Saturday, September 22, 2012

Heroine review: "Kareena rocks but the film doesnt!!!"

Just a couple of months more before we herald in 2013 & if there is one thing that stands out this year other than the blockbusters then it has to be the plethora of films with strong female characters. Starting from Vidya Balan's "Kahaani" to Priyanka's "Barfi", the list promises to get longer with an interesting array of films lined up for the coming months. The latest that promises to join the list is Kareena Kapoor courtesy Madhur Bhandarkar's "Heroine", which had been in the news right from the onset with Aishwarya Rai who was slated to play the protagonist having to make way for Kareena owing to her impending pregnancy. So can she live upto the hype???


The world of glitz & glamour has always made the public look at it with awe & bewilderment, but everything isn't as rosy as it appears is what Madhur Bhandarkar tries to convey through his latest venture.Mahi (Kareena) was the numero uno of the industry & she had it all, be it beauty, wealth or success. But just as the saying goes, 'it's lonely at the top" & that was exactly what Mahi felt. She always felt insecure due to the non-commital nature of her lover & superstar, Aryan (Arjun Rampal), which finally leads her to the brink of self destruction. Her mood swings & unpredictable nature made her market value come down with hardly anyone willing to cast her in their projects. Sensing the need to get back to the front of the pack, she hires a ruthless PR (Divya Dutta) who carefully plans & manipulates her career moves. But will it be wrecked yet again by her impulsive nature???

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Madhur Bhandarkar has always been synonymous with hard hitting reality films touching upon various aspects of society be it the dance bars, corporates or the fashion world. In his latest venture, he has chosen his own field, Bollywood; which he is bound to know better than any other sector. However, his celluloid version comes across as being quite lame as it treads a pretty predictable path with stereotypes like gays, bitching actresses, kitty parties etc & ingredients thrown in from real life situations which though failed to evoke the wow factor. It's true that I dont know much about the inside of the industry but still what we get to understand is that all actresses are sluts who have to compromise to stay on top. I feel that aspect should have had more clarity rather than generalising it for the sake of sensationalization. As for other technical aspects, it seemed fine with the styling by Manish Malhotra deserving praise.

What actually makes this film work is undoubtedly the brilliant performance by Kareena Kapoor. She has put her heart & soul into the character & makes Mahi believable be it her mood swings, unpredictable nature or violent rage. Arjun Rampal seemed fine while Randeep Hooda has done an impressive job along with Divya Dutta. The rest of the cast seemed apt with Shahana Goswami, Ranveer Shorey & Helen standing out from the pack.

Verdict: The film will definitely have a good opening but it wont be able to make much inroads especially with "Barfi" running strong which is ironically also UTV production. However, it should be able to hold its own in the coming days & should be a viable venture. In short, though the film lacks the sizzle of "Fashion", Kareena absolutes rocks. So, it wont hurt giving it a try!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben


Friday, September 21, 2012

Husbands in Goa review: "Not as entertaining as its predecessor!!!"

After a commercially successful Onam season with almost all of the movies making decent money especially Lalettan's "Run Baby Run", we are now awaiting the next wave of hits. Though a couple of films did make their presence felt, overall the response has been more or less lukewarm. However, this week we have Saji Surendran's "Husbands in Goa", which promises to be a laugh riot & commercially viable on the lines of its predecessor "Happy Husbands". So will it deliver what it promises???


Jerry (Indrajith) is a lawyer who spents more of his time at home doing household work at the insistence of his wife, Teena (Reema Kalingal). His other two friends, Govind (Jayasurya) & Arjun (Asif Ali) also shared the same predicament as their wives always held a upper hand in all matters. Finally, the three of them hatch a plan to have a blast in Goa away from their nagging wives. But their plans went to overdrive mode once they got acquainted to Sunny (Lal), a film cinematographer in the train. What was supposed to be a peaceful 10 days turned out to be a roller coaster ride as they fall into the pit of their own follies. So have they stretched their luck a bit too much???

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Saji Surendren coming on the back of debacles "Kunjaliyan" & "Four Friends", will be hoping that Krishna Poojapura's script could relive the success story of "Happy Husbands". Well to be frank, to a certain extent he has redeemed himself as the film was definitely far better than his previous two ventures. However, it wasn't as entertaining as expected since many parts were a drag though some of the comedy sequences were spot on with a pretty lame climax. The highlight of the film is definitely the train song "Pichaka poomkavukal.." inspired from "No.20 Madras Mail" which had the audience in spirits. As for other aspects, there isnt much to write home about. 

Among the ensemble cast, each one of them has done their parts well especially Indrajith & Jayasurya.  In the initial sequences, Lal didnt seem to be in his elements which gradually improved as the film went on while Asif Ali was kinda ok. The female leads also did their parts aptly though they didnt have much to do.

Verdict: The film will have a rousing opening considering the way the film has been packaged. However, it cant be termed as one which will make as much moolah as its predecessor. In short, it's entertaining but nothing out of the ordinary. 

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Barfi review: "Just as sweet as the name!!!"

Bollywood has seen the emergence of a new crop of actors in the last few years especially with the Khans & Kumars well into their mid 40s though there is no doubting the star power that these individuals still hold. However, among the younger lot; if there is one guy who has really caught the eye, then it has to be Ranbir Kapoor, the talented scion of the Kapoor khandaan. After having swept the awards last year for "Rockstar", he is back with his latest venture "Barfi", directed by Anurag Basu. The promos promises to be better than "Rockstar", but will it actually be???


Shot in the picturesque Darjeeling & Kolkata, the film is spread across three time lines which runs parallel to each other starting from the 1970s to the present day. Barfi (Ranbir) is a deaf & dumb lad who had lost his mother at birth. Though he was actually christened Murphy, owing to his parents likening for the Murphy radio ads, his vocal inability made it sound like Barfi & that name invariably stuck on him. He was a prankster who believed in living life to the fullest & lighting up a smile on everyone. His charm worked on everyone including Shruti (Ileana), but the reality of life made her listen to her brain rather than her heart. It invariably broke his heart & subsequently brought into his life his childhood friend, Jhilmil (Priyanka), an autistic gal & daughter of a wealthy family. Both of them found each other's presence assuring and indispensable. But what is life without twists & turns.

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After the forgettable "Kites", Anurag Basu is back with a gem of a movie which is both touching & delightful while not being sympathetic or preachy towards the indispositions of the protagonists. Actually the moment the credits starts rolling, you cant help having a smile as it's quite unique from what we usually hear which I am however not going to mention here. After having watched numerous sick slap stick comedies, it was a welcome relief watching some clean humorous moments which has been inspired from Charlie Chaplin & Mr.Bean. In addition, there are some truly heart wrenching moments be it Barfi expressing his anguish on being rejected or frantically searching for Jhilmil in the Special care home. If at all I could point a flaw which is miniscule then it has to be shifting of time periods towards the latter half of the film which could get a tad confusing. 

Anurag Basu, Pritam & Siddharth Roy with the protagonists

Essaying a character solely on the basis of body language & expressions requires a fair degree of brilliance which Ranbir invariably does. He was just fantastic to say the least as he evokes laughs & despair with equal finesse and ease. In short, he will be sweeping all the awards as it's much better than even "Rockstar".  Ileana has done herself a huge favour by debuting in a film which offered her a meaty role into which she digs gleefully. Not only is she beautiful but she has packed it with a sincere and touching performance with her expressive eyes. Priyanka's caliber as an actress is well known be it "Fashion" or "7 Khoon Maaf" & here also she has come up with a delectable performance making sure that it doesnt become a caricature or overtly sympathy seeking. The rest of the cast also deserves a pat on the back be it Saurabh Shukla, Rupa Ganguly etc.

It would be unfair to wrap up this review without acknowledging the superlative performance of the crew starting with Ravi Varma's visuals which was an absolute delight moping up the beauty of Darjeeling & the hustle bustle of Kolkata in ample measure.Similarly, Pritam's music & background score was in sync with the mood of the film and makes up for the silence of Ranbir.This film will be making a clean sweep of many of the awards next year & will be the one to look out for.

Verdict: The film is unlikely to have a wow factor on its opening day as it has very limited release in single screens.However, the Multiplexes will make the cash counters ringing especially with positive word of mouth. As one would expect, it will be big in the metros but not so in the smaller centres which usually decides whether the film reaches the 100 cr. mark. Anywaz my advice to you guys are to watch it for sure, coz it's just fantastic. So please dont miss it!!!

Rating: 4.25/5

Regards...Ben

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Run Baby Run review: "Run away hit!!!"

If at all there is something which multiplies fast like rabbits, it has got to be the media sector as there is a mushrooming of channels every other week or so. Gone are the days when the media had some sense of responsibility towards the society, as nowadays it's all about TRPs & what better way to do it than sensationalizing mediocre content. Interestingly, this Onam witnesses the stalwarts; Lalettan & Joshiy joining hands for "Run Baby Run", which focuses on the cut throat competition in the media sector. So will it be able to outdo the other releases & emerge as the Numero Uno???


Venu (Mohanlal) is a renowned international photographer with enviable credentials which makes him the most sought out personalities in the media world. His arrival in Kerala as part of an assignment had caught the tongues wagging & everyone needed a piece of him. However, it also brought him face to face with Renuka (Amala Paul), a fire branded senior editor of a prominent news channel with whom he had shared a turbulent past. But the present scenario required him to collaborate with Renuka on a politically sensitive issue. So can they keep their differences aside & work as a team???

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After having been in the industry for more than three decades, Joshiy is still going strong with his brand of film making which always focuses on a grand canvas with huge names. Even with his latest venture, Joshi seemed to have caught the pulse of the audience with a fast paced thriller which is sprinkled liberally with light moments. Though the script by Sachi does come a cropper at times, it doesn't matter as it keeps the audience entertained. Rathesh Vega's music doesnt have much scope in the film but "Attumanal Payayil" rendered by Lalettan was a screamer & surely one of the very best of his career. 

Lalettan was absolutely impeccable as the protagonist & was at ease essaying the role with naturality & finesse. There is no doubt that it's a herculean task for the female lead to get herself noticed when acting opposite legends like Lalettan & Mammooka. But Amala Paul has more than done justice to her role & makes each frame count when she comes on screen. Biju Menon who is basking in the glory of his purple patch is top notch especially his chemistry with Lalettan.

Verdict: Being released on Thiruvonam & backed by a credible cast and crew, the film will take a brilliant opening. It is also aided by the fact that it has an entertaining storyline & not to forget that the other Onam releases has been less than impressive. In short, it's going to be a superhit by a distance. So dont miss it!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mr.Marumakan review: "Too tedious & wry to be called fun!!!"

If at all there is someone in the Malayalam industry who could make slap stick comedy work, then the answer will have to be Dileep. Though I do cringe at times seeing those kind of stuff, but it seems the majority does love such antics or else how do you explain the 19 crores racked in by "Mayamohini". Anywaz this Onam season, Dileep has decided to treat his fans with his much delayed "Mr.Marumakan", which incidentally belongs to the same genre. So will it be yet another no-brainer blockbuster???


Ashok Raj aka Chakravarthy (Dileep) is a qualified lawyer whose love for arts has made him pursue a drama company to make the ends meet. His brother, Babu Raj (Biju Menon) is an alcoholic who is neck deep in debt & on the verge of having their family property confiscated by the bank. But their stars start shining when it turns out that the ombudsman, Balasubramanyam (Bhagyaraj) is their father's friend & the talk of a possible marriage between his daughter & Chakravarthy. Since matters weren't fine between Subramanyam & his estranged wife, Raja Mallika (Khushboo), Chakravarthy takes it upon himself to tame the arrogant ladies of the household. 

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Frankly speaking, Udayakrishna & Sibi K Thomas seems to be having a merry life considering the fact that their mediocre scripts are making the box office bells go bonkers. Actually, it more or less reminded me of the Govinda films of the 90s. Running close to 3 hours, it was actually a test of patience & many of the jokes failed to make any kind of impact. The same goes for other aspects of the film as well be it the music or the visuals.

As one would expect, it's an out & out Dileep film; & he doesn't disappoint the audience with his comic timing. However, if at all there has to be a stand out then it has to be Khushboo as she seemed at ease enacting the negative role. Sanusha seemed average as she had nothing to do other than scowl the whole time while the rest merely seemed to be there for the numbers. 

Verdict: There is no doubt that the film will have a fantastic opening as the children & families will look forward to spending some time laughing their lungs out watching such brainless stuff. But I doubt whether it will be able to sustain it as it seemed too tedious watching this saga. In short, doesn't hurt to give it a miss!!!

Rating: 1.5/5

Regards...Ben

Friday review: "Realistic but not catchy!!!"

Ever since "Traffic" released, we had a plethora of films where there are multi-narrations with the characters getting inter-linked at some point or the other. The latest to join the band wagon is debutant Lijin Jose's "Friday", which speaks about the happenings in Aleppey on Friday, November 11th, 2011. So will it reap rewards both critically & commercially as many of its predecessors hasn't been able to balance both.


Just as I had already mentioned, there are numerous tracks going on simultaneously & the first person to come into focus is Balu (Fahad Fasil), an auto-driver whose day has started on the worst possible way with a jackfruit crashing through his roof top. He is already reeling under a severe financial crunch & the jackfruit has just compounded his problems. At this very point, Aswathy (Nimisha Suresh) is in the city with her family shopping for her wedding garments while her fiance, Achu (Tini Tom) is in another part wrapping up the construction of their new house. Then the script focuses on four other stories, one which involves a college couple, a married pair who wishes to adopt a kid, a heavily pregnant beggar & a mother in law who is forced to take her recently delivered daughter in law back home owing to lack of beds in the hospital. Now how all these characters gets linked to each other forms the crux of the film.

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Lijin Jose has definitely done an impressive job in weaving all the plots together in a natural & seamless manner. Much of the credit for that goes to Najeem Koya's script who has come into the limelight after a hiatus extending to "Apoorvaraagam". Though it lacks the gripping feel which many of the predecessors of its genre had, it still manages to keep us engaged without testing our patience. As for other aspects, Jomon Thomas's visuals deserves a mention while the music by Roby Abraham was fine especially "Sugandha Neerala" rendered by Najeem Arshad & Gayathri Ashokan.

In the performance department, all of the respective cast has done their acts aptly with Fahad Fazil & Nedumudi Venu being the pick among the lot. Fahad has already showcased his panache for portraying the modern day youth fiddling with the blackberry but here he has proved that he is equally comfortable essaying a commoner. Nedumudi Venu is an actor par excellence & this is yet another film which shows why he is considered as one. 

Verdict: The film will have positive word of mouth going in its favour but the lack of a gripping tale will be its bane as the families are unlikely to flock to the theatres on a festive season for such experimental type of films. However, I would suggest that you guys should definitely give it a try!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben


Thappana review: "Mammooka falters yet again!!!"

Finally the Onam season is over & the fate of the movies is up for all to see, with some of them struggling hard to keep themselves in the reckoning to claim the status of a hit. Among the biggies which hit the screens this Onam, the first one was Mammooka's "Thappana". After having been on the receiving end of a disastrous run which extends to more than an year now, Mammooka will surely be hoping for a much needed breath of relief. But will this be the one???


Samson (Mammootty), a petty thief has just been released from jail & as he ambles along the footpath his eyes falls upon Mallika (Charmi), who incidentally also gets released from jail at around the same time. Though his efforts to approach her fails, fate had other plans as Mallika meets with an accident & is helped by none other than Samson. At this juncture, Samson who was smitten by Mallika is made aware of the fact that she was married & since her husband couldnt be reached through mob offers to accompany her to her village. But what was lying in store for her was more than what she had bargained for.

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Johny Antony comes up with his second offing of the year after "Masters", which though I felt was decent failed to make much of a dent at the box office. In "Thappana" as well, the end result isn't going to be much different as the script which inspite having a decent content was let down by a sloppy screenplay along with poor characterization. Based on a novel by noted Bengali writer, Ashapoorna Devi; the essence wasn't conceived well by Sindhuraj. Vidyasagar's music was average with "Oorum perum parayathe" rendered by Vijay Yesudas being the pick of the lot. Actually apart from this song, the trailer & Mammootty's humour there's hardly anything worth watching.

Mammootty has done justice to his role by imparting a likeable nature to the character along with rib tickling one liners. However, what's the point??? since we have seen numerous films like these & just cant figure out as to why he opted for something similar yet again. Charmi was fine while Murali Gopi seems to be getting better by the day but he was sorely let down by the script which never gave him the scope to breathe fire into the character. In short, numerous characters but none of them had much impact.

Verdict: The film is unlikely to garner much interest as there is nothing substantial to arrest the attention of the audience. Just like the other numerous films, this is also likely to tank thereby extending Mammooka's search for an elusive hit. In short. it will be coming on TV within a month or so, so then why bother!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben