Saturday, May 26, 2012

Diamond Necklace review: "Exquisitely crafted diamond!!!"

2012 is almost half way through & thanks to a host of well made entertaining films amply supported by the public, it has been more or less a joyful ride. Such has been the plethora of credible films on offer, that many of the film makers are struggling to get screens to showcase their ware. One prime example is that of maestro Lal Jose's "Diamond Necklace", which opened to just 24 screens a fortnight back. But being the brilliant director that he is, it has been garnering positive responses from all quarters. Finally, it released in Bangalore y'day & I got a taste of what this hoopla was all about!!!


Dubai has always been one of the most sought after destination of Malayalis & though there has been numerous tales of the hardships experienced by our people there, it still remains high on the wish list. Dr.Arun (Fahad Fazil),a young flamboyant Oncologist in Dubai believes in living life king size which is way beyond his means. Just as profligate as his spending is his Casanova style which has the ladies swooning over him. However, Arun himself gets smitten by the newly recruited nurse Lekshmi (Gautami Nair). But things takes a turn when his spend thrift nature slams him with a travel ban by the Credit card companies. Though he does manage to overturn it, it was just the beginning of more topsy turvy events!!!

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After the debacle of "Spanish Masala", Lal Jose is undoubtedly back with a bang. Based on a Bengali novel, the script by Dr. Iqbal Kuttipuram was fantastic to say the least along with the realistic dialogues. Though I dont expect films to be didactic & deviate away from being entertaining, Lal Jose has managed to balance both with amazing dexterity. It showcases as to how a person who has trod the path of self destruction, still manages to hold on courtesy of the people who had loved him & in the process teaching him that everything in life isn't just about self. Vidyasagar's music was brilliant & choosing one among the lot is a tedious task though "Neelamalare" rendered by Srinivas might be a step ahead. Sameer Tahir's visuals were breath-taking & according to me, the best we have after Santhosh Sivan. 

With each passing movie, Fahad Fazil is going from strength to strength & this film was no different as he was a complete natural in essaying the role. All the three female leads were given equal footing & they have done absolute justice to their roles be it Gautami Nair with her restrained yet strong demeanor, debutant Anusree as the exuberant village belle & Samvritha with an extremely matured and strong willed nature. The supporting cast of Sreenivasan, Rohini & Maniyanpilla Raju gives ample support to the youngsters.

Verdict: Frankly speaking, I cant find anything that could be considered as a blemish in this well crafted piece of art. There is no sequence in the film which could be considered as a test of patience nor does it showcase itself as being preachy. In short, beg or borrow....but please do yourself a favour of watching it in theatre at any cost rather than being sorry!!!

Rating: 4.5/5

Regards...Ben




Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ishaqzaade review: "Impressive leads but average script!!!"

Yash Raj films...the most famous Indian banner has been legendary in dishing out some of the most memorable romantic films through the years be it "Kabhie Kabhie", "DDLJ", "Fanaa" or the more recent "Band Baaja Baraat". After a pretty average outing last year, Yash Raj banner is back yet again with their latest venture "Ishaqzaade" which promise to be a hatke love story set against a rustic backdrop. So will this be a worthy successor to its predecessors???


There is a popular saying that power makes a person blind, which makes people strive beyond the realms of imagination even if it means baying against your own bloodline. If wars were waged in yester years to usurp kingdoms, now it's all about playing the dirty game of politics. Similarly, the Chauhans & Qureshis were arch rivals in their quest for unbridled political power. Parma (Arjun Kapoor) was the grandson of Chauhan Sr., an arrogant boisterous individual, while Zoya (Parineeti Chopra) was the free spirited, fire brand daughter of Quereshi Sr. Just as one would expect they were sworn enemies of each other, who was always on the look-out to get one up on the other. But somewhere down the line, theses warring souls takes a liking for each other. However, will their love be able to broker peace between the families???

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Habib Faisal has been a regular in the Yash Raj stable over the years partaking the scripting of many a film like "Band Baaja Baarat", "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom" etc. This time around, along with the scripting he has called on the shots as well after his credible debut venture "Do Dooni Char". The first half of the film is really impressive as it explores the protagonists & the fierce rivalry between the duo, but the second half kinda loses way as it offers nothing more than the usual predictable fare. But the film doesnt totally disappoint & part of that credit should go to Amit Trivedi's fantastic sound track be it "Paresha" or "Ishaqzaade" & Hemant Chaturvedi's praise worthy visuals which has been more than capable in giving a realistic rustic feel to the movie.

If I have to say as to what makes me like this film then it would have to be undoubtedly the brilliant performance by Parineeti Chopra, who just make it appear that this role was tailor made for her. After her impressive debut in "Ladies Vs Ricky Behl", this film just reiterates that it wasnt a flash in the pan & she is here to stay. Being a star son has its share of pros & cons, Arjun Kapoor does enter the scene with this baggage being the son of Boney Kapoor. He does have the talent & sparkles in a number of sequences, though there is no denying that he still has got many rough edges to smoothen out. The rest of the crew also deserves praise for their natural performances.

Verdict: The film will have a decent opening & should be able to hold its own. Though not in the league of its erstwhile predecessors, it still wont burn the fingers of the Yash Raj banner owing to the impressive performances of the protagonists. In short, it's worth a try!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben

Friday, May 4, 2012

Grandmaster review: "Lalettan's mastery should ensure a grand hit!!!"

Chess, one of the most intriguing & thought provoking game has been part of human history with references dating back to centuries. The adroitness of the player is brought to the fore as he tries to outwit his opponent at each & every move, worthy of a Grandmaster. It is this characteristic that B.Unnikrishnan has endowed upon the protagonist in his latest venture "Grandmaster". With UTV taking their first steps in Malayalam industry, a great deal of hope & anticipation is vested with this release. So can the Lalettan-Unnikrishnan combo recreate the "Madambi" days???


With crime rates escalating with each passing day the Metro Crime Stopper Cell was created to put a tight leash on it with Chandrasekhar (Mohanlal) as the head of the unit. However, he has been leading a life of detachment & brooding ever since he divorced his wife, Deepthi (Priyamani), a leading criminal lawyer. It was at this juncture that Cochin was rocked by the abduction of three gals which swings Chandrasekhar into action. This was followed by an anonymous letter from "Z" who openly challenges Chandrasekhar to a game of tactical acumen failing which serial murders would happen. So who was "Z" & will Chandrasekhar take up this dangerous game???
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Coming on the back of an abysmal track record since "Madambi", Unnikrishnan had lots to prove & also pay back the faith that UTV had vested in him. Lucky for him, he has pretty much hit the bull's eye here, with an impressive script which though not outstanding had all the makings of a compact & engaging thriller. The first half builds up the premise in a rather trite manner without being boring.But from the second half, the film kicks into over-drive culminating in an absorbing climax. Deepak Dev's music was average though the BGM did enhance the impact of certain sequences. 

After the insignificant guest appearance in the forgetful "Tezz", Lalettan is back with his brilliant portrayal as the sombre yet intuitive Chandrasekhar. Though the two "Big M's", hasnt been striking gold regularly at the box office; when it comes to performance they are indeed the "Big Daddies" & Lalettan's performance is proof of that. The supporting cast of Priyamani, Jagathy, Narain, Anoop Menon & Siddique have all done justice to their roles along with Babu Antony, back in a meaningful role after quite some time.

Verdict: Being the masters of marketing, UTV have done their homework ensuring that "Grandmaster" garnered adequate publicity. Their efforts will bear fruit with the film likely to get an impressive opening in all the centres. Add to that, Lalettan's wizardy in tandem with Unnikrishnan's engaging script & we have got a winner. In short, definitely worth a watch!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben