Saturday, June 30, 2012

Usthad Hotel review: "Delectable menu indeed!!!"

As audience we always believe that the life of stars are a bed of roses. There's no doubt that it's true to a certain extent but the pressure that they experience as comparisons are inevitable especially if you are the scion of a legend like Mammootty is unfathomable. Though Dulquer has done his father's reputation no harm with an impressive debut in "Second Show", the question now is whether he can carve a niche for himself. With an impressive cast & crew lined up for his second outing "Usthad Hotel", the signs are more than encouraging. 


Faizi (Dulquer Salman) is the apple of his father's eye, Abdu (Siddique) & the darling of his four sisters. Abdu has created a business empire of his own & just like most parents, expected to hand over the reins to his heir apparent in due time. But Faizi's love was in displaying his culinary skills in some hatted restaurant abroad rather than being confined behind the desk. As expected this evoked the wrath of his father & he was forced to leave his home. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he made his grandfather's Usthad Hotel his abode, who inculcated in him the importance of life & harnessed his culinary repertoire even further. But what is life without problems & the incidents that alter Faizi's way of looking at life forms the crux of the film.


Anwar Rasheed has already an enviable track record at the box office & though his earlier films relied purely on mass masala, his credentials as a talented director came to the fore with "Bridge", which was a segment of "Kerala Cafe". It wouldn't prudent to admit that he has raised the bar even more with his latest venture. This however has been possible with the able support of Anjali Menon who has been the talk of the town ever since the release of her critically acclaimed "Manjadikuru". Frankly speaking rather than her script, I would like to point out that it was her screenplay which was the highlight of the film. Both the halves were sprinkled with humorous moments with the latter half touching upon the emotional chords with the realities of life. Another major plus point is undoubtedly the brilliant BGM & music by Gopi Sundar with "Appangalebadum" rendered by Anna Katherine being a rage. Equally impressive was the mesmerising visuals by Lokanathan.

Dulquer has definitely shown that he is indeed a star in the making if he keeps choosing the right scripts. It wasnt a role which was tailor made for him, but his acting prowess & body language made it appear it was his for the taking. It would be unfair to compare him to his iconic father, but there are a couple of striking similarities be it the swagger & the innate ability to do emotional scenes. Thilakan is an actor par excellence & he has once again displayed why we are blessed to have him. Nitya Menon also held her own though it wasn't out of the ordinary.  Having a plethora of talented supporting cast consisting of Siddique, Mammukoya, Lena etc., all of them did their parts well. 

Verdict: Impressive promos, enviable cast & crew, smashing sound tracks...this assures nothing short of a fantastic initial.The film does live upto expectations though many people would find the slow pace to be a deterrent. 2012 started with the hit of Dulquer & as we reach the half way mark, Dulquer has gone a step further as this is likely to be a superhit. In short, dont miss a star in the making!!!

Rating: 4/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Saguni review: "Script lacks the guile of the name!!!"

Tamil film industry has been making waves courtesy of small budget films since the past few months. With a new ruling on the offing that big banner films should be released only on festival months, the competition is slowly heating up for vacant slots. The first one to grab the slot is Karthi who is finally back on screen after a hiatus of more than a year, with his latest film "Saguni", whose promos has already been the talk of the town. So can Karthi rack in the moolah especially with "Billa 2" & "Vishwaroopam" releasing within a fortnight???


Bhupathi (Prakash Raj) is the CM of Tamil Nadu who has made his way up the ladder of power by eliminating whoever stood in his path to personal glory. Kamal (Karthi) is the native of Karaikudi who had come to Chennai with the hope of saving his paternal property which was under threat of being usurped & demolished by the railway authority. But his pleas fell on the deaf ears of Bhupathi & that entices him to play the role of a king maker to attain his aim. So will Kamal succeed or will the seasoned politician in Bhupathi prevail yet again???

Shankar Dayal who has called the shots for the first time in his career has also penned the script. Though packaged as a political thriller with a comical under current, the script doesn't have the substance which blows us away. The opening sequences does evoke hopes of a thriller but it very soon fizzles out as almost the whole first half just goes about beating around the bush. The second half gets into the groove of things but it doesnt quite excite the audience. If at all anything works, it is the comedy between Karthi & Santhanam which had the audience in splits. G.V Prakash's music was average with Manasellam Mazhaye rendered by Sonu Nigam & Saindhavi being the pick of the lot. 

In the performance department, Karthi has done justice to his role with Santhanam providing him with adequate support. Pranitha Subhash hardly had anything to do except shake a leg or two with Karthi. Prakash Raj sleep walked through his role as he knows it like the back of his hand  Radhika & Kota Srinivas Rao were fine while Nasser was grossly wasted.

Verdict: There is no doubt that the film will have a fantastic opening, but I seriously doubt whether it will be able to sustain it for more than a week due to the lack of an interesting script & the release of other biggies. In short, except for the comedy the film hardly offers anything!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ferrari Ki Sawaari review: "Feel good sawaari!!!"

As a citizen of this great country, it's common knowledge that one thing which binds this nation irrespective of caste, creed or religion is undoubtedly Cricket. There is so much of fervor for this game in our country, that the players are virtually treated as demi-gods & the greatest of them all is Sachin. Such has been his contribution to the game, that whatever he does becomes a matter of national importance be it shifting to his new home or Schumacher gifting him with a Ferrari. Interestingly, his Ferrari is the focal point around which Vidhu Chopra's "Ferrari Ki Sawaari" is based upon. So will it be a master blaster like the legend himself???


Kayo (Ritvik Sahore) is a very talented young cricketer who dreams of making it into the Indian cricket team in future. Kayo's father Rusy (Sharman Joshi), an honest & upright citizen absolutely adores his son & tries everything within his power to fulfill his cricketing dreams. But things hits a road block when Kayo gets an opportunity to train in Lord's which was way beyond Rusy's humble means. That's when Rusy plans of borrowing Sachin's Ferrari for a wedding planner in exchange for Kayo's training fees. But things zooms out of control as fast as Ferrari's 560 horse powers. Can Rusy rectify everything before it's too late???


It's been almost 3 years since the greatest blockbuster of all time has emerged from the stable of Vinod Chopra. So naturally there was a great deal of anticipation with their latest release though the person calling the shots this time around was a debutant in the form of Rajesh Mapuskar. There is no doubt that there is a sense of sincerity & goodness throughout the whole film, but it lacks the punch which makes you sit up & take notice. The script by Rajkumar Hirani was decent which was pretty well supported by the screenplay of Rajesh Mapuskar & Vidhu Chopra. 

Sharman Joshi's performace was sincere & deserves praise along with Boman Irani. The supporting cast's roles just like in other Vidhu Chopra's films were pretty much the same & all of them have done justice to their parts. But the pick among the lot is definitely, Ritvik who was endearing & imparts a sense of charm to the screen.

Verdict: The lack of big stars will make it struggle at the box office with hardly any takers for it apart from Multiplexes. It does have a feel good feeling about it but nothing more than that. In short, sip on a coffee & watch it as it makes for a relaxing watch!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Spirit (Malayalam) review: "Spirited script & performance!!!"

Since the past few years, one of the most sought after directors of our Malayalam industry is Ranjith. His brand of film making has been a craze among the masses & the critics making him an enviable choice for the producers & the stars. After the impressive "Indian Rupee", Ranjith is back with "Spirit" with Lalettan who is coming on the back of a successful "Grandmaster". So can their purple patch put the disappointment of "Rock N' Roll" behind them???


Reghunandan (Lalettan) is the hottest property in the media world with his talk show "Show the Spirit" being the talk of the town. Though his intellect, polyglotic capabilities & popularity made people want to have a slice of his presence, he was in fact a collosial failure in his personal life. The main reason behind Reghunandan's disarrayed life was his alcoholic dependence which led to his divorce seven years back. However, good sense dawns upon him when he is confronted with a tragedy & that makes him delve into the psyche of an alcoholic.


Though not exactly on par with his previous ventures, Ranjith has once again hit the bull's eye by picking up a relevant issue & narrating a story weaved around it, all the while keeping in mind that it's not supposed to be a documentary. The first half just breezes by with the focus on the alcoholic histrionics of Lalettan, while the latter half shows Lalettan trying to tackle this habit by the scruff of the neck. However, I don't deny that the second half does slow the tempo & takes up a preachy pattern which might not be palatable to some. Shahbas Aman's music was fine as it was pretty much in sync with the feel of the film.

The life line of this film is undoubtedly Lalettan's brilliant performance which makes the script stand up & garner attention. Frankly speaking, I don't believe there is a single soul who could have done justice to this role in such an impeccable manner. Among the rest, Lena's performance deserves special praise while Tini Tom, Kaniha, Nandhu & Shankar Ramakrishnan did their parts well. Thilakan was wasted in a miniscule role while Madhu had a refreshingly modern look.

Verdict: The dynamic duo's names itself are more than enough to ensure a thunderous opening, with black marketeers having a field day. Add to that, an impressive script & brilliant performance, and we have a winner. It does address the menace of alcoholism in a befitting manner & makes us realise that the choice is ours whether the intoxicant drowns us or we down the intoxicant. In short, don't miss this spirited celluloid creation!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben


Bachelor party: "Abysmal & shoddy party!!!"

Monsoons are here & it's been a fortnight since the schools have opened to yet another academic year. So to herald this wet season, the Malayalam film fraternity has come up with two heavy duty films this week one of which being Amal Neerad's "Bachelor Party". After having caught the eye of the public with his debut venture "Big B", things haven't exactly panned as he had hoped for since then. So can his latest venture provide him with a new lease of life???


"Bachelor Party" is a tale of five friends who takes on the underworld don Kamath (John Vijay), so that they could settle scores for making the life of Tony (Asif Ali), a living hell. Tony was a one time driver of Kamath before he elopes with Neethu (Nitya Menon), who happened to be the object of desire of Kamath. So will this band of friends succeed or will the don have the last laugh???


Amal Neerad's films have always been famous for his stylish cinematography & slow motion sequences. But the bane of all of them has been the lack of an impressive script. Unfortunately, matters haven't improved much this time as well. On the contrary, this is the worst among the lot that he has made to date. The script is so amateurish & non-existent that you are left wondering whether they were on a high when they made it. The first half does evoke hopes & laughs with the humorous exchanges between Indrajith & Rehman, but that's about it. Frankly speaking, the lesser said about the second half the better with an atrociously extended climax which was a pain for the eyes & ears.

When the script itself is wafer thin & the characters being poorly etched, what can you expect from the cast. But even then, the cast did their level best with Rahman being the pick among the lot with his subdued mannerisms yet being very much in control. As for the rest, Indrajith & Asif Ali were fine with the former getting to mouth most of the humorous yet lewd dialogues while Kalabhavan Mani was wasted. Nitya Menon & Prithviraj (in a cameo) does get noticed while Remya Nambeesan & Padmapriya shake their booties. Rahul Raj's music was first rate especially "Karmukalil" rendered by Shreya Ghoshal & the visuals had the usual Amal Neerad touch.

Verdict: The impressive promos & an array of stars will ensure a bumper opening for the film, but all of this will die out by the end of this weekend. With so much blood spattering & gun shots as if it was a videogame, it will make you cringe in your seats & makes you yearn for the exit. In short, don't even bother watching in theatre unless you are sloshed just like the protagonists!!!

Rating: 1.5/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rowdy Rathore review: "Khiladi is back to woo the masses!!!"

Finally the IPL is over & the South Indian spice was on offer with CSK reaching the finals yet again. So this week Prabhu Deva have decided to spice up the screens with his latest venture "Rowdy Rathore". After the success of "Wanted", "Dabaang" & "Singham", South Indian flavour has been one of the most sought out formula in Bollywood. With Akki returning to the action genre after a hiatus,  the audiences are expecting for some fireworks on display. So will the masses get their money's worth???


Remade from the Telugu blockbuster, "Vikramarkudu", the plot has been retained pretty much the same with Shiva (Akki), a small time crook falling in love with Priya (Sonakshi Sinha). However, during one of his con acts he ends up being the guardian to a kid who believes him to be her father. With time, things get even worser as he is subjected to a series of attacks which were not of his doing. So who were these people & why were they after him???


Actually this is Prabhu Deva's second directorial venture in Bollywood after the blockbuster "Wanted". He hasn't tweaked with the aesthetics of the original & packaged it as an action flick with a comic relief. The first half focuses on the lighter moments while the latter half is heavy duty stuff retaining the entertainment quotient throughout with an eye on the masses. From a script point of view, it treads along predictable lines with a larger than life hero who finally bashes the villain to submission against all odds. Undoubtedly the action sequences are the USP of the film which has been choreographed in typical South Indian style. The visuals by Santhosh Thundiyil were fine while the music by Sajid Wajid was average though the mood & choreography imparted to it will have the audience in raptures. 

Akki is back to his familiar territory as he carries out the dare devilry with elan. Add onto that comedy coupled with goofiness & loud clothing, & viola we get Akki at his best. Though devoid of much scope for her acting skills, Sonakshi Sinha provides the oomph factor with her mid-riff in focus more than her face. Nasser was first rate as the unkempt villain while the rest of the cast seemed fine.

Verdict: I wont be surprised if majority of the critics slam the movie but there is no doubt that the movie will have a fantastic initial from all centres. It wont appeal much to the Multiplex audiences, however the single screens should be running to packed houses in many parts of North India. In short, it's the same old stuff but Akki's presence in a South Indian style will appeal to the masses!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hero review: "Prithvi's efforts fail to salvage the pathetic script!!!"

Over the years, we have been treated to a host of action flicks which has varied in style & execution. But one thing which has remained constant is the unflinching attitude of those faceless stunt men who at times put their lives on the line, to garner applause for the hero. Taking a cue from this, Diphan is back with his latest venture "Hero", after the 2009 superhit "Puthiya Mugham". Showcased as an action thriller, the pre-release hype revolved around reunion of the combo & Prithvi's chiseled torso. So can the duo recreate the box office success???
Dharmarajan (Thalaivasal Vijay), a renowned former stunt master lands with an opportunity to work with ace director, Aadityan (Anoop Menon) to overcome his financial crisis. But owing to the competitive nature of the field, even his nephew who gathered the tricks of the trade from him refuses to lend a helping hand. Finally, help comes knocking in the form of Tarzan Antony (Prithvi), a former banished student. The film was expected to relaunch the sagging career of Home Minister's son, Premanand (Srikant) & it was also boosted by the presence of numero uno actress, Gauri Menon (Yami Gautham). However, being the arrogant jerk that he is Premanand gets incensed by Tarzan's dare devilry stunts & Gauri's attention towards Tarzan. What later issues is the dirty tricks played by Premanand to pacify his insolence.


Though marketed as an out & out action flick, it's still imperative that the film has a sensible script rather than being downright stupid. But unfortunately that's where Diphan has got it all wrong as Vinod Guruvayoor seemed to have forgotten to write anything after the interval. The first half does have its moments which meanders along satisfactorily but post interval, it all comes tumbling down culminating in a lengthy fight sequence against an antagonist who barely had a spine throughout the whole film. How he managed to atleast pack a punch is beyond comprehension. Gopi Sundar deserves a pat for his music especially "Nero Nero" but the choreography for "Mayathe Ormayil" was appalling.

Prithvi coming on the back of the disappointing run of "Masters", would be hoping for some relief which he is unlikely to get though he has worked hard for it. His performance was commendable & convincing with a well worked out physique suiting the character. Yami Gautam of  "Vicky Donor" fame looked gorgeous but her discomfort with Malayalam was evident with the lack of lip sync. Srikant was an absolute disgrace as he seemed a novice inspite of being in the industry for many years while Anoop Menon was at ease rendering out some tongue in cheek dialogues & ably supported by the rest.

Verdict:  The fans will have a gala time in the theatres as Prithvi does some impressive stunt sequences. However, that's about it as it barely has a script especially in the second half. In short, this isn't the Friday that Prithvi was waiting for & the same goes for the audience as well!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben