Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bajrangi Bhaijaan review: "Salman's most endearing film in the past decade!!!"

On the auspicious occasion of Eid, I would like to first start by saying that may Allah shower his blessings on all my friends & well wishers. So apart from the lip smacking delicacies that are part & parcel of this festive season; as always it's time for Salman to sent the box office into a frenzy. His gift for this Eid comes in the form of "Bajrangi Bhaijaan"which is helmed by Kabir Khan. So will it be as humongous a hit as their previous venture???


The films unfolds in POK where an expected mother names her daughter Shahida after the exploits of the swash buckler Afridi against their arch rivals. However, Shahida (Harshaali Malhotra) was born mute & after a near fatal accident her mother takes her to the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi in search of a miracle. But as fate would have it, Shahida gets separated from her mother & lands up in Kurukshetra. Over there, she meets Pawan (Salman Khan) a simpleton & Hanuman devotee; who takes it upon himself to reunite Shahida with her parents. Little did he realise that it was easier said than done.

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When it comes to Salman Khan, we can rest assured as to what we are going to be served with; even before the first scene is shown. Now since all his movies have been blockbusters, it makes sense for the film makers to stick on with the same formula. Surprisingly, that's exactly where this movie is different from the rest as it doesn't have the usual larger than life persona, punch dialogues or even the bare torso act. As a matter of fact, Kabir Khan seems to have imbibed the flavour of Rajkumar Hirani as his script made humour take centre stage when matters like religion, customs, stereotypical mindsets etc are touched upon. One of the major factor that the movie works is the lively screenplay & dialogues which has us in splits along with the endearing climax (a shade too melodramatic I admit but it works). As for other technical aspects, the visuals & music were fine at best while the film though long at 2.5 hours doesnt test our patience thanks to the likable characters. 

Salman bhai has done a fantastic job as the protagonist as it was refreshing to see him in this avatar & will surely appeal to people who are not his fans as well. Nawazuddin Siddiqui was brilliant as the news reporter, Chand Nawaz (slyly named after Chand Nawab whose video I am sure most of you would have seen in FB) & he gets some of the best scenes in the movie. If at all there was an award for the cutest kid, it would go to Harshaali as I havent seen a kid as angelic as her in all the movies that I have watched. Her innocent face, expressive eyes & beautiful smile more than makes up for her lack of dialogues. Kareena has done a fine job in the limited screen space along with the rest of the cast.

Verdict: As always it would take an earth shattering initial & in all probability be as profitable as their previous venture together "Ek Tha Tiger". It would surely appeal to the audience thanks to the refreshing change from the usual run of the mill stuff from Salman. In short, check it out as it's definitely Salman's most endearing performance in the past decade!!!

Rating: 3.25/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Baahubali review: "Breathtaking visual spectacle which scores on all counts!!!"

The Indian film industry is the biggest in the world for the sheer volume of films which is being churned out every year. However, the budget which is being shelled are peanuts when you compare it to Hollywood. Well it actually makes sense after all the production team needs to reap profits which is kinda difficult if the costs are humongous especially for regional languages. But if the product is good, nothing should stop it from being a blockbuster which is exactly the reason why the producers have invested 250 C into Rajamouli's  magnum opus "Baahubali: The Beginning". So will it be as awe-inspiring as promised???


A significant portion of the first half showcases as to how the blue blooded Shiva alias Mahendra Baahubali (Prabhas) was raised by the tribal folks in the foothills of the mighty waterfalls. As destiny would have it, Shiva was spurred to cross the waterfalls in search of lands that lay beyond. Eventually he does it & meets Avantika (Tamannaah), who happens to be part of a rebellion seeking to rescue the Queen, Devasena (Anushka Shetty) held captive by the fiendish usurper Bhalla Dev (Rana Daggubati). Shiva takes it upon himself to save the Queen but little did he realize that his genes actually belonged to the kingdom of Mahishmati.

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Ever since the movie was announced, the hype & expectations surrounding it was understandable after all it was helmed from Rajamouli; the maverick behind "Magadheera", "Eega" etc. Anywaz his latest venture has lived upto expectations as his screenplay (inspired from Mahabharata) was engrossing for most parts except for the romance sequence which stuck out like a sore thumb. In the technical department, almost all the aspects were of supreme quality & totally worth the money spent on them. The VFX effects were mind blowing for most parts though the avalanche seemed kinda odd. Hats off to Sabu Cyril for his brilliant sets & Senthil Kumar for the breathtaking visuals. Last but the least, kudos to Keeravani's BGM & music which was in sync with the mood of the movie.

It's the first time that I have watched a movie of Prabhas & I should admit I was pretty impressed with the aura that he brings to the screen. Apart from his bulky physique, he fitted the character of the protagonist pretty well. Equally impressive was Rana Daggubati who seemed more than an equal match for the machismo Prabhas, But the pick among the lot for me was Remya Krishnan & Satyaraj who were exceptional in their respective roles. As for the rest of the cast, Anushka ought to be applauded for her de-glam look while Tamannah & Nasar were apt in their performances.

Verdict: The film has released in over 4200 screens around the world & from the reports coming in, it has shattered all opening day records by grossing about 60 C. It's definitely worth all the applause coming its way & I would have to admit I just cant wait for the second part to release. In short, you definitely got to watch this!!!

Rating: 4/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Papanasam review: "Remake does justice to the original in all aspects!!!"

Over the years, numerous remakes has flooded the theatres but only a handful of them actually managed to do justice to the original. Invariably, a significant number of Malayalam movies has been remade such as "Kireedam", "Manichithrathazhu", "Traffic" etc...& the latest to join this group is Jeethu Joseph's blockbuster "Drishyam". It's already been made in other languages such as Kannada, Telugu with Hindi in the pipeline as well, but the Tamil version was helmed by Jeethu himself with Kamal Haasan in the title role. So will the remake appeal to the audience especially for the ones who have seen the original???


Since the storyline is pretty much known to everyone, I believe that I dont have to go into the details of it. Except for the names & places, the basic premise has remained faithful to the original. Suyambulingam (Kamal Haasan) was a hard working individual who led a contented life with his small close knit family. Inspite of having studied only till the 4th, he was a person who was well versed with the happenings around the world which was partly due to his avid love for movies. Things moved along serenely in his household, until an individual who seemed capable to wreak havoc in their lives announces his presence. How Suyambulingam rises upto that challenge forms the crux of the movie.


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"Drishyam" is the biggest blockbuster of our industry (maybe "Premam" might overtake it) & the full credit for that goes to Jeethu Joseph. The reasons were pretty obvious as apart from impeccable execution he had penned that brilliant script as well. Even in "Papanasam", it is indeed applaudable that though the movie runs close to 3 hours, it never takes a toll on the audience as we are totally engrossed in it. If at all there was a significant difference between the two, it was with regard to the character of the protagonist as Lalettan seemed calculative and more restraint in his emotions while Kamal displayed more of an emotional side amply showcased in the climax sequence. All the technical aspects were impressive be it Sujith Vaassudev's visuals, Ghibran's music (though I felt Anil Johnson's original score & BGM were much better) & Ayoob's editing.

It's true that it's unfair to compare, but when it comes to remakes it's inevitable to be frank. If Lalettan had made Georgekutty memorable, in Tamil the mantle was on another legend Kamal Haasan & he has performed brilliantly. It wouldnt be prudent to accept the fact that we finally got to see the character rather than the star which had restricted his ability to showcase his acting skills in the recent past. Gowthami was average at best as she seemed kinda rusty & also it was a role which was tailor made for Meena. Coming to Nivedita Thomas, she seemed better than Ansiba while Esther didnt seem quite at ease here. As for the rest, Asha Sharath rocked while Kalabhavan Mani (I expected more from him as I personally feel he is more talented than Shajon), Anant Mahadevan etc have done a fine job.

Verdict: Undoubtedly, this is definitely one of the best movies that have come out in Tamil in recent times. Just like "Drishyam" was a landmark in Malayalam, I wouldn't be surprised if it's remake turns out to be one as well. In short, give it a try as its a well crafted remake. On a lighter note, though Jeethu rectified the flaw he made in the original with regard to the phone call; he forgot that "Anjaan" was released only on August 15th while Suyambulingam & family saw it 10 days earlier!!!

Rating: 3.75/5

Regards...Ben