bajirao and he goes into full fledged investigations, interrogations, arrests and secret follow-ups, so as to obtain enough proof to - a) arrest Baba, and b) clear his subordinate's name.

The movie has good energy, cool stunts, weak villain, new but not in tandem storyline, and for a change, it only highlights the glory of the police force. It highlights - the demanding and risky nature of their job, unrealistic expectations from an aging cop, thankless attitude of media and public in general, mass attack protocol ('lathi' charge) followed only in times of sheer crisis and the perennial chance of nullifying of all their hard work by anyone in 'power'.

As expected, Ajay Devgn is the 'Singham'. If he throws a punch, then it is a real punch and not a make believe one. And he is particularly good in depicting pain and anger simultaneously through his eyes. Kareena Kapoor plays his friend cum girlfriend (Avni), runs a beauty parlour and is supposed to eat like a glutton. She has well experimented with a new style of comedy. But for the glutton part, you instantly miss the hogging of Aamir Khan in 'Rang De Basanti'. You will find Kareena picking on many foods, making enough face and hand gestures, but her food bites are very small and very few actually go into her mouth! But she is adorable all the same. Sadly, Kareena seems to be making the sole attempt in establishing the hero-heroine chemistry! Amol Gupte has performed well. But you need a much bigger (impactful) villain for a movie of this caliber. Anupam Kher, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ashwini Kalsekar (reporter) have small roles and they have done justice to it. Earlier Dayanand Shetty (cop 'Daya') was breaking doors on TV (soap 'CID') and now he is doing the same in films! Like TV, herein too, he has well played the second-in-command. Zakir Hussain (Prakash Rao) and Pankaj Tripathi (Altaf Khan) have now become constant with important side roles. Ganesh Yadav (Mahesh Jhadav, the dead cop) and Sharat Saxena (Shiv Rathod, Bajirao's senior) have also acted well.


During our school years, most of us must have come across these famous lines from an inspiring patriotic poem "Khoob ladi mardaani, wo toh Jhaansi wali Rani thi". Watching this movie would instantly remind you of the same. The simile is hard to miss. During British rule, Rani Laxmi Bai fought fearlessly with the Britishers in order to attain freedom of her motherland. And in this movie, Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) fights with focus sans any fear, to attain freedom of young girls trapped in the human trafficking ring. Also, both are Marathi women.

Shivani Shivaji Roy is a hands-on senior crime branch officer. She stays with her husband (Jisshu Sengupta) and orphaned niece. In the past, she had rescued Pyari (Priyanka Sharma) from being sold by her uncle and placed her in a shelter home. She considers her like her daughter and Pyari is an important part of Shivani's life.

Unfortunately, Pyari gets abducted by human traffickers. Shivani gets a whiff of this and gradually realizes that a powerful and organized syndicate is behind it and the bosses will leave no stone unturned to keep their identities hidden. She resolves to bring back Pyari. An action-reaction series commences between her and Junior (the core brain of the trafficking operation). Since the bosses are nameless and faceless, the term 'Junior' is coined by Shivani herself. It's based on the voice quality that makes intimidating, threatening and untraceable calls to her. While Shivani single mindedly focuses on reducing the gap between her and Junior, Junior focuses on discouraging her attempt by harming her dear ones and terminating the links that can lead Shivani to him!

But Shivani is a seasoned officer, who is well versed with intimidation techniques, laws of the land and psycho profiling. She uses her absolute determination, professional training and system support to free all the victims and bring the culprits to justice.

The movie has been very well casted, directed, acted and edited. In fact the pace and visual tone of the movie is that of a prime Hollywood flick! It voices the social cause of abduction and forced prostitution, but keeps safe distance from cheap thrills. It does not have any item number or even any lovey-dovey number (to depict the blessed marital life of the lady cop)! The idea is to acquaint the audience with the inhuman and shameful bearings enforced upon the girl victims by human trafficking goons. But while dealing with such issues, there is a thin line between being realistic and being repulsive. Hats off to the makers for maintaining this decorum and also keeping the content commercially viable! Achieving this sans any thunderous dialogue or eye popping stunt is no mean feat. A great deal of input has been given in the psychological research into the making of each character, something which is almost always amiss in most Bollywood (even prime) flicks.

Most of the movie centers round Rani Mukerji and she has done a commendable job. Her character is well researched and throughout the movie, she manages to stay within it. She has enough close-up frames and she well manages to portray nonchalance, smirk, knowing glance, deep pain and mental calculation. And all of these emotions are depicted without any OTT (over the top) acting. For a change, this lady 'maseeha' (savior) is not born out of exploitation and tears. She is a hard core cop, well trained by mind and body, practical and dedicated to her duty.

It is a pleasant surprise that Pradeep Sarkar, the man best known for his period drama flick 'Parineeta' can ably direct such a movie. Special mention needs to be made of a particular scene, wherein Shivani arrives with her team to save her husband from some chaos. Going by her fireball character, you expect her to pounce, abuse and even break a bone or two. Instead, she stands and stare in shunned silence! Then, upon coming across him, she goes oblivious of her surroundings, and simply connects with the pain and sheer disbelief of her husband. And, if such a scene enactment was achieved due to the director's visualization and direction, then, this maestro is definitely a bearer of many hidden layers.

Jisshu Sengupta (Shivani's husband) has a small and silent role. He is a Bengali movie star and this is his third Bollywood release. As for Tahir Bhasin, this is his second Bollywood release. He plays Junior, for whom the entire trafficking operation is just a big trade (read in hundreds of crores), no more, no less. And he will do anything to keep the tap running. He is young, urban, updated, sharp and well merges with the crowd. Even when he is constantly trying to ruthlessly harm/kill Shivani, somewhere he is appreciative of her courage and intelligence and can connect to her! Tahir Bhasin has impersonated this character very well. His acting is subtle but effective. Rest of the cast has also done well. Background music also well suits the mood of the movie.

Don't miss the climax, wherein Rani Mukerji ably shows her martial art skills! Some real hard work this lass has done to get her teeth into the character.


Movie Review : Kick (25 Jul 2014)

Three good things about this movie -
a) Salman Khan has shown effort and has incorporated method acting (though not throughout), instead of just banking upon his inimitable charm and loyal fan following. May be the fate and reviews of his last flick 'Jai Ho' have a lot to do with this.
b) Salman Khan's dress designers have input considerable effort and the result is apparent. With time, Salman has established his impeccable look, which is woven around imported jeans and jackets. And though they must cost a fortune, unlike in this flick, they kind of look the same in most of his flicks. As per the film credits, perhaps Ashley Rebello and Alvira Khan are to be applauded for the same. Only if they can spare the superstar with the 'kurta' on jeans combination. It makes him look aged!
c) Though Nawazuddin Siddiqui enters pretty late in the movie, he steals the show with his portrayal of a whacko usurper. Displaying such confidence and not letting any slip-off in the character in front of Salman Khan is no mean feat. This is Nawazuddin's first commercial biggie and he has done full justice to it.

Three not so good things about this movie -
a) It's apparent that both the lead actors - Salman and Jacqueline have put in considerable effort in their acting as well as their chemistry. But the 'X' factor in their chemistry is simply missing. In fact the only time, you can find the lady holding absolutely on to her own is while performing the small, titillating and extremely well choreographed and picturized dance number in the song 'Jumme Ki Raat'.
b) The movie plot starts with deep etched sorrow albeit etched in designer wear and picturesque foreign locale, then shifts to Punjabi style dysfunctional family humor, then dangles between 'Krrish' style robbery by vigilante and 'Dhoom' style cop and thief chase! All these flavors of film making are touched with good enough production design , art direction and casting. But none is pursued to it's extremity. All these sub-plots, get you ready for the upcoming pulsating act, only to push you to an altogether different act!
c) For sure, this movie is Salman's debut as a method actor, or maybe he has simply followed the lead actor of the original Telugu 2009 release of the same name. But, his new style of acting is now and then penetrated by his old one, which bores unmistakable holes in the portrayal of such a complex character, as played by him in 'Kick'.

Three technical mistakes in the movie -
a) The protagonist's wall is adorned with the degrees of a civil engineer, but he is always shown working and experimenting with chemicals!
b) A 'youtube' bash up-and-preach video sequence of the protagonist is shown using the same camera angles and close-ups as that of the film. How can a secret mobile video recording have different angles and close-ups?
c) Prior to any kind of surgery, generally all traces of chemicals are removed from the patient's body. But post the little girl's surgery, while she gesticulates with her palm and beckons the protagonist, you can see clear traces of nail polish on her little finger.

Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandez) is a Poland based psychologist who is getting over her separation from her lover, Devi Lal Singh (Salman Khan). Due to family pressure for marriage, she meets a visiting Indian cop Himanshu Tyagi (Randeep Hooda). Pursue of 'Devil', a masterminded vigilante has brought Himanshu to Poland. This vigilante is sought by the Indian Police for his theft of few hundred crores of rupees in India. Both of them are unaware of the fact that Devi Lal and Devil are same.

Prior to becoming Devil, Devi Lal Singh was an extremely intelligent, muscular and do-gooder forty years old lad, who lead a happy-go-lucky life. He could pursue only those things in life, which gave him a 'Kick'. Normal mundane routine (read - a regular job) bored him and he could never hold onto them. While performing a do-gooder act, a chance meeting with Shaina made him hooked to the lady. This initial one sided love gradually turned into a mutual one. During marriage planning stage, Shaina and her father (Saurabh Shukla) became dubious about Devi Lal's capacity to earn and support a married life and hinted about him becoming a 'ghar jamai'. This irked and hurted Devi Lal and it resulted into - his separation with his lady love, and his solemn oath to himself to thereupon devote his life in earning big money.

The movie then gradually unfolds few robberies with cat and mouse sequences between the Devil and the cops and the human reason behind Devi Lal's becoming the Devil, One such grand robbery entwines the black money of a corrupt politician and his maniac nephew (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Thereupon, they also get seriously involved with the cops till this chase is brought to an end.

The movie's script is more or less point-to-point copy of the Telugu movie 'Kick' (2009). As a producer, in the past, Sajid Nadiadwala has given good hits with Salman Khan. His directorial debut in 'Kick' is an ok job. Screenplay could have been meatier and more seamless. Songs are good and a couple of them (Hangover) have been voiced by Salman Khan, who has made his debut as a singer with this film. Apart from the heroine, the casting is apt. As the leading lady, an Anushka Sharma would have better suited the role.

Jacqueline looks good and dresses with dignity. She has made good effort. But still has miles to go. Randeep Hooda has managed to hold his own in front of Salman Khan. A conscious but easy camaraderie can be seen between them. Rest of the star cast is pretty seasoned and they have delivered as expected. An item number by Svelte Nargis Fakhri is good as well.

Though the movie unceremoniously shifts from one gear to another, it still has a rampant energy and star power of Salman Khan. It's grand 'Eid' release with a well targeted 'Jumme Ki Raat' song will definitely give handsome box office returns. Last but not the least, don't miss the impromptu 'Saat samundar paar' dance performance by Salman Khan towards the end. It's totally 'paisa vasool'.

Bobby Jasoos
Bobby Jasoos(2014)

It seems that this film has been made with two primary objectives. Firstly, to encash a small budget meaningful cinema using the gem of an actor, Vidya Balan, thereby replicating the success of 'Kahani'. Secondly, to showcase an under-represented Hyderabadi community in Bollywood cinema. May be the Hyderabad ties of the producers have something to do with this.

'Kahani' was a blockbuster because stalwart Vidya's acting was well supported by strong script and direction. 'Bobby Jasoos' has Vidya in her full form. But the scripting needs a lot of fine tuning and the direction is average. In 'Kahani', Sujoy Ghosh presented Kolkata, 'the city of joy' like never before. In comparison, Samar Shaikh's presentation of old Hyderabad is plain vanilla. In spite of the casting of all acclaimed actors as character artists, the required energy and richness in the scenes is missing.

The backdrop of the movie is the over populated Mughalpura region of old Hyderabad. Bilkis (Vidya Balan), the eldest daughter of the conservative Ahmed family is a self taught and self proclaimed detective aka 'jasoos'. She has no formal training in this area. But she avidly watches the hindi detective serials and calls herself 'Bobby Jasoos'. She gets mundane detective jobs and roams fearless in all nooks and corners of Mughalpura at all times. In fact, she is the only one who takes her profession and her professional skills seriously till she is contacted by an elderly Anees Khan (Kiran Kumar). He maintains a rich but secretive personality and asks her to find three people, one after the other. For each endeavor, he pays her handsomely (a bit too much by her standards). But, as for the clues, he can only provide the name, age and birth mark of missing persons and not any photo. Bobby along with her working allies - Shetty (Prasad Barve), Munna (Akash Dahiya), Suhail (Tejas Mahajan), works on the assignments in her trademark 'naïve but full-of-drama' style. She gets success. But somewhere she gets suspicious of the whole operation and decides to unravel the root of the matter. Also, somewhere alongside she discovers mutual liking and love with Tasawur (Ali Fazal), a popular tv presenter who also lives in Mughalpura and assists her in her endeavors.

As expected, Vidya is flawless in her scenes. In her bid as the detective, she dons a wide range of makeovers - hobbling fakir, funny toothed palmist, fatso tv producer etc. She does a terrific job with each one of them. But most of these avatars simply zoom off the screen, without taking the required time and leaving the desired impact. Ali Fazal looks younger to her. But he acts well and matches her performance in the scenes where they are together. Arjan Bajwa (Lala) plays a goon and inspite of soorma and stubble, he looks like a hunk in all his scenes. His acting is nonchalant. As such, not many lines are given to him to deliver. Kiran Kumar has a substantial role and he could have made it impactful. Surprisingly, he did not. Instead, Supriya Pathak (Zebo, Bilkis' mother) and Tanvi Azmi (Kausar, Bilkis' khaala) have simple roles, but they leave impact! Rajendra Gupta (Bilkis' father) and Benaf Dadachanji (Noor, Bilkis' sister) are good as well. Rest are OK. Cinematography is good. Music is average. However, the number 'Arziyaan de raha dil' is good.

All in all, it's a sweet and clean movie with Vidya occupying more than 90% of the screen time.


A multi cast comedy with the three male protagonists in triple roles each and all of them being successful in their respective genres and media, gives you the natural expectation of a fun filled and light headed movie time. Instead, you watch the movie with exasperation as you witness the 'fun' element slipping out of most of the funny lines and comic expressions and you have a thumping headache calculating what all went wrong with the movie.

In order to obtain temporary rights to run billionaire Ashok's (Saif Ali Khan) business empire, he and his friend (Riteish Deshmukh) are wrongfully sent to a mental asylum by his General Manager who also happens to be his Uncle (Ram Kapoor) aka 'Mamaji'. The mental facility already holds all of their duplicates i.e. 'humshakals'. They are child-like Ashok (Saif), Kumar (Riteish) and third stage OCD (hygiene freak) patient Johnny (Ram). Attractive lady doctor Shivani (Esha Gupta) discovers that the former Ashok-Kumar duo are not mental and in her bid to release them, out of mistake, releases the latter duo, who are spotted by Ashok's girlfriend Shanaya (Tamannah Bhatia) and taken to his home. Ashok's sister like secretary Nikita (Bipasha Basu) is incidentally Kumar's girlfriend and apparently stays in her boss' home to manage all his affairs. The home also houses Ashok's father who is in coma.

To add to this confusion, the original Ashok and Kumar also flee from the mental asylum and reach home, only to perform Sajid Khan's mandatory multi cast night time dance in the deserted house! The original duo are caught and carried back by the asylum warden (Satish Shah). In the mental asylum, an attendant (Darshan Jariwala) introduces them to Johnny. Now 'Mamaji' is equipped with duplicates of original Ashok-Kumar in the house and original Ashok-Kumar are equipped with 'Mamaji's duplicate Johnny in the mental asylum. Both the original parties plan to use their valuable possessions in the shortly upcoming board meeting of Ashok's company, so as to obtain the entire control of his business. The remaining movie caters to the implementation of their respective plans and an expected mayhem climax. Don't even bother to understand the third role of each of the protagonists.

To start with, the movie has one of the weakest opening scenes. Also, herein Saif who is almost always impeccably dressed (a Tom Ford loyalist), sports an ill fitting and unappealing blazer! His house's entrance is super rich, interiors are rich and the kitchen is poor (small in size and with metallic workareas)! There is absolutely no chemistry between Riteish and Bipasha, though Bipasha seem to be trying hard to establish some. Last but not the least, the scenes lack continuity and impact.

Only two well crafted long scenes bring about the Sajid Khan school of comedy. The one wherein the original dup try to escape from the mental asylum, and the other wherein all the three protagonists woo their own female versions. The movie is filled with smart pun intended one-liners. Though the deliverance of most of them fall flat in the face, none of them are cheap or repulsive.

For some reason, Riteish appears taller and broader than Saif in the movie! He has built good muscle and looks wiser than his early appearances. Also, this is his comfort genre, and he makes the best of it. With enough movie experience, now he is a pro at playing a seductress. In fact apart from his eyebrows, if dressed wisely in female gear, nothing will give away that he is a man! Saif has dared to experiment with a new genre, but he has miles to go before he can make hay out of it. However, he has worked hard to deliver. Ram is the surprise package. He is the only one who has maintained clear distinction amidst all his three roles. Also, in spite of his tall and bulky frame, when required, he does manage to look cute! All the three heroines basically fill the glam quotient. They somehow don't appear in tandem with each other. However, it's noteworthy that, you can see a hinting resemblance of Sophia Lauren in Bipasha and Angelina Jolie in Esha. Tamannah is very confidant. Satish Shah and Darshan Jariwala have small roles and Chunky Pandey has an even smaller one. They do make the required impact.

As usual, Sajid Khan has released his movie sans any competition. With no other A-lister new movie around to snatch the audience, and with the three protagonists aimed to attract all kinds of watchers - Saif for classes, Riteish for masses and Ram for TV watchers, the movie is bound to have a strong opening. But the audience is still waiting for Sajid to repeat his 'Heyy Babyy' magic.

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

'Edge Of Tomorrow' is a sci-fi thriller. In short, it is military science fiction combined with time travel (read time loop) and alien attack! It is based on the book 'All You Need Is Kill' by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), who is kind of a figurehead with no combat experience, is forcibly thrown into a doomed-to-die warfare with an alien race called 'The Mimic'. As expected, soon upon entering the battlefield along with his peers, he faces death. But shockingly, from there itself, he enters into an infinite loop of death and resurrection.

He realizes that the best way to end this in his favour, is to demolish 'Omega' i.e. the brain of the Mimic. Apart from him, only two other people aware of this death and resurrection phenomenon are - Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a Special Force Warrior and her scientist associate. In true blue Tom Cruise style, Cage along with the two aforesaid military people, uses his each new life to further strategize his mind and train his physique, so as to decrease the distance between him and Omega by at least a few steps, before he meets his new death!

Like a video game in play, with every death, Cage is required to restart his life from the same time stamp (or level). And like a video gamer, with every new life, though he is required to play the same set of scenarios with pre destined (or planned) succession, he is wiser and better equipped to play the game a tad bit further. So, throughout the movie, he is mostly plotting and preparing for the next day battle, with as many variations as possible. Hence, the movie is titled 'Edge Of Tomorrow' and it's tag line reads 'Live.Die.Repeat'.

In the world of movies, this plot is rather new and tricky to handle. Director, screenwriters, cast and other crew members deserve full marks for pulling this off in as much audience friendly manner as possible. A noteworthy scene is the one wherein, just prior to one of her deaths, Rita divulges her middle name to Cage. This scene has a subtle tenderness which is aptly absent throughout the movie. In most parts, the film looks like a gothic mesh of bulky metal combat gear, metallic octopus-like high powered aliens, advanced weaponry and repeat upon repeat!

Approximately, twenty years back, Tom Cruise successfully carried off the internationally acclaimed sci-fi thriller, Mission Impossible (1996). And even today, he is carrying such a film with great aplomb. The kind of distinct continuity he has maintained in the film, is no mean feat. Emily Blunt looks extremely athletic and agile. It is impossible to compare this avatar of hers from her stint in 'The Devil Wears Prada'. Herein, she is referred as 'Full Metal Bitch'. But the significance of the same is lost in the book-to-film translation. Others have performed good as well.

This movie successfully entwines you to the psychology of the protagonist.
Alongside him, you will experience the same time frame and level of confusion, mirth, determination, fear, boredom and frustration. And just because, it already has so many repeat scenes, it is impossible to see it more than once.


This movie is the second Bollywood release of the southern maverick director Murgadoss, and it's better executed and more apt for the Bollywood audience than his first mega hit flick 'Ghajini' (Aamir Khan). But as expected, the southern director could not stay away from the curvaceous heroine and unnecessary songs. Amidst a serious and thrilling storyline, except for the first song, all the rest seem highly disturbing.

Virat Bakshi is a special agent from DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency), who works undercover as an Indian Army personnel. During one of his holidays to his hometown Mumbai, he chances upon a notorious terrorist plan, and uses his entire holiday to unearth and disable the same. Throughout the operation he is well aided by a Mumbai police official who is also his close friend. Amidst all this, the director finds enough frames to accommodate a love angle between Virat and Nisha!

The movie is a remake of Tamil flick 'Thuppakki'. But if you are unaware and unexposed to the original, then it's definitely a new and interesting plot to watch. It deals with the terrorist unit called 'Sleeper Cells'. And this concept is well described and depicted in the movie. As expected of Murgadoss, the movie is filled with blood and gore. But subtly it also stresses on the need to risk small collateral damage in a covert operation that is undertaken to save hundreds of lives. Meaning to stay that, if a security official is taken for granted to give his life for the country, then why can't a civilian's life be put to risk to save many others?

In its own way, the movie is also an ode to all the security organizations of the country i.e. the Indian Police, the Indian Intelligence and the Indian Army. They work under all kinds of taxing situations to keep the country safe. Their scope of work and action is kind of undefined as the anti social forces constantly change and update their terror techniques! Since they are expected to be 100% fit by both body and mind, any work mishap that results into weakening or amputation of their body, sadly pushes them towards an early retirement. But their training is such that, in time of need and short notice, they can still make good use of their skills and prove worthy enough for a security cause!

Beneath their rough & tough and ready-to-kill exterior, each of them is actually a simple family man who is regularly required to stay away from his near and dear ones for long months. This fact is beautifully depicted in the last scene of the movie

Akshay Kumar (Virat) looks very fit and as always is very good with the stunts. However, when the camera is at close angles, he does appear a little aged. Sonakshi Sinha (Nisha) has performed as per expected of the role of the hero's arm candy. In the initial scenes, the lady is required to be athletic and its worth mentioning that she throws a neat and powerful punch in the boxing ring! This is unseen of any Indian actress till now. Maybe Priyanka Chopra as Mary Kom will add to this soon. Freddy Daruwala in his debut as the new Bollywood villain needs to work a lot more on his expressions. He looks very fit though. Sumeet Raghavan as constantly aiding the operation police man could have had a more powerful appearance. Govinda has a small guest appearance. Herein, he has donned tasteful fashion wear and he looks endearing in his performance. Seeing him, you do wish to see him as one of the main protagonists in a movie soon.

All in all, it's an impactful movie, with a balance of north and south style sensibilities. But it's definitely not for the under aged.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Though quite a few independent Spider Man movies have released in the past, this one is a sequel of 'The Amazing Spider Man' (released in 2012). Wherein, it takes the story forward, it also leaves ample room for the upcoming sequel. Like the search about the disappearance of Spider Man's parents that started in the prequel, is given a closure here. But out of the three new villains, only two are destroyed.

Undoubtedly, it's an international class movie, but it lacks the required symmetry and purpose. In many a places, intense scene build up is done in vain i.e. it leads to nowhere poignant. Also, the chemistry between the protagonist (Andrew Garfield) and his love interest (Emma Stone) seem straight out of a Bollywood flick i.e. a tad bit too melodramatic! It seems that Peter Parker aka Spider Man's primary course of action is following and wooing his beloved, dangle and mount on the skyscrapers in his gear and help the en route citizens in an easy and funny manner. Out of sheer responsibility he has to work towards destructing the big time villains i.e. the abnormal beings capable of mass destruction. Given a choice, he may opt out of it! The makers have justified this by presenting him as a lad who has just finished his graduation. Like it's prequel, here too the villains are created via accident or robotic gear at Oscorp i.e. the corporate giant where Peter Parker's father used to work as a scientist.

As expected, the computer gimmicks in the movie are top class. Also the 3D experience is good. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone look endearing together. The way he longingly looks at her and fears for her safety at his close range, you do wish to release him from his superhero duties for once and for all! And she manages to light up each scene with her luminescent face and sparkling teeth. But it is Jamie Foxx who steals the show as Electro. The seasoned actor beautifully acts his way from being a Spider Man worshipping, gawky and lonely Oscorp engineer to a Spider Man despising super villain Electro. Sally Field (Aunt May) and others have also acted well. Compared to the prequel, in fact she looks little younger.

The movie is 2 hours and 22 minutes long, and still it ends rather abruptly!


This movie is aptly titled and it's release is perfectly timed on the eve of Women's Day, as it ably shows the inner strength and conviction of a very mediocre woman, who uses the stab of severe rejection, not to bleed into the state of utter depression filled with society imposed guilt, but to expand her horizon, and in the process learns a great deal about different lifestyles & cultures, makes myriad friends, proves her self worth and tastes the state of utter freedom (both by body and mind)!

Though this journey of hers is hesitantly supported by her loving parents and kid brother, the carefree attitude and occasional mischievous 'been there, done that' glances thrown by her grandmother are something to watch out for. In a society like ours, usually an elderly woman expectantly appears so dedicated towards her spouse and family, that it seems impossible that her delicate heart ever nursed a feeling for any other man. But life has never been this simple for them. Due to unavoidable circumstances, shyness, fear, or even betterment, many of them did nurse a feeling for someone in the past, but ended up marrying someone else altogether! And since amongst themselves they do understand this, breakup of an impending marriage, is not that much of a hoo-haa for them, as much as they expectantly portray it to be. They do know that it is unacceptable but not unthinkable. And when it happens to their own blood, they do have the wisdom and conviction to make their granddaughters see the matter in a sensible light and pave their way.

Rani (literally meaning 'queen'), the protagonist is a girl-next-door, who is wooed over by a family friend's son, Vijay (Rajkummar Rao) into marriage. On the eve of the marriage, he breaks it up on the pretext of lifestyle and attitude difference that has widened between them due to his London based job and stay! After spending a night in extreme shock and tears, Rani decides to regain the control of her life by starting with going alone on her honeymoon trip (Paris and Amsterdam)! And in this trip, out of her comfort zone, she discovers a whole new different world, wherein all her past taboos seem right, and quite a few right notions seem wrong. She learns - to trust and enjoy the company of good strangers, to fight for herself, the taste of independence and success, and mostly the difference between so called right actions and right intent.

Kangana Ranaut has done a fantastic acting job. Her approach towards the role is very fresh and natural. With her history of living-on-the-edge glam roles, this one comes as a pleasant surprise. Her Indianisation started with 'Tanu Weds Manu' and she has come full circle with 'Queen'. Rajkummar Rao has expectantly done a brilliant job. Lisa Haydon is another surprise package in the film. Her natural uninhibited form with French accent is again something to watch out for. Mish Boyko, Jeffrey Ho, Joseph Guitobh, Canadea Lopez Marco who have played Kangana's roommates/associates in Amsterdam have also essayed their roles with great naturalness and ease. The child artist who plays Kangana's sibling appears convincing as a possessive kid brother. Rest of the cast has also performed well.

Special applause needs to be given to the director, Vikas Bahl to present well and in perfect harmony, two very different sensibilities, one that of a middle class conservative Indian, and the other of an international traveler. He has also well captured the dilemma of the protagonist while making the consistent cross over between these two sensibilities. When using foreign locales and 100% foreign actors with the protagonist actor as Indian, very few movies are able to portray the true essence of the script. Hats off to the director, that this is one such movie.


To start with, this movie is quite a chameleon. It's promos and promotions (TV appearances etc.) give you the impression of high quality bromance between the protagonists and their fun filled wooing of a diva. Whereas, it's opening scenes are well crafted derivations of aftermath of 1971 Indo Pak War, which separated the modern day Bangladesh from India, thereby creating a partition between West Bengal and East Bengal. But in actuality, the film turns out to be a tribute to the angry young man, Robin Hood like films of Amitabh Bachchan which also had high dosage of intense camaraderie between the heroes, thundering dialogues and high dollops of performances by coquettish damsels. You feel like you have been transported to the film era of the 70's.

It's quite evident, that immense hard work has been input by cast and crew, in terms of - r&d, apparels, appearances, set designing, performances etc. In fact the opening scenes, especially the performances by child artists are very good. They actually raise your expectations from the movie to a different level. Even the facial and body language similarity between the two protagonists and their childhood appearances have been matched to the T.

The entire leading cast - Ranveer, Arjun and Priyanka are in their best body forms i.e. very toned, agile and very Hollywood like. In fact, the cabaret performance by Priyanka can give many a similar Hollywood movie performances, quite a run for their money! Lookswise, even in her avatar as a Bengali coquettish lass, she scores well in both traditional Bengali dressing and full-of-tease acting. Such impersonation is not easy. Otherwise too, she has acted well. However, you do feel that her role is longer and meatier than what is actually required on the lines of the movie. Ranveer and Arjun are bursting with both energy and muscles. Their on-screen camaraderie as 'Bala-Bikram' remind you of 'Jai-Veeru' (Amitabh and Dharmendra)! They also look good in whatever they wear and have acted well. A special mention needs to be made of the fact that the dress designing is not completely on the lines of the 70's. It's kind of fusion of the 70's with the modern day sensibility. As expected, Saurabh Shukla and Irrfan Khan have acted well too.

The movie holds well till interval. And, then it loosens it's grip, both in terms of objective and enactment. Some scenes are really long and unnecessary.

Showing pure and innocent love in the backdrop of extreme and realistic violence and turbulence is no mean feat. Directors like - Vidhu Vinod Chopra ('1942 A Love Story') and Mani Ratnam ('Roja', 'Bombay') have achieved this with great elan. Sadly, 'Gunday' attempts this, but falls short of similar final delivery.

Jai Ho
Jai Ho(2014)

An ex army official (not exactly your common man), who in the past had been removed from the Indian Army for ignoring his superior's command and undertaking an extra step to save civilians from the terrorists, not to mention, risking his own life a great deal in the process, lives his present by assisting the civilians in myriad ways possible and saving them from all possible modes of harassment. Ask him for any sort of assistance (even taking a kid to the loo) and he is there. Trouble anyone in any manner (even pushing off a street urchin), and he is there. Thank him for his help, and he asks you to help three other people instead, and tell them each to do the same! This is the protagonist of the movie 'Jai Ho' i.e. your very own Salman Khan, aka the 'bhai' of the masses.

'Jai Ho' is the official remake of Telugu film 'Stalin' (2006) and it intends to give social service message and impart noble teaching. The philanthropist in Salman Khan completely takes over his character, and when he emotes, the following seem real and genuine - the restlessness and pain towards suffering of others, frustration of not being able to change the system, anger and hatred towards the bad guys, ruthless bashing of the villains etc.

Apart from this, any of his other scenes, or even the rest of the movie has no depth, meaning or connectivity! It seems that the presence of the superstar was taken a wee bit too much for granted and as such no real effort was put towards the making of a good movie! Even the fitness of the superstar (supposed to be his primary appeal) was not deemed necessary for all the scenes. Barring a few last minute scenes, Salman Khan appears overweight (read prominent double chin) and tired (read puffy eyes) in most of the movie. Still he manages to look better than the rest of the cast!

Casting is purely whimsical or, you can say that going by the pulse of 'Jai Ho', it mostly seems to be an act of good deed by the actor-producer brother duo (Salman and Sohail). They apparently fulfilled their promises made to various individuals and groups, of giving them the opportunity to act or dance in their film! Apart from that, they seem to have pulled in a great chunk of their friends and loyalists to act in the movie. Be prepared to see an army of known as well as long forgotten popular faces (both from Bollywood and TV) to appear one by one in the film. Tabu seems to be the only well thought of case of casting. She well befits the role of a righteous, no nonsense and strong sister. The debutant Daisy Shah has no defining role as such but a couple of dancing songs, and therein she has performed pretty well. The surprise package of the movie is Bruna Abdullah. Till her last scene, you expect her to break into an item number, which never happens!

If you belong to that strata of the common man that is heavily weighed down by the system, who wants to rebel and retaliate badly but cannot dare to do so for the fear of being subjected to further atrocities that would be thrown upon by the corrupt authorities to maintain their power and clout, you will enjoy the movie because with every snarl that Salman will roar and with every punch that he will throw, you will feel a step closer to the sense of closure for all your sufferings. Also, if you are a die hard Salman fan, you will enjoy the movie, as he is present in most of the frames. But if you are a serious movie enthusiast, who looks for logic, technique, newness and performance in a movie, be prepared to experience the severe messing up of your sense of movie watching.

Dedh Ishqiya
Dedh Ishqiya(2014)

Cine goers had very high expectation from this movie for mainly two reasons. Firstly, it was a sequel of 'Ishqiya', a milestone in the history of Bollywood movies. Secondly, it had Madhuri Dixit, who looked like a million bucks and danced like a dream in the concerned TV reality shows. So, though her first comeback movie (Aa Ja Nachle) was a dud, this one simply could not go wrong, as this time Mrs. Nene seemed very well prepared with, what is expected from the current Bollywood heroine (read pencil thin figure, designer wardrobe, polished teeth, corrective surgeries/botox injections etc) along with her all time speciality i.e. powerful acting. So, this flick was supposed to be a double whammy.

And thus, you watch the movie with baited breath. But your heart breaks when you eventually realize that one of the core reasons responsible for drawing you to the theatre, is actually the weakest link in the movie! Aka Julius Caesar, Vidya Balan seems more powerful by her absence in the movie because it's evident that she played the difficult and complex character in 'Ishqiya' with great elan and ease unlike her replacement in 'Dedh Ishqiya'. And her replacement is not just anyone but the 'Madhuri Dixit'!

As per expectation, Madhuri looks good and dances very well. However, there is only one dance (by Madhuri) in the movie. The other one appears along with the credits at the end. At 45 years, looking that good and fit is definitely praiseworthy. But for some reason, this lass looks much better and appears more exuberant in her TV appearances! Her character in the film is multi faceted and she is also given ample screen time to show her craft. But the required performance simply doesn't come through. Maybe, such complex characters of woman protagonists were not written earlier, and thus playing them is not actually her forte, and both the cine makers and the audience have expected just too much out of her (which is not her fault), or maybe she will take some time (read a couple of movies) before sinking her teeth into such characters. Whatever the case maybe, this is not favorable for 'Dedh Ishqiya'.

Otherwise, the movie is well written, inter relationship among the characters is very well nuanced, has the expected rustic feel and background music, good direction and acting. In fact the 'thumris' used in the movie are really good. The movie has considerably high dosage of Urdu, a language which many may not be conversant with, but the usage of which is required to perhaps justify the storyline. And so, there are English subtitles to make the movie understandable. To tell the truth, the subtitles prove to be a pure distraction. With experience you develop different mindset for watching different kind of movies. Watching a Hindi movie with subtitles can never be one such mindset.

Naseeruddin Shah can do justice to any character and scene. Special mention needs to be made for a scene, wherein he emotes his 'falling in love with Maduri Dixit' with simply his eyes. What a brilliant execution of a simple scene! Arshad Warsi seems the quintessential Babban. He brings the few good funny moments in the film. No one can question his comic timing. Also the rapport between these two actors is very well depicted. Huma Qureshi and Salman Shahid have expectantly made their mark. Others have also acted well. The camaraderie shown between Huma and Madhuri is something new and different. It is that of two women whose presence in each other's lives is clearly more important and necessary than anyone else's. Their roles towards each other are that of a delicate idol and a worshipping caretaker. And still they seem to share little more than just loyal friendship!

All in all, it is an exemplary movie will fail to reach it's deserving zenith just because of a couple of ill fitting components.

The Wolf of Wall Street

An economy is supposed to happen when a section of the population indulges in various stages of creation of different products or deliverance of different services to the other section in lieu of a fixed or fluctuating price. In short, when a consumer pays a price, he/she actually gets something in return. Sadly, this is not the case with the modern world economy, wherein mammoth speculations and manipulations in the world of shares and equities, make people part with their money on a day to day basis, on the pretext of a handsome return, which is nothing but a pure myth created by share brokers and share companies to ensure free flow of their brokerage from share transactions and commission from share distribution. So, in the latter case, a consumer pays a price but gets only false hopes in return, or you can say that he/she pays the price for an imposed dream which will never come true!

The movie shows the con facet of the equity industry like never before. Starting from - putting a client portfolio in unnecessary transaction loop, to selling them nondescript company's shares by fabricating it's portfolio, to rigging an IPO, to manipulating a script's price by selling it's majority shares from various personal holdings, you name it and it's there!

The movie also beautifully shows the complete journey of a personnel from this industry who is initially guided and who also chooses the path of malpractice to attain unlimited wealth, power and success, and ultimately ends up paying the price for the same.

Leonardo DiCaprio is simply amazing as the protagonist. His acting is flawless and dialogue delivery is just perfect. Be it his scenes as a wannabe broker, or as an upcoming one who is over zealous while nailing his client (read striking a deal) over the phone, or as a spoilt power figure who unabashedly uses women and narcotics to ease off his day long stress and later his ever present stress, or as the one in huge dilemma, his takes are well planned between funny and brat like. Never once he appears to be vulgar or repulsive! And not crossing this thin line is not easy. He may not be mindful of the country's economy, but the sole purpose in his life is the growth of his company and it's people. If he is brat like, then he also ensures that there is enough fun and freedom like environment in his office. Meaning to say, that his character may not appear rightful, but it damn well appears interesting and lovable. All the other actors have done full justice to their characters as well.

Best thing about Martin Scorsese's direction is the amazing continuity in all the characters. Also, the dialogue delivery is not theatrical, but very natural throughout the film. Martin has managed to direct a huge room full of people, all at once, talking about the same script (share) on different telephones to different people. And it all looks so real! This kind of execution requires mammoth planning and a very keen eye for detail. Hats off to Martin for pulling this off. His different presentation of a narrative like tale gives an altogether different edge to the movie.


You are all set to watch a ramp walk. The model walks in well dressed in ethnic, colorful and vibrant finery well laced with gota, embroidery, sequins and the likes. Upon reaching the front of the stage she turns around to commence her exit. But the back of the apparel is a combination of leather black and whites in different geometrical shapes, very Gen-X like, simply strewn together within the outline of the apparel. You are left in an utter confused state because how much ever you try, you cannot derive to any logical or creative or even any experimental link between the front and the back of the apparel. Neither can you find clear logical link between the elements of the back of the apparel themselves! You really enjoy the model's entry on the stage, make up a mindset which makes her exit somewhat predictable and somewhat mysterious, and you are all set to enjoy her exit. But the whole experience simply leaves you fumbling to understand what the designer actually intended. This is Raanjhanaa. Rustic, well scripted and soothingly paced first half, but absolutely differently scripted and cumbersome second half.

It seems that the director intended to recreate the magic of the classic 1942 - A Love Story in modern day setting i.e. pure, innocent love amidst the backdrop of political turmoil. Instead he created pure innocent love and political turmoil. Reasons - a) because he could not handle both the sensibilities together, and b) Sonam is not Manisha, who when well directed, can throw in myriad expressions together to depict the internal turmoil of the character.

First half of the movie is fresh in its approach and keeps you entertained. Sonam looks beautiful in every frame. But she direly needs to get out of her 'Saawariya' mindset. Yesteryears' actresses mould does not work for the modern day complex characters. Her acting ranges from being good to confused to ordinary. Abhay has a magnetic screen presence. You expect him to do a lot more than he is given the chance to do in the movie. But the surprise package is Dhanush. You would never expect this lanky man from south to act and emote so well in every scene that he has been given to act. Best thing about him is that he neither tries to steal away other actor's scenes nor he tries to display the star in him over the character that he is playing. Swara Bhaskar and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, his two friends in the movie have also acted very well. Except for the voice, you simply cannot realize that Swara is the same lady who played Kangana's robust elder sister in 'Tanu Weds Manu'. Kumud and Shilpi have also done justice to their roles. Some of the dialogues mouthed by Dhanush and his friends do make the required impact. They have their own vernacular charm. Music is composed by the legendary A. R. Rahman, so it is undoubtedly good.

Chashme Buddoor

This movie is a simple 'boy meets girl - detects certain chemistry - they become a pair - get separated for a little while - they get back' love story. Herein, backdrop happens to be Goa and causes of separation as well as union happen to be two immature friends of the boy. There is nothing more or less to the movie.

Divyendu's dialogues created better punches in his debut film 'Pyaar Ka Punchnama'. Siddharth is a seasoned actor and his spunk does invoke some cetees among the audience. If Ali Zafar is aiming the slot of the leading man in Bollywood, then he needs to tune up his acting as well as screen presence. Tapasee has a fresh presence. It is also refreshing to see a heroine with her 'natural' looks, i.e. the look sans cosmetic surgery, sculpting etc. Rishi and Lillete are veterans and they deliver as expected. So does Anupam, but his same style of acting and reactive acting do appear little mundane now.

Contrary to what the name suggests and what they claim in the movie promotion, this movie is not the remake of Deepti Naval and Farooq Shaikh starrer 'Chashme Buddoor' (1981).


Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vikram, Vinay Virmani, Isha Sharvani, Lara Dutta, Milind Soman, Tabu, Monica Dogra, Rohini Hattangadi, Nassar, Nishan Nanaiah

Director: Bejoy Nambiar

Three altogether different stories from three different time periods spurned into one with the common thread being the protagonist named 'David' in all the three aforesaid stories. To justify this common thread, all these three Davids happen to directly or indirectly touch each other's lives (for once) giving it a significant turn! As such the movie has no clear message. At most one can say that therein the name David denotes sacrifices in different forms i.e. of life, career, love and even urge to assassin for revenge!

Individually, all the three stories have been shot good enough, clearly having the time stamp of the period that they depict. The movie belongs to a different genre altogether. The director needs to be applauded to make the brave attempt of trying such a genre in India. But a lot needs to be improvised as well. Watching this movie, many may feel simply confused.

Neil, Vikram, Vinay have all done pretty good job. Isha simply lights up the screen with her presence. Milind, Monica and Tabu are intense and effective in their small roles.

Joker 3D
Joker 3D(2012)

The director tried to re-create the magic of 'Lagaan', with his own style of showmanship, but Lagaan was not just an innovative script with good lead actors and showmanship cannot be achieved at once. Unlike 'Joker' each and every character (and there were so many of them) of 'Lagaan' was well developed with its specific own type and reasoning.

The movie is an honest attempt towards making an entertainer but it falls flat on face because of so many reasons that it will be rude to point out all of them. Maybe with time the director will achieve what he actually seeks. All the best to him.


Rani has worked pretty hard for the film, but the outcome is not that good in all the scenes, specially the ones wherein she imitates famous (read 'sentimental' for movie buffs) scenes and dance sequences of Sri, Madhuri and Juhi. However the emotion of 'complete bliss of innocence' is well captured by her in many scenes. The director's effort of showcasing regional sensibility needs lot of fine tuning. Actually this is not an easy task, and thus Mani Ratnam is considered a pro. A short narration about Rani's sensitivity towards 'smell' in the beginning of the film would have saved the audience a lot of confusion, since most of them would be unaware of the director's previous work 'Gandha'. Malayalam actor Prithviraj looks good and supporting characters are designed to be very loud! Last but not the least, good effort Rani.

Dhoom 3
Dhoom 3(2013)

As expected, the movie is replete with amazing bike stunts on out of the world bikes. To the point that , you feel like they belong to the genre of the machines in 'Transformers', as they can beautifully and seamlessly just transform into anything, to assist the protagonist in escaping from the cops. James Bond series will now look up to this flick for inspiration! Transformations are so bizarre, that one even more bizarre spectator from the audience loudly wondered that, in a particular scene, why didn't the makers opt for the bike to convert into a helicopter (for better impact) instead of a speedboat! With my limited automobile engineering knowledge of that of a layman, I thought that this not even theoretically possible, as both these vehicles use absolutely different kinds of fuel. But you never know, what they will show in the next sequel.

Katrina has very limited screen time, even less than that of the bikes! But the lady did manage to bring in the oomph factor befitting a Dhoom sequel. She looks very fit and dances with amazing elan and poise. One wonders, why there was no marketing gimmick centered around her wearing and dance steps, as you find the case with a lot of dud movies, who manage to get a good opening just on the basis of the addition of a last minute impactful song. The makers must have been super confidant of their brand and offering, to restrain from any such marketing.

Abhishek and Uday have performed as per expectation. In fact, Uday should be applauded for bringing in much required light moments in the film. His style statement in the film is 'bandanas' (head gear). Abhishek looks relatively fitter.

Some stardust seems to have touched all yesteryear stars. Somehow all of them seem to be giving better performance than what they delivered during their prime years. And Jackie is no exception. He looks intense, broody and desolate as per his character's requirement. Surprise package of the movie is the child artist Siddharth Nigam. He actually justifies being the younger Aamir Khan. Even the glint in his eyes matches that of Aamir!

Trust Aamir Khan to get into the teeth of the character, so much that, his performance gives the much required depth to the movie, which was absent in the earlier prequels. However, in the first half you do miss the tall, stylish and empowering presence of a Hrithik Roshan or a John Abraham. And you definitely do miss the genius dancing of a Hrithik. But in the second half, Aamir's well researched performance leaves no room for any such thoughts. He manages to look cute, sad, excited and driven, all in a single scene!

To sum it up, the movie is definitely worth watching, as it is one of its kind. Major brainstorming has been done in visualizing and execution of the stunts. None of them look corny or boring. Costumes, sets and temporary tattoos are detailed as well. In fact, they are very good. You can call it pure showmanship. But one does wonder, why there was no change of costume shown in the repeated shows of the circus, as it befits the movie of such budget and stature. Music is average. Only one or two songs catch your attention. The director has done a good job. Slightly better job than this and he can join the group of esteemed filmmakers of the country.

Ek Tha Tiger
Ek Tha Tiger(2012)

Watched first day first show of 'Ek Tha Tiger' :) One of the best opening scenes (before this saw such magic in Pukar, starring Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit), cool fight sequences, Katrina Kaif's action scenes are a pleasant surprise, kinda OK romantic scenes - in fact boring at times, no passion between the leading actors which completely disagrees with the storyline. Salman Khan has immense star power.


Saw 'Heroine' coupla days back. Seems that somewhere Madhur Bhandarkar has repeated the same mistake that J P Dutta did with 'Umrao Jaan' sequel. One's directorial sensibility should stay separated from one's getting besotted with the 'muse'. Great directors, amazing heroines, tons of hard work ... still you don't get the 'great cinema' that you look forward to. However 'good cinema' is at least better than 'pathetic cinema'.

English Vinglish

What a comeback by Sridevi in 'English Vinglish'. It was a treat to watch her act - such beautiful display of emotions - hesitation, fear, control, resignation . She was wise in choosing the script and did full justice with it. Special mention goes to a small and simple scene between her and AB (guest appearance) - they took a very very simple scene to an altogether different level. No wonder they are the real superstars. Good direction and choice of character artists too. Seems that the movie is a tribute to the shedding of 'silent tears' by women worldwide in order to bind their family together and/or carve an identity for themselves. As Shashi (Sri) rightly sums it all by saying that 'she is not looking for love but respect'.

Omg Oh My God!

This is a film wherein the 'concept' is more powerful than the movie and the characters. The adaptation from a Gujrati play is pretty good and Paresh Rawal seems very 'real'. Primarily because he is a good actor, secondarily because he has played this character umpteenth times in the aforesaid play, and thus he seems to understand the character to the core. Akshay Kumar as God is different and as usual has a commanding presence. Hats off to him to manage to not appear like a fool, which is highly probable with such roles. I am sure that Mithun in his wildest of dreams never imagined that he would ever play a 'gay type' God man. Also, the whole character was neither funny nor believable.

Now the concept - the film is majorly based upon the atrocities bestowed upon the mankind by the mankind (read God Men) in the name of God and relegion. Towards the end, it has been rightly pointed in the movie about the sad fact that, in general people do, what they do, out of FEAR and not LOVE for God.

Student of the Year

You know what happens with films like 'Heroine', 'Aiyaa', 'SOTY', you cannot deny them, but at the same time you can't even accept them whole heartedly. Resultantly, the review also comes in spurts :(

In 'SOTY', Karan Johar got so neck deep involved in casting, sculpting (their bodies) and dressing (again their bodies), that he got completely distracted with script and direction. Neither friendship, nor competition, the two core emotions of the film were portrayed even half-properly!

The film is a cross over between 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' and 'Kal Ho Na Ho'. Meaning to say that the story is kind of based upon the former and the casting and presentation has a big time hangover of the latter. Its like reincarnation of Shah Rukh as Siddharth, Saif as Varun and Preity as Alia! Between the heroes, Siddharth is a better looker (even a faint resemblance of Brad Pitt!) and Varun is a better actor. If there was any real acting in the film, then it was done by Rishi Kapoor, who has played the character of the Dean (gay) of the School with the right touch of fun required for such films. His brooch collection is to die for. TV stalwarts Ronit and Ram (with wife Gautami) are also there. Gautami's strong and silent acting somewhere reminds you of Jaya Bachchan. Musicwise 'Radha' song is typical KJ stuff i.e. good to hear, well choreographed and with very good designer wear. It will be a hit in parties.

The whole movie is like a big eye candy without any impactful scene. The guest appearance by Kajol in a dance sequence, was the most powerful star presence that I could detect in the entire film! It seems that you need to belong to the 'right' age group to make such movies and KJ has moved past that. Indecisiveness, passion, short term goals and haste of adolescents is not easy to portray forever. No wonder Yash Chopra is a legend with love stories because he has been able to capture and re-capture the beautiful emotion of love across multiple generations.


What do you do when you want to project an age long serious national issue, with its all shades of grey, because over the period of time, stark black and white have ceased to exist? What do you do to make it interesting enough to make the audience invest their time and money and also keep it respectable enough so that the pain, fear and dilemma of lakhs of Indians concerned with it don't take a backseat in the name of sleaze and humour? YOU MAKE 'CHAKRAVYUH'.

And how apt the name is. No beginning, nor end, just an ever going battle between fellow Indians, spreading fear and hatred amongst them, costing several Indian lives every year, most of whom take a bullet and/or undergo torture purely out of duty, without any personal greed or agenda! This is the present day scenario of Naxalite or Maowadi infected India.

Prakash Jha has done a superb job of showing the ISSUE from all possible perspectives i.e. that of the maowadis, the government, the police, the military, the tribals and the MNCs. He is right when he says that the movie is 'not entertaining but engaging'.

We, the urban population, should definitely see it to realize how futile our own preferences and how petty our own issues are in the wide canvas of the nation as a whole. Actually it is not just a movie, but a 'Social Service'. It may not much affect the current scenario, but will definitely provide much required awareness in the upcoming generation of aforesaid perspective holders. And that will make a difference.

With every new movie, Arjun Rampal and Abhay Deol are coming across as pretty strong actors. Manoj Bajpai and Om Puri are as per expectation. Esha Gupta is OK. But the surprise package is the new actress, Anjali Patil, a gold medalist from NSD , who has sunk in her teeth so deep into the character that it is difficult to realize that she is just acting. Body language, dialect, appearance, nonchalance, aggression - everything is just perfect. She defines perfect casting and also reminds you of Smita Patil! A long scene between Arjun and Abhay needs special mention, wherein the two best friends argue about their different ideologies i.e. taking the side of the Maowadis Vs. taking the side of the Government. The scene has the required impact and Abhay is a strong passive actor.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan

With perfect diet, workouts, surgeries and of course acting, can a fifty-ish superstar pull off the role of a mid thirties guy? Well, Shah Rukh can. But can he do the same justice to that of a mid twenties guy? Well, its slightly indigestible.

JTHJ is a fine touch base movie for our generation who grew up on a steady movie diet of Switzerland based love and romance. Hats off to Yash Chopra for introducing such pure emotion in films and in our minds, and also to Shah Rukh for playing the perfect romantic hero time and again. But we alone cannot keep the collection box tinkering. So, for the younger generation there is Katrina Kaif. On her own, she is pretty good in all the departments. But you dearly miss Kajol, who would have been the perfect pairing. Remember 'Suraj hua madham ...' from 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham'?

Meaning to say, that the lead actors are dynamite in their own rights but they don't create any dynamism together. The song 'Ishq shava...' cries for a Hrithik or a Kajol. Right pairing would have given it a cult status. Anushka on the other hand has suited the role perfectly. Maybe, because in real life too she is an ardent admirer of Shah Rukh Khan, loves him and looks up to him.

Once out of the cinema hall, you don't recall much of the story, but the dashing appearance of Shah Rukh as an Indian Army Bomb Squad Leader lingers in your mind. Last but not the least, the tribute to the cinematic genius, Yash Chopra towards the end touches your heart. RIP Yashji. You ably practiced your craft till your last breath. Apt name for your last movie - 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'.


'Talaash' is one movie, which is not about plot but totally about characters and their respective quests i.e. 'Talaash'. All three main characters are well defined and fine layered, a rare sight in our Bollywood movies. And all three actors have done full justice to their roles. An added feather to their acting cap is Nawazuddin. Shernaz as usual is good with her job.

Aamir is in search of offloading his self imposed personal guilt, Rani is searching for lost emotional connection and Kareena is looking for justice. All three are in constant state of ache and despair and this has been beautifully portrayed. An extra point goes to Kareena for looking surreal in the film. Alongside, an extra point goes to Reema, for aptly showing two parallel but different journeys of Aamir without any overlap or confusion.

This may be Reema's second directorial venture, but she is all set to carve a niche of her own. As Karan Johar is a pro in portraying various shades and intermittance of friendship and love, this lady is a master craftswoman with different interpersonal relationships. Various type of connections exist between two souls and she can understand and direct them very well. Also there is fine detailing in production design. Reema has kept the film as close to reality as possible. There are no item numbers or star specific make-up.

Though the plot is new for the Indian screen, but Kareena's character is very much inspired from a Hollywood movie.

Hats off to Aaamir for constantly spinning out 'different' movies one after another. This is one star who keeps you guessing, even after 24 years!

Khiladi 786
Khiladi 786(2012)

Its again one of the mundane films that Akshay has been doing of late. Most aesthetic thing one could find in this movie is AK's family truck. It has been painted and decorated real beautiful. Full marks to the concerned Art Director for that. Bibi Russell (dynamic Bangladeshi fashion designer) recently had a show themed upon 'Truck Designs' and thus she perhaps will the happiest person watching this flick. Talking of designs, AK's keffiyehs have been designed well too.

To do justice to his Punjabi superhero character, Akshay seems to have worked out enough to get that forbidding wrestler like personality. But he has always been so fit, that one tends to miss this special effort of his for this particular movie. After trying all the cards, to sustain himself in the acting line, Himesh, the unstoppable this time has tried to encash the popularity of a superstar. Given the fact that he is an absolute non-actor, he has managed to give a decent performance. It shows that this Gujju bhai can do anything that he sets his eyes upon. But someone please make him understand that he doesn't need to do everything! Mithun as always has given a polished performance. His character may belong to any community, but his dialect unmistakably is that of a Bengali! Asin is unnoticeable.

Ever went through the emotion of laughing purely out of irritation? To experience this, keenly follow the movie climax which starts after Akshay gets his first punch. The producers have made this movie with the sole objective of raking in some quick moolahs.

Dabangg 2
Dabangg 2(2012)

Ever experienced that family tradition, wherein all members get together during festival and order that 'special' dish from that 'special' shop which is patronized by them from years. And when they devour the dish together, the idea of enjoying it together is more important than the taste of the dish itself. Somewhere you desperately want each and every morsel to be 'tasty' and even if some (or most) are not, you don't complain because you don't want to kill the festival or expectations of the clan from the festival. Same is the case with Dabangg 2. Here Chulbul Pandey aka Salman Khan is that 'special' one which everyone has been waiting for, and the masses for whom this character has been created, so utterly want to enjoy it that they are actually enjoying it irrespective of the enjoyment available in bits and pieces in the movie irrespective of the movie in itself not being an enjoyable one. Large section of educated and thinking people who have not actually enjoyed the movie also ultimately have contributed to the box office collection and they cannot make excuses that they purchased the ticket because of exceeding expectation and/or absence of any other movie!

Undoubtedly, Salman currently is the golden boy. TV or movies, whichever media he chooses to play with, he comes across as a winner because of his unbelievable 'connect' with the audience. The movie happens to be a collection of dance and fight sequences, a desperate attempt by Arbaaz to generate 'cetees' of the masses and ensuring that his first directorial venture doesn't fail, especially after the stupendous hit given by Danangg earlier.

Table No. 21
Table No. 21(2013)

This movie is a crossover between 'Zinda' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' but without the star cast (Sanjay, John, Lara) of the former and the director of the latter (Danny Boyle). The makers have tried to convey a social message in the shroud of a thriller but both of them fail to make any impact. Object of the movie becomes clear only towards the end. By that time you happen to loose all interest!

Paresh Rawal is an acting stalwart and he dons his hat good enough. Surprisingly, though Rajeev made great impact in his debut movie (Aamir), he is just average in this one. He needs to work a lot on his timing and camera shyness. Tina on the other hand seems to have worked hard in all the departments, but still lacks the X factor. Maybe she will achieve that in time. There is a sense of continuity in all her scenes and she deserves to be applauded for the same. Dhruv has acted very well. Such movies give you the clear idea that small budget multiplex movies by Rajat Kapoor, Ranvir Shorey, Konkona Sen Sharma, Vinay Pathak etc. were hit not just by chance or due to them being in new format, but only and only because of the aforesaid actors.

Social messages may differ in different movies, but it all boils down to the condemnation of exploitation and stripping one of his/her dignity without leaving any route of escape! Rightful and dignified existence is everyone's birth right and we should be very much instrumental in availing the same for ourselves as well as others. And this implementation should start from home. Any prolonged scenario of injustice is bound to create havoc later and affect multiple lives. So why not curb it in the initial stage itself?

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

Promos of this flick look very promising with - reed thin and glowing Hollywood like caricatures of Imran and Anushka, Pankaj Kapoor dipped in full-on rustic flavor, an innovative pink buffalo, and top of it the association of ace director Vishal Bhardwaj who knows and delivers his kind of cinema (read rustic) with meticulous ease.

But the movie seems like a carelessly strewn necklace of different beads - some small, some big, some different, some flashy and some absolutely new. You definitely cannot ignore the necklace, but at the same time you cannot call it beautiful in conservative, designer or experimental category!

No one can question Pankaj's acting, but many may not make any sense out of his Haryanvi drawl. However couple of his Haryanvi scented dialogues are really hilarious. Imran has not been able to impersonate the Haryanvi dude both in accent and persona. Otherwise this would have been one of the characters he would have been remembered by for a long time. But this new kid on the block definitely possesses most honest and beautiful set of eyes. Anushka's characterization is rather unclear. Dancing without inhibition may look beautiful, but uninhibition portrayed through dancing does not. Shabana Azmi has done this movie fully laced with botox. But she seems to be the only actress herein who has somewhere displayed the sentiment which Vishal wanted to be portrayed via the film. Special mention needs to be given to Arya Babbar for holding well to his character throughout the film, something which you cannot say for the lead pair.

Some scenes in this movie are really new and well written, but you can only admire them as beads and not as a part of the necklace.


Seems that the age old debatable question "Can a boy and a girl be just friends?" will now get precedenced by "Can a boss and his subordinate (read muse) maintain both love and work relationships alongside?" This movie deals with the complexities of such a relationship with the focus on harassment in the workplace. Again, this so called harassment has been given two perspectives - one of the male boss who considers his eventual stance of non-cooperation, snide and improper remarks as getting back and flirting respectively, and the other of the female subordinate (at high post) who considers the aforesaid comments as insulting and non-cooperation as an attempt to curb her career. She also thinks that somewhere she is being pressurized to compromise with her dignity as well. An interesting observation that has been portrayed very well in this movie is - the same look, nudge and dialogue between the same duo holds poles apart meanings in two different situations, that is when they are in love by admittance and when they are not!

Now the question is - in our kind of society where very few women happen to reach powerful positions in cut throat corporate sectors and wherein ambitious plus woman does not equal to focus, hard work, struggle and sacrifice, but to most it equals to running away from basic womanly duties, indulge in merry making and overall have a selfish existence, what percentage of population will actually understand the pain and frustration of a senior woman executive being harassed by a boss whom she once loved? Very few actually. Hats off to the makers of this movie to still work upon such a project and that too without any item number or even normal song and dance sequence!

Sudhir Mishra has made a fine movie with a new age topic, sans any unnecessary sleaze and showing different perspectives of so called 'workplace harassment' starting from its cause and origin to its climax. The whole movie shuffles between past and present of seven year period and at times the chain of events gets little confusing. The end of the movie is also quite bizarre. The director has played with light maybe to denote past and present in the scenes, but in such type of movies where past forms most of the story narrative, continuity in the lighting is advisable. Otherwise, most of the times you feel that the lighting is inadequate. Casting of the supporting characters is superb and so is their costumes, body language, acting etc. Deepti Naval has done full justice to her character of a social worker. Kanwaljeet has a very short and passable role. Coming to the main protagonists, Arjun Rampal is experimenting with different roles and is succeeding as well! He is now a polished actor. Chitrangada Singh is lucky to get such screen space at the onset of her career and has managed good enough. But a lot more expressions could have used by her character.

Race 2
Race 2(2013)

Dishy looking star cast without any soul to their on screen characters. This whole movie can be summed up in one simple line!

And now the elaboration - In this movie, each and every character is the epitome of fitness & fashion and each and every frame seems to be straight out of Dabboo Ratnani's calendar! The director duo have attempted the Hollywood style canvas and storyline, but have been unable to create the magic and energy of their past hits like Baazigar, Soldier, Race etc. Essence of the movie is supposed to be betrayal which is enticing to watch in thrillers. However, it becomes senseless when you watch betrayal upon betrayal throughout the movie. Because of this even some good enactments lose their valor as the audience half believe in their authenticity and eventually their sentiments turn out to be correct!

Entire cast has worked very hard on their looks and build up and in a couple of scenes John and Saif do stand out. But then again those scenes get absorbed in your mind as mere individual scenes and don't do much to your experience of movie watching as a whole. Keeping with the tradition of the movie's prequel, Anil Kapoor has been given some corny (read sick) lines and he mouths them with as much of innocence as he is capable of depicting. Youngsters may enjoy this flick just for the looks of it. Audience who are not much into Hollywood movies may also get awed by the display of fascinating (read goofy) technology in the film. But many will feel let down as much was expected from the sequel of high energy flick 'Race'.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara!

As evident by its name, the movie is a sequel to 'Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai' that was released in 2010.

The prequel established the onset of the great upcoming underworld don Shoaib Khan's (Emraan Hashmi) reign by making him the undisputed leader once he assassinated his mentor and senior Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devgn). It was made pretty clear then and there that unlike his mentor, the new don was in no mood to follow any code of principle or sharing. The sequel starts with Shoaib (Akshay Kumar) being shown as the ruthless, mirthless, powerful don, who is well settled in the middle east and controls his Indian and other overseas operations with his loyal aid Javed (Sarfaraz Khan). Also, he unabashedly indulges in womanizing activities.

Honestly speaking, while watching such Dawood influenced movies (Company, D-Day, Shootout At Wadala, OUATIM, OUATIMD), you don't find any exclusive difference amongst them. In one or the other manner, they end up showing you the making and toughening of the anti social, his power and action, his softer side with a particular love interest, some hard core cop action and last but not the least, the culture, lingo and lifestyle of the 80's and early 90's.

What has actually stood out in this movie is the presence of Akshay Kumar. Actually, there are two heroes in the film - Akshay and his Dialogues. He mouths them unabashedly throughout the movie and almost all of them throw the required punch. He has also very well adopted the lean, mean and suave physicality and attitude of a great don. In fact you can say, it's very Italian. Also, he has very well played the role of an emotionless womanizer and a love torn angry young man. It is a fresh change to see him do method acting. Otherwise, normally you associate him with punjabi fashion wear and loud movies with long legged lasses.

Sonakhshi's character demanded someone who is beautiful, innocent, conscious and also forthcoming and robust. Needless to say, that she has suited the role very well. Also, she has looked beautiful and acted well. Imraan has this natural look and body language of someone who is very simple and honest. So, in spite of his cool presence, you do think that an Emraan Hashmi or a Ranveer Singh would have fitted the bill better. Mahesh Manjrekar has derived his own style of acting and his performance can be well speculated in advance. Sonali Bendre is a revelation in her very small but intense role. Sophie Choudry has managed to look glamorous without looking voluptuous or over the top. Sarfaraz Khan and Pitobash Tripathy have also acted well.


This movie is a first of its kind. It gives you the experience of being in space. Not travelling in space in a spaceship or being on an alien planet. But the on-the-face experience of being in space (in close proximity of the earth)! And this experience is beautiful as well as unnerving. It is beautiful to watch different snapshots of earth at different time periods. But it is also very unnerving to realize that you actually don't 'belong' in space! We are so accustomed to the earth's 'force of gravity' that we hardly notice its presence or give it any importance. In fact, we try tooth and nail to overpower it with more efficiency, so as to venture in space with more ease. But this very 'force' gives us the sense of 'belonging'.

The movie 'Gravity' gives you the opportunity to experience the following novelties -
- Picturesque views of earth from space.
- Exterior repairing of space stations.
- Interior functioning of different pods.
- Methodology of stranded astronauts.
- Method of positioning oneself in a directionless area i.e. space.
- Mega destruction without an iota of sound because sound cannot travel in vacuum!

The entire movie revolves around Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and in most part of the movie they are clad in hooded spacesuits. Their realistic facial expressions and excellent voice modulations keep you glued to the screen. Not for a single moment, you happen to miss the sheer body language associated with a normal movie. Direction and special effects are awesome as well. It needs great r&d and immense focus to create such a movie. In fact, you can also call it a very interesting and educational documentary. It will not be surprising, if this movie will inspire many of its young viewers to become rocket scientist or astronauts in the future!

This movie is best watched in 3D. Actually these are the movies that live up to the full potential of 3D viewing.

Last but not the least, you need to see it to believe it.

The Lunchbox
The Lunchbox(2014)

Ritesh Batra has created a beautiful movie wherein, throughout the camera is focused on only three main characters and a voice! It is no mean feat to achieve. You can also call this movie a 'Song of the Unsung Heroes', the heroes being - hands on housewives who spend major part of their day doing the household chores and also battle with their loneliness, hordes of 9 to 5 job holders who keep up with the same mundane routine years upon years without any complain and any expectation or longing of change, and gallons of home cooked fresh food which keeps the nation going and plays an important part in keeping family and friends together.

Irrfan Khan is simply superb. No words can explain his amazing range of acting and timing. The movie requires him to transform from a lonely and aloof person who barely converses and never smiles to a hopeful and semi attached person who randomly smiles and takes mild interest in other people's lives. And you can see this gradual transformation frame by frame and not for a single moment you feel bored of seeing him and his myriad expressions. Nawazuddin Siddiqui has come across well as an eager and happy-to-please employee who speaks more than he actually works. His exuberant acting has very well complimented the detached one of Irrfan Khan. Nimrat Kaur is a revelation. You cannot believe that she is the same girl who appears in the Cadbury Dairy Milk - Silk commercial.

It is an interesting observation, that how a simple wrong delivery of a Lunch Box can spark joy and hope in the lives of the sender as well as the recipient. At the end of the day, we all just seek to be 'wanted', even if it is for the food we make or the appreciation that we show towards a well made food by happily cleaning off the plate.

Random relationships are differently judged by different people belonging to different cultures and state of advancement. Maybe for this reason, this movie has an abrupt ending. Or, you can say that the ending is left on the viewer's imagination. Perhaps, this is to keep peace with both the home as well as the international audience.

Special 26
Special 26(2013)

Cons in this movie: Unnecessary presence of heroine and songs, habitual expectation of the audience from a regular superstar.

This movie is true event based and the director has treated the subject with proper r&d and precise execution. In fact you may get nostalgic while watching ten rupee notes printed in black ink, 'gaddi' style offices, 'aangan' centric homes, Air India airplanes and sparsely decorated airport lounges.

The movie is about false CBI raids by conmen imposing as CBI officers who are expert in seizing both apparent and hidden assets (money, jewelry etc.). Everyone has acted well in the film. But Manoj Bajpai needs special mention for his remarkable performance. His entry is rather late, but his histrionics are unbeatable. Like Aamir Khan, every time he performs a pivotal character, he manages to bring something new on the table. Akshay has pretty well underplayed his character. But the kind of superstar he is, you constantly miss what you always expect him to deliver i.e. glitzy romance and action!

In such an intense and interesting movie, you feel impatient when more than the required movie time (read plenty) is allotted to display the personal simple lives of the conmen. That part is neither interesting nor different. Also you fail to understand the purpose of the same. Con activities are both sinful and illegal. So, why the director has tried to generate public sympathy for the aforesaid conmen by displaying their emotional and family side?

ABCD (Any Body Can Dance)

This movie is an absolute delight for modern dance enthusiasts. Hip hop, Locking & Popping, B-boying, Ballet, Contemporary etc. all are there in finest of display by finest of Indian dancers. To top it all, the protagonist of the movie is Prabhu Deva, the God of Dance in India. To weave the aforesaid dances into a tale, Remo has used a logical storyline, perhaps using struggling instances of real life established/aspiring dancers. But the direction and acting in general is very mediocre.

A chase sequence in the beginning of the film needs special mention. It is kind of a fusion of chase and dance acrobatics. You need to see it to believe it. Most of the dancers present in the movie are popular Indian Reality TV Show dancers. And they have all performed as per expectation i.e. brilliantly. Salman, Dharmesh and Punit have been given special camera focus and they totally deserve it. Lauren from American Reality TV has very good screen presence. She is a terrific looker and dancer. Actingwise, Kay Kay is the only real actor in the movie. But he being a non dancer, very less screen time has been allotted to him.


This movie instantly reminds you of Mel Gibson's 'Apocalypse'. Reasons - Perfect r&d, set design, casting, costumes, picturization of ancient life and warfare etc. You find it hard to believe that such extensive movie was made in 1960! It is primarily based on a book 'Spartacus' by Howard Fast.

Set in the 1st century BC, the film is about a slave named Spartacus, who is born in slavery, sold to be trained as a Gladiator (they were made to fight in twosome wherein one had to die), rebels against slavery, forms a group to facilitate departure of slaves to their home grounds as free men, is made to fight against the imperial Roman army, fights them again and again bravely, is ultimately crucified with hundreds of others, thereby condemning the age old system of slavery which ultimately got abolished 2000 years later.

It is needless to say that the direction as well as acting is simply superb. The movie is more of an edutainment since it covers in detail the hardships of ancient slavery system focusing more on how slaves (read gladiators) were kept and controlled rather than how they were captured. It is fascinating to witness the early teaching methods. There is a scene wherein the to-be-gladiators are taught wounding which body areas causes the following - death, impairing of limbs and slow death respectively. Today, we employ extensive lectures and audio-video lessons to teach anything similar and still cannot be sure of students grabbing the essence of the matter. But in the movie, the teacher simply used three colors - red (for death), blue (for impairing) and yellow (for slow death) to teach the same. In six swift strokes (two strokes for each color) wherein red was applied on a student's throat and heart region, blue was applied on one set of his limbs and yellow was applied on left and right sides of the front region of his upper torso, the important lesson was taught effectively!

It is a must watch movie for serious movie enthusiasts.

Commando - A One Man Army

In general, how do you define 'good' Bollywood action? Over the top, comical, prefixed and/or suffixed by the superstar's dialogues. Have you ever come across one as a 'pure form of art'? Well, Vidyut Jamwal has entered the Bollywood arena to provide you the same. He proved his mettle in his hindi debut movie 'Force' (as villain) and has done it again in his first hindi movie as the hero. He is well trained, in absolute control of his body, amazingly nimble and light footed. At last we have an Indian, trained in Indian martial art form 'Kalaripayattu', who can hold his own against the international action heroes!

The movie as such is average. Apart from the hero, only the villain, Jaideep Ahlawat is impactful, or rather 'original'. You do miss the element of showmanship. If given a big production house and international backdrop, Vidyut looks promising enough to deliver a cool blockbuster. He is rightly aged and thus does not look jaded like most of our so called '100 crore club' heroes.

It's a known fact that, to learn and excel in higher form of martial art, one needs to be highly disciplined and in absolute control of his mind, because while practicing the same, mind also works in tandem with the body i.e. very fast, observing all minute details and making strategies (both offence and defense) in quick succession. So, while practicing their art, the martial arts practitioners look either calm or very focused, unlike most of our heroes who use myriad facial expressions before punching, kicking etc. Thankfully, Vidyut refrains from using such unnecessary facial expressions, which many may wrongly consider as lack of 'hero type' attitude.

Nautanki Saala!

It seems that this movie was intended to depict much more depth than it has managed to convey. Rohan, the director is experimental and kudos to him for that. He has tried to present a 'neither very generic nor very different' storyline with a different concept i.e. by using the element of theatre aka 'nautanki'. Genre of the movie is comedy and this comedy is different from others as it is not primarily dialogue based but situation and expression based. Also somewhere, the director has tried to use the theatre 'nautanki' as the metaphor for the mother of all 'nautankis' i.e. life itself! The movie constantly shifts between these two parallels. Backdrop of the former is modern day 'Ramayana' (most esteemed Hindu epic) and that of the latter is the protagonist trying to heal a suicidal 'stranger turned dependent turned friend' by finding his former love and giving him work so that he attaches some worth to himself. The essence of the story is basically situational misunderstanding. In spite of all his noble intentions and sacrifices, the protagonist is misunderstood by his partner, love and also friend! Reason for the same are age old human errors of - mixing task and emotion, undertaking an activity without giving a thought to its obvious result, trespassing territories etc.

Ayushmann, and Kunaal have acted well. Evelyn has some screen presence. The power of modern day theatre could have been presented in a more powerful and enhanced format. Also, the heroines could have been better. Some comedy scenes are really funny and some are original as well. Last but not the least, herein again you miss the element of complete showmanship. Are there no successors of Mr. Subhash Ghai and Late Mr. Yash Chopra?

Shootout At Wadala

Being a sequence of 'Shootout At Lokhandwala', the movie expectantly caters to the tug-o-war between the police and Mumbai underworld and the elements of the underworld themselves. However, the prequel caters to the time period when Dawood was an already established underworld power figure, whereas the sequel depicts the era before the emergence of Dawood aka Dilawar as the power figure. It caters to the time period, when the Mumbai police actually started bending the rulebook (read encounters). It seems that not many facts or incidents are recorded of that time period, or maybe there was less drama in the lifestyle of a single person/gang, so the storyline comprises of the activities of different gangs and the whole movie is a flashback as a story exchange between the protagonist/criminal Manya Surve (John Abraham) and the ACP (Anil Kapoor) on their way to the hospital after the criminal had been mercilessly trapped and encountered but still could live enough to tell his tale.

One interesting study you find is the contrast in the lifestyle of different ganglords. This is meaning to say that, they enjoyed almost the same kind of money, power and clout, but chose to live differently as per their lineage and/or preference. Mastans inspite of their age old clout preferred to stay and dress in their old ways, while the Haskars used to dress fashionably and drive swank cars. Common factor amongst them was respect for their religion and flashy gold accessories.

Actingwise, all have done good job. But Manoj Bajpai, in his small role still stands out. So does Sonu Sood in his passive acting. John has given it all for this role - be it body building, appearing ferocious, being uninhibited with the heroine as well as the item girl, depicting silent emotional pain etc. Coming from John, being uninhibited is a big step, as usually he appears very cautious around his heroines. Anil Kapoor appears as an honest and driven cop, but due to his age and/or physique you find it rather unconvincing that in a dual he can overpower someone like John or even someone less muscular than John. Out of other two cops, you feel as doubtful for Mahesh Manjrekar but not Ronit Roy. Kangana has beautifully dressed as ladies of that era. In fact in the second half of the movie, she resembles a lot of Rekha and carries the diva look with aplomb. She has managed to act natural and this should be applauded. Like Sachin of yesteryears, Tusshar simply cannot look anything other than a 'decent and nice young boy'. Thus in spite of his hard work, considering him for a gangster role (Munir) seems rather questionable. Soni Razdan and Akbar Khan in their comeback roles appear just ok. It's refreshing to see Jackie Shroff in a powerful and short guest appearance. Looking at Anil and him in the same frame, for a second you are instantly reminded of 'Parinda'.

There are three absolutely unnecessary item songs. Each of them must have costed the producers a bomb. So, maybe they have their purpose and a section of the audience may go to the theatres to justify that purpose.

Bombay Talkies

The movie is a collection of four short films, respectively directed by relatively young but established directors. Karan Johar is the most experienced of the lot. The movie is an attempt to commemorate completion of 100 years of Indian Cinema and it has been wisely named 'Bombay Talkies' as the sensibility throughout the movie is that of a Mumbaikar aka Bombayite. The ratio of class vs. mass responsible in ringing the theatres/talkies cash boxes in the aforesaid 100 years is 1:3. Similarly, in the movie, the ratio of short films intended for class vs. mass is also 1:3. All the four short films are sans any caption. They just start with the display of their director's name.

Noteworthy things about each of the director's short film are as follows -

Karan's story takes a fresh call on gay culture. It's the first Indian depiction, wherein a gay character is shown in his natural being without making him comical or distinctively feminine or unnaturally physical. Hats off to Karan for taking this first forward step. Also, this must be the boldest movie of Randeep Hooda's career.

Dibakar's story is totally a one man show i.e. Nawazuddin from first frame to the last. He is simply amazing as an actor. Don't miss the facial twitching that he emotes to convey nervousness.

Zoya has managed to extract very good acting as well as dancing from child actor Naman Jain. The storyline is also very new i.e. of a male child aspiring to become an item girl upon growing up!

Anurag has tried to depict the God like status that some Bollywood superstars enjoy in the heart and families of so many Indians, especially amongst the non-urban population. He has also highlighted how fans like to brag about simple chance meetings with their idols.

In short the directors have tried to establish certain facts via their stories, that is, all said and done, the movies do form an integral part of an average Indian's life - our fantasies are associated with them, we aspire from them, we connect through them, there is a filmy song for each and every mood that we undergo, and last but not the least our movies do play an important part in creating the much required social awareness on various taboo topics and with time the filmmakers are actually experimenting with an assorted platter of new and revolutionary subjects.

In this movie, all the directors and actors have done a good job. Critics quotient of the movie is fine but the entertainment quotient could have been better.


'Fukrey' is Delhi slang for people with boastful mouth but falling short in action when required. It can also mean idle and/or street smart people who waste time doing nothing. 'Vella' and 'Lukha' are another nearby slangs used for such people (courtesy: Mumbaikars).

The movie is a well made comedy with apt name and casting and is pleasant to watch. Direction and acting are also good. It deals with the money requirement of idle duds (read ultra weak students) to gain shortcut into college by buying question paper(s). Their sole motivation for college admission is proximity to girl(s)). To facilitate this, they go to the extreme length of borrowing money from a local mistress of vices and in the process suffer heavily.

In the movie, the kind of euphoria the protagonists attach to the simple act of getting admission or entry into college is something new and worth watching. As mentioned earlier, all characters fit the bill and have performed well. But the icing on the cake is the debutant Varun Sharma who has played the role of gawky, child like and puberty-excited 'Chucha' to the T. His acting is fresh, original and consistent. With him on the screen, you are well assured of genuine laughter. This is a great achievement for a debutant. Pulkit seems to be acting 'the hero' of the movie, wherein in reality no such character exists. Only if that misconception was erased from his performance, the bar of the movie would have raised a few notches higher. Nevertheless his performance is very controlled as compared to his first and preceding movie 'Bittoo Boss'. Ali has done justice to his melancholic and introvert character and has refrained from using unnecessary nuances in his acting. Richa's ease of use of expletives is something new on Indian screen. Hats off to her to mumble such dialogues with such natural ease. But unlike other characters, somewhere her character is not well defined. It ranges from being a local (read street) mistress to that of an anti social boss! Navjot is good in poker faced comedy.

It is surprising to witness such well woven comedy from Mrigdeep whose last directorial venture was 'Teen Thay Bhai' which was a depressing comedy in spite of the presence of good actors (Om Puri, Shreyas Talpade) in the movie!


It is a common practice amongst the filmmakers to add an unnecessary but high impact item song in an upcoming dud movie and market that entire movie around that song, so that at least the movie receives a decent opening and considerably recovers the making cost within the first week of its release. But, to do this whole marketing drama around a 'character in the movie' is unheard of. 'Ghanchakkar' breaks all conventional norms by doing so, and sadly only therein lies the innovative effort of this movie! The entire movie hype is created around Vidya's character i.e. of that of a boisterous and voluptuous Punjabi woman who is highly into so called (read weird) fashion wear and who cannot cook well. But this character is of no pivotal consequence to the movie. It neither defines the pace nor serves the climax of the movie! In fact the movie's climax and ending make no sense at all.

In recent history, both Vidya and Emraan are known to give sure shot hits and their last venture together 'The Dirty Picture' received both commercial and critical acclaim. Announcement of their next venture with an experimental and hit director like Rajkumar Gupta ('Aamir' and 'No One Killed Jessica') created a lot of expectation as both the actors are known to do wonders with a little offbeat commercial movies. But it seems that even during their golden phase, actors cannot create a hit out of a half hearted script and direction. In spite of Vidya's trademark acting, you do feel that a Huma Qureshi or a Parineeti Chopra would have done a better justice to the role. Reasons - a) because Vidya's Punjabi accent doesn't appear effortless or consistent, and b) her recent marriage to the movie's producer (Siddharth Roy Kapur of UTV Motion Pictures) and over exposure due to her impeccable Sabyasachi clad presence in award shows and Cannes Film Festival, kind of weighs heavily over her make believe character in the movie. Rajesh Sharma's acting and characterization are both consistent throughout the movie. Namit has acted well but characterization is not so clear.

Chennai Express

How can you enjoy a movie - which has most of its dialogues narrated in a south Indian language and that too without any subtitles? How can you enjoy a movie where the hero's dialogue delivery is pure hamming? How can you enjoy a movie which has hordes of extra artists without serving any purpose? How can you enjoy a movie where there is no romantic chemistry between the leading pair, but only pure camaraderie? Last but not the least, how can you enjoy a movie where Shah Rukh is not the super uber charming metro guy but a very unconvincing common man?

The director-actor duo - Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn created box office wonders when they worked together (Golmaal, Golmaal Returns, Golmaal 3, Singham). But without each other, they seem to be falling flat. Ajay delivered a dud with 'Himmatwala' and Rohit Shetty has done the same with 'Chennai Express'. You don't expect all movies to be logical and perfect, but each kind of movie is supposed to have its pure flavour which at least makes it entertaining and spellbinding enough to make you sit through it. This one neither fits into the Rohit Shetty's 'wham bam' mould, nor does it manages to showcase the superstardom and intensity of Shah Rukh Khan!

Deepika, however is a revelation in the movie. Watching her dress and adapt the south Indian traditional attire and body language is a pleasant surprise. Otherwise, you normally watch her doing bold roles in ultra modern dressing (Race 2, Love Aaj Kal, Cocktail). She looks and acts good throughout the movie. In fact, there is a consistency in her character which is otherwise absent with other characters in the movie. She deserves special accolade for a scene wherein she speaks out in a very weird manner in her dream and ends up kicking Shah Rukh out of the bed. Therein her acting is very natural, fresh and funny, without any iota of inhibition. Nikitin Dheer has a mountain like body presence.

All said and done, 'Chennai Express' actually manages to have the biggest opening of all times i.e. Rs. 33.12 Crore collection on the very first day itself and goes on to enter the 100 Crore Club within 3 days of its theatrical release! This is due to ferocious promotion activities taken up by Shah Rukh and team prior to the movie release or a clean field during Eid season when the movie has no other rival movie to compete against for an entire week, is pretty hard to guess. Sometimes, the box office results can be really shocking. And of late, this is happening very often!

Madras Cafe
Madras Cafe(2013)

Ever since the onset of hindi cinema, the onus of being the movie backdrop exclusively lies with north and west India. Recent times has witnessed diversification to east India (Devdas, Yuva, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, Lootera) as well. Now South India seems to have caught the fancy of Bollywood filmmakers. Be it autobiography (The Dirty Picture), comedy (Chennai Express) or issue awareness (Madras Cafe), the backdrop and supporting cast is intermittently South Indian!

Madras Cafe primarily deals with LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) during the mid 1980s, followed by the assassination of our late Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi at the onset of 1990s. However, the movie does not claim to be a celluloid presentation of the same. Throughout the movie, the rebel group is referred to as LTF.

The movie is kind of well made. Scenes are beautifully derived out of approximately thirty years old photographs of evacuation and massacre that took place in the Sri Lankan regions that were infested with the rebel groups - both Tamil and Sri Lankan. This able derivation does remind you of the international movie Frida (Salma Hayak, Alfred Molina). Therein too scenes are beautifully derived out of paintings done by Frida Khalo.

Most of the cine goers of today were either not born or were very young during the mid 1980s. And thus, the movie does create the required awareness. The producer-director duo, John Abraham and Shoojit Sircar did a fantastic job with their debut film 'Vicky Donor' and they continue to create the same magic with 'Madras Café', in spite of the two movies being as contrasting as chalk and cheese. Shoojit has intelligently played upon the strengths of John and the result is good. Also, hats off to the makers for refraining from showing unnecessary gore, death and item numbers. Please note that, the Sri Lankan Civil War killed an estimated 80,000-100,000 people between 1982 and 2009.

However, the problem lies in the style of movie narration. Most of the hindi speaking audience is not well informed about the ongoings of the southern region, nor do they understand an iota of any of the southern languages, or the local culture that prevails there. Madras Cafe deals with a complex subject as it entails - the Indian PM and his Cabinet, Indian Military and Intelligence, Rebel Forces in Sri Lanka - both the Tamil and the Sri Lankan, Sri Lankan Army, Media and Armament Suppliers from abroad. And then, there are possibilities of leaks in all the organizations. Each leading character is prone to have a personal motive along with the political motive. Now, such a complex tale requires a lot of precision and clarity in its method of story telling. In the absence of which, you are very likely to get confused, unless you are an avid reader and movie enthusiast of international political thrillers. The aforementioned confusion very much prevails in the first half of 'Madras Cafe'.

During the climax of the movie, you make an interesting observation. The climax deals with the assassination of the ex Indian PM by a human bomb (South Indian lady). Normally, during such scenes, you pray till the last second, to call off the fast approaching calamity as you simply don't want it to happen. Till the last second, you pray for the hero to come and save the day for everyone. But, here, you actually want to see it all happen! You want the black day in the history of Indian politics to be re-created right in front of your eyes, as you were very young and confused when this event actually took place!

Actingwise, all are OK. Within his range, John is wisely experimenting with his roles, and he is doing a good job out of it. It is a pleasant surprise to see the popular Indian television producer-director and quiz show host, Siddhartha Basu perform well. Ajay Rathnam as 'Prabhakaran' looks effective. Special accolades for Prakash Belawadi for playing the drunken and shrewd south Indian official in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. His facial structure resembles that of the legendary musician A.R. Rahman. Nargis Fakhri plays the role of a hard core British journalist. Her naturally accentuated English has suited the role perfectly. Also, she has well adopted the cold demeanor required for such a role.

Shuddh Desi Romance

Boy is on his way for arranged marriage with Girl1. En route he gets highly attracted to one of his rented 'baraati' Girl2. He leaves Girl1 at the marriage altar and runs away. He bumps again with Girl2. There is instant chemistry and live-in relationship (at Girl2's home) between Boy and Girl2. Love marriage to take place between them. Girl2 leaves him at the altar and runs away. Boy now bumps with Girl1 on his way to a marriage where he is one of the rented 'baraati' and she is one of the relatives. Soon after this meeting, they enter into a happy relationship. They are sure to get married and set the tracks right. In another marriage, where Boy is a rented 'baraati' and Girl1 accompanies him as his partner, they both bump into Girl2. Here, Girl2 is one of the relatives in the wedding. There is instant hot chemistry between Boy and Girl2. Assessing the situation, Girl1 disappears from the venue without any heartbreak. Again, Boy and Girl2 decide to marry. This time, both of them run away from the wedding only to bump again in their wedding fineries at the door of Girl2. They decide to continue with the live-in mode of the relationship.

Is strength of character absolutely missing in the current youth? Surely, it's not possible. So, is this movie just a funny comedy? But, how can you take it as a mindless comedy of indecisiveness, when it is unabashedly and ruthlessly targeting the age old and universal institution of marriage? Agreed, that the blissful and perfect marriage is a myth and every marriage has its share of ups and downs, ranging from being mild to simply unbearable. But a society sans marriage will be outright savage.

However, the movie does ably show the incumbent fear of marriage within the current youth. Deep down they are lonely and seek a loyal and forever loving partner. But the current life style and absence of active role of parents and/or guardians in their life, makes them ever paranoid to enter into a marriage. The fear of failure of marriage stops them from entering into one! Resultantly, they enter into relationships one after the other, only to become more fearful with each failed relationship.

If you leave aside the concept of this movie, you have to admit that both the direction and acting are pretty good. The actors have played their part with as much conviction and innocence as they could conjure in playing such complex characters. At any point of time, you don't feel sad or hateful towards any of them! And in such a storyline, this is commendable. After Shah Rukh, Sushant seems to be the one who would make the giant successful leap from small screen to the big screen. Parineeti is a natural actor, very much like Kajol but a lot less boisterous. Given that this is her debut movie, Vani appears surprisingly effortless and confidant. In fact the screen chemistry that she shares with Sushant is more natural and believable. Rishi Kapoor has acted as per expectation. It is amusing to see him don the hat of a Rajasthani baniya running a wedding business. Cinematography is also good. The city of Jaipur and nearby locations have been covered well.

Hideous Kinky

First and foremost, the movie has nothing to do with its name. It is based on Esther Freud's novel of the same name. It's a simple and nice partial journey of a hippie (by heart) English woman along with her two kid daughters. And this journey of hers is solo and not in a group or caravan. She is a gypsy by heart who is absolutely untouched by money and grandeur. What she seeks for her daughters and herself is the true meaning of life and the opportunity to live life as it is intended to be lived i.e. with the soul.

Morocco as the movie background serves as a good setting for such a storyline. Kate with her divine face has acted well. Actually it does not feel that she is acting at all. Maybe somewhere she believes in the character. An interesting study that you find in the movie is the impact of a hippie lifestyle on the children. It is amusing to see the elder daughter argue with her mother (the protagonist) to get her admitted to school in spite of her mother's nonchalance to do the same! The movie clearly shows the ease with which they adapt to any new environment, get attached to people, provide and seek assistance at the drop of a hat and are at absolute ease without any money!

All in all, it is an interesting movie to watch if you wish to understand the actions and reactions of a gypsy soul.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

It is a sequel to 'Journey To The Center Of The Earth'. But like most sequels, is unable to repeat the magic of the prequel. Or you can say that now we are so used to CGI wonders on the big screen that the idea as well as its implementation needs to be really out of the world to make us feel out of the world. Otherwise the movie is nice and entertaining. It has its own new ideas like - riding on a honeybee, vulture sized butterflies, dog sized elephants, enormous rock sized lizard eggs, electrified water dragon etc.

Like its prequel, this movie is also based on a novel (The Mysterious Island) by Jules Verne. Mostly the children will like it.


This movie is a part documentary on one of the finest politicians of the world by one of the finest movie directors of the world. What do you expect? You are subjected to perfection - in each and every frame. Be it costume, set, dialogue or acting - every element is well taken care of. Performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field are excellent.However, being an Indian audience you find it difficult to relate and thereby fully understand - almost one and a half century old American history, concept of long drawn civil war, issue of color and social system of slavery. Most of all you happen to miss the element of entertainment that you so non apologetically associate with the experience of movies. But this will not deter the serious cine goers from watching this highly critically acclaimed movie. Rather it will provide a good audio-visual study of that era.The movie covers the time period spanning between termination of Abraham Lincoln's first term and beginning of second term as the American President. It mainly focuses on the internal battles that the aforesaid great human and politician had to fight among his own party members, the Republicans and also the Democrats to get passed the Amendment 13 that effected the Abolition of Slavery. It also shows his personal anguish and family vibes related to this matter. You also see glimpses of his personal wit and jolly nature. Cleverly, the director has refrained from focusing on the actual Civil War and drudges of slavery, thereby keeping the movie length and audience interest intact.Two interesting facts can be observed in this movie. One - most of us have probably seen Lincoln's picture as a portrait in a school text book. But here you get to see him as a very tall and very thin man, more so when he is shown as a corpse in a nightgown. Two - in that era when apparels were coarse and voluminous and fashion as such nonexistent, men happen to exercise all of their fashion attempts on facial hair i.e. beard and moustache! An amazing variation of the same can be seen in this movie.

Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher(2012)

You know what happens when a 'good' tailor aspires to create an apparel for the international market, say a fully embroidered long coat, buys the best fabric, best embroidery threads, copies the latest patterns, throws in a couple of his own, but simply cannot get hold of the 'karigars' or workmen, or say cannot guide them enough to fill the entire coat with the international class embroidery, and so leaves gaps in various places! Resultantly, the long coat no doubt gets ready for the international market because whatever workmanship it entails is of the international standard, but the buyers will refrain from buying it because they are used to and they expect 'complete workmanship'.

This 'complete workmanship' is what the audience expects from a Tom Cruise movie. As an actor, he has played the character pretty well. To the extent that he has even refrained from flashing his toothy grin and jaw dropping stunts! Depth of character is visible in the Assassin, but not in his Boss. Meaning to say that, strong characters have been created, but not explored. Presentation of the plot could have been made much more interesting. Herein one gets to know the difference between a good director and a brilliant director.

Verdict: A fine movie but without any Tom Cruise effect.

Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)

This movie is totally the director's baby. Ang Lee scores full points for - a) daring to attempt to transform the book 'Life Of Pi' (Booker Prize winning novel by Yann Martel) into a movie and doing it brilliantly, b) maintaining the fine line between the two sensibilities that are most dominant in the movie i.e. survival and spirituality, c) deriving award winning acting from an absolute newcomer, Suraj Sharma i.e. the protagonist of the story, Pi.

Storyline is very simple. But the treatment is very effective. Computer aided graphics are one of the best that we have seen till date. Scenes depicting real world as well as the imaginary world have been created realistically and beautifully respectively. Some sea storm based scenes remind you of 'The Truman Show'.

Most amazing part is that more than ninety percent of scenes are just between Pi and Richard Parker (Bengal Tiger) and still you don't miss anything. You are hooked to the screen till the end! The director did an intelligent job by casting acting stalwarts Irrfan, Tabu and Adil for the introductory scenes. Their intense acting do help in maintaining the audience interest during the building up phase of the movie.

At times people act awkward simply because the majority expect them to. Same seems to be the case of depiction of Indian natives in English and Cross Culture movies and this one is no different! It would be really nice if Indian sensibility and dialogue delivery will be shown, as it actually is, and not how so called developed countries perceive it to be.

A very important lesson that you learn here is that the barriers and enemies that we come across and fight and may overcome, actually keep us sane, our senses alert and our soul hopeful. Life without obstacles will actually be boring and we will soon forego the urge to live at all. Rather than destroying the enemies, it is better to tame them and co-exist with them.

The movie is an innovative visual treat. Creative people must watch it.

The Gods Must Be Crazy II

The movie is a sequel and except for the plot, it's very much identical to its prequel Gods Must Be Crazy I (1980). However, the prequel is more detailed and justifies the actual movie message i.e. how the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert are eons away from the urban civilization, but still happen to be the masters in their own world, and also how a mundane and daily use (read consumable) object from our life appears totally inexplicable and utterly useless to them and how hard they try to simply get rid of it!

It seems that since this message was well established in the prequel, the sequel simply concentrated on a plot comprising of both the Bushmen and the city dwellers without going deep into the differences of their perception, preferences etc.

In the movie, it is very interesting to observe how Bushmen calculate and understand everything just by reading different footprints on the sand. It seems that the desert talks to them just about everything! Just by looking at footprints, they can derive - who/what has imprinted it and whether it's wounded, copulation activities of specific animals, tracking of lost children etc. It is important to note that they are the only population in the world who has thrived successfully for so many years without any surface water! They are one of 14 known extant "ancestral population clusters" (from which all known modern humans descended).

The movie actually is a well made documentary showing snippets of Bushmen culture and also the pace is little slow. People who are interested in knowing about different cultures, or say world movies will surely like it.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

A very well made movie by an ace director and a wonderful actor featuring the life of an ace Indian runner and Olympian Milkha Singh, 'The Flying Sikh'. Rakeysh has managed to show the athlete's childhood, upbringing, stints with love, struggle, training, losses and victories (both in sports and conquering the dark corner in the heart) beautifully without making it cumbersome and boring. The movie constantly shuffles between past, further past and present, but due to smart editing and direction, the final impact is not confusing but good. In fact, 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' is one of the best edited Indian film in spite of its duration of 3 hours and 9 minutes!

Any movie that covers the partition era is bound to have scenes entailing - mass massacre, bloodshed, loss of loved ones, children turning orphan, fear and trauma amongst civilians, violation of women etc. And for this very reason, many of us like to distance ourselves from such movies as it is very disturbing to watch such depictions again and again. All brownie points should be awarded to the makers of the movie to show it all, but in bits and pieces and with such adaptations that as an audience you tend to get the right message without cringing in your seat!

Dark corners created in our hearts during childhood are the most difficult ones to bear and cure and they haunt us throughout our lives effecting our participation and success in one or the other way. Curing such a devious dark corner is the focal point of this movie and it has been executed very effectively.
Hats off to Farhan Akhtar for pulling off such a difficult role i.e. a role that demanded the physicality of an ace athlete and expressions of a rustic north westerner who is not well educated, has seen the trauma and pain of partition of India and Pakistan and still has managed to transform himself into a gold medalist in spite of various barriers thrown in his way. It is difficult to imagine that Farhan is the same man who started his film career by directing the quintessential metro guy flick 'Dil Chahta Hai'. It goes without saying that this lad has grown miles and bounds as an actor as well as a person.

Actingwise, apart from Farhan, Divya Dutta and Pawan Malhotra have done very good job. Divya has simply stood out as the selfless motherly sister who simply adores her kid brother 'Milkha' and silently bears the struggles and exploitations of life suffered by the women of that era who had to bear the losses of partition as well as boisterous (read domestic violence) nature of their husbands. Pawan has also stood out as the loving and inspiring army officer who had a great hand in the making of 'Milkha'. He is very natural in emoting the expressions of judgement, pain, pride, kindness, victory etc.

How Do You Know

Till now we have seen stories on true love, shifting from false love to true love, sudden realization of an association as true love, but this love story defies all the aforesaid settings! This one is about being in a casual but genuine relationship, keeping in hand an upcoming friendship and ultimately putting the 'true love' label on the budding friendship and leaving the casual but on the verge of turning steady relationship midway for no particular reason! The only plausible reason for the aforesaid choice seems to be the fact that the protagonist i.e. the heroine happens to be in the same mental state or life phase as the chosen hero during the decision making period. This made them totally understand the respective needs of each other to - stay quiet or constantly blabber or be indecisive or make a total mess of themselves.There is no bad guy in the movie. Neither any of the characters are looking for love or happen to believe in only serious relationships. Everyone here is well mannered and good at heart. They may be childish and/or eccentric at times, but they are genuine at heart. So, there is no moral as such in the story. It perhaps just depicts the ultra urban scenario where relationships don't commence with the hindsight of longevity, forget the sentiment of commitment! Partners are chosen at whim and left at whim without intending any actual harm and perhaps no major offence is taken since things start on a very casual note!Acting wise, Reese is very natural. This lady can put sense into all kinds of characters. Owen has great screen presence. Others are also up to the mark.