Saturday, August 13, 2011

Aarakshan review: "No need to reserve your seats for this one!!!"

Prakash Jha is one of those directors whose films are always eagerly awaited by the public as they always tend to touch upon socio-political issues be it "Gangaajal", "Apaharan", "Rajneeti" etc. So this time around, he has decided to touch upon the topic of reservation system. This is definitely a sensitive issue as each & every individual as their own take on the matter, with some supporting it while some others believing it's robbing many of the meritorious students of their opportunities. Since this isnt a platform to debate on it, I would refrain from making my comments. Anywaz, with a power packed star cast in the form of Big B, Saif & Manoj Bajpayee to add to the hype already created, it remains to be seen whether this will deliver at the box office???


Just as the title states, the film unfolds with Deepak Kumar (Saif Ali Khan) being denied opportunity to work in a college just because he is from a Dalit background inspite of having certificates which speaks volumes of his academic excellence. Deepak is the favourite student of the renowned Professor & Prinicipal of the esteemed Shakuntala Mahavidyalaya, Prabhakar Anand (Big B). Prabhakar Anand was a personality of impeccable character & principles, who believed that education should be granted to one & all, rather than commercializing & reserving it as the right of the rich & mighty. This was however against the interests of the Vice Principal, Mithilesh Singh (Manoj Bajpayee), who was heading numerous coaching classes with the support of the politicos. It's around this time that the Supreme Court ordered the implementation of the Mandal Commission, which increased the reservation quota of the ST & OBCs by 27%. This sets off a furore among the students which eventually leads to Prabhakar Anand resigning his post. What then follows is the face-off between the idealistic Prabhakar & the scheming Mithilesh!!!

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Jha is assisted in the screenplay by Anjum Rajabali, which goes a long way in building up an impressive first half. The subject matter is tackled expertly with frictions creating cracks in relationships being expressed effectively with some hard hitting dialogues by Saif & the rest. However, though the first half promised a lot; the latter half was a total let down as they virtually side stepped the reservation issue & it was more about how the idealistic Big B takes on the education commercialising ways of Bajpayee. It does have some impressive sequences but it was far & few; not to mention the running time of close to 3 hours which does take a toll on the audience.

Big B as always comes up with a praise worthy performance, though it doesnt offer much of a challenge for a person of his stature. Saif, finally offered a meaty role renders it impeccably in the first half while in the latter half he wasnt offered much of screen space. Manoj Bajpayee was convincing as the money minded educationist while Deepika essays the de-glam role of Big B's daughter aptly. Pratheik Babbar's performance left much to be desired as he seemed too wooden & miscasted.

Verdict: "Aarakshan" has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, which could act as a double edged sword. This will naturally add onto the hype that the star cast & Jha's track record has generated; however being banned in UP,AP & Punjab will impact its initials hugely. I do believe that the movie might break even, but nothing more. In short, you can give it a try if you like issue based movies or else give it a miss!!!

Regards...Ben


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chappa Kurishu review: "Crispier version would have enthralled more!!!"

Since the beginning of 2011, Malayalam film industry has seen a wave of encouraging changes in the variety of scripts being tried out. Though multi-starrers seems to be the flavour of the season, our audience has embraced this new genre comprising of realistic movies which at times might be off beat. Adding to this list is debutant Sameer Tahir's "Chappa Kurishu", who has impressed one & all with his cinematography skills in "Big B". With Listin Stephen taking care of the economic aspects after her much acclaimed "Traffic", there's naturally a lot of anticipation surrounding this release. So will it be a memorable debut for Tahir & will Listin be smiling yet again???


Kochi, the business hub of our Kerala; has undergone a sea of change in the last decade with MNCs & other industries being set up leading it to have a multi-cultural & metro lifestyle. Everyone is busy with their life & it's a race to survive the odds, to carve out a niche for oneself in the society. Some might be forceful, ready to go to any extend to attain their goals while there is another set who gets pushed around & goes with the flow. This is the very concept that "Chappa Kurishu" touches upon through the lives of Arjun (Fahad Fazil) & Ansari (Vineeth Sreenivasan). 

Arjun is in the booming construction sector & belongs to the upper strata of society, who believes that everything & anything could be bought with money or if not, attain it by any means. Ansari, on the other hand works in a supermarket & gets bossed around by all. Arjun has an affair going on with his subordinate Sonia (Remya Nambeesan), though he is engaged to his family friend's daughter, Ann (Roma). On hearing about his impending wedding, a quarrel issues between Sonia & Arjun, & in the process, Arjun loses his phone which is taken up by Ansari, without realising that the phone had some intimate moments between the other two. What then follows is a role reversal with the boss being bossed around. So will Arjun get his mobile before it's contents gets leaked out???

Star cast of the movie
Tahir has co-written the script along with Unni & it's certainly a take on today's lives. Though I have heard a couple of my friends saying that it's a copy; it wouldn't be prudent on my part to harp about it as I haven't seen the original. Whatever may be the case, the script does keep us engaged to the very end; though it does have it's share of flaws. The biggest drawback is that there are many sequences in the first half which more or less disrupts the flow of the movie. It gets dragged around aimlessly with hardly anything happening. If at all the editing had been crispier, it would have made it even more engrossing. Coming to the climax, it's imperative that I mention that it has one of the best choreographed fight sequence that I have seen in Malayalam in being both realistic & gruesome. 

Coming to performances, Fahad seems to be improving by leaps & bounds with each passing movie. He was spot on in his characterization as the suave & scheming boss. Vineeth has also done a decent job as the push over commoner. A lot of hype was generated by the bold act of Remya & she has done a fair job; though the second half doesnt offer her any screen space. Roma & Nivetha, doesnt offer anything to the story other than being extra characters.

Verdict: Impressive promos, French kiss & intimate moments have all created quite a bit of hype which ensured it to have a decent opening. However, the audience will be groaning at times owing to its dragging nature especially in the first half which will certainly be a turn off for many. Inspite of this flaw, I would suggest that you guys should give this movie a try as its quite a good effort in terms of being both realistic & engrossing!!!

Regards...Ben