Sunday, April 20, 2014

1 by Two review: "Failed to satisfy even 1/2 the potential the thread had!!!"

This Vishu-Easter season has seen many of the movies slug it out for honours at the box office & the latest to join the scramble to earn the maximum eye balls is Arun Kumar Aravind's "1 by Two". Incidentally, the release of the movie coincided with the announcement of State Film Awards which saw Fahad Fazil win the coveted Best Actor for the first time. Already the promos has garnered a lot of interest & to add to that, the promise that Arun Kumar showcased with his previous venture "Left Right Left"; the question that now remains is whether this would live upto expectations???


Dr. Hari Narayanan (Murali Gopi), a noted surgeon & son of a powerful business tycoon has met with his death after crashing his car onto a truck. This event has rendered his twin brother, Ravi into a state of dissociative identity disorder whereby he behaves like Hari. Yusuf Marikar (Fahad Fazal), Crime Branch Officer had been a witness to Hari's death but when he is told by people from his own department & others related to the deceased family that Hari had escaped unscathed; he decides to unravel the mystery. So did Hari actually die or was all this a farce???

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This is Arun Kumar's fourth film & each of his previous ventures have revealed that he is indeed a talented film maker. The main highlights of his movies has been a strong thread incorporated into a cohesive script. Here too, the potential that the basic story had was immense but Jeyamohan went overboard with excessive indulgence into the protagonists mental framework which doesnt add much apart from ebb the flow of the movie. For an engaging thriller, there has to be some sort of a surprise element in the climax & though it does touch upon interesting topics it barely explores those apart from a brief mention. As for other aspects, Gopi Sundar was brilliant with the BGM & even added "Psycho"'s iconic score towards the end as a tribute (I guess not as a liftoff). Some of the sequences shown in the trailer has been edited but Arun could have edited another 20 mins & made it more crisper & engaging. 

Murali Gopi has done an impressive job as the twins especially in the climax while Fahad Fazil has done a good job with the half baked role that he was served with as we see him do nothing in the first half apart from being on the bike & bark for answers from everyone. Shyamaprasad deserves praise for his portrayal of the psychiatrist while Honey Rose makes use of a meaty role given to her. As for the rest of the cast, I liked the naturality & nonchalant attitude of the actor who essayed the role of Dr. Balakrishnan.

Verdict: This will have an impressive opening thanks to the good will & quality that the duo of Murali Gopi & Arun Kumar churned out in "Left Right Left". However, the lack of an engaging storyline & dreary pace will hamper its chances at the box office. In short, it is an opportunity missed as it definitely had the potential to be a brilliant film!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben


2 States review: "Feel good romantic comedy!!!"

On the occasion of Easter eggs & bonnet hats, I would like to wish all my friends a peaceful & hopeful Easter. Since we had a long weekend, thanks to the elections apart from Good Friday; I decided to check out debutant Abhishek Varman's "2 States" based on Chetan Bhagat's novel by the same name. Apart from the promos, the main reason which urged me to check it out were the protagonists & the brilliant music which has been topping the charts.


Since many of you would have read the novel, I guess there isn't need for a detailed outline. Anywaz the tale is about Krish Malhotra (Arjun Kapoor) & Ananya Swaminathan (Alia Bhatt) who fell for each other during their time at IIM Ahmedabad. By the time of graduation, they decided to take their relationship to the next level knowing very well that their cultural differences would pose a challenge. Even their efforts to break the ice between the families falls flat as their parents vehemently rejects their idea of consummation of their relationship. What subsequently follows is how Krish & Ananya tries to placate their parents.

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Chetan Bhagat novels may not quite score from a literary point of view but there is no denying the fact that it is a potpourri of Bollywood masala. Abhishek Varman has ensured all those ingredients has been aptly picturised on celluloid.  Though the film feels a tad long towards the latter half, I still totally enjoyed it. There is no doubt that there are numerous cliched assumptions about people from both the North & South, but it has been tastefully depicted without going over the top. Abhishek's take on Krish's family has been immaculate though he leaves numerous questions unanswered about Ananya's folks. The major plus point of the film is undoubtedly the music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy which was brilliant & in sync with the situations. Binod Pradhan has done a good job with the visuals but the editing could have been better.

Alia Bhatt was fantastic as Ananya as she seemed an absolute natural, though she reminded me of Kareena Kapoor in the initial portions & reiterates the fact that she is the one to lookout for in the future. Arjun Kapoor has done a decent job but it would have been better off if they had chosen Ranbir Kapoor (who happened to be one of the initial choices). Amrita Singh & Revathy both rocked in their respective roles while Ronit Roy reprised his role from "Udaan" in an impressive manner.

Verdict: The attractive promos,catchy songs & extended weekend should make it an overwhelming favourite at the box office. In all likelihood, the film will turn out to be a profitable venture for Karan Johar & Sajid Nadiadwala. It doesn't proclaim of being an intellectual or different movie but the elements has been integrated in a manner which makes it for an enjoyable watch. So check it out!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, April 12, 2014

7th Day review: "Prithvi back with a bang"!!!

After an abysmal experience watching "Gangster" yesterday, I just hope that "7th Day" will make amends for it. To be frank, among the Vishu-Easter films lined up for release, this was the one I was earnestly looking forward to after all majority of Prithvi's choices had hit the bull's eye in the recent past. The teasers were top notch & had evoked high expectations, but will Prithvi as Cop for the umpteenth time be any different???


David Abraham (Prithviraj), a suspended IPS Officer on the night of X'mas eve rams his vehicle into two bikers, Shaan (Vinay Fort) & Vinu (Anu Mohan) which causes the latter to sustain an injury on his forehead. David takes them to the nearby hospital, but Vinu absconds from there only to be found dead the next day. Sensing there was more to their tale than what meets the eye, David soon finds out that both of them along with their 3 buddies were on the run from Christopher Moriaty, the money laundering tycoon. So can David save the rest of them or will it be too late???

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Unlike previous Prithvi films of this genre, his star quotient towers over the character with emphasis on his stunning one liners. I believe it might have been the idea of the debutant director, Syamdhar; but he should have realised that Prithvi revels when given the opportunity to perform in a restrained manner as in "Mumbai Police" & "Memories". Syamdhar seems promising but I felt he tries hard to make the audience feel that the film is damn mysterious though the plot didnt seem to justify that.  Anywaz Akhil Paul's script does deserves praise &  though it's not quite upto the level of the aforementioned films, it still does have its moments especially the climax (though not quite the type which will sweep you off your feet). Deepak Dev's music and background score was fine while Sujith Vaasudev's visuals were brilliant be it the colour tone or lighting. 

Prithviraj has done utmost justice to the role & once again reiterates the fact that he is the undisputed heir after Mammooka & Lalettan. His choice of films has been superlative & his performance as always was in sync with the character without taking it over the top. Vinay Fort was fine though I kinda felt he has not yet evolved from his previous films while the rest of the cast seemed average. 

Verdict: Taking cue from Aamir's "Dhoom 3" strategy where the mantra was "Less is more", the makers of this film had revealed precious little prior to release which naturally heightened the expectations. In addition, the pathetic response to "Gangster" & a more than decent storyline will ensure that Prithvi has got yet another hit in his kitty. In short, check it out!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben

Friday, April 11, 2014

Gangster review: "Predictable tale of style & revenge!!!"

Our state went to polls yesterday amidst much fervour and excitement & also the exam season got over just a week back, which meant our film industry has been maintaining a low profile until Mammookka's "Gangster" heralded the beginning of the Vishu-Easter season today. With Aashiq Abu, a master in promotions keeping his cards close to the chest, the film carries a palpable sense of hype. The question is whether it would live upto expectations or will it disappear into oblivion pretty much like how Mammookka's name disappeared from the voter's list???


Akbar Ali (Mammootty) is the son of the murdered Mumbai underworld don & the kingpin of the Mangalore Crime Syndicate which had two other allies in the form of Uncle Sam (John Paul) & Mani Menon (Kunchan). A pact was formed between the trio that each one wont interfere into the others domain which more or less ensured a peaceful but uneasy truce. But things take a turn when Uncle Sam's nephew Anto (Shekhar Menon), a sexual sadist & drug junkie steps into the arena. Anto seeks the permission of Akbar Ali to import a consignment of contaminated vaccines in Mangalore port, which the latter denies. This sows the seeds of rivalry as Anto unleashes havoc in Akbar's life which costs him his wife & empire. As Akbar recuperated in Ajmer under the wings of his father's aide Haji (T.G Ravi), his mind was just set on one thing & that was payback.

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After a string of flops, "Gangster" was dubbed to be the comeback of Mammookka, but all those hopes gets vaporized well before the film reaches its climax. The primary reason for that is the hastily written script by Ahmed Sidhique and Abhilash Kumar, which clearly depicts a lack of imagination. Neither did they give Mammookka a properly etched character nor did they concentrate on pulling out credible twists as the plot was nothing more than a predictable tale of revenge with the screen splattered with blood and gore. It seems Aashiq Abu was more interested in Mammookka's style quotient rather than making use of his acting skills. Frankly speaking, I cant fault Saiju's editing coz if he tried for a more racy narrative then the film would have been over in an hour. Deepak Dev's BGM was average while the "Allahu" track seemed fine. As for the visuals, Alby has done an impressive job in an otherwise woeful film.

What do I say about Mammookka...he is reduced to nothing more than a ramp model as he barely had much dialogues to mouth. As always he looks awesome, but then his character lacked the depth & we are left wondering whether he even read the script prior to signing the dotted line. Shekhar Menon as the antagonist doesnt quite measure upto the legend, as his histrionics failed to evoke a chill down the spine. As for the rest of the cast, they made up for the numbers & did a decent job while the female characters barely had anything to do.

Verdict: Aashiq Abu's marketing skills & the first major movie to hit the screens after a hiatus will ensure that the film will have a fantastic initial. However, a wafer thin plot with an oft repeated revenge saga coupled with a sluggish pace will make the audience yearn for the exit. In short, Aashiq Abu needs to realize that content is king & not graphics and marketing gimmicks!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben