Saturday, October 24, 2015

Shaandaar review: "A shaandaar waste of time!!!"

It's a festive mood around with everyone enjoying the extended weekend due to Dussehra. So to cash in on this, we have film makers across industries making a scrabble to display their wares. Prominent among them is Vikas Bahl's "Shaandaar" which has Shahid & Alia as the lead pair. The promos promises it to be a fun filled movie & the chemistry between the duo seems cracking. So will it be the Queen of 2015???


Alia (Alia Bhatt) was an orphan adopted by the millionaire Vipin Arora (Pankaj Kapoor), though it could be more appropriately said that he was a meek simpleton. Even his siblings also belonged to the same category as the reins of the household was in his mother's hands, a wheel chair bound cold hearted Mummyji (Sushma Seth). Though not quite the darling of Mummyji & her foster mother, Alia shared a warm relationship with her rotund half sister, Isha (Sanah Kapoor) whose marriage was fixed with the wealthy Fundwani family. The wedding was planned as an elaborate event which was co-ordinated by the sprightly Jagjinder Joginder (Shahid Kapoor), who wins the hearts of everyone except Vipin who was insecure of the former's increasing proximity to Alia. How this gala wedding ceremony pans out forms the crux of the movie.

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After the brilliant "Queen" which ruled the roost last year, Vikas Bahl is back with his latest venture which however turned out to be a mediocre candy floss. There is a world of disparity between the quality of the scripts & it comes as a rude surprise that it was indeed conceived by Vikas & written by Anvita Dutt. The major flaw of the movie as is evident by now is the lack of a credible plot. It actually seemed like a large cast was assembled & they were asked to perform to their heart's delight with songs inserted in between the proceedings. As a matter if fact, it's the cast which actually made this movie enjoyable at times due to the delightful chemistry between Shahid, Alia, Pankaj & Sanah. In the technical department, Anil Mehta has done a decent job with the visuals while Amit Trivedi's music was average at best.

Coming to performances, Shahid & Alia shared excellent chemistry and seemed to be at utmost ease in essaying their characters. Pankaj Kapoor is an actor par excellence, so in a role that barely challenged him; it was a cake walk for the veteran & the interaction with his real life son made for an enjoyable watch. Sanah Kapoor (who is actually the half sister of Shahid) has done an apt job while Sanjay Kapoor's over the top act which was hilarious at times reminded me of Anil Kapoor. As for the rest of the cast, they were average at best.

Verdict: The film is likely to have a decent opening & will appeal to the teenagers who loves candy floss rom-coms. But even then it will struggle to make waves at the box office & the best that the producers could possibly expect is to break even. From my point of view, with hardly a coherent script on display it's nothing more than a waste of time. In short, give it a miss!!!

Rating: 1/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, October 12, 2015

Jazbaa review: "Sanjay seems to have jazbaa only for style not substance!!!"

In the past year or so, we have been witness to some prominent heroines such as Manju Warrier, Jyothika etc. venture back into mainstream cinema . The latest to join that bandwagon is Aishwarya Rai who had taken a career break for motherhood. Her comeback vehicle is Sanjay Gupta's "Jazbaa", who is infamous for blatant ripoffs of Hollywood & Korean movies. Well the trailer seemed stylish & evokes expectations, but will it be the fairy tale return for Ash???


Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai) is a prominent criminal lawyer whose exceptional competence meant she got her clients off the hook, irrespective of whether they were guilty or not; if they were able to afford her hefty pay check. Things take a turn when her daughter gets kidnapped & she is instructed to defend a convicted felon as ransom. With a few days left for the final verdict on that case, she had to race against time & ensure she turned the tables on an open & shut case for the sake of her daughter. With the help of her childhood friend, Inspector Yohan (Irrfan Khan) suspended from the force for charges of corruption; they try to unravel evidence that could possibly prove that the case wasn't as crystal clear as it seemed. But with time, it becomes apparent that there were other stronger forces at play who didn't wish that the case was reopened. So can Anuradha save her daughter & if so, at what cost???

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It's been a couple of years since Sanjay Gupta had last made his appearance felt at the theatres through "Shootout at Wadala". To be frank, I have never been a fan of his movies as it oozed style & lacked content in most cases. Another aspect of all of his movies was that they were either copied from the West or Far East, which I didn't actually mind as long as it appealed to the senses; but invariably it didn't. His latest venture is also said to be a rip off of a Korean movie titled "Seven Days" (which I haven't seen), that has the premise of a thriller, but it failed to rise beyond a certain level & relegates to a melodramatic flick. Though the climax does provide a twist, it doesn't quite surprise the audience as expected & culminates in a predictable manner. In the technical department, the BGM by Amar Mohile was irritating while the colour tone used by Sameer Arya in the visuals didnt make it an enjoyable experience. However, Bunty Nagi's editing was crisp while Kamlesh Pandey's dialogues was witty at times.

Though Ash doesn't quite fit into the top bracket of actresses (in terms of skill), she has done a decent job as the protagonist. Irrfan Khan tries to do justice to his role which didn't quite have the depth  for an actor of his caliber, due to which it fails to impress. The same applies to Shabana Azmi & Atul Kulkarni as well, while the rest seemed average in their brief roles. 

Verdict: There is no doubt that the movie isn't going to make much impact at the box office & will depend on the multiplexes to break even. It should be able to do that after all there isn't much competition around & also due to its reasonable budget. So is it worth a try??? Hmm..well only if you are a fan of Ash or else forget it!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben



Sunday, October 11, 2015

Talvar review: "Razor sharp screenplay which give us a lump in our throats!!!"

About a week has passed since Meghna Gulzar's "Talvar" have hit the screens & due to some work commitments I wasn't able to jot down as to what I felt about it. Since most of my friends didn't even hear about this movie, I felt it made sense to write about it after all it was based on the Aarushi murder case which had hogged the headlines until the Sheena Bora case came up. With Irffan Khan & Konkona Sen among the cast, it was expected to be well portrayed & they did exactly that. The question that everyone had was in which point of view was the movie made, after all it is such a convoluted case. So did Meghna Gulzar do justice to this murder mystery???


The film unfolds with Inspector Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan) of the CDI being made in charge of the Shruti Tandon murder case which had shook the conscience of the nation. The utter incompetence & lackadaisical approach of the Noida police headed by Inspector Dhaniram (Gajraj Rao) meant that by the time Ashwin was brought in, all the crucial evidence were either lost or trampled. On the basis of some assumptions & vague theories, they had pinned the murder of Shruti & Khempal (Tandon's domestic help) on Ramesh Tandon (Neeraj Kabi). They branded it as a case of honour killing after Ramesh had seen his daughter in a compromising position with Khempal. However, Ashwin assisted by Inspector Vedant (Soham Shah) meticulously go through the circumstantial evidence & comes to the conclusion that the parents were innocent. But before he could close the case, the case is handed over to a new investigative team who again comes to the conclusion that the parents were indeed guilt of the double murder. So how both these teams goes about their task of coming to their own conclusions forms the crux of the movie. 

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After a hiatus, Meghna Gulzar calls the shots with this hard hitting film & she has done an excellent job with regard to the manner it was made. It seems like a documentary at times with the same scene being re-enacted a couple of times to support the theory of both the investigative teams. The audience is also given a realistic view as to how insensitive & casual the attitude of the cops could be at times. One of the primary reason as to why Megha was able to accomplish all this was coz of the brilliant script & screenplay by Vishal Bharadwaj. In such a grim movie, it's hard to have some light moments but the manner in which he has crafted the climax sequence between both the investigative teams rubbishing the findings of the other deserves applause. If at all there was some portion which felt unwanted, it was the take on Ashwin's disconcerted chemistry with his wife. As for other technical aspects, the BGM was fine while the editing by Sreekar Prasad was crisp and even the visuals by Pankaj Kumar seemed adequate.

Irrfan Khan has been the toast of Bollywood in the past few years & with even Hollywood having cast him, he has enhanced his reputation of being one of the best actors in the country. Expectedly, Irrfan was brilliant as Inspector Ashwin be it in the manner he goes about the case or his equation with his wife. Konkona Sen & Neeraj Kabi may not have much dialogues but they had expressed their character's distress convincingly. Prakash Belawadi (as the former CDI boss) was fantastic & even Soham Shah has done a fine job. As for the rest of the cast, all of them have done their jobs aptly though Tabu's role seemed unwanted.

Verdict: As per the latest box office reports, the movie has done exceedingly well & it seems to be going steady inspite of new releases. It's a well crafted movie & deserves all the applause coming its way. There is no doubt that the makers have given a clear indication as to what they think about the Talwar's involvement in the double murder. We can only hope that justice is served as soon as possible after all it's been about seven years now. As for the movie, no need for second thoughts...just go for it !!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben