Friday, December 23, 2011

Don 2 review: "The King reclaims his throne in style!!!"

Just a couple of days more before Xmas dawns upon us & what better way to celebrate than by a total paisa vasool movie. Well, SRK & Farhan Akhtar has promised just that with their latest venture "Don 2". After having enthralled the audience five years back with the remake of "Don", this one promises to be bigger, better & larger. So will the sequel live upto the expectations & help SRK dispel off the negative comments that he garnered for "Ra One"???


The biggest challenge in making the sequel to a blockbuster is undoubtedly the weight of expectations that the team would be carrying. SRK's "Don" was given a lukewarm reception prior to its release as the critics believed that he would struggle against Big B's original. But he proved them wrong as Farhan ensured that it would cater to the taste of the present day audience without being disrespectful to the original. In the sequel, the film unfolds with Don (SRK) taking down the assassins sent by the European drug mafia who fears his power & influence over their Asian operations. At this juncture, Don surrenders to Roma (Priyanka Chopra) & Malik (Om Puri) in Malaysia only to be jailed in the same prison as his foe Vardhan (Boman Irani). Slowly, it becomes evident that Don has a plan up his sleeve behind his surrenderal & helps Vardhan in absconding. So what was Don's plans & can the dreaded foes join hands ever??


Farhan Akhtar after having the luxury of a template in the prequel, comes up with an engrossing & well thought out script. Though the crux of the movie is basically a heist, the elements that went into the execution of the plan was commendable. However, the film isnt without its share of flaws as the first half seems to be devoid of any substance except for the initial couple of sequences. The film gathers tempo in the latter half & culminates in a fantastic climax though many of the sequences inside the bank were too drawn out & dragging. Another major letdown is the music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy while the visuals by Jason West were awesome especially the action sequences & car chases being on par with Hollywood. 

SRK has always been a maverick when it comes to playing the quintessential lover but he has an almost equivalent panache in essaying negative characters be it in "Darr", "Anjaam" or "Baazigar". As Don, SRK expresses his flamboyance & swagger in such ample measure, which will make the audiences swoon for more. It's an out & out SRK film, with his persona & performance completely overshadowing everyone else. Priyanka doesnt offer much while Boman Irani makes his presence felt in yet another impressive act. Kunal & Lara Dutta plays the supporting fiddle aptly. Hrithik on the back of cinematic liberties does an important cameo as well.

Verdict: There is no doubt that the film will have a fantastic opening with various factors working in its favour. With an impressive second half particularly the climax, the film will ensure packed houses for a week or so. In short, it's a sure shot hit. So dont miss it!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Venicile Vyapari review: "Old wine in old bottle!!!"

It's a well known fact that many in the film industry are superstitious when it comes to the release of their craft...be it Salman's obsession for Id release or Aamir's belief on a Xmas release. Incidentally, I believe even Shafi might be harboring superstitions or it might be a figment of my imagination. The reason for imagining so is due to the fact that Shafi completed a hat-trick of Xmas hits last year with "Lollypop" (2008), "Chattambinadu" (2009) & "Marykundoru Kunjaadu" (2010). So can he add "Venicile Vyapari" as an another hit to his impressive career graph with Mammootty, who badly needs to finish the year on a high???


The promos has already created a hype as the whole film seems to be shot in retro style. As expected, the plot happens in 1980s when the Ajayan murder case, (Bijumenon: a prominent labour leader) has been giving sleepless nights to the police force. Though there has been circumstantial evidence implicating the involvement of Alikoya (Sreeraman), a feudal trader; the police has been helpless owing to his power & influence. It is at this juncture that Constable Pavithran (Mammooty) is entrusted with the case. To get into the heart of the issue, Pavithran disguises as a trader which eventually leads him to get acquainted with Ajayan's sister Ammu (Kavya Madhavan). In due time, his business prospers & that invites the wrath of the Chungathara family. So will he able to safeguard his true purpose or gets eliminated in the process???


Whenever the name Shafi props up, the audience relates his films to be high on entertainment with comedy being the main ingredient. Here too, the build of the plot in the first half did inspire hopes though there was a definite void in terms of spark. James Albert, who had delivered good scripts in the form of "Classmates", "Cycle" etc., fails to live upto expectations. The film moves along predictable lines & fails to brings about any unexpected twists or turns in the second half. However, the cinematography & art direction does deserve a word of praise for recreating the 80s feel in terms of costumes & locales, which though slackens off in the latter half. Bijibal fails to impress with his music with the remixed version of the classic "Kannum Kannum" being a damp squid.

The role of Pavithran, hardly posed any challenges to Mammootty who tried his best to breathe some life into the lifeless script. Kavya does have her moments in the first half but gets side-lined later on. As for the supporting cast, Salim Kumar & Suraj does manage to tickle the funny bone at times.

Verdict: The retro style & the brand names Mammootty & Shafi will ensure a decent opening, but in due time it will fizzle out. With the film hardly providing anything different, its unlikely to create any rushes in this Xmas season. In short, you may as well wait for the movie to come on TV & hope for a wonderful 2012 for Mammootty!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oru Marubhoomi Kadha review: "Dynamic trio recreate some of the magic!!!"

Without doubt, 2011 has been one of the best years of Malayalam film industry in recent times both in terms of quality & hits. Starting with "Traffic", there has been a varied array of films enticing the audience to the theatres. With Priyan making a comeback to Malayalam after a hiatus, there has been a huge hype surrounding his latest venture with his friend & favourite star Lalettan in "Oru Marubhoomi Kadha". So can they recreate their magic & cap off a successful year for the industry & Lalettan???


Whenever Priyan is at the helm of things the audience can be assured of a couple of things namely it would be inspired from some film, lots of helter skeltering, mistaken identity etc. As expected, this venture also treads along this very path. Madhavan Nair (Lalettan), is the Chief Accountant of an Arab Company who has made it to the top through hard work & dedication. In due time, he meets up with his better half Meenakshi (Lakshmi Rai) & gets engaged, only to realise that she has been double crossing him with his boss. Heart broken he makes a bid to end his life, but destiny had other plans for him as he ends up with his jobless friend, Abdu (Mukesh) & a kidnapped girl, Aleena (Bhavana). So how is he going to get out of this mess???


After having enthralled Bollywood, Priyan is back on his home turf to replicate yet another memorable hit with Lalettan as they had done innumerable times in the past. Shot almost exclusively in the Gulf, "Oru Marubhoomi Kadha" showcases Priyan's time & tested formula. The plot is inspired from "Nothing to Lose", starring Tim Robbins & Martin Lawrence with the first 15 mins being a rip off from "Serendipity". The first half doesnt pack a punch until Mukesh makes his entry after which it becomes a laugh riot. However, the second half fails to maintain the tempo as the laughs were far & few culminating in a decent climax. The biggest drawback is undoubtedly the length as it runs close to 3 hours which takes a toll on the audience at times. If it was crispier by 20 mins, it would have done wonders!!!

Lalettan's caliber as an actor has been proved beyond doubt & he has definitely rendered an impressive performance. But the star of the movie is undoubtedly, Mukesh who still lights the screen with his witty one liners & "tharikida". Bhavana was equal to the task with the veterans with her flair & haughty attitude. As for the rest of the cast, they do their jigs aptly. Surprisingly, the camera work by Azhagappan left a lot to be desired especially in the wide angle shots. M.G Sreekumar's music were hummable but the title track & BGM were a blatant rip off from an Arabic song & "The Good, Bad, Ugly" respectively.

Verdict: The hype & track record of the duo will ensure a thunderous opening for the movie. Though the promos reminded one of "Kakkakuyil" & "Chandralekha"  and the length being a deterrent for many, it should be able to hold its own. In short, I believe it's gonna be a hit & definitely worth a one time watch!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Osthi review: "Strictly for Simbu fans!!!"

Bollywood has always been the hub of remakes be it from regional languages or Hollywood. However, once in a blue moon the trend tends to reverse as in the case of "Dabaang". After having broken all kind of records, this has been the most sought after film in many languages. But to do it first is in Tamil as "Osthi", which is the directorial venture of Dharani starring Simbu. So can "Osthi" reach the lofty heights set by its original??? Hmm..seems like a tough chance!!!


Actually, I believe it's unnecessary to elaborate on the plot, since almost everyone would have seen the original. However, for those who have no clue as to what it's about..here's a sneak peek. Osthi Velan (Simbu) is the Inspector of Tirunelveli, a modern day Robin Hood who tries to fight against the corrupt system in his own unique style. This attitude caused him to fall on the wrong side of the prominent gangster, Boxer Daniel (Sonu Sood). Daniel plays all kind of dirty tricks to eliminate Osthi but to no avail, until he stumbles upon the idea of utilising the rivalry between Osthi & his half brother, Balan (Jitha Ramesh). So will Daniel's master plan provide him the result that he craves for???


Dharani has stuck to the original as faithfully as possible, along with making sure that he had the cast & crew spot on. Just as in "Dabaang", Simbu plays to the gallery with aplomb be it for his punch dialogues or his action sequences. Another major plus point is the music by Thaman, which is in complete sync with the mood of the film with Pondaati rendered by Simbu & Neduvaali rendered by Rahul Nambiar being the pick among the lot. Being a remake, comparisons are inevitable & frankly speaking, I felt Salman's Chubul Pandey was much more endearing & impactful.

There is no point in comparing Simbu with Salman, but there is no denying the fact that he has given a thumping performance which will have his fans in a frenzy. Richa Gangopadhyay who had impressed one & all with her performance in "Mayakkam Enna", doesnt have much scope unlike Sonakshi Sinha. Sonu Sood has delivered a decent act which though is certainly not at par with his performance in "Dabaang". As for the remaining cast, Ramesh, Nasser & Revathy do justice while Santhanam does manage to tickle the funny bone at times.

Verdict: There is no doubt that it will have a thunderous opening owing to the star appeal & curiosity factor. However, it doesnt offer anything out of the ordinary except for Simbu's bindaas performance. In short, if you are not a Simbu fan dont even bother watching!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben



Ladies vs Ricky Bahl review: "Fails to recreate Band Baaja magic!!!"

We are now into the final month of 2011 & with just a handful of movies to hit the silver screens before this year is confined to history. As one would vividly recall the biggest surprise of 2010 was the success of "Band Baaja Baaraat", so one can naturally understand the expectations when the same team comes together for "Ladies vs Ricky Bahl". So can they repeat their glorious history???


Nowadays, whenever we open the newspapers there's a plethora of incidents related to conning. Incidentally, Maneesh Sharma has weaved his story based on this very concept. Dimple (Parineeti Chopra), is the reckless daughter of a rich Delhi businessman, who is head over heels for her fitness trainer boyfriend, Sunny (Ranveer Singh). After having gained the confidence of Dimple's parents, Sunny pulls a fast one on them before vanishing for good. His next target was Raina (Dipannita Sharma), a no-nonsense fiercely competitive corporate lady who was duped on the pretext of obtaining M.F Hussain's painting for her boss by posing as an art dealer, Deven. Feeling suspicious, Dimple contacts Raina who is also being contacted by a similar victim, Saira (Aditi Sharma) & realises that they have all been conned by the same person. The girls now hatch a plan to con the seasoned player with the help of Ishika (Anushka Sharma), a smart sales girl. So will the girls have the last laugh???


Though the idea of the story was interesting, I wouldnt term it as original as it seems definitely inspired from the Tamil  flick "Naan Avan Illai".It's always easy when you are a debutant as there is no weight of expectations. But once you shine through in that phase, then things can get a bit too tough to handle as Maneesh would have felt. Maneesh kicks off the first half in a lively manner with much of the credit owing to Parineeti's impressive performance. Even the second con also manages to keep the audience interested but from then on, the film fails to keep up with the tempo. The second half  invariably focuses on the girls trying to get back to him, but it doesnt attract as much attention. Habib Faisal's dialogues are witty while the music by Salim Sulaiman is hip.
 
Rather than the protagonists, the person who impressed me the most was Parineeti Chopra who was brilliant as the demanding yet crazy Dimple. It's mainly due to her, that the first half was so enjoyable not to forget some of her witty one liners in the latter half as well. Ranveer has done a decent job with nothing much to go ga-ga but he does have the knack for being flirtatious while Anushka was impressive as always exuding confidence. As for the rest, both Dipannita & Aditi have done justice to their roles.

Verdict: The initials are bound to be impressive owing to the expectations generated due to the stupendous success of their first film. With an impressive first half coupled with a decent second half, it should do average business in Multiplexes though it wont repeat the success of "Band Baaja Baaraat". In short, you my give it a try if you have time to spare!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Dirty Picture review: "Vidya sweeps us off our feet!!!"

Since the turn of the new millennium, India has undergone a sea of change in all spheres of life due to the influence of the Western world. Though various factors contributed to this inevitable turn of events, the film industry has to thank the one & only, Silk Smitha. In the 80's, to utter the word "sex" itself was considered taboo, so it was almost unimaginable to show skin on screen until Silk broke that mind set. Now Milan Luthria, decided to celebrate this sex siren in the form of a biopic titled "The Dirty Picture". So can Milan recreate the magic of his previous biopic "Once upon a time in Mumbai"???


Silk Smitha's life has been the talk of the film industry as it chronicled the meteoric rise of a highly motivated female unperturbed by anything until a point reaches where she presses on the self destruction mode. The film unfolds with Reshma (Vidya Balan) makes an escape from her home to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress. After facing numerous rejections, she finally lands the role of a seductive siren which catapults her to stardom & gives her the name "Silk".

Her romance or more appropriately, her sexual favours for the undisputed egoistical middle aged superstar, Suryakant (Naseeruddin Shah) lands her with numerous stereotypical roles much to the displeasure of noted film makers such as Abraham (Emraan Hashmi). Though how much ever provocative & bold she appeared, she yearned for the love of someone which eventually makes her dump Suryakant for whom she was nothing but an object of desire. At this juncture, Ramakant (Tusshar Kapoor) (Surya's brother), provides her with the support & love that she had hoped for. But things werent going to pan out as she had wished for.  So what eventually destroys her career & life???


There is no doubt that Milan Luthria in the company of Rajat Arora has given a very praise worthy movie both in terms of content & performances. Just as in "Once upon a time..", the dialogues here are equally fantastic as it conveys a lot in a sly yet hard hitting way...be it Silk's speech at the award ceremony or her conversation with Abraham at the canteen. The first half was right on the money as it showcases the rise of Silk & subsequently the latter half on her fall. Though the second half does slacken off in the romantic sequences, it doesnt necessarily bore the audience as it has some hard hitting scenes. Vishal Shekhar does provide a decent soundtrack with "Oo la la" rendered by Bappi Lahiri & Shreya Ghoshal being a winner with the awesome choreography reminiscent of the 80s being the icing on the cake.

I have virtually no words to describe the brilliant performance by Vidya. Though she does lack the sultry look & sex appeal of Silk, Vidya hasnt left any stone unturned to get into the skin of the character both emotionally & physically. Naseeruddin Shah is an actor par excellence & here too, he reiterates the fact as to why he is considered as one of the best in the country. Tusshar does seem to be a miscast while Emraan Hashmi does manage to give a decent act in the limited screen space provided.

Verdict:  The movie will have a blistering opening owing to its titillating promos & impressive star cast. There is no doubt that the impressive screenplay, smashing dialogues & Vidya's scintillating act will go a long way in making it a hit. In short, watch it without fail!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben




Beautiful review: "Decent effort but caters to a Multiplex audience!!!"

After the month long strike within the Malayalam industry, things have slowly started to tide back to normalcy with the release of films since last week. With the last month of the year upon us which is incidentally one of the eagerly awaited money spinning period as well, there is an abundance of films to hit the screens. So kicking off this highly anticipated season is V.K Prakash's "Beautiful". Due to Prakash's interesting track record along with the script by Anoop Menon, it wouldnt be prudent to suggest that the audience does harbor positive vibes. So can the duo spark off a beautiful start to December???


Stephen Louis (Jayasurya) is a multi millionaire paraplegic, who believes in living life to the fullest rather than brooding over his misfortune. After having lived in various places, he decides to make Cochin his base. Just as one would expect, money breeds pseudo affection & Stephen was very well aware of it due to which maintained a stoic distance with his relatives who were plotting for his demise. On one of his outings to a restaurant, he meets up with John (Anoop Menon), a musician & offers him a better offer for being his personal singer. Before long, they become good friends & it is at this juncture that Anjali (Meghna Raj), turns up to be the home nurse for Stephen. So will Anjali be a bone of contention in their friendship & will Stephen's kin be successful in their plan???


The last few years has seen a host of impressive films focussing on mentally or physically challenged characters, be it "Thanmatra", "Black", "Guzaarish", "Taare Zameen Par" or "Deiva Thirumagal". So when I first saw the promos of "Beautiful", I was apprehensive whether it would be an spin off from "Guzaarish". However, Anoop Menon dispelled off all such doubts & comes up with a pretty decent script. The one thing which really caught my fancy were the dialogues as it was natural intermingled with humour & philosophy. Though not blockbusters, V.K Prakash does have an impressive track record be it "Karmayogi", "Gulumal" or "Freaky Chakra". Over here as well, the first half does have its light moments without ever stooping down to the sympathetic mode while the second half brings about a twist culminating in a swift climax. The flaw which many might feel, though I dont entirely agree to is the pace of the movie as it tends to slack at times.

V.K Prakash with the protagonists
Jayasurya is one of those very few actors who always tries to do something different be it in his choice of script & body language. Though at times, he tends to go overboard with his act; this time around he has given a restrained yet apt act in keeping with the character. Anoop Menon has always experimented with off beat type of characters which is realistic & as expected, he comes up with a winner here as well. Meghna Raj with her gorgeous looks has also delivered a decent performance along with Tini Tom & the rest of the supporting cast. Another aspect which deserves special mention is the music by Ratheesh Vega especially "Mazhaneer Thullikal" rendered by Unni Menon being the talk of youtube ever since it released.

Verdict: The cast & crew are unlikely to attract a full house, however the impressive sound track & promos should provide a well needed impetus. Though there isnt anything significant to find fault with the film, it wouldnt cater to the mass audience owing to its off beat nature. Frankly speaking, I believe it's a pretty decent effort & does deserve a watch!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben




Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mayakkam Enna: "Brothers' combo rocks in this slow yet engaging movie!!!

Since the last few years, the quality of movies being churned out by the Tamil film industry has left everyone flabbergasted. Once upon a time, it was all about super human heroes but with time their thinking evolved with the inception of several promising youngsters. Without doubt, Selvaraghavan is one of the prominent directors among this present lot. He collaborates with his National Award winning brother, Dhanush for the fourth time in "Mayakkam Enna". So can the brothers churn out a winner yet again???


Just as in his previous movies, Selvaraghavan touches upon the different facets of a person's character through the various stages of his life. Here the protagonist is Karthik Swaminathan (Dhanush), a struggling freelance photographer who dreams of making it into the big league someday. Though he shoots portfolios & weddings for covering his expenses, his love has always been wildlife photography & idolises the ace photographer, Madhesh Krishnaswamy (Ravi Prasad). Karthik & his sister being orphans, were always in the company of their friends with Sundar being one of them who dates Yamini (Richa) .Though Karthik & Yamini were at loggerheads initially, that hatred eventually turns into love & finally culminates into marriage. In the meantime, Karthik is duped by Madhesh on the pretext of making him his assistant only to realise later on that his snaps won the best photography award but in Madhesh's name. This incident virtually shatters him, plunging him into a self destruction mode which puts his marriage on the rocks. So will Karthik ever be able to resurrect from this depression???


Selvaraghavan's films has always attracted be it "Kadhal Kondein", "7G Rainbow Colony" or "Ayirathil Oruvan". The major strength of this movie is its off beat yet strong script, with all the various elements added in an apt measure. The first half of the movie focuses on the frustration of Karthik on failing to get a break inspite of repeated efforts. At the same time, he expresses his anguish & guilt on falling in love with his friend's lover. The second half changes gears drastically as it's high on melodrama with the iron willed wife taking lead & making efforts to make things right. On the whole the film is slow, but the events & brilliant performances make it for an interesting watch.

Dhanush seems to be getting better with each & every movie, as he comes up with a brilliant performance yet again post "Aadukalam". Unlike "Aadukalam", this role required him to display varying body language as there is a plethora of emotions flowing through the length of the film. Richa's debut was equally praise worthy as she performs on par with Dhanush, with her dubbing artist Deepa Venkat deserving a word of praise as well. Sundhar was apt as his friend while Ravi Prasad as the arrogant & selfish Madhesh being right on the money. The music & BGM by G.V Prakash was outstanding with visuals by Ramji being a delight for the senses.

Verdict: The impressive track record of the brothers will ensure a good opening at the box office. With almost all the various aspects of the film being top notch, it will have the box office bells ringing in earnest. In short, it's a well made film with impressive performances; so dont miss it!!!

Rating: 4/5

Regards...Ben

Desi Boyz review: "Entertaining yet a no brainer time pass!!!"

It's common knowledge that there has been a dearth of good clean comedies in Bollywood in the last few years. If at all anything of that genre does appear, it invariably hovers around slap stick stuff with ample reference to gay jokes. Trying to bring back some of the wholesome clean comedies is Rohit Dhawan, son of the undisputed king of comedies,David Dhawan. So can Rohit's directorial debut "Desi Boyz" live upto the expectations imparted by the catchy promos, stunning male protagonists & lineage???


Recession is one of the most dreaded yet most oft used word since the past few years. As one would expect, Europe & the US are the worst affected leading to wide spread unemployment. Jerry Patel (Akshay Kumar) & Nick Mathur (John Abraham) are the best of pals settled in UK. Nick is an investment banker, who had everything that he had wished for..a beautiful fiance, smashing career & a heavy paycheck. On the other hand, Jerry had petty jobs but survived living off Nick. Finally the day arrived, when recession came knocking on their door rendering them jobless. It's in such a scenario that they bump into Desi Boyz Boss (Sanjay Dutt) who offers them the job of male escorts. Though reluctant initially, they take it up as Nick harboured fears of losing Radhika (Deepika) while Jerry had to prevent his nephew,Veer from being sent to a foster home. But their fears turn into reality when their profession becomes known. So how can they get it all back???


Rohit does manage to create a sense of reality by infusing a real life crisis into the plot. As a matter of fact, the first half does entertain the audience as the protagonists share a smashing chemistry interlaced with some really jovial moments. However, the second half falls flat as the film hardly moves forward for John's character as he is seen just wooing Deepika the whole time. Akki does manage to do something more but his track doesnt imply much significance & the film slowly drags to a typical climax. In short, Rohit wasnt able to do anything that will stamp his uniqueness. Pritam's music was outstanding as the title track rendered by K.K & B.o.B is a chart buster not to forget the catchy choreography along with Mika's "Subha Hone Na De". The BGM also deserves mention especially for the revamped version of "Khalnayak".

Akki is a veteran of comedies as his timing is spot on as always while John has definitely grown a lot as an actor & seems much at ease handling comedy as opposed to his performance in "Garam Masala". Their smashing chemistry makes it a delight for the audience as they exude charisma & camaraderie. Deepika didnt have much scope while Chitrangda was reduced to a sexy Economics professor.However, Sanju baba sizzles in his brief cameo, Omi Vaidya tickes the funny bone while Anupam Kher was wasted.

Verdict: The catchy promos & chart-bustering songs will ensure a good opening at the box office. The film is marketed as a popcorn munching entertainer which doesnt take a toll on your brain cells. In short, if you watch it without expectations you will have stuff to laugh about in the first half!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nayika review: " Interesting thread but Jayaraj falters!!!"

Finally after weeks of dispute between the various sectors of the Malayalam film industry, this weekend heralded the release of Jayaraj's "Nayika" much to the relief of the movie starved audience. The film has already attracted attention owing to its hatke promos, not to forget the fact that one of the greatest yesteryear heroine Sarada is doning the grease paint after a hiatus. Jayaraj is one of those directors whose directorial qualities keeps fluctuating like a pendulum. So the question now is whether the film is as good as what the trailer conveys or is it just a smokescreen???


Aleena (Mamta Mohandas) was the grand daughter of noted director Job, who had calls the shots for many a star. Prominent among them was Grace (Sarada), who ruled the silver screen until her sudden disappearance. This prompts Aleena to unfurl the mystery in the form of a documentary. But things werent going to be easy, as Grace was leading a life of seclusion owing to her mental imbalance. As part of her search for truth, she meets up with many of Grace's colleagues starting with Stephen Muthalali (Siddique), the owner of the production studio under whose banner she had many successful films with the evergreen superstar Anand (Jayaram). Slowly, Aleena comes across stories regarding Grace's romance & the suicide of her adopted daughter Vani (Sarayu). But the more she came to know, the more suspicious she becomes. Are there many more skeletons to tumble out of the cupboard???


Whenever I have come across any film displaying the fictitious disclaimer, I have always taken it with a pinch of salt. The same situation happens here as well & there is no denying the fact that many of the characters & events has been inspired from real life with a wisp of fiction. Deedi Damodaran has incorporated many real life events such as Vijaysree's suicide following her wardrobe malfunction in "Ponnapuram Kotta", Jayaram's character which was a mix of  Prem Nazir's mannerisms along with Sathyan's last few months etc. Deedi definitely had an interesting thread but it failed to produce an impact as expected mainly due to Jayaraj's inadequacy. Some of the sequences such as recreating the past seemed appalling as many of the characters seemed to have drank from the fountain of agelessness. Hardly anything happens in the first half since the build up of events does takes an awful lot of time, while the latter half impresses in spurts.

Padmapriya enacting the younger Grace has rendered an impressive performance while Sarada fails to impart as much impact as one would expect. Jayaram was spot on with his mannerisms though it was very much like a glorified guest appearance. Siddique once again showcases his acting prowess while Sarayu was apt in her small yet prominent role. The music by M.K Arjunan was impressive as many of the songs managed to impart a nostalgic feel keeping in with the mood of the movie. As for other aspects, I dont believe it has much to praise nor despise.

Verdict: The film will not open the flood gates, but it will have an average opening owing to the movie starved audience & interesting promos. However, the execution impacts the film majorly driving away any scope of having word of mouth in its favour. Though it does have an interesting thread on the lines of "Thirikatha", it drags at many sequences. In short, it's worth a one time watch but not in theatre!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rockstar review: "3 R's: Ranbir & Rahman rocks!!!"

It's been almost three weeks since SRK's "Ra One" has hit the screens. Though it did become one of the highest grossers of all time, it's gigantic production cost meant it's an average success. With exhaustive publicity & an unprecedented release in over 4000 screens , the whole industry were expecting it to break all existing records.It might be due to this very fact, that there has been no releases until Imtiaz Ali decided to break the dead  lock with his Ranbir starrer "Rockstar". So can Imtiaz continue his purple patch especially with Ranbir & Rahman giving him company???


Rock music is one of those genres which has been diversified so much that defining it in a single line is difficult. However, through the ages there has been an array of dynamic rock artists who captured the imagination of the audience be it Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen or Jim Morrison. Janardhan Jakkar/JJ/Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor) from Delhi's Pitampura is one of those individuals who dreams of becoming a cult  like Jim Morrison. The film unfolds in Prague where Jordan mesmerises the audience with his concert. But his journey from a middle class aspiring singer to the charismatic icon hasnt been easy. After having faced rejection & humiliation initially, Janardhan stumbles upon the idea adviced by his well wisher that all great musicians had gone through heart break & pain. This entices him to flirt with the college heart throb Heer (Nargis Fakhri), hoping that she would break his heart. But things gets worser than he had anticipated. So will Jordan get Heer or was this the sacrifice that he had to make to attain stardom???


Imtiaz Ali's brand of films has always sparked curiosity as it invariably focuses on contemporary romance ignited between two unlike individuals with the female usually being of the wild type be it Geet of "Jab We Met" or Meera of "Luv Aaj Kal". In addition it will be a travelogue of sorts, traversing various awesome locales. This is pretty much the case in "Rockstar" as well, but I would have to say this was a far riskier & braver attempt. The first half tracks the transformation of Janardhan to Jordan along with some exhilarating moments between the lead pairs. But the second half fails to live upto the expectations as it meanders along aimlessly & finally concluding in a rather tame manner with the audience given the option to infer.

A.R Rahman is at his absolutely best with the music setting the charts on fire & also it seams in perfectly with the mood of the film. Though "Sadda Haq" is the most popular as of now, all the others are equally impressive since various genres has been tackled with equal finesse. The visuals by Anil Mehta is another aspect which deserves a special mention.

Rahman & Ranbir at the music launch
Time & again, Ranbir has proved that he is indeed the future of Bollywood. There is no doubt regarding the amount of effort that he puts into each project that he commits. Over here as well, Ranbir has been absolutely stunning; infact the very best in his career as he transforms from the innocent, jovial character to the edgy, temperamental Jordan & this film will definitely go down in his career graph as one of the standout ones. Without sounding over zealous, I believe that he is gonna sweep all the awards next year. Nargis definitely has the looks & shares amazing chemistry with Ranbir, but she has got to work on her acting skills.Shammi Kapoor graces the silver screen for the last time ever & puts in an impressive act.

Verdict: The film will have an impressive opening owing to the catchy promos & film drought since "Ra One". Being made at a modest 60 crores, I believe it will have the urban audiences interested. In short, the film lacks punch in the second half but it should still garner impressive returns. As far as my opinion goes, it's definitely a one time watch as Ranbir & Rahman are at their absolute best!!!

Rating: 3.25/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Velayudham review: "Typical Vijay flick!!!"

Whenever Diwali sets in Tamil Nadu, the trumpets are blown setting the battle field as to which superstar racks in the moolah. This time around with "Ra One" also hitting the screens, it inevitably meant only Vijay & Suriya will be slugging it out for the honours. After the stupendous success of "Kaavalan", Vijay seems to have got his sagging career graph back on track with a handful of interesting projects. First among them is "Velayudham", which has been promoted as a mass masala flick. The question now is whether it's the same old stuff in a newer poster???


Terrorism seems to be gripping the nation like never before & has been extending its tentacles on South India with renewed vigour. This is the very content that the film touches upon with Bharati (Genelia), a free lance promising journalist who tries to expose the nexus the between the Home Minister & the terrorists. But unfortunately, her efforts were to of no avail which eventually leads to the death of her colleagues. This incident inspires her to create a fictional character "Velayudham", who is portrayed as a crusader against injustice. Incidentally, a person named Velayudham (Vijay), who is a doting brother happens to land up in Chennai at the same time to make arrangements for his sister, Kaveri's (Saranya Mohan) wedding. But destiny had different plans for him, as circumstances forces him to become the fictional crusader. So can he make a difference in this corrupt society???


M.Raja is one of the prominent names in Tamil industry, mainly for being the director who specialises in remakes with his brother Jayam Ravi being the star in all his previous ventures. This time around he has traversed the same path but changed the lead character as "Velayudham" is said to be inspired from Nagarjuna's "Azad" with the costume also an inspiration from "Assassin Creed". Anywaz, Raja has packed the flick with all the masala that would be lapped up by the masses be it Vijay's intro song, glamour gals or the super human action. Vijay Antony's music is another factor which draws the audience with Sonna Puriyadhu rendered by himself & Chillax by Karthik setting the tempo.

Coming to the performances, Vijay is back in his comfort zone & he gives a thumping performance be it dance,comedy or action sequences. Hansika Motwani as Vaidehi was an apt choice with her confidence & oomph factor. Saranya Mohan was at ease while Genelia also delivers the goods aptly. Santhanam, the present comedy sensation does manage to tickle the funny bone while Abhimanyu Singh didnt have much to do other than make good use of his vocal cords & flare his nostrils.

Verdict: Being the festive season, the masses will be looking forward to various genres of films on display & one such genre is the masala mix peppered with dance, action & glamour. Well "Velayudham" offers you just that & though it's the same old Vijay flick, this seemed much more enjoyable as opposed to "Kuruvi", "Sura" or "Villu". In short, this should rack in the cash & if at all you are into Vijay you may give it a try or else leave it!!!

Regards...Ben

Rating: 2/5


Thursday, October 27, 2011

7am arivu review: "Linking the plots fails to make sense!!!"

Diwali is one festival which is looked forward to much gusto & mirth by Tollywood as it believes that the box office will also be metamorphically lit up. As one would expect, almost all of the major stars will inevitably have a movie on this auspicious occasion. This time around, its the much famed Suriya-Muragadoss-Harris Jayaraj combo's latest offering "7am arivu" which has caught the audience's imagination. After having enthralled the audience with "Ghajini", it's quite natural that the masses would settle for nothing less than a blockbuster. But can they live upto the hype???


If we browse through the pages of history, the first thing that strikes us is the undeniable fact as to how instrumental our country has been in contributing to the history of mankind be it science, maths, wealth, culture etc. But unfortunately, we Indians have a mindset that pastures on the other side are greener. Interestingly, Muragadoss has touched upon the topic of Bodhidharma, creator of the renowned Shaolin martial art who was believed to have hailed from the Pallava dynasty in Kanchipuram (6th century) which beyond doubt exhibits the ignorance of many of us.

Bodhidharma (Suriya) renounces his royalty & leads the life of an ascetic before settling down in China. Here, he imparts wisdom regarding medicinal plants and trains them in martial arts till his last breath. Fast forward to the present day, where China is involved in a fierce cold war with India & on the back of which they come up with Operation Red on whose completion they believe will have India on its knees. They entrust the task to Dong Lee (Johnny Tri Nguyen) along with the mission to eliminate the researcher Shubha Srinivasan (Shruti Hasan). So what was Operation Red & why was Shubha's death so necessary for the Chinese???


Muragadoss has come up with two interesting sections within the movie, one dealing with Bodhidharma & the latter on the present day crisis. The first 20 mins which dealt with Bodhidharma was outstanding to say the least & raises the expectations of the audience. But what then follows is a downward slide which finally culminates in a disappointing climax. Though the Operation Red idea was interesting, Muragadoss's attempt to connect the past with the present was whimsical. It might also due to the fact that I am a researcher, due to which I found many of the sequences totally absurd like seeing DNA through a microscope etc.

Cast & crew at the music launch by Dhanush
Coming to performances, Suriya was outstanding as the ascetic exuding calmness & wisdom while his present day avatar didnt have much scope other than flexing his muscles. This is one movie where the villain gets as much screen space as the hero & Johnny totally deserves it for his cold blooded attitude mingled with being  drop dead handsome. Shruti Hasan has finally managed to come up with an act which deserves a word of praise after some forgettable movies. As for other aspects, Ravi Chandran's visuals were stunning while Jayaraj's music were hummable but the BGM for the villain left a lot to be desired for.

Verdict: There are no prizes for guessing that the film will garner an outstanding initial owing to the reputation of the crew & impressive promos. However, the loopholes in the script coupled with some repeated sequences such as the mass hypnotism will act as a dampener. In short, there is no harm in giving it a try if you dont pile up your expectations!!!

Regards...Ben

Rating: 3/5


Ra One review: "Well executed interesting concept!!!"

After months of hype, anticipation & exhaustive publicity, "Ra One" has finally hit the screens on the day of festival of lights. With Salman ruling the roost since the past two years, it's high time that SRK regained his throne as the Baadshah of Bollywood. As opposed to all his previous ventures which inevitably portrays him as the quintessential lover with his hands spread out & skewed posture, this time around he has touched upon the topic of superheroes. With "Enthiran" having set a bench-mark, it's now about raising the bar & SRK has busted about 150 Cr to ensure that's it on par with Hollywood. But the question now is whether it will be a profitable venture???


In the present day, video-games are a rage among the youngsters be it "Final Fantasy", "Resident Evil" etc., & this is the very concept that is being dealt here. Shekhar Subramanium (SRK) is the master brain of Barron Industries who are one of the world leaders in video gaming. However, Shekhar always fails to impart much of an impact on his son Pratheek (Armaan Verma). It is in this process of being his son's hero, that Shekhar comes up with his latest invention "Ra One", boasting of a villain even powerful than the hero. Just as things starts to fall into place, all hell breaks lose when Ra One enters into the real world with the aim of killing Lucifer (Pratheek's gamer name). In order to protect Pratheek, the most logical solution seemed getting the hero of the game, G One into the real world. So will Pratheek's desire for a powerful villain spell his own doom???


There is no denying the fact, that we Indians do cosy up to the sci-fi flicks churned out by Hollywood while imparting a step motherly attitude to our own efforts in the same genre. This is usually due to the lack of perfection & at times purely due to a pre-conceived notion that it feels illogical when we attempt it. Without doubt, SRK & Anubhav Sinha has taken a huge risk in making this dream a reality. Anubhav was ably supported in the scripting by Kanika Dhillon, Mushtaq Sheikh & David Benullo; and frankly speaking the concept was truly interesting.

Unlike Hollywood, where money isnt much of an issue recreating such a venture onto celluloid in India would require a strong financial backing & SRK along with Eros has more than ensured that. The VFX team under the watchful eyes of Jeff Kleiser ("Stargate" fame) was a revelation & has come up with the best effects ever seen in India. The same goes for the stunts by Andy Gill & Spiro Razatos, with stunning visuals by V Manikandan & Nicola Picorini. The music by Vishal-Shekhar was fantastic to say the least with "Chammak Chalo" & "Criminal" rendered by Akon setting the charts on fire. 

SRK, Akon, Kareena & Anubhav Sinha
SRK as G-One was pretty good, but hasnt done anything that would make us look at him with awe unlike Rajni who blew our minds away with "Enthiran". It might be due to this very fact, that SRK has roped in Rajni for a guest appearance in his Chitti avatar, which had the audiences in a frenzy. Arjun Rampal as Ra One appears only in the 2nd half & he definitely looked menacing while Kareena as Sonia has imparted a decent act . However it was Armaan, who has delivered the best performance in the movie as he seemed confident & doesnt seem overrawed by the presence of such huge stars.

Verdict: Over all the movie was impressive with an interesting concept which was brilliantly executed. However, unlike "Enthiran", we definitely feel that there was scope for more death defying stunts as it seems too few & far apart for a movie of this scale. The movie will have a killer opening & without sounding boastful I believe that it's on its way to being one of the biggest hits ever. In short, I believe that you guys should definitely give it a try for its technical perfection!!!

Regards...Ben

Rating: 3.5/5


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Indian Rupee review: "Prithviraj finally impresses the audience after a hiatus!!!"

Dussehra is one festival which is eagerly awaited by the kids as it gives them the license not to open the books citing pooja. In such a scenario, its natural that the film fraternity would love to cash in on the holiday mood. With Lalettan having kick started the festive mood last week with "Snehaveedu", it was now time for the so-called heir apparent Prithviraj. After having gone through a lean patch & not to forget the flak he has been receiving for his attitude, Prithvi badly needs a solo hit. So this time he has  sought the help of his mentor & ace director Renjith. But can Renjith bring about a revival in his fortunes???..hmm, tough question to answer!!!


Just as the title suggests, the film is a satirical take onto what extent an individual will go to get his hands on the pink bundles of Gandhi even if at the cost of honesty & integrity. Jayaprakash or JP (Prithvi) as he is fondly called, is a pawn in the real estate business who dreams of making it big one day. Finally, an opportunity comes knocking in the form of Achutha Menon (Thilakan), who approaches JP & CH (Tini Tom) to sell off his land. But to their dismay, the deal doesnt go through but Achutha Menon's experience & smart thinking turns out to be a blessing for them for securing another deal. But things gets murkier as JP have to satisfy certain stipulations for sealing the deal. So will JP get sucked into the quicksand of corruption???


After the brilliant "Prachiyettan & the Saint", Renjith is back once again with a well crafted movie. Though the movie lacked the punch early on, it gradually picks up momentum with elements of situational humour & suspense being built up aptly. The music by Shahabaz Aman was fine especially "Ee puzhayum" rendered by Vijay Yesudas but it's picturisation was appalling to say the least. As for other aspects, there is nothing to rave about nor swear at.

In the performance department, Prithvi has come up with an impressive act & seems to be at ease with light moments which was quite unlike him previously. Thilakan makes a stunning comeback, reiterating the fact that he is still one of the best actor alive. As a matter of fact, he carries the movie in the first half before handing it over to Prithvi subsequently. Tini Tom was as proficient as Prithvi while Rima Kallingal deserves a word of praise. The remaining star cast of Jagathy, Mammukoya, Seenath etc., were spot on with their acts as well.

Verdict: Renjith's brand value & the Puja holidays will ensure a good opening for the movie. It definitely has a credible script coupled with some brilliant performances which should satiate the audience. In short, Prithvi has come up with his best performance in recent times & more than ably supported by Thilakan & Tini Tom. So dont hesitate to give it a try, as it's not a waste of our 50 odd rupees!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Force review: "Brawn in plentiful supply!!!"

The last couple of years has witnessed a surge in remaking blockbuster South Indian films in Bollywood. With many of them turning out to be money spinners, be it "Wanted", "Singham" or the recent "Bodyguard"; & the dearth of good scripts has made this trend even more steadfast. The latest to join the bandwagon is Nishikant Kamat, who has given impressive films like "404 Error Not found" (as actor), "Mumbai Mere Jaan" etc. He has chosen the Surya-Jyothika blockbuster "Kaakhe Kaakhe" & remade it into "Force". The question now remains is whether "Force", will garner as much moolah as its illustrious original???

Since many of us have seen the original, I believe its dispensable to do away with the plot; but for those who havent here's a sneak peek. The film unfolds with ACP Yashwardhan (John Abraham) of the Anti-Narcotics wing being rushed to the hospital after being subject to gunfire. In due course of time, it's revealed that Yash & his team has been instrumental in wiping out the drug lords reign. Among the slain gangsters, the lynchpin was undoubtedly Anna (Mukesh Rishi), but little did they realise that he had a vengeful blood thirsty sibling, Vishnu (Vidyut Jamwal) who would go to any extreme to avenge Anna's death. So will Yash & his crew be able to rein in Vishnu before it's too late???


Kamat has remained more or less faithful to the original, except for imparting more emphasis on brawn to make use of John's physique. As a matter of fact, the major highlight is undoubtedly the thrilling action sequences choreographed by Allan Amin especially the final confrontation. The beauty of the original was the subtlety in romance which is totally missing here as John fails to impart the vulnerability to the character as expertly as Surya did.  Harris Jayaraj has been entrusted with the music here as well, but it fails to evoke the magic of the original. The visuals by Ayananka Bose was commendable & the editing by Aarif Shaikh was fair enough.

There is no doubt that John has improved his acting skills but being a remake, comparisons are inevitable & his performances especially in the romantic scenes  leaves a lot to be desired. However, his action sequences were a total revelation & makes the audience wanting for more. Genelia has done justice to her character in her own bubbly chatterbox style though she lacked the maturity of a teacher. But the winner for me is undoubtedly Vidyut Jamwal, who essayed the role of the cold blooded vindictive sibling to perfection. As for the rest, Mohnish Behl & Sandhya Mridul were impressive while Kamal Sawant does a commendable act.

Verdict: The movie is unlikely to have a forceful impact on the box office though it should be able to do decent business. In short, I believe it has got what it takes to break even, but for those who have seen the original may give this a miss unless you want to check out the action sequences which are a visual treat!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben

Snehaveedu review: "Lalettan's hopes for a smashing triple ton is unlikely !!!"

It's been almost a month since Onam has been done & dusted, so it was high time that the audience be treated to a couple of new releases. In such a scenario, what better than to herald the release of "Snehaveedu", the 300th film of legendary actor, Mohanlal. Lalettan has been entertaining the audience since the last 25 odd years & this milestone film was surely an occasion for celebration. With veteran director Sathyan Anthikad calling the shots & yesteryear numero uno heroine Sheela collaborating with Lalettan for the first time, the expectations are naturally going through the roof. So will the Lal-Sathyan duo conjure up yet another winner & make it a memorable triple ton for Lalettan???


Just as it has been his trend invariably on most times, Sathyan Anthikad takes us back to his usual locales teeming with greenery where he talks about the life of commoners. This time around, Lalettan dons the role of a Gulf returnee Ajayan who is in love with anything that speaks of our motherland be it the paddy fields, art forms etc. He leads a contented life with his mom, Ammukutty Amma (Sheela), until a boy lands up at his door-step claiming to be his son. What then follows is the efforts of Ajayan to prove his innocence. So will he be successful at it or was Karthik (Rahul Pillai), an unknown mistake of his brashful years???


One of the oft used statements in the film industry is "It's a different story", however in Sathyan's case he pretty much sticks onto the same path which is loved by the audience as he narrates stories to which we can relate to. Just like in his previous ventures, there are the usual set of supporting star cast in "Snehaveedu", be it Innocent, KPAC Lalitha etc, who imbibes the villagers characteristics to perfection. The first half actually breezes through with some really good light moments unlike the slap stick comedy which is so prevalent nowadays. Even the second half does have its moments & builds the suspense for the climax. But that's where the film falls flat, the climax is so lame that it pretty much spoils the whole movie. As for other aspects, Illayaraja's music is soothing while the visuals by Venu captures the beauty of the locales in a befitting manner.

Lalettan is very much in his comfort zone & delivers a commendable performance, showing that his adroitness for light moments is still very much intact.  Sheela seems at ease essaying the role of Lalettan's mom while Rahul Pillai renders a matured act considering that this is his debut. As for the remaining star cast, Innocent does manage to infuse laughs in his limited screen time while the rest does their part aptly though they dont have anything significant to impart to the story.

Verdict: There is no doubt that the movie will have a rousing reception at the box office owing to various factors, be it Lalettan's 300th film, Sathyan Anthikad-Lalettan duo's track record or lack of credible films since Onam. However, I have no qualms in admitting that the damp climax is going to have a disturbing impact on the collections in the long run. In short, you may give it a try as it's a decent one time watch but nothing more!!!

Rating:  2.5/5

Regards...Ben







Sunday, September 11, 2011

Doctor Love review: "Doctor's prescription works in spurts!!!"

If at all this Onam has thrown in surprises, one of them has definitely got to be Chakochan due to the simple fact he found himself to be the lead star in 2 of the 5 movies to have released in this festive occasion. It's been more than a decade since "Aniyathipravu" catapulted Chakochan to be the embodiment of modern Malayali romance. Anywaz there is no denying the fact that he has been a lucky charm since the past two years as none of his movies had bombed making him an inevitable safe bet in multi starrers. This time around he dons the apron of a romance consultant in K. Biju's  "Doctor Love". So will his treatment pacify the nerves of the producer???


Vinayachandran (Chakochan) is a struggling writer who makes a living selling his novels in bus terminals. However, he possessed a knack for resolving romantic issues which was gauged by Satyasheelan Sir (Innocent), who arranges a job for Vinayan in the college canteen in exchange for helping him out in his romantic advances towards a colleague. With time, Vinayan becomes the most sought after person in the campus earning him the title "Doctor Love" as many of his patients gets cured successfully. This brings him face to face with the biggest challenge that he had ever faced in the form of Ebin (Bhavana), for whom his friend Roy had gone nuts. So will Vinayan crack the hardest code of all or will Ebin's arrogance prevail???


Biju who has handled the script has come up with a very amateurish effort. It just seemed a mish mash of several events reminiscent of a whimsical plot but thankfully sprinkled with some genuinely hilarious moments. It would be wrong to categorise the movie as being a test of our patience but still it fails to come up with anything worthy of praise. Being a campus movie, one would naturally expect some rocking music which unfortunately Vinu Thomas failed to produce; however the BGM was quite catchy at times which had a vague similarity to that of "Om Shanti Om". 

Chakochan has delivered a decent performance for a role which hardly tested his acting prowess. The same goes to Bhavana, Ananya, Manikuttan & the rest, all of whom have performed their roles aptly. Innocent deserves a word of praise as his antics did bring the roof down.

Verdict: The festive season will ensure a decent initial owing to its extensive marketing & focus on youth. The film definitely has several hilarious moments but the plot is a huge letdown. In short, you may check it out when it comes on TV or DVD!!!

Regards...Ben

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sevenes review: "Youngsters make their presence felt !!!"

The Uthradam rushes are over & we are just a couple of hours away from the dawn of Thiruvonam. As one would expect, the streets & shops were jam packed with people making their last minute purchases. To add to the flavour of the season arrives Joshiy's latest flick "Sevenes". After having been at the helm of two high profile blockbusters "Twenty 20" & "Christian Brothers", Joshiy has now focussed his attention on the young turks of Malayalam industry. So can he conjure up a winner now without the mega stars???


It's a well known fact that apart from Bengal, Kerala is the only other state especially in the Malabar region where football still holds an upper hand as opposed to cricket. Joshiy has touched upon this very topic but half an hour into the movie, it takes an altogether different route. Shyam (Chackochan), Surej (Asif Ali), Shaukath (Nivin Pauly) & 4 others are a band of friends who made up one of the most impressive football lineups of Kozhikode strikers club. A case of mistaken identity leads them to assault an opponent player Aravindan (Vineeth Kumar), who eventually ends up with a severe life threatening concussion. Realising their folly & overcome with regret, they try to arrange the necessary amount for his surgery by taking up a quotation. But little did they realise, that it was just the beginning of a maze of problems!!!


Joshiy has surely come up with a decent movie which has its share of positives & negatives. Iqbal Kuttipuram who is credited with the script does manage to engage the audience, with the highlight being the interval session. Though the initial part of post interval, does manage to maintain the tempo; it however slackens of after a point of time. However I wont say that it bored the audience but it traced a very predictable climax. Another technical aspect which was impressive was the background score, which managed to create a sense of enthrallment at times. The music by Bijibal didnt have much to write home about while the visuals by Ajayan Vincent was fine.

In the performance department, all the youngsters have delivered an apt act. Chackochan being the senior most, naturally hogs the limelight more along with Asif Ali who happened to garner much of the audience's appreciation. Bhama & Rima Kallingal didnt have a role of substance other than lighten up the screen with their innocent smiles. Nadia Moidu was quite a class act while Maniyanpilla Raju was fine.

Verdict: The film should be able to break even owing to a decent story, lack of competition, absence of huge stars & Joshiy's reputation. In short, inspite of a predictable climax it doesnt hurt to give it a try!!!

Regards...Ben

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bodyguard review: "Salman's purple patch continues!!!"

Yet another Eid & as expected, it inevitably ushers in the release of Salman's "Bodyguard". Well it wouldn't be prudent to accept the fact that Salman's movie will never bite the dust if it's released on the auspicious day of Eid, as the past two Eids has witnessed the release of the biggest grossers in Bollywood history in the form of "Wanted" & "Dabaang". Interestingly, "Bodyguard" is being helmed by veteran Malayali director, Siddique who has already made it in Malayalam & Tamil with reasonable success. So does this mean it would be a hat-trick of sorts for Salman & Siddique???


The basic plot remains the same sans some minor changes to suit the persona of Salman & though many of us have already seen the Malayalam or Tamil version, I will just give a gist of the events. Sartaj Rana (Raj Babbar) is a well respected landlord of Jaisinghpur, who naturally has a lot of enemies plotting his downfall. In such a scenario, Sartaj makes arrangements for a bodyguard for his daughter Divya (Kareena Kapoor). Lovely Singh (Salman Khan) is entrusted with this task, who is willing to lay his life for Rana since his father was the bodyguard of Rana in yesteryears. Lovely's uptight manner & intrusive nature compels Divya to hatch a prank which eventually spirals out of control. All these & more forms the basic premise.


Siddique has more or less,maintained the basic concept though a couple of changes has been introduced to suit the taste of the Northies. Frankly speaking, the script of the movie doesnt have much substance to go gaga; but neither does it deserve to be deemed as worthless especially when the market as witnessed hits for far worser crappy stuff. Dileep's antics in the original did bring the roof down while Vijay in Tamil also delivered a decent performance which effectively revived his career. Similarly, Salman showcases his wares in his own inimitable style which will have the audience lapping it up. Another highlight of the movie is the music by Himesh Reshammiya & Pritam especially the title track & Teri Meri rendered by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Similarly, Vijayan's action sequences has been shot stylishly.

Salman is more or less stereotyped with his torso waiting to burst out of his shirt, however he has been given a character which is endowed with virtues such as honesty, loyalty etc., which makes him lovable & reminds us of his romantic flicks of his initial years. Kareena Kapoor has delivered a decent performance & it's to her credit that she gets noticed in a Salman flick. Inspite of being an integral part of the plot, Hazel Keech hasnt been able to attain the attention of the audience as Mitra Kurian managed to in the other two versions.

Verdict: The film is definitely gonna be an awesome hit as it's definitely much better than "Ready" , which in itself was a smash hit. In effect, it's Salman's fourth blockbuster on the trot & his fairytale association with Eid continues. As far as my opinion goes, it doesnt offer anything new if you have seen the original & frankly speaking wasnt as touching as well. In short, you may give it a miss unless you are a Salman fan!!!

Regards...Ben

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mankatha review: "Thala celebrates his half century in style!!!"

Whenever a festival season approaches, it's happy days for the film fraternity & if at all it coincides with the landmark of one of the biggest stars; then it's party time for the producers especially in the Tamil industry. Incidentally, this week marked the release of  "Thala" Ajith's 50th movie "Mankatha" on the occasion of Eid. With Venkat Prabhu known for his humorous yet engaging films such as "Saroja", "Goa" etc., calling the shots, there's a sense of deja vu that this is gonna be a smash hit. So was this feeling the creation of a delusional mind or will it rack in the good times???


Mumbai is chosen as the backdrop for this thriller with betting on the IPL matches being the core subject. Arumugam Chettiar (Jayaprakash), is part of the betting syndicate who routes the money to the tune of 500 crores from all the major investors through his dilapidated theatre  At this point, Arumugam's henchman Sumanth (Vaibhav) hatches a conspiracy to flick the moolah in the company of his friends which includes police officer Ganesh (Ashwin), bar owner Mahanth (Mahanth) & IIT graduate Prem (Premgi). But before they could implement the plan, suspended cop Vinayak Mahadevan (Ajith) gets a whiff of it & barges into the group with the intention of getting a share of the money pie. In the meantime, Special Task Force ACP Pritvi (Arjun) is hot on the the heels of the betting mafia which eventually leads him to the trail of Vinayak & the rest. Things take an unexpected turn with Mahanth & Prem pulling off a fast one on the rest of the gang. So will Vinayak & co. have their vengeance or will ACP Prithvi draw the iron curtains on the gang???


Just as in his previous ventures, Venkat attempts a liberal sprinkling of humorous one liners which though at times fails to live up to expectations. The script is written keeping in mind to make use of the aura of Ajith to the hilt & there's no doubt that he has succeeded that on all fronts. The biggest plus point is undoubtedly breaking off from the stereotypical mass hero style, as Ajith is shown more with shades of grey along with getting blows as well, which would have been unthinkable in normal circumstances. However, there are a couple of major pitfalls, as it stretches a tad too long & moves along predictable lines. As a matter of fact, inspite of having a thrilling climax; it doesnt tread into any unchartered territory as the audience will more or less guess the ending.

Coming to performances, it's an out & out Ajith movie as he unleashes his dark side with panache. His lazy gaze, sarcastic laughs & his unbridled greed for money just makes the audience asking for more. Arjun plays the supporting role with authority with ample scope to showcase as to why he is called Action King. The remaining cast does their part aptly, but more or less gets lost in the aura of Thala. As for other technical aspects, Yuvan Shankar Raja's music was definitely a highlight especially the title track while the visuals by Sakthi Saravanan was enthralling. Though the editing by Praveen & Srikanth were crisp, it could have been better.

Verdict: Ajith couldnt have hoped for a better half century as the film will garner a thunderous opening at the box office. It will definitely whet the appetite of Thala's fans & it should be the talking point for the next couple of weeks. In short, though the storyline is predictable; Ajith's mannerisms & grey shades makes it for an interesting watch. So if you do have some time to spare, it wont hurt to check it out!!!

Regards...Ben