Saturday, May 30, 2015

Masss review: "Mishmash of mass & crass!!!"

About a fortnight has passed since Jyothika made her return back to the silver screen through the well received "36 Vayadhinile" which had come from her husband's production house. So now it's the turn of Suriya to showcase his box-office power as a performer with "Masss". With Venkat Prabhu calling the shots, it is expected to be an all out entertainer and it's slotted under the horror comedy genre. Anywaz the tagline of the movie is "A Venkat Prabhu Sixer"...the question is whether it sailed over or is caught within the boundary???


Masss (Suriya) & his buddy, Jet (Premgi Amaren) are small time conmen who were on the lookout for some big booty to get settled in life for good. Finally one such situation presents itself, but it didnt quite work out as planned as they meet with an accident. Though the mishap claimed Jet's life, it gave Masss a divine power whereby he could see spirits & converse with them. Expectedly, it freaked him initially but then he saw it as an opportunity to swindle money by parading as a fake exorcist with the spirits' help in exchange for helping them. But Shakti (Suriya) proved to be a spirit on a vengeful mission & Masss was forced to be a part of it much to his displeasure. So what was the reason behind Shakti's revenge???

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Venkat Prabhu is one of those directors who have impressed me with his manner of storytelling which was a cocktail of comedy & twists. Though his previous venture "Biriyani" was mediocre, his latest one with Suriya did raise expectations among the fans as he had handled the script & screenplay as well.To be frank, I did like the idea of a horror comedy which though not novel was interestingly showcased. The initial half is the biggest drawback of the movie which apart from some hilarious dialogues lags substantially & fails to offer anything credible. However, the entry of Shakti did infuse life into the script & the second half was engaging with a decent screenplay which included a spoof as well before culminating in a predictable climax. In the technical department, Yuvan Shankar Raja's music was average at best but the BGM was pretty good. The visuals by Rajasegaran was trite while Praveen ought to have done a better job with the editing.

The film is a full on "Suriya" entertainer & he has done utmost justice to the two roles that he had essayed but I feel that a talented actor like him ought to pay more attention to the script that he chooses. Nayanthara looked gorgeous as always but barely had much to do while Premgi does manage to impress with the limited screen space. As for the rest of the cast, Parthipan & Samudrakani were apt in their roles while it was heartening to see Riaz Khan in a substantial role which he has done adequately. 

Verdict: With no biggies in the horizon, the film ought to do roaring business in the Tamil circuit. However, I dont expect it to make much inroads in the Kerala box-office especially with the eagerly awaited "Premam" & "Ivide" having released with the former getting excellent reviews as well. So does "Masss" truly impresses...well it didnt quite work for me except for the second half & the humorous dialogues. In short, fails to live upto its name!!!

Rating: 1.5/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tanu weds Manu Returns review: "A befitting sequel indeed!!!"

Sequels have a tough task to live upto especially when its predecessor has been a blockbuster & more often than not such movies tanks at the box-office. So when the sequel of the 2011 superhit "Tanu Weds Manu" was announced, I would have to admit that I was kinda skeptical. Well was it Anand Rai's tactic to garner a sizable initial on the back of the the prequel's popularity or did it actually have the substance to outdo the former ???


Four years have passed since Tanu (Kangana Ranaut) and Manu (Madhavan) had settled in London before being married under dramatic situations. But all the flair & spark in their marriage seemed to have vanished over this period as they were literally at each other's throats for even trivial matters. Finally unable to take it any longer, Tanu packs her bags & flies back to her hometown of Kanpur, while Manu returns to Delhi. Apart from the sophistication that she had picked up from her life abroad, Tanu was still very much the fire brand that she was & meets up with her old flame Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Shergil). In the meantime, Manu falls for a much younger Haryanvi hockey player in DU, Kusum (Kangana) who bore a striking resemblance to Tanu. Since both seemed comfortable with their present life (or so they felt), they decide to legalise their separation. So was it actually over or did the couple still feel tugs at their heart cords for each other???

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It's been a couple of years since Anand L Rai had made his presence felt with his previous release being the critically acclaimed "Raanjhanaa". Anywaz he is back with his latest venture "Tanu Weds Manu Returns" which as the name suggests is the sequel. So has he been able to make it live upto expectations??? Hell yeah...it works big time primarily due to Himanshu Sharma's hilarious screenplay which keeps us engaged even though the basic thread is kinda predictable. In the technical department, just as in the prequel; adequate attention has been paid to dialects & art direction. The same also applies to Chirantan's visuals which were realistic while Hemal Kothari ensured that the film didn't test the patience of the audience. 

Just as in the prequel, Kangana rocks here as well & that too, in a double role which is no mean task as the actor have to ensure that he/she tries to make it as distinct as possible apart from just the physical differences. She ensured that Kusum wasn't only about a pixie hair style & exhibited her talent with a pronounced body language & dialogue delivery.  Madhavan has also done a fine job & doesn't get overshadowed by Kangana. However, I felt the best lines of the movie were for Deepak Dobriyal (as Pappi) who was brilliant while the rest of the cast such as Jimmy Shergill, Swara Bhaskar, Zeeshan Ayub etc have also done justice to their roles.

Verdict: In all likelihood, the film should be able to garner a credible initial & will have the word of mouth going in its favour. So I expect it to rake in the moolah at the box office without fail. In short, if you had loved the prequel then be sure to check this out & even if you haven't, give it a try!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben 



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bombay Velvet review: "Technically brilliant but not quite a velvety viewing experience!!!

Among the list of much awaited Bollywood films of this year, Anurag Kashyap's "Bombay Velvet" would have figured prominently in the top half for most of the movie lovers. Well it was kinda understandable after all the cast & crew involved in the project were of proven credentials. Ever since the first look of the movie was released in January, just like many others even I was eagerly looking forward to its release. So does it have a script as captivating as its visual finesse???


India had recently earned its Independence & Bombay was making baby steps to being a metro as businessmen splurged money to make sure they reaped the profits by whatever means possible. One of the key players in this mad race was Kaizad Khambatta (Karan Johar), a stylish shrewd businessman & tabloid magnate who got all his dirty work done through his trusted aide, Johnny Balraj (Ranbir Kapoor). Johnny's journey from a small time con man to the manager of the iconic club, Bombay Velvet wasn't exactly a cake walk but his obsession to become a 'big shot' after being inspired by Hollywood gangster movies notably "The Roaring Twenties", made him commit crimes without batting an eyelid. If at all there was something which caused his heart to skip a beat, then it was Rosie (Anushka Sharma); who had also gone through a similar tumultuous childhood before becoming the most sought after singer of the club. Things moved along smoothly, until Johnny proved to be too big for his shoes. So has Johnny taken on more than what he can chew???

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Anurag Kashyap belongs to the unique class of directors, whose movies are brutally realistic & that focuses more on the darker side of humans. In his latest venture, he has come with a stylised version of Bombay of the 1960s & actually it resembles more or less like a Hollywood movie of the yester years. Though he has done utmost justice to the technical aspects, he has failed to do the same when it came to the script. Based on Gyan Prakash's Mumbai Fables, the script by the quartet (Gyan, Anurag, Vasan Bala & S Thanikachalam) focuses on various plots against the backdrop of a romantic tale but unfortunately none of them woos the audience. The problem is such that the audience doesn't actually connect with the protagonist no matter whatever ill fate befalls on him. 

However, from a technical point of view; "Bombay Velvet" absolutely rocks in all counts. Sonu Sawant's eye for detail with exquisite art designs & Niharika's elegant costumes were beyond words. Amit Trivedi's music which was predominantly jazz was outstanding & all kudos to Neeti Mohan for her brilliant rendition. Rajeev Ravi also deserves applause for his wonderful visuals while I felt the editing by Prerna Siagal & Thelma Schoonmaker could have been better.

Ranbir Kapoor has put on a scintillating performance as the protagonist which required charm & fury in adequate measure. Anushka has done a fine job though I felt maybe someone else like a Priyanka would have been a better choice as the character required more oomph & vulnerability; also she didnt seem so convincing as a singer. Karan Johar surprised me to be frank as he comes up with a credible act while Satyadeep Misra (as Ranbir's friend) was fantastic. As for the rest, Kay Kay impresses though he got a rather raw deal while Siddhartha Basu & Manish Chaudhury has done a fine job as well. 

Verdict: The brand name of Anurag and an enviable cast & crew will ensure an encouraging initial at the box office. However, it's unlikely to cater to the taste of the audience due to a lack lustered script as the technical aspects could deliver only to a certain limit. In short, it had the potential to become a landmark movie but falls well short of expectations!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, May 11, 2015

Piku review: "This bowel sound will endear to the audience!!!"

Big B's appearances on the big screen has been far & few in the recent past after all it makes sense to be selective at this stage of his illustrious career. His previous release was "Shamitabh" in which he rocked & now we have "Piku" lined up for release. With a stellar cast in the form of Irrfan Khan & Deepika on tow; I certainly do have high hopes on this movie. In addition, it is directed by Shoojit Sircar who had impressed with his previous ventures. So will "Piku" pull in crowds especially since the publicity was rather low key???


Piku (Deepika Padukone) is a successful architect who had a tough time managing her career & personal life thanks to her chronically constipated hypochondriac father Bhaskor Banerjee (Big B). He constantly bickered with every individual that he came across be it the housemaid, his helper etc which created persistent headaches & embarrassments for his daughter. Bhaskor was obsessed about his bowel movements & that invariably took centre stage in every topic of discussion with Piku. Just like his other whims & fancies, one fine day he takes the decision to visit his ancestral home in Kolkata & insists on travelling by road. As always, Piku gives in to his wishes & make arrangements for their trip. How this trip eventually pans out forms the crux of the movie. 

After having impressed one & all with movies like "Madras Cafe" & "Vicky Donor", Shoojit Sircar is back with his latest venture "Piku" along with his partner in crime, Juhi Chaturvedi. He has once again done a fine job with a subject which we experience at some point of our lives & that is, a shift in responsibility. Juhi has to be appreciated for a commendable script which actually dealt with the serious topic of taking care of our parents but it maintained a light hearted undertone thanks to its hilarious dialogues. As for other technical aspects, the costume designer & make up artists needs to be applauded for Big B & Deepika's appearances.

Big B was fantastic as the grumpy senile individual who made sure that he maintained the meter as there was the risk of overdoing it & reducing the character to a caricature. Since the past year or so, Deepika's career graph has been constantly on the rise with commercial & critical successes, the latter quality unlikely to figure in the report cards of many of the top notch actresses. She has improved by leaps & bounds with each passing movie which explains the reason for her apt portrayal of Piku. Coming to Irrfan Khan, he was awesome as usual & makes his presence felt in an emphatic manner though it wasn't as meaty a role as the other two. As for the rest of the cast, Moushumi Chatterjee impresses while Raghuvir Yadav has done a decent job.

Verdict:  Just like "Vicky Donor", this will also grow on the audience with time & will thrive on the positive word of mouth which its likely to garner in abundance. It might seem a bit off-beat but you can rest assured that you will be thoroughly entertained. In short, don't miss this bowel movement!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben










Thursday, May 7, 2015

Uttama Villain review: "Surely one of the uttama films in recent times!!!"

A couple of years has passed since Kamal Hassan's "Vishwaroopam" had graced the scenes & so naturally there has been a great deal of expectations surrounding his latest release "Uttama Villain". Well I feel it's kinda justified after all the legend always comes up with some brilliant movies or tries to do something quite different from his previous efforts. The promos had already generated considerable interest & the hype was further fuelled with the controversy related to some monetrary issues prior to release. So has the legend aced it yet again???


Manoranjan (Kamal Hassan) is the reigning superstar of the Tamil film industry for which he was indebted to his mentor & ace director, Margadarsi (K Balachander). However, he had to part ways with his mentor as he was acting in all the mindless commercial blockbusters produced by his filthy rich father-in-law (K Vishwanath) for the past many years. Since he suffered from recurrent headaches, his family doctor & lovebird Dr. Arpana (Andrea Jeremiah) subjects him to a couple of medical tests. At around the same time, an individual named Jacob Zachariah (Jayaram) comes to meet him with some startling revelations. To make matters worse, the tests revealed that he was in the terminal stage of brain tumour & didnt have much time left. So he approaches his mentor to direct him for one last time, who initially refuses but gives in to his ward's wishes when he is informed of his medical condition. So will Mano be able to complete the movie & make peace with all his loved ones???

This venture has been helmed by Ramesh Aravind, though the Kamal Hassan effect could be felt throughout the movie. There is no doubt that he has done an admirable job in executing Kamal's script onto the celluloid. Now coming to the movie, hats off to Kamal for coming up with a touching storyline with oodles of emotion but taking care that humour is also given adequate attention. Actually that's exactly where I felt the movie faltered as the comedy movie being shot in the film seemed pretty mediocre for large portions of the first half. However, the second half was fantastic & there are quite a lot of sequences where you might feel some moist eyelids. Each of the characters are given the limelight at some point of the film through the one on one interaction with Kamal  but the highlight for me was the one involving his son & the other with his manager. Equally brilliant was Ghibran's music which actually elevated the viewing experience. As for the visuals, Shamdat has done a decent job while Vijay Shankar should have been more judicious in the editing of the first half.

Kamal Hassan absolutely rocked as the protagonist & you actually feel the pain that he expresses that you actually root for the character to defy death.Urvashi was fantastic as the superstar's wife while the late legend, K. Balachander makes his presence felt. Parwathy has once again proved her acting credentials while Jayaram & Ashwin (as Kamal's son) have also done a fine job. Nasar was awesome in his role even though it was restricted to the character within the period drama & equally impressive was M.S Bhaskar. As for Andrea & Pooja Kumar, both were average at best with the former's performance oscillating from mediocre in the first half to credible in the latter half. 

Verdict: Being a Kamal movie, it should have a sensational initial & the producers should be laughing from ear to ear. Though a significant portion of the first hour or so, wont quite work for many of us...I can assure you that the movie gets better with each passing scene. In short, it might not be an uttama film in totality, but it gives more than adequate glimpses of it!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Gabbar is back review: "Wish he never came!!!"

Since morning the news that is trending has been the conviction of Salman in the "hit & run" case of 2002. Though it took quite an awful lot of time, the judicial system has once again reaffirmed our faith that no one is above the law & I am glad that justice has been served. Interestingly, I happened to watch Akshay's "Gabbar is Back" last night where an individual tries to rein in the corruption of the system. So was his fight against corruption, worth my time???

The film unfolds with the police being informed that 10 tehsildars across Maharashtra were kidnapped & even before they could unlock the mystery behind it; one of them was executed who incidentally turned out to be the most corrupt among the lot. This was followed by a message from the executioner "Gabbar" who emphasised that this was just the beginning of a series of executions in other similarly corrupt departments. Incidentally, Gabbar was the pseudonym of Professor Aditya (Akshay Kumar) who along with his band of former students had decided to crusade against corruption. So what had prompted Adi to take this step & can the police stop him from committing further executions???

Just like numerous other Bollywood movies, this was the remake of A.R Muragadoss's "Ramanaa" (which happens to be the only Vijayakanth film that I actually liked). Even though I knew the story, I was kinda keen to check it out after all it had Akki & it was also directed by Krish whose "Vedam" I had really enjoyed. Unfortunately, there was nothing much worthwhile in this movie as the whole product looked jaded with no efforts being made to make the proceedings engaging & it was made all the more appalling thanks to Shruti Hassan. So were there any positives in the movie??? Hmm...to be frank, nothing that I could possibly think of . None of the technical aspects, deserves special mention & even the BGM does give you a headache.

Well Akki barely had much to do apart from exhibit his martial skills & he did seem to have done a fairly decent job, in a role which offers not much scope for performance. Shruti Hasan was downright pathetic & the way she keeps blabbering about "Google" made me wonder as to how come she never got an ounce of acting talent considering the genes she possesses. She has proved that the proverb "Practise makes a man perfect" isn't true coz it's high time she improved. Sunil Grover of "Comedy Nights" fame impresses while Suman Talwar had to mouth just one dialogue for majority of the time & flare his nostrils. 

Verdict: The film is unlikely to create any sort of tussle at the boxoffice & will sink without a trace. In short, you can check it out on TV but make sure to skip through the portions of Shruti Hasan or else you might end up spending money to repair the damage that you would do to your television!!!

Rating: 1.5/5

Regards...Ben