Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tournament review : Interesting idea but poor execution!!!

Lal is one name which is trusted by the audience to always come up with some entertaining movies be it the ones he made in combination with Siddique such as "Godfather","Ramji Rao Speaking" etc, or alone such as "2 Harihar Nagar". This festive season saw the release of Lal's "Tournament", which is an ensemble of new faces. Coming on the back of hits such as "Best Actor" as an actor & "In Ghost House Inn" as a director...will his latest venture live up to the expectations of the audience???


The script is by Lal himself & he has definitely adopted a different style in narrating the story by showing two different view angles for the same scene. Its pretty hard to explain it without revealing the plot, so I will put that matter to rest for the time being. The plot basically involves 3 friends Balu (John), Viswam (Fahad) & Usman (Pravin) getting selected for participating in the official selection trials in Bangalore for Kochi IPL team. However before their journey begins itself, Balu meets with an accident & is bed ridden. The other two unwillingly proceed with the journey but their flight gets cancelled, however on the insistence of their friend Aswathy (Rupa) they hit the road & is joined by Bobby (Manu),another selected participant whom they met in the airport. What all happens during the course of this journey forms the crux of the movie.

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Coming to performances, the new comers has definitely delivered a decent act. Fahad is slowly turning out to be a fine actor while Rupa is also totally at ease. Prajin as John, who turns up in the latter half of the movie deserves a pat on his back & so does John in his brief role. Salim Kumar has been able to tickle the funny bone at times. The music by Deepak Dev is top notch & all the numbers has been ruling the music charts be it "Heyyo" by Vinod Verma & Maya; "Manassil" by Naresh Iyer, Deepak Dev & Megha or "Nila Nila" by Karthik & Megha.

However, the movie has it share of flaws which could very well spell its doom. Though the idea has been unique...the storyline lacked the punch to sustain the interest of the audience. It goes without saying that after the first few sequences, the audience gets an idea as to what is going to happen next. The climax was another major letdown, with a little more bound plot this could well have been a good thriller.

Verdict: The movie will find it hard to get a good opening owing to the lack of big names. In such a scenario, its the script that will have to do the trick as in the case of "Malarwadi Arts Club", however that is not going to happen here. In my opinion, the movie is just average..watch it if you feel like or else forget it!!!!

Regards....Ben

Monday, December 27, 2010

Marykkundoru Kunjaadu review: "Simple yet enjoyable!!!"

Christmas is finally here & Dileep intends to wish the audience a very happy festive season through his latest offering "Marykkundoru Kunjaadu".The audience are definitely looking forward to this movie as this brings together the hit combination of "Kalyanaraman" , Dileep-Shafi & Benny Nayarambalam. So have they been able to recreate the magic yet again ???


The plot involves Solomon (Dileep) who is a lazy & cowardly young guy who aspires to be a film director. Due to his peaceful nature & inability to stand up to his adversaries he inevitably ends up being the object of beatings from all;but primarily from his sweetheart Mary's (Bhavana) brothers. Ittichayan (Innocent) is Mary's father,a wealthy person who was at loggerheads with Dileep's father (Vijayaraghavan) as he had married Innocent's bride years back. Things take a turn when Biju Menon turns up in the village & Dileep sees this as an oppurtunity to get even with his detractors by making use of Biju's strength claiming him to be his long lost brother Jose. But in reality who was Jose & will Ittichayan allow Solomon to marry Mary...the answers to all these forms the basic thread.

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Benny Nayarambalam has come up with a simple storyline with not much unexpected twists or turns..however there is no denying the fact that the screenplay was entertaining. Shafi is always known to come up with movies with good humour & here too he has exploited the comic forte of Dileep to the hilt.The music by Berny Ignatius has been well appreciated & already a rage in TV channels.

Coming to performances, Dileep comes up with a delightful act as the cowardly yet lovable village rustic. He is totally at ease with the character & comes out in flying colours. Biju Menon has delivered a knock out performance especially in the first half with impressive performances from Innocent & others also.

Verdict: Taking into account the holiday season & "feel good" nature of the movie...I believe this is going to be yet another hit in Dileep's kitty thereby capping a very successful 2010 for him. In short, I would suggest that you guys watch it for some relaxing clean humour!!!!

Regards...Ben

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kandahar review : "Half baked mission!!!"

The much awaited "Kandahar" finally hit the screens across the country with around 125 prints, making it to be the biggest ever release  for a Malayalam venture. Mohanlal movies' inevitably draws a huge initial & with this one having the added attraction of one of the biggest legends of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan; the expectations & anticipations were going through the roof. So will the movie do justice to the caliber of two of the finest actors in the world????

Mohanlal is back once again as Major Mahadevan & this time with his team of commandos is involved in foiling a hijack. The first half of the movie focuses on the life of Surya (Ganesh Venkitaraman) , the only son of Loknath Sharma (Amitabh Bachchan) who is an idealistic & well known teacher in Ooty. Though a trained pilot, Surya fails to land with a plump job. By chance, Major Mahadevan meets up with Surya & advices him to join the Army. As expected with time Surya becomes a fine officer & thats when an Air India  flight gets hijacked with the demand that the dreaded terrorist, Masood be released in exchange for the passengers. Can Major Mahadevan & his team pull this off or will bureaucracy bow to the demands of the terrorists???

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Just as with his previous ventures, the script is by Major Ravi. But sorry to say, this is definitely his weakest to date. The first half focuses on the relationship between father & son.; with the latter part  on his Army training,. Though a touch too melodramatic at times, its pretty fine & doesnt take a toll on the audience. With the intermission creating a build up, one is naturally looking forward to the second half, for the mission. But this is where Major Ravi has got it all wrong. The mission is just too amateurish & looked too damn easy...not to forget the appalling climax . He spent way too much time focusing on melodrama rather than on the actual mission. The thread of the story is obviously the Kandahar hijack incident of 1999 & he has fictionalised it in his own way. There's no problem with that, but atleast have a proper vision rather than making it so gawky.

Major Ravi with Big B & Lalettan
Coming to performances, Mohanlal has once again enacted Mahadevan's role to perfection, though I cant help thinking that he has been woefully wasted owing to a below par script. Big B also delivers a memorable performance & the scenes between the two veterans are truly the highlights of the movie. However, Ganesh was disappointing & fails to impart naturality to his character especially in the first half. The beautiful Sumalatha & Ananya is hardly noticed & makes you wonder as to why they were even there in the movie.

As for other technical aspects, cinematography by Ravi Verman was decent while the editing by Don Max was top notch with a special mention  for the title tracks. The soul of most patriotic movies are powerfully worded songs & this has been given life by Shamir Tandon with "Aye Janani" & "Ho Chup He" rendered by Sonu Nigam & Kailash Kher being the best among the lot.

Verdict: With around 6.5 crores riding on the movie, such a huge opening will go a long way in helping it to break even. However, with such a weak script to harbour hopes of this being a hit will be to be too optimistic.Personally speaking, I dont expect nothing more than an average run at the max . In short, watch it just for the sheer pleasure of watching these great actors sharing screen space or else its better to give it a miss!!!

Regards...Ben


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Band Baaja Baaraat review : "Interesting theme but lacks punch!!!"

Yash Raj films is synonym in Indian film industry for churning out lavish, larger than life sets & inevitably they have been tasting success time & again. However, since the last few years their success rate has taken a beating; which has forced them to think out of the box. As a result of that they have been trying out movies with interesting scripts rather than the usual run of the mill. "Band Baaja Baaraat" by debutant Maneesh Sharma seems to be one such movie & now it remains to be seen whether the audience accepts it.


The first thing which struck me is that it has touched upon the subject of wedding planners which has never been explored as such in our movies. The plot involves Shruti Kakkar (Anushka Sharma), a confident, straight forward female who nurses the dream of becoming a wedding planner. Apart from her, there is Bittoo Sharma (Ranveer Singh), a Delhi University product who enjoys life viling away his time. In short, a diametrically opposite character of Shruti. Bittoo gets smitten by her, but things doesnt pans out the way he wants as she has all her life plans well laid out. However, due to certain circumstances they end up being business partners of their wedding planning enterprise "Shaadi Mubarak". Both of them compliment their abilities & in due course of time, "Shaadi Mubarak" becomes the leading enterprise. Things take a turn when they end up sleeping together...what issues later on forms the crux.

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The script by Maneesh Sharma is fresh & tackles a new subject; though there is no denying the fact that the second half is predictable & repetitive. The music by Salim-Sulaiman deserves a pat on their backs with "Ainvayi Ainvayi" rendered by Salim & Sunidhi being the best among the lot. Aseem Mishra has been exceptional in capturing the ambience & vibrance of the weddings. 

Anushka Sharma has come up with her best performance till date, though it will be appropriate to say that she has been offered ample opportunity in this as opposed to "Rab Ne.." & "Badmaash Company". Debutant Ranveer Sharma has been impressive in the first half  with his bindaas attitude however he needs to work a lot in the emotional scenes. As far as chemistry goes they do create sparks but at times it seems like she is an elder sister rather than a girl friend.

Verdict: The movie definitely tackles a new subject but it loses much of its punch in the second half. Anywaz considering the way, Yash Raj movies has been tanking in recent times; this will do decent business. As far as my opinion goes, its fine to give it a try if you are free or else forget it!!!

Regards...Ben

No Problem review: "Full of problems!!!"

Anees Bazmee is one of those directors who has been instrumental in racking in a lot of moolah on the basis of no brainer slap stick comedies. His array of hits belonging to that genre includes "No Entry", "Welcome" & "Singh is Kinng; all of which had nonsensical story lines but somehow managed to tickle the funny bone. This weekend witnessed the release of his latest venture,"No Problem"; which is also of the same genre & produced by Anil Kapoor. So will this one also add onto his success list???


Coming to the plot, as expected its having an absolutely stupid story. It basically involves two crooks,Yash (Sanjay Dutt) & Raj (Akshay Khanna); who robs a bank headed by manager Zandulal (Paresh Rawal). Since both these crooks happened to stay in his house for a day prior to the robbery, the blame naturally falls on Zandulal; who vows to catch them. In the meantime, a heist happens in the Diamond Centre,Durban carried out by Marcos (Suneil Shetty) & his gang. The investigation charge falls on the crack inspector Arjun (Anil Kapoor);who is married to Kajal (Sushmita Sen);who in turn has split personality disorder. Zandulal in search of the crooks also lands up in Durban & what follows later on is too stupid to be even discussed.

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The biggest flaw with the movie is that it is full of problems. There isnt a single aspect which deserves a word of praise.Frankly speaking, I never expected anythng logical but even the comedy is so down-rite stupid that you feel like banging your head rather than laughing. Except for "Mast Punjabi" rendered by Anand Raj & Sunidhi Chauhan;the others are below average...considering the fact that 4 music directors worked in this fim namely Sajid-Wajid, Anand Raj & Pritam. The background score is one of the worst that I have come across in recent times; even a amateur would have done it better.

As for performances, its a well known fact that slap stick comedies works totally on the timing & comic flare of the performer. I didnt feel that any of them has done a credible job though Paresh Rawal & Anil Kapoor did manage to infuse a couple of laughs, the others were trying too hard.

Verdict: The North Indian audience has a habit of taking a liking for absolute nonsensical comedies like Golmaal 3 etc etc; but this time I dont believe even they would tolerate this. In short, dont even bother watching!!!

Regards...Ben

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Phas Gaya Re Obama review : "Innocently funny!!!"

The last few years especially since the super hit "Bheja Fry",we have been witness to the release of a large number of low budget movies, which relied mainly on their script rather than on star power & it wont be wrong to say that many of them has been impressive. This year has also seen many such movies making their mark such as "Peepli Live", "Love Sex Aur Dhokha" etc, to name a few. "Phas Gaya Re Obama" is another such movie trying to repeat the feats of its predecessors. The unique title does create some hype especially since Obama has been here just a month back. So will its storyline be able to create magic ????


The story is written by the director himself, Subhash Kapoor & he has to be applauded for choosing a pretty unique subject. The plot basically involves, the impact of recession in all walks of life but mainly focusing on the gangsters. Om (Rajat Kapoor), is a US NRI who has been hit hard by recession, causing him to lose everything & now virtually on the brink of being kicked out from his house by the bank for non-payment of the mortgaged amount. Seeing no other option, he decides to come to India & sell his ancestral home so as to garner the amount that he requires. Within a few days of landing, he is kidnapped by a band of gangsters whose leader is Bhai Saab (Sanjay Mishra); who is going through a lean patch owing to recession. This sets off a sequence of events among the various rungs of gangsters who all wants a piece of Om, quite oblivious of the fact that he is a financial wreck. Will Om be able to escape from the clutches of the gangsters & collect the amount that he needs to sustain his family forms the framework of the story.

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The star cast consists of Rajat Kapoor (as Om) who again comes up with a winning performance as the clever NRI guy. Sanjay Mishra (as Bhai Saab: the boss of the lowest rank of gangsters) is absolutely brilliant & his side-kick Manu Rishi (as Anni) is equally good. Neha Dhupia as Munni Gangster aka Female Gabbar delivers a power packed performance along with Amol Gupte as Dhananjay Singh (Minister for Animal Welfare). The real winner without doubt is however the script, which keeps our spirits high with its hilarious moments without ever resorting slap stick comedy,which is so prevalent nowadays.The music by Manish Tipu doesnt have much of a say, but the dialogues has been spot on. The movie does have its minor pit falls at places but thats pardonable when you look at the bigger picture.

Verdict: Being made on a shoe-string budget of approx 3 crores (as per Bollywood standards), the film should be able to recover its costs with a couple of good shows. Since its endowed with an interesting script, I wont be surprised if it becomes a hit as it would have the benefit of word by mouth going in its favour. So in short, I would suggest that you guys to definitely watch it for some clean humour!!!

Regards...Ben

Friday, December 10, 2010

Best Actor review: "Mammotty pulls out yet another ace!!!"

December is one of those months which the film industry always looks forward to for cashing in on the holiday season coming up. Unofficially the release of big films begins from today with Mamukka starrer "Best Actor" being the first among many to follow in the subsequent weeks. Coming on the back of a pretty good year for Mammotty, will this directorial debut of photographer Martin Prakatt continue his purple patch??? The promos has been pretty promising & the music has been ruling the charts...hmm, lets check it out!!!


The story by Bipin Chandran & Martin Prakatt is interesting & keeps the audience engaged for sure. It basically tells the story of a school teacher, Mohan (Mammootty) who nurses his childhood dream of making it big on the silver screen. Inspite of repeated efforts, his dreams fails to acquire wings; but his wife, Savitri (Shruti Krishnan) & son,Unnikuttan (Master Vivas) stands by him. Finally an opportunity comes knocking in the form of a hit director Sreekumar (Sreenivasan), who happens to shoot a film in Mohan's school. Mohan is made to believe that he would be offered a role in the film, but it turned out to be a hoax. This prompts Mohan to make a last ditch effort to realise his dreams & he ends up going to Cochin to meet up with a friend who is making a movie. As expected he faces flax there as well, & he is asked to imbibe the character of a gangster by living among such people. Being true to his efforts, he ends up meeting with such a band of gangsters.So will Mohan realise his dream or will he get sucked into the gangster world ??? The answers for these questions forms the highlight of the movie.
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Mamootty has come up with yet another spell bounding performance, he imparts such an innocence to the character that you end up loving the character. Just to cite an example, the scene in which he is told by Sreenivasan that he cant be offered any role is brilliant to say the least; the way he emotes his feelings has to be seen to be believed. Shruti Krishnan has done a decent job though she doesnt have much of screen space. As for other characters like Lal, Nedumudi Venu, Salim Kumar & Vinayakan as the gangsters keeps us entertained with their witty one liners.A host of guest appearances by noted directors like Lal Jose, Renjith, Blessy along with Sreenivasan makes it for an interesting watch.

As for other aspects of the movie, the music by Bijibal though ordinary is pretty hummable especially the track "Swapnam Oru Chak" by Arun Elat. Another aspect which really got my attention were the colourful posters which makes you feel like watching the movie. However, there are a few pitfalls as well....though the first half breezes through...the second half has certain sequences which seems to be too hollow giving it a dragging effect. The background score is below average & its absence at times is one of the main reasons for the above mentioned flaw.

Verdict: The movie has definitely got a decent story coupled with a good climax making it for an interesting family entertainer. It should be able to get the box office bells ringing...I dont feel it would be a super hit but its going to be well above average or hit as well. In short, I would suggest that you guys to definitely watch it!!!

Regards....Ben

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey review: " Credible effort on patriotism!!!"

Finally, Ashutosh Gowarikar is back with his patriotic celluloid venture after the debacle of "Whats your Rashee???". With AB Jr. & Deepika Padukone paired together for the first time, will this venture based on the Chittagong Uprising of 1930 bring back the glory days of Ashutosh...it waits to be seen. Anywaz I will give you a feedback as to how I felt about it & then the ball is in your court.


As I had mentioned earlier, the story is based on the Chittagong Uprising of 1930 & the intricate details regarding that revolt has been adapted from the novel " Do and Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-1934" by Manini Chatterjee. Just to give you a brief idea, it basically involves a series of attacks carried out on 5 strongholds of the British on the night of April 18th,1930 in Chittagong which was then a part of the undivided Bengal province. The revolt was headed by Surjya Sen, popularly referred to as "Master Da"; since he was a school teacher. The significance of this revolt is that it was carried out by 64 teenagers under the leadership of Surjya Sen & his trusted team of revolutionaries.

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Coming to performances, Abhishek Bachchan (as Surjya Sen) has given a very restrained act which at times doesnt seem to match the character of the revolutionary. However, there is no denying the fact that he has given a very sincere effort. Deepika Padukone (as Kalpana Dutta) has been offered the first deglam role of her career & though not endowed with much screen space; she has been able to be noticed. The role of the revolutionaries essayed by Sikander Kher & others, were natural & earnest. The biggest applause is deservedly reserved for the teenagers, who has been able to impart an innocence to their roles & which makes it for an endearing watch especially in the second half.

Verdict: The movie is definitely not going to create wonders at the box-office & will recover its costs at the max. It has been successful to make us aware of a significant part of our Independence efforts as its not been covered in detail in our history books. In short, if you are not much into history..its better you give this a miss!!!

Regards...Ben

Rakta Charitra 2 review: "Surya rocks in this engrossing vendetta saga!!!"

The much awaited Bollywood debut of Surya is finally here & we couldnt fault him in biding his time before making the plunge into Hindi. The prequel had been released barely a month back & it goes without saying that it was one of the most violent Hindi movies to have ever released. As expected, RC-1 achieved rich dividends from the Telugu version while it recovered its costs from Hindi. The climax of RC-1 created immense excitement with a sneak peek into what could be happening next. So was this bated anticipation totally justified ????? Hmm...just read on & you will know what I felt.


The plot basically picks from the climax of the prequel with the emergence of Surya , who turns out to be the nemesis for Prathap (Vivek Oberoi). The movie begins with Surya carrying out a failed bomb attack on Prathap & how Prathap retaliates to get even. If the first part showed us as to how Prathap became the person he was, in the sequel Surya takes the centre stage & throws light as to why he wants him dead. As many would be aware, Surya is enacting the real life character of Madichelu Suri, however giving more information regarding the character would be like giving out the entire plot.

With such a strong thread to rely upon, it was just a matter of having a good screenplay & Prashant Pandey has done total justice to his craft. Though the movie isn't filled up with as much events as in the prequel, nevertheless this will keep you engrossed.The emotion of vengeance hasnt been ever depicted with so much of clarity.Both the primal characters seems to have valid reasons for their situations & the audience totally gets to understand this. As for other aspects of the movie, the background score by Dharam-Sandeep deserves a pat on their back while the cinematography was the usual RGV style.

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Coming to performances, Surya is totally awesome; he is the show stopper & the intensity he imparts to the character has to be seen to be believed. Vivek Oberoi has also done a credible job but the limelight is mainly on Surya this time. Priyamani (as Bhawani, Surya's wife) is equally top notch & exudes confidence. Sudeep (as DCP Rathod) is suave,manipulative & clever...though appearing only in a few sequences, he definitely leaves an impression.

Verdict: The sequel isn't as gory as RC-1, however it also has its share of violence which is still way beyond the palatable range of many. The Tamil version which is released as a single installment is bound to make the producers laughing to the bank & I believe a similar fate awaits the Telugu version also. Just as I had predicted for RC-1, the Hindi version this time also wont be going great guns but it will definitely be a bigger success. In my opinion, I would suggest that you guys to watch it...preferably the Tamil version!!!

Regards....Ben

Friday, December 3, 2010

Again Kasargod Kadherbhai review : "A disgraceful sequel!!!"

Finally the last month of 2010 has arrived with a stack of movies lined up for all the weekends leading upto New Year. This week witnessed the release of the sequel of one of the biggest hits of Malayalam "Mimics Parade" & its sequel "Kasargod Kadherbhai".Since the prior two ventures being huge successes, naturally a lot of expectation has been attached to the 3rd installment titled "Again Kasargod Kadherbhai". So can this live up to the box office success of its predecessors???

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The plot is basically crap to say the least...Father Tharakandam (Innocent) is still in charge of the troupe Kaladarsan which is carrying out cultural programmes with mimicry being its highlight as in prequels . On the occasion of Father's 60th bday, the troupe decides to hold a grand function & calls up its former star performers for a get together. With the exception of Siddique, the remaining guys (Jagadish, Biju & Ashokan) all make it for the function. These guys ends up performing a programme for the Central Jail inmates on the behest of Father. Incidentally, Kasim Khan (Babu Antony),who had been jailed courtesy of the Kaladarsan team in the prequel, is here as well. As expected, that leads to an altercation & it so turns out that he gets murdered. The blame falls on the Kaladarsan troupe owing to circumstantial evidence...so did they actually do it??? if not, who did it & why???


After the debacle of "College Kumaran" a couple of years back, Thulasidas is back at the helm of things. However, things doesnt seems to have changed much this time as well... with this movie being an equally worthless venture. The script by Kaloor Dennis doesnt have anything which would keep the audience interested. As for other aspects of the movie, the background score played when Gautham appears (enacting the role of  SI) is totally outrageous & blares out at times. Ratheesh Vegha's music is average with a track rendered by Vineeth Srinivasan being the best among the lot though its picturisation is appalling.

Coming to performances, though a galaxy of comedians are present here, there isnt much to write home about. Suraj does manage to infuse a couple of laughs while the female lead essayed by Radha Verma of "Crazy Gopalan" fame doesnt have much to do except apply oodles of makeup. A special word of mention definitely goes to Siddique for having being clever enough not to have acted in such a whimsical movie.

Verdict: Without doubt,one of the worst movies of this year. It would be lucky if it gets through this weekend. In short, I would suggest that you guys to avoid it!!!!

Regards...Ben

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Break ke Baad reviews: "Different yet average & predictable!!!"

Yet another film in the genre of contemporary romance where everyone is cool & independent . The trend started with "Dil Chahta Hai", after which hoards of movies had released with "Anjaana Anjaani", "IHLS", "Aisha" etc being the last few released in the past 4-5 months. So will the directorial debut of Danish Aslam "Break ke Baad" be different or will it be just another old story in a new bottle???

One thing that I liked about the movie is that for a change the storyline is different, though it transverses an oft used path in the latter half. Abhay (Imran Khan) is a dotting boyfriend who places his girlfriend Aaliya (Deepika Padukone) above everything else. He is the understanding, romantic & level headed guy in the relationship while Aaliya is the loud, career oriented, rebellious character who takes Abhay for granted. Things reach a point where she wants to pursue her acting career & pushes off to Australia; with hardly a thought for Abhay or her mom (Sharmila Tagore).Abhay as expected follows her there & due to her insistence they have to break up. Will Aaliya realise Abhay is the source of happiness & balance in her life??? Hmmm...for that you got to watch it.

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The screenplay by Danish Aslam & Renuka Kunzru though different & endearing in the first half becomes totally predictable & boring "break ke baad". The reason for saying different is in terms of the character given to Imran & Deepika. Vishal Shekhar tunes are hummable but not worth mentioning except for "Adhure". As for other aspects of the movie, there is nothing which deserves a special mention.

Coming to performances, Deepika has come up with an act on par with "Luv Aaj Kal" while Imran as always seemed confident & totally at ease in doing characters like these with "Jaane Tu..", "IHLS" etc being his predecessors. Lilette Dubey (as Imran's aunt) delivers a couple of punch lines which gets us into splits while Shahana Goswami has been wasted & so is Sharmila Tagore. In short, the others dont have much scope with the film focusing on Deepika, & Imran playing the supporting act literally.

Verdict: The movie opened with a lot of promise but fizzled out in the 2nd half, with an ending on the lines of "Kannamoochi Yenada".It will recover its costs but going on to become a hit..is too tall an ask. Anywaz, the movie is worth a one time watch if you are into urban Bollywood love stories or else forget it!!!

Regards...Ben

Cocktail review : "Impressively executed!!!"


After more than a month since its official launch, "Cocktail" finally released in Bangalore. This marked the directorial debut of Arun Kumar who is very popular as being the favourite editor of Priyan,with their relationship even extending upto his last released venture "Aakrosh". Hmm, so will this talented editor be a smart director as well...lets see how he fared in my view.


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The plot is definitely lifted off Brosnan-Gerald Butler starrer "Shattered" / "Butterfly on a Wheel".For the benefit of those who havent seen the original, here's a peek view. The story showcases Anoop Menon (as Ravi Abraham) being a successful architect happily married to Samvrutha Sunil (as Parwathy) & blessed with a daughter, Ammu. Inevitably, with success comes enemies & the initial portions of the movie throws light on the professional life of Ravi. Their life gets turned upside down with the kidnap of their daughter, masterminded by Jayasurya (as Venky) who had hitched a ride with them on the pretext of his car being broken down. What then follows is a gripping story as to what all they are made to sacrifice & perform on Venky's orders so as to save Ammu. What was Venky's motive??? why were they chosen ??? & will they escape from his grasp...the answers to all these is revealed in the latter half of the movie.

Coming to the directorial debut of Arun Kumar, he has definitely inculcated the traits of ripping off a movie to perfection from Priyan & then remaking it in a way palatable to the Malayali audience. Though the story by Anoop Menon didnt have any variations with respect to the original, it was definitely able to hook up the attention of the audience. The music composed by Alphonse & Ratheesh Vegha didnt have much to write about with "Neeyaam Thanalinu" rendered by Vijay Yesudas being the best among the lot though the background score was very much in tune with the mood of the film.

The real star of the movie is undoubtedly Jayasurya; just as I had mentioned even in my previous reviews..he always tries to do something different in terms of script selection & actual characterization with variations in slang, appearance etc. Here also he is totally at ease easing the negative character, who seems hell bent in making the life of others a living hell. Samvrutha has delivered a decent performance though Anoop Menon could have been a little more convincing coz at times his facial expressions is not in sync with the situation of the movie.A special mention goes to Kani, who had impressively essayed a 5 minute role of a sex worker. She continues to amaze the audience with her naturality be it the girl friend of Prithvi in "Kerala Cafe" or the Naxalite in "Shikar"

Verdict: Its undoubtedly one of the best movies that has released in Malayalam this year.The lack of an imposing star cast has been its bane on the initial days, but the movie is likely to pick up by word of mouth. It will definitely entertain you with its suspense & my advice to all of you guys would be to watch it!!!

Regards...Ben


Monday, November 22, 2010

Guzaarish review: "Well executed but appealing only for a niche audience!!!"

After a long hiatus since the debacle "Saawariya", Sanjay Leela Bhansali is back to woo the audience with his latest offering "Guzaarish", which is brought to life by two of the most sought after on-screen couples of Bollywood. SLB is always known to present movies which leaves us awe-struck with his way of treatment of the subject. The question is will SLB be able to come up with a winner after his previous cropper & will the Hrithik-Ash chemistry create magic a third time also???

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The plot involves the story of a well known magician, Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) who has been rendered quadriplegic when one of his acts went horribly wrong. The movie begins about 14 years after the prior mentioned incident took place & presently he is taken care of by his nurse,Sofia (Aishwarya Rai). Ethan has been a source of inspiration for many through his books & radio show "Radio Zindagi". However, now he decides to file a petition for Euthanasia after years of suffering & asks his lawyer friend Devayani (Shernaz Patel) to do it for him. As expected, Sofia & Devyani is shocked & angry at this decision of Ethan. The question that remains is will the Constitution of India allow such a plea to be accepted????

Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Coming to the story, SLB just as it has been in his previous ventures also, derives inspiration from a couple of movies like "The Prestige" & "The Diving Bell & the Butterfly". But its the Oscar winning Spanish movie "The Sea Inside" that he copies liberally from. The execution is brilliant to say the least, as always he takes us to a whole different world untouched by contemporary times ranging from the settings to costumes,all of which has a SLB touch.
        

                                                             
The visuals by Sudeep K Chatterjee were captivating & delivers the beauty in all its finery. The costumes by Sabyasachi though looked Victorian, was however very much in keeping with the mood of the story. Another commendable aspect is the music by SLB himself, some of the tracks like "Udi Udi" & "Guzaarish" were really good.

In the performance department, Hrithik as Ethan has done justice to his role & looked perfectly apt especially in the sequences he appears as the magician. However, its Ash who is the best in the movie...she was brilliant in all aspects imparting a sense of elegance & stature...& seems to be totally at ease. Aditya Roy (as Omar), who comes to study magic from Ethan provides the comic element, deserves a word of praise as well. As for other characters, Shernaz Patel was adequate while Ranjit Kapoor just had to harp all the time.

But the movie definitely has its share of flaws as well, the main being the subject of Euthanasia not explored adequately. With no much light moments & the whole tone of the movie being on the sober side there isnt much to look forward to in the movie. They should have added a bit more content & it should have been more touching. Another thing which will be a turn off for the mass audience is the over excessive use of English...SLB is being true to the subject as the movie is based in Goa, but he should have realized that the movie isnt goin to be released only in a particular region.

Verdict: There is no doubt that this is one of the finest work of Sanjay...but I doubt it will translate into money. If it manages to break even, it would be lucky...but in the present scenario, I dont see takers for it except for Multiplexes. In short, watch it only if you like slow, larger than life, with a canvas set in a different world kind of movies or else you wud cringe in your seats!!!

Regards...Ben

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Best of Luck review: "May God have mercy on the makers!!!!"

The so-called future stars of Malayalam industry beckons the public to the theatres for this Bakrid season with their comedy venture "Best of Luck". After having made commendable debuts with "Neelathamara" & "Rithu" respectively, the star couples are brought together for the first time by director M.A Nishad. With an added attraction of having a special guest appearance by Megastar Mammootty in addition to the support provided by the veteran stalwarts like Prabhu & Urvashi, the makers would be expecting to make the box office bells ringing.But will they do so????



The story involves Surya (Kailash) & Manu (Asif Ali) being friends; who dreams of becoming musician & film-maker respectively with Neethu (Archana Kavi) & Diya (Reema Kalingal) playing their love interests. Surya is living under the support of his wealthy step brother Vinayaka Naykar (Prabhu) & finds it hard to have a jolly time with the meagre monthly allowance provided by Prabhu.  Things take a turn when Manu & Diya meets up with Mammootty who agrees to do a movie for them if they could come up with a good script. Then its a matter of arranging money thru money lenders to finance the movie in addition to mistaken identities etc etc

Coming to the story, its absolutely stupid & the comic element is just not good enough. Actually its the copy of the hugely successful Sanjay Dutt starrer "All the best". M.A Nishad after having delivered movies like "Vairam"...tries his hand in something different..but in the process burns his hand.

In the performance department, Asif Ali seems to be the one who is comparatively better, while the other youngsters seems to be totally lost. After having enacted many memorable roles, I was really surprised as to why such a fine actress like Urvashi would agree to do this & to say the least, she was unbearable...thanks to a poorly etched character. Prabhu seemed fine while Sooraj didnt bring anything new to the plate along with Jagathy. As for other aspects of the movie, there is nothing which deserves a mention.

Verdict: One of the worst movies to come out in recent times...even the guest appearance by Mammootty wont translate into a run for a couple of days more. In short, avoid it or else "Best of Luck" watching it!!!

Regards....Ben

The Thriller reviews: "Anwar reloaded: a better version however!!!!"


Bakrid is finally here & it ushered the release of the "young superstar" Prithvi's "The Thriller". After "Anwar", not being able to create any mileage for Prithvi, he would definitely be looking forward to his new release to seal his position in the Malayalam industry as the rightful heir apparent to the Megastars Mammootty & Mohanlal. So will this movie finally be the stepping stone that Prithvi is hoping????



The plot involves the murder of a young turk of a business empire on a highway. There is no doubt that the events has been clearly inspired from the Paul Muthoot George murder case & the movie moves along predictable lines with some interesting twists as well. Prithvi as Niranjan is the DCP, who is entrusted with the duty of cracking the case. With an underworld don in the form of Martin Dinakar (Sampath) & current issues like Cricket league, cut throat media etc...the movie in short is a mixed bag. So who are the big fishes behind the murder & what was the motive????; the answer to these questions forms the highlight.

Hmm...the thread of the story was really interesting & definitely had the scope to be a winner if tackled well. However for me that is where this movie falls flat, B.Unnikrishnan definitely lacks the caliber of a Renji Panicker..but that is no excuse for having executed it so badly.With an unwanted romantic angle & too much of time for each action sequence; the movie reminded me as being a Malayalam version of  Surya's character in "Singam". There was way too much of heroism & daredevilry...not to mention the slow motion. Unnikrishnan seems to be in competition with Amal Neerad as to who will impart more time for slow motion.

Coming to the performance department, Prithvi just rocked...he has done total justice to the role offered to him; though at times the mannerisms & English punch lines reminded me of Suresh Gopi. There is no doubt that this role seemed to be tailor made for Suresh Gopi, but Prithvi has more than satisfied the requirements. Sampath as the negative shade has delivered a decent performance & is making a name for himself in our industry. As for others, Katherine playing the female lead was hardly noticed & looked a misfit in the movie while Lalu Alex & Siddique seemed adequate.

One of the highlights of the movie are the action sequences choreographed by Anal Arasu of "Naan Mahaan Alla" fame. It was good & definitely imparted a Tamil touch..though personally speaking, I felt each of the action sequences didnt have to be so long. Coming to music by Dharan, "Priyankari" rendered by Mamtha Mohandas seemed fine;while the others were average. The choreography of the title track was cool & seemed to be the hangover of the last song of "Anwar"

Verdict: The movie will definitely have a bumper opening with not much of a competition from other movies. However it will not be able to sustain it, coz of the poor direction; though it will be able to recover its costs. In my view, its a one time watch if you dont mind watching a Tamil style movie!!!

Regards...Ben

Monday, November 8, 2010

Golmaal 3 review : A No Brainer slap stick comedy!!!!

Rohit Shetty is back with his Golmaal franchise to tickle our funny bone in this festive season of lights. After having struck gold with his previous 2 Golmaal ventures...this one promises to be bigger,better & more funnier than the others. So does it live upto its brand name???? The plot involves two sets of siblings namely Ajay Devgan & Shreyas Talpade on one side with Arshad Warsi ,Kunal Khemu & Tusshar on the other side under the parentage of Mithun Chakraborthy & Ratna Patnaik respectively They are constantly at loggerheads & all hell breaks loose when their parents decides to marry each other with Kareena playing the Cupid after she realises that they were one time lovers until fate splits them apart.

Is there any use talking about the script....coz none of the Golmaal movies had much of a story & the same trend follows here as well. The one thing that gets Golmaal running is the pranks, jokes & slap stick comedy. So in short, the vital aspect in such a framework is the tongue in cheek dialogues & that has been given in ample measure by Farhad Sajid & Bunty Rathore. The music by Pritam is average with the title track & "Ale" being the best among the lot. Rohit's movies are always known for its vibrance & bright colour schemes..not to forget the entry styles of the protagonists..be it the Ajay perching on two bikes in Golmaal...then on 2 hummers in Golmaal returns & finally on 2 cars running on its sides in Golmaal 3.

In the performance department, Mithun Chakraborthy has graciously donned the famous Disco dancer act, together with a wig reminiscent of his yesterdays. He is completely at ease with this avatar though at times here he has become the spoof of his own movies, Ajay has got a makeover with earrings, tattoos & a half crack character as opposed to the previous Golmaals. Tushaar has been the best in the previous two movies & here too he maintains that. Arshad has always been confident with comedy be it the Munnabhai series or the others. Kareena being the only female in this all guys star cast has been impressive & able to stand up with the guys.

Verdict: The Golmaal brand name will definitely give it a killer opening at the box office..however will it be able to sustain is the question. Personally speaking, I didnt like it....but considering the reception that the North Indian audience gave to the previous Golmaal ventures, I think this would turn out to be a hit. In my opinion, unless you like slap stick comedy watch it or else run far from it!!!!

Regards....Ben

Action Replayy review: A damp Diwali cracker!!!

Akki is back this Diwali with one of his favourite directors Vipul Shah with whom he has had 3 hits to add along with "Singh is King" where Vipul was the producer. The concept of time travel has been explored in Bollywood before also & here too they have made use of that concept. The movie is definitely the copy of Michael Fox starrer "Back to the Future", though the makers intended to give the credit to a Gujarati play. The plot involves Bunty (Aditya Roy Kapoor) being afraid to enter into a marriage with his girlfriend Tanya since he has been witness to his parents being on each other's throat at every moment. Tanya's grandfather Prof.Antony Gonzalves (Randhir Hapoor) has created a time machine & when he gives Bunty a deadline to decide on Tanya...Bunty decides to travel to the past & make things right between his parents.

The subject matter definitely had scope to be explored well..however the screenplay by Suresh Nair, Ritesh Shah and Aatish Kapadia falls flat. There isnt much of a plot & everything looks so easy...it lacked the punch to keep the audience interested. One major thing which I felt wanting was the humour element...it was just not sufficient..a couple of chuckles here & there wont do the trick. They should have added more substance & packed with some more comedy. However, there is no denying the fact that the humour element is really enjoyable & definitely not of the slap stick genre which has been the case in recent Akki movies. The music by Pritam is pretty average & doesnt linger on after watching the movie..though "Zor ka jaktka" is amusing.

In the performance department. Akki (as Kishen: Bunty's dad) has given a good performance varying from being a loser to a winner. Ash (as Maya: Bunty's mom) has essayed the role of being an arrogant shrew to perfection. Aditya Roy (as Bunty) is really likeable & though this is his 2nd venture following the debacle London Dreams, it should hold him in good stead. Rannvijay (as Kundan) who plays the negative shade is disappointing & fails to make an impression. As for the remaining cast, the veteran stalwarts like Om Puri & Kiron Kher has been wasted while Neha Dhupia is hardly noticed. Rajpal Yadav (as Bhiku) does infuse laughs but he has been under utilised.

Verdict: The combination of Akki & Ash should get the box office bells ringing atleast for the initial few days owing to the long weekend due to Diwali. However I doubt it would be a hit....though it would recover its costs. In short, watch it if you are an Akki fan or else forget it!!!

Regards...Ben

Karyasthan review: Mediocre yet entertaining in segments!!!

This Diwali witnessed the release of Dileep's 100th film "Karyasthan" directed by debutant Thomson. Coming on the back of a personal hit "Pappy Appacha" & a hit in "Malarwadi Arts Club" as part of his production house...Dileep would definitely be looking forward to this latest release to make a killing at the box-office to celebrate his ton in style. Anywaz this review will throw light as to how I felt about the movie.The plot basically involves two families Kizhakkedath & Puthezhath headed by the patriarchs Madhu & G.K Pillai respectively who are at loggerheads owing to a family dispute which dates back to many years. This paves the way for the entry of Dileep as Karyasthan for the Puthezhath family & in the process he plans to bring peace between these two warring factions. What connection does Dileep have with these families ??? how did these families became arch rivals...the answer to these questions forms the crux of the movie.

The story by Udaykrishna & Sibi.K.Thomas just doesnt bring anything new to the plate..its basically a rehash of many of the movies that we have seen before like Hero No.1 to cite an example. The first 15-20minutes of the movie is definitely one of the worst that I have seen in Malayalam in recent times...giving the impression of a B grade film. However after that, the film picks up & makes it a much more enjoyable venture thanks to the humour element. The debutant director doesnt have much of a story to rely on but still its execution is decent (except for the beginning) though he has used the conventional oft used path.

In the performance department, Dileep doesnt have much to do in this movie & being his ton, I naturally expected something different. He tries to play to the gallery with his humour & to a certain extent wins at certain places. Akhila (host of Munchstar Junior Singer) as Sreebala has given a pretty decent performance & gets to prove her dancing credentials in the song "Krishna" after all she was the runner up of Vodafone Thakadhimi in 2007. Suraj is back to one of his humorous best & though bordering along the "chalu" side...he was definitely able to evoke laughs. With a host of other characters being projected...most of them are just for numbers rather than performance.

The songs by Berny Ignatius are pretty average & at times seems unwanted as well...however there is one song where an array of stars from the silver screen descends to render a performance which makes for an interesting watch..reminiscent of Om Shanti Om or Serial Artists 20-20.

Verdict: It will garner a good initial being the festive season & also due to the added attraction of being Dileep's 100th movie. It will definitely recover its cost, but will it be a hit???  Well it could... since his previous venture "Paapi Appacha" wasnt even as good as this...however a good deal will depend on the humour element. In my opinion, if you dont mind a surfeited storyline & want some laughs..watch it or else avoid it!!!

Regards...Ben

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Four Friends review: Frustratingly senti & lifeless!!!

This week saw the release of "Four Friends" which is the 3rd venture by director Saji Surendran after the hugely successful Happy husbands & Ivar Vivahitharayal prior to this. With an enviable track record & a star ensemble involving veteran Jayaram, Meera Jasmine, Jayasurya & Chakochan in addition to a cameo by legendary Kamal Hassan, naturally there was a sense of anticipation surrounding its release. So will Saji make it a hat-trick??? The story basically involves the friendship between 4 people from different walks of life & suffering from cancer, after having met at the cancer speciality hospital run by Dr.Nandagopal (Ganesh). They decide to embark on a journey to fulfill their wishes....the question now arises as to whether they will be able to do it or will they succumb to cancer??? The answer to these questions forms the framework for the plot.

Coming to the story, there is no denying that it has been inspired by Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman starrer "The Bucket List"...however Saji has definitely got it all wrong. His trusted script writer of the previous 2 hits, Krishna Poojapura just fails to come up with something that will grip the attention of the audience. The whole movie is melodramatic & doesnt leave the audience with anything to look forward to. To the amusement of the audience, Saji embraces friendship across religion (the protagonists being Roy, Surya, Gowri & Amir ); across gender & across class (Roy's a millionaire; Surya & Gowri : middle class & Amir's a rowdy). Another interesting thing which struck me is the family structure of the protagonists..Roy: orphan; Surya: son of loving parents & finally Gowri & Amir bereft of mother & father respectively (I presume even Saji didnt realise it!!! hahaha)

As for the performances, with not much of a well defined story to rely upon..all that the actors had to do was use loads of glycerine & rely on their acting prowess. Though all of them has given a decent performance that wont salvage the movie.

However, there are a few bright spots in this otherwise futile movie..the guest appearance by Kamal Hasan was just brilliant. His love for Kerala & his inspirational talk citing people from his professional & personal life was truly natural & moving. Jayasurya is one actor who always seems to try to bring something different to his character & here also..he deserves a pat for infusing life into his character with his varied appearance & Cochin slang.

Verdict: Taking a cue from its title..I dont think it will have substantial audience even for 4 days..So in short, dont bother watching this!!!!

Regards....Ben

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jhootha Hi Sahi review: Trite & Predictable!!!

The first thing that attracts us to the movie is the tagline "From the makers of  "Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na".To be frank that was the only factor which was likely to attract the audience as the star cast wasnt well known & the hero John Abraham has been going though a lean patch since New York.Even "Jaane Tu.." didnt have any known faces but it was fresh & engaging. So were the makers able to recreate the magic??? The plot involves a nerdy bookshop owner John (as Sid) having to become a suicidal helpline due to a printing mistake in the papers. Things takes a turn when he receives a call from Paakhi (as Mishka) who is on the verge of committing suicide due to a failed relationship. The question is whether John could help her out & what change it brings to both their lives...

Frankly speaking, the biggest flaw of this movie is the threadbare prdictable script & lack of chemistry between the lead pairs. Paakhi is also the writer for this movie & it lacks any freshness or punch to keep us engaged. Abbas Tyrewala (the director & husband of Paakhi) couldnt be expected to do justice with such a weak script...& so naturally the film falls flat. The first half is an absolute bore with hardly anything happening while the second half does have it light moments involving the friends of John & that keeps you entertained. The climax again is totally filmy & as it was reminiscent in "Jaane Tu.." there's a race against time. The music by AR Rahman is below par & fails to lift the mood of the movie.

In the performance department, John is the only saving grace & has come up with a refreshing change as the Clark Kent type character as opposed to the hunk that we know him. Paakhi lacks impact & her chemistry with John is an absolute zilch. As for the support cast, Raghuram (as Omar) is really good & surprises us with his humour as we have been familiar only to his mean & sadistic attitude in MTV Roadies. The rest doesnt have much to do & seems fine with the performances that they render.

Verdict: The movie is bound to sink without a trace..as I dont see much takers for this, except for couples preferring some privacy in the coolness of the Multiplex. So in short, I would suggest that you guys give this movie a miss!!!

Regards....Ben

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rakta Charitra-1 review: Bloodbath & violence galore!!!

The much awaited first installment of "Rakta Charitra" has finally hit the theatres with lots of expectations. The movie had evoked much interest even before its release as it was based on the life of the slain Telugu leader & factionist Paritala Ravi. Ram Gopal Verma (RGV) is back to his home turf as picturising movies based on the linkage between violence & dirty politics has always been his forte.Here too, he delivers his product true to his name & with such a horrific real story at his disposal he just had to make the right moves.So has he delivered to our satisfaction????

The plot is basically the rise of the protogonist to power (Vivek Oberoi as Pratap Ravi)...however for those who doesnt have much idea about the subject,here's a peek view. Pratap's father(Veerabhadra) was the trusted lieutenant of the sitting MLA of Anantpur,Nagabhadra Reddy, which didnt go down well with the MLA's bro Nagamani Reddy (Kota Srinivasa). He poisons his bro's ears, who in turn orders the execution of Nagabhadra. What then follows is a bloodbath..as Pratap's bro Shankar (Sushant Singh) seeking revenge also gets killed. This entices the entry of Pratap into the bloody battle & how he rises up the ladder of power with backing of Sivaji Rao (as NTR essayed by Shatrughna Sinha).

RGV employs the usual techniques with which we are now pretty much familiar to...be it the chantings in the background, dangerous looking villains, frames with shades of grey,black & brown and finally camera zoomin in on the limbs or eyes. However, there is no denying the fact that he keeps us engaged mainly due to the fact that this is a true account of something which happened. We cant help letting out gasps at the way men are being butchered & women being mere objects of pleasure. One of the main turnoffs in this engaging violent movie is the eery narrator & loud background score which at times turns out to be a pain to the ears.There are certain areas where you might actually get bored due to excessive violence but the end will get you excited as it provides a sneak preview to the 2nd part..with Surya coming into the picture as his nemesis. The writer, Prashant Pandey has done a commendable job in covering all the important aspects of Paritala's life along with some slick editing work.

Coming to performances, I was totally blown away by Abhimanyu Singh (as Bukka Reddy..son of Nagamani)...you just cant help wondering as to how evil a man can be & to realise this man actually existed..really gives you the jitters. Abhimanyu was excellent to say the least & as played the role with such perfection that you actually hate him. Vivek has always been at ease playing the gangster role be it Company or Shootout at Lokhandwala..here too, he is at his absolute best & Shatrughna Sinha with his stature & booming voice is apt for the role. As for other characters, they just shuttle in & out of the frame..so there isnt much to be said.

Verdict: Well the movie is definitely a strict "NO" for the faint hearted..coz in my view, this is one of the most violent Hindi movies that has ever released. The story is definitely engaging as its true with an interesting end though the treatment is nothing new. Will it be a hit??? pretty hard to say as it will have a very selective & limited audience as it will be a turn off for the fairer sex. So in my opinion, do watch it if you are a fan of RGV gangster movies or else avoid it!!!!

Regards...Ben