Saturday, August 29, 2015

Phantom review: "Likely to be a phantom at the theatres in a few days!!!"

Onam...the very thought of this festival tingles our visual senses & salivary glands thanks to the sumptuous sadya along with the movie releases. Apart from the numerous Malayalam films, even Bollywood had one prominent release in the form of Kabir Khan's "Phantom". With "Bajirangi Bhaijaan" turning out to be the second biggest blockbuster of all time, Kabir had a whale of a time coming into his latest offering. So will Saif conjure atleast a fraction of the semblance of what Salman achieved with the same director???


26/11...a day which will be etched in our memories forever when LeT orchestrated a massacre in Mumbai. Almost seven years have passed since that fateful day, but due to our rather soft diplomatic demeanor or for some other reason known to only our Government, the masterminds behind that heinous act is still at large. RAW comes up with a covert operation to eliminate them & entrusts a disgraced Indian army officer, Dhaniyal Khan (Saif Ali Khan) to put their plans into it's rightful culmination. He is also helped in his mission by Nawaz Mistry (Katrina Kaif), a former RAW operative who provides him with the necessary resources. But will he able to take down the kingpins as planned???


If "Bajirangi Bhaijaan" focused on Indo-Pak brotherhood then Kabir's latest venture touches on the other extreme which is the topic of terrorism. However, unlike other espionage thrillers like "Baby" or "D-Day" this one fails to evoke similar excitement or rather to put it in simple terms, it felt like any other action movie inspite of the artillery on display. Based on Hussain Zaidi's "Mumbai Avengers", the script is an amalgamation of fact & fiction, but the problem is that the latter aspect fails to grip the audience. It's as if the makers were more interested in Sunny Deol's Gadar pattern of modus operandi before bringing the curtains down in Titanic style. The technical aspects were fine with some crisp editing by Arif Sheikh & Aditya Banerjee and credible visuals by Aseem Mishra. 

Saif looks suave & dashing, but as a rugged action hero,,,he is definitely not the right choice. I'm not saying he has to be expressive & over the top, but come on...pasting a scowl on your face isnt exactly how you portray yourself as being tough. Katrina Kaif was even more pathetic as she had the same "damsel in distress" expression throughout the whole movie with the irony being she plays a former RAW operative. As for the rest of the cast, none of them deserves special mention as they barely had much to do except sit around the table & discuss or click on their computers. 

Verdict: As per current reports, "Bajrangi Baijaan" has racked in 600 crores which will have Kabir Khan smiling ear to ear, but he will consider himself lucky if "Phantom" manages to huff & puff past 60 crores. The film might proclaim itself to belong to the genre of "espionage thriller"...but it fails to thrill for a major portion. In short, wont hurt to give it a try but on TV!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben




Saturday, August 15, 2015

Brothers review: "Bollywood exercises Right to Copy but officially for a change !!!"

On the auspicious occasion of our Independence Day, I would like to remind all my fellow Indians that we should strive to keep our freedom intact & not vile it away over petty issues like politics, communal violence etc. It might seem ironic but this week we have Karan Malhotra's "Brothers" hitting the screens which has a pair of brothers baying for each other's blood almost similar as to how some anti-social elements are trying to entice violence against our brothers & sisters. So will the movie cater to the tastes of the Indian audience???


Gary Fernandes (Jackie Shroff), an ex-fighter was released from jail after having served a jail sentence for the accidental murder of his wife. He was filled with remorse as he choked with guilt over the mishap that had happened primarily due to his addiction to alcohol. But it had virtually wrecked the life of everyone in his life as his two sons faced the brunt of it. His elder son, David (Akshay Kumar) who never forgave his father & cut off ties with his half brother after the demise of his mother was leading a contended life as a teacher with his wife & daughter. But a life threatening cardiac problem for his daughter meant he was squeezed for money & was forced to make some extra bucks through street fights. Monty (Sidharth Malhotra) was Gary's younger son who also made a living through fights & like his father was reliant on booze. It was around this time that Peter Bregenza (Kiran Kumar), a multi millionaire sports enthusiast arranges a MMA competition in the country & as one would expect both brothers enroll in it. But who will emerge victorious & at what cost???


Karan Malhotra is familiar to all of us as the one who had remade "Agneepath" which was quite a decent effort to be frank, Over here, he has taken the plot from the Hollywood movie "Warrior" & added heavy doses of melodrama to the point that it gets nauseating in certain sequences. The first half is interspersed with flash backs to showcase the equation between the father & his sons, while in the second half it had nothing apart from fights. So was it an absolute bore??? Well not exactly, as some sequences like the training sessions & fights were well choreographed. But unless you have a decent story to explain, it gets taxing after a certain time which is what happens here, None of the technical aspects deserves special mention as it was average at best.

Though Karan might have faltered in the script, I felt he has done a credible job with the cast that he has chosen. Akki was an apt choice as a brother who excels in martial arts & he has enacted his role with restraint making sure he didnt go over the top. Sidharth also has done a fine job as Monty & excelled in the fight sequences, though he needs to work on the emotional scenes. Jackie hams it big time in many of the scenes while Shefali Shah rocked in her brief role.

Verdict: It might sound surprising but I actually liked it more than the original but is it worth the time??? Hmm...well I have to say no...coz the script is as predictable as the conduct of our opposition party in Parliament. In all probability, it isn't going to make much of a tremor at the box office & you may as well spent this weekend watching Saina Nehwal's finals!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben



  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Drishyam review: "Decently remade but lacks the punch!!!"

About a month back, I had written about "Papanasam" which saw Kamal Haasan show ample evidence as to why he is considered as one of the best actors in the country. Well credit for that definitely goes to Jeethu Joseph whose script & direction was top notch & which was made all the more impactful thanks to the peerless Lalettan. Anywaz that led to a remaking spree with the latest industry to be hooked onto it being Bollywood. So will it be able to create waves there as well after all the cultural differences is pretty marked between the North & the South???


Well I am not even going to attempt saying anything about the plot as it would be known to everyone by now. This version had Nishikant Kamat call the shots who got some pretty decent credentials having won the National Award for his Marathi film "Dombivali Fast" a couple of years back. The screenplay by Upendra Sidhaye has remained more or less true to the original but subtle changes has been made to the script with regard to the locales. So does it actually work atleast in terms of the thrill factor. There is no doubt that it's surely one of the well made thrillers in Bollywood in the recent past, but if you have seen Lalettan's or even Kamal's version, you are bound to be disappointed. Just to cite a few examples, the sequence where the family was brutally thrashed at the police headquarters or the climax between the two parties both of which was brilliantly canned in Malayalam & Tamil, but it barely had an impact here. None of the technical aspects deserves special mention, which doesn't imply it was mediocre but it doesn't quite catch your attention also.


I do agree that it's absolute injustice to even compare Ajay Devgan to a legend like Lalettan, but he is no lame duck also after all he has won the National award twice.  Being a person who have excelled in expressing anguish & helplessness through his eyes, I would have to admit that it was disappointing to see him unable to showcase that caliber here. However, Tabu absolutely rocked as the IG & I feel she has performed on par or even better than Asha Sharath. The way she showcases her ability to oscillate between the ruthless nature of her profession & the yearning of her mother's heart, was quite a treat. Rajat Kapoor as Tabu's husband was impressive (the best in all the versions) along with Kamlesh Sawant. As for the rest of the cast, Shriya Saran & the kids were average at best while the kid who enacted Varun's role was far from threatening. 

Verdict: With "Bajrangi Baijaan" & "Bahubali" ruling the roost, it wont be possible for "Drishyam" to make a dent in their collections. But to be fair to the makers, I feel they have done a praise worthy job & surely deserves an audience for their effort. So will it appeal to those who have seen the original or even the Tamil version, then the answer will be a big "No". Anywaz give it a try if you haven't seen either of the two or else forget it!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben