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??

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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???

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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???

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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???

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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???

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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???

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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???

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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