Saturday, December 24, 2016

Dangal review: "Mr. Perfectionist & his on-screen daughters nails this excellent sports drama!!!"

Christmas eve is upon us & what better way to celebrate it than being with our loved ones. As it is the season of giving, let each one of us do our bit to spread the message of love & brotherhood. Apart from the customary X'mas goodies, namely cakes, wine & spicy non-vegetarian dishes (started salivating??? well I did); it's bonanza time for movie buffs as all film industries will have some major release or the other. The biggest release this year is undoubtedly, Aamir Khan's "Dangal", whose trailer was fantastic which has taken the expectations through the roof. So will Aamir who usually turns up as Santa bring smiles to the audience & makers alike with yet another blockbuster???


An Aamir Khan movie is a huge occasion in itself due to his sporadic releases which always lives upto expectations. Due to this, the media scrutiny is immense courtesy of which many of you would already be having an idea that this movie is the biographical depiction of former National wrestling Champion Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) who trained both his daughters, Geeta (Fatima Sana (older) & Zaira Wasim) & Babita (Sanya Malhotra (older) & Suhani Bhatnagar) to become Commonwealth Champions. Mahavir had to give up wrestling in his prime to support his family but always harboured hopes that he would live his dream through his unborn son. But as fate would have it, he was blessed with only daughters. As wrestling was predominantly a male dominated sport, Mahavir presumed his dream would remain a dream until he decides to train his daughters. How Mahavir makes his dream into reality against all odds forms the crux of the movie. It was much tougher than one could expect since the mindset of the Haryanvi community which has one of the worst child sex ratios is that the girl child is not entitled to do anything apart from household chores. 


The idea to this story came from Divya Rao who was part of Disney's creative team & which was then subsequently properly fleshed out by Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain & Nikhil Mehrotra. Nitesh Tiwari was given the responsibility of direction, which happened to be his third venture after "Chillar Party" & "Bhoothnath Returns". The screenplay is brilliant & it was equally well picturised by Nitesh which keeps the audience hooked to the movie. The first half is top notch as it is a proper concoction of humour, emotions, action & drama. Even the latter half is good though mid way through it gets a tad too repetitive with the wrestling sequences but the gripping conflict between father-daughter & goosebump evoking climax more than makes up for the lag. 

Cast with the original characters
All the wrestling matches were brilliantly choreographed by Kripashankar Bishnoi  & even people who had no idea about this sport would be adequately educated by the time they finish watching. So much so, I wont be surprised if more people would be interested to follow this sport the next time it is shown on TV. Pritam's BGM has helped the movie immensely & even his music was in sync with the mood especially the title track rendered by Daler Mehendi which will become a rage & the "Haanikarak Baapu" song. Sethu Sriram has done a fine job with the visuals while Ballu Saluja's editing was crisp. 

Even before I talk about Aamir Khan, I feel it is only right that I mention about the girls who were absolutely brilliant. Each one of them have done their parts exceptionally with Zaira Wasim (younger Geeta) being my personal favourite. It's hard to believe that it is the debut venture of all of them & each one of them apart from their acting have done their wrestling sequences unbelievably well. Since it is more focused on Fathima Sana, she deserves a special mention. Now what do I say about Aamir? he knows how to choose scripts & once he takes up a project, he gives his 100% to the role which is there for all to see. His physical transformation for the movie was awe evoking & the way he has enacted his part as a middle aged father was fantastic, taking care that he didnt overshadow the others & kept his stardom in check. Kudos to Nitesh & Aamir for that. Sakshi Talwar was a surprising choice as Aamir's wife but she proved as to why she is a much sought after artist in the silver screen. She might not have much dialogues as her expressions conveys volumes. Aparshakti Khurana & Ritvik Sahore both of whom essayed the role of Mahavir's nephew also deserves special mention as he provides the comic relief to the movie.

Verdict: The movie will take the box-office by storm & will break all records set by "Sultan". Frankly speaking, I feel this is one of Aamir's best performance to date if not the very best. Actually, it might seem like a tall ask but I have a feeling that it will usurp "PK" as the biggest blockbuster of all time. In short, it has all the ingredients that one could ask for & though I might sound a bit biased being a sports drama; I would suggest that you guys got to definitely watch it!!!

Rating: 4.5/5

Regards...Ben




Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Chennai 600028 II review: "Hilarious but not on par with the prequel!!!"

It's been a while since I had watched a hilarious Tamil movie & so I was looking forward to one for quite a while. With India winning the Mumbai test in style, I was in a mood to celebrate it with some laid back comedy & that's when my eyes fell upon Venkat Prabhu's "Chennai 600028 II" which had hit the screens last weekend. Since I am a huge fan of his brand of film making,  I decided to check it out. Hopefully this will live upto its prequel which had the audience in splits close to a decade back.


A decade has passed & Father time had caught up with the band of boys who has now become men with family responsibilities. Chennai Sharks still exists as Gopi (Vijay Vasanth) runs the team with new set of players. But the original gang still tries to meet up whenever possible courtesy of Seenu's (Premji) booze parties who had remained a bachelor. Since most of them were henpecked husbands, their wives strongly detested such rendezvous making it difficult for them to have some guy time. However, an opportunity presented itself when Raghu's (Jai) marriage was fixed with Anu (Sana Althaf) in her hometown of Theni. Over there, they meet up with their buddy Aravind who seeks their help to defeat the local champions led by the cunning Maruthu (Vaibhav). Little did they realise that this match was the beginning of their troubles as Raghu's wedding was put into jeopardy.


As mentioned earlier, I have always enjoyed Venkat Prabhu's movies which has a liberal dosage of humour, suspense & thrilling elements. Apart from "Maasu", all his previous ventures had worked with the audience.  He made his directorial debut with "Chennai 600028" which appealed to the audience as we could relate to the equation between the characters & also the thrill of the cricket match. In the sequel as well, he has more or less remained true to the narration format as there are ample humorous sequences but it lacks the zip of the former as we dont root for the characters like before. In the technical department, Yuvan Shankar Raja has provided some decent tracks while Rajeev Yadav's visuals had that rustic feel of the prequel. On the negative, Praveen K L ought to have done a better job with the editing as the 2.5 h movie feels way too long. 

Inspite of the numerous characters, each one is given adequate screen space. Shiva rocks with his one liners & crazy movie reviews while Vaibhav was fantastic (my personal favourite) in the negative role. Jai's character required him to be sober while Premji still evokes laughs along with Vijay Vasanth. The rest of the cast have also done their roles aptly.

Verdict: Chennai is slowly getting back to its feet after the demise of their illustrious CM Jayalalitha & to add to it the fury of Cyclone Vardah, so it is likely that the collections will be hit in the initial phase. However, the positive reviews & success of the prequel should help the movie in the long run. In short, it might not be as entertaining as the first installment but still worth a watch provided you watched the prequel to relate to the humour!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Befikre review: "Audience needs to fikre if they want to spent time on this!!!"

If one takes up the list of the biggest blockbusters in Bollywood, then one name which will figure prominently in the top is "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge". So much so, it is still running in Maratha Mandir for close to 1100 weeks. Now the man behind this timeless romance saga which established SRK as the King of Romance is Aditya Chopra. The reclusive director & chairman of Yash Raj films, have done just 3 films in the past two decades, all of which had raked in the moolah. So when Adi announced his latest venture "Befikre", the expectations were pretty high which seemed justified after all the songs & trailers had captured innumerable number of eyeballs. So can Adi be befikre as to whether this matches his previous releases???


Dharam (Ranver Singh) is a quintessential Delhi guy who had moved over to Paris to work in his buddy's club as a stand up comedian. He meets up with Shyra (Vani Kapoor), who was brought up in France after her parents had migrated into the country as chefs. The duo hit off famously with their no holds barred attitude as neither of them were keen on a commitment. In due time, they break up but continued to remain friends which is when they started to realize the importance of the other. Though both of them get into other relationships, it didnt quite have the same vibe that the two shared. But will they risk getting back together & if so, is it possible???


Aditya's credentials as a film maker is well documented, so I guess there is no point in harping about it. But the question is, was he able to regain his touch after such a long hiatus??? The answer is an emphatic No, as his script neither offers anything new that we haven't seen nor does the treatment engrosses us. It seemed like the mish mash of several movies that we had seen over the years & true to Yash Raj movies, it is shot in beautiful locales with the characters making constant references to their desi roots, All the technical aspects deserves browny points be it the visuals which were exquisite thanks to Kaname Onoyama or the smashing choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant. Vishal Shekhar's music was foot thumping stuff along with Mikey McCleary's BGM which was in sync with the mood of the movie.

In one of the recent interviews, Adi had mentioned that he had written the script keeping Ranveer in mind & wouldnt have made the movie if the latter had refused. Anywaz I have to admit that Ranveer was an apt choice for the character as his unbridled energy & crazy attitude which even goes to the extent of showing his bare ass, carries the movie inspite of the weak script. Vani Kapoor who was last seen on the big screen more than four years back in "Shhudh Desi Romance" was full of spunk & fire. However even though the two indulge in a kissing spree & makes out with gay abandon, they just didnt have any smoking chemistry between them. As for the rest of the cast, though they didnt have much to do all of them have done a decent job.

Verdict: The catchy trailer & brand value of Adi, will ensure a commendable opening in the multiplex. But with the script so mediocre & hardly anything happening, apart from the innumerable kisses, the number of footfalls will drastically decrease in the coming days. In short, watch the thrilling Mumbai Test match befikre but not this movie!!!

Rating: 1.75/5

Regards...Ben






Monday, December 5, 2016

Kahaani 2 review: "Kahaani is bogged down by expectations & predictability!!!"

Seems like the season of sequels hasn't ended as we had yet another one hitting the screens this weekend. Incidentally, it happened to be "Kahaani 2", the prequel of which had impressed both the critics & audience alike. Apart from a couple of guest appearances, it's been more than a year since Vidya Balan had graced the screens & since she will be playing the protagonist again, the expectations are sky high. So will the sequel be able to rise above or atleast equal the benchmark set by "Kahaani"???


As in the prequel, the story unfolds in Kolkata where Vidya Sinha (Vidya Balan) is a single parent to her handicapped daughter, Mini (Tunisha Sharma). Life moved along peacefully for the two, until Mini gets kidnapped & Vidya frantically goes in search of her after a call from the kidnapper. However, she meets with an accident & slips into a coma. Sub Inspector Indrajeet Singh (Arjun Rampal) is called in to investigate the case & is stumped by the fact that she looks like Durga Rani, a wanted criminal. So was it the same person or a dopple ganger & will Vidya wake up from her coma before it is too late???


Sujoy Ghosh who had thrilled the audience four years back with "Kahaani" is back on the director's seat for the sequel. In between he had directed the Radhika Apte starrer "Ahalya", a short film which had wowed the audience with its thrilling script. In his latest venture as well, he has penned the script which takes up the disturbingly relevant topic of "child abuse", that very few Bollywood movies has explored. Armed with a credible thread, Sujoy executes the first half of the movie excellently as it captures the attention of the audience & steadily builds towards an even more riveting latter half. Unfortunately that's not what happens as the central theme gets sidelined & the movie culminates towards a predictable climax. The emotional trauma that the victim(s) goes through is barely touched upon & it is eventually turned into an attempt by Vidya to save her daughter in a rather passive manner unlike the prequel where she takes it upon herself to wreck havoc on her enemies. Tapan Basu has done a commendable job with the picturisation while Clinton Cereja's music blends with the movie.

Vidya Balan has rocked as the protagonist & plays both the parts with conviction though I cant help saying that the script couldnt do justice to her caliber. I would have to admit that I was pleasantly with Arjun Rampal's performance as he has done his part pretty well & is provided adequate screen space to showcase his skills. Jugal Hansraj has been in the wilderness for quite a while & makes a comeback with a decent performance, though he was reduced to a mundane villain in the climax. As for the rest, Kharaj Mukherjee, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Tunisha Sharma etc have done their parts adequately.

Verdict: The film will surely have a decent opening thanks to the response that the prequel had garnered. However, if the prequel had the word of mouth going in its favour in the subsequent weeks; that is unlikely to happen here which means the initial collections will be better but in the long run it will lag behind. The film had met the expectations in the first half, but in the latter half it spirals down to an ordinary thriller. In short, if you watch it without keeping the prequel as the benchmark, then you wont be disappointed!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Dear Zindagi review: "Dear Alia, you absolutely rocked!!!"

After a plethora of sequels in the past couple of weeks which more or less bordered on mediocrity (except for maybe "Force 2"), we finally have one which promises to keep the audience entertained. It happens to be Gauri Shinde's "Dear Zindagi" which has SRK & Alia Bhatt in the lead.  They were the first guests in this season of "Koffee With Karan" (who is also one of the producers) & from the lively vibe they shared, they would have dazzled in the movie as well. The promos has been quite catchy & the same applies to the songs also which has become chart busters. So did it live upto expectations???


Kiara (Alia Bhatt) is a talented upcoming cinematographer, who was on the lookout for a big break which would elevate her to the elite league. Even though her career was on the rise, her personal life seemed to be in turmoil as she was emotionally insecure. Kiara shared a rather cold relationship with her parents & also feared commitment calls which invariably meant she ended up hurting the guys with whom she was romantically linked. After one such breakup, Kiara headed back to her parents in Goa hoping that a change in environment will help to calm her nerves. But she found it hard to handle it by herself & sought the help of a psychiatrist, Dr Jehangir Khan aka Jug (SRK). How he helps her out & makes her embrace life is what the movie is about. 


Gauri Shinde is a person who doesnt need much of an introduction even though she just has one movie to her credit which incidentally happened to be the commercially & critically acclaimed "English Vinglish". Just as in her previous venture, this time too she has taken up the responsibility of penning the script & screenplay. One of the emphatic message in "English Vinglish" was that children need to be more understanding about their parents shortcomings while over here, parents has to understand that their presence is essential for their children in their formative years.  However, it doesnt quite impress in the same manner as this seemed to be kinda superficial & didnt make us feel invested in the story. But there are quite a couple of sequences which were brilliant be it the one where Alia vents out her anger & frustrations at her family or the climax sequence where she breaks down in front of SRK. Laxman Utekar deserves praise for his impressive frames & the same applies to Amit Trivedi for his music which was quite endearing. 

A couple of days back, I happened to read an article in NDTV which said Anil Kapoor expressed confidence that if the awards weren't rigged then his daughter Sonam will sweep the best actress awards for her role in "Neerja. Well to be frank, I doubt anyone else stands a chance apart from Alia who was brilliant in "Udta Punjab" & has given a thumping performance here as well. It was a difficult character to portray coz of the various shades, but she has done it skillfully without overdoing it. Inspite of playing second fiddle to her character, SRK has done a fantastic job as he lighted up the screen with his charisma. Almost all of the supporting cast has done a fine job such as Ira Dubey, Yashaswini Dayama, Kunal Kapoor etc.

Verdict: From the promos itself, it's kinda evident that it is a type of movie which caters to the multiplex audience. But even for them as well, the lack of an engaging script will prove to be its downfall. In short, many would find the therapy sessions repetitive & would yearn for the exit but it is still worth a watch for Alia & SRK!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Meenkuzhabum Manpaanayum review: "Apart from the title, everything else is distasteful!!!"

In this competitive world, having a successful career requires hard work & commitment. More often than not, children are influenced by their parents knowingly or unknowingly to pursue their profession. Well I can vouch for that as I was fascinated by the Medical profession primarily coz of my Dad. This is all the more prominent in the film industry where many of the star kids tend to try their hand in acting, some of whom might click while others dont. The latest to join the bandwagon is Jayaram's son Kalidas who is being launched in "Meenkuzhabum Manpaanayum". Even though the promos didnt impress me, I decided to check it out as Kalidas had impressed as a child artist. So was it a decision I would regret???


Annamalai (Prabhu) was a hard working & humble individual who was settled in Malaysia & owned the most popular restaurant in the region. Since he was a widower, the only person he could call as his family was his son, Karthi (Kalidas). Annamalai absolutely adored his son but once Karthi entered into the teenage years, he found his father's affection a bit too suffocating for his liking. Depressed by his son's nonchalant attitude, he shares his concerns with his friend who suggests that they meet up with his Guru who would be able to provide a solution. As expected, the Guru provides a solution but it was something that they had least anticipated.


This is one of the lamest films that I had watched in recent times. This abysmal movie is the debut venture of Amudeshwar  who had also penned the script (oh!!! there was a script???). The fantasy element which was introduced into the plot wasn't novel as it has already been portrayed well in Malayalam "Ithihasa" (even though it was loosely based on "The Hot Chick") & a few other movies. Even then the director could have shown his creativity & taken it in an engaging manner as the thread did have the potential. None of the technical aspects deserves specific mention as almost all of them were forgettable be it the visuals or editing while the music by D Imman was average.

It was surprising to see Prabhu act in such a pathetic manner when he played the Karthik character, as it had no connection at all to the Karthik in the first half. On the other hand, Kalidas has done a decent job when he portrayed the Annamalai character though he was pretty artificial as Karthik. Ashna Zaveri was pathetic while Urvashi & Pooja Kumar were fine. Kamalahasan in a cameo barely had much to do, but he suited the character.

Verdict: It's really surprising as to how Jayaram agreed to his son being launched in this pedestrian venture. There is no doubt that the film will sink without a trace, thanks to its mediocrity, STR-Gautham combo & demonetization. In short, watch it & you might end up hating fish curry as well!!!

Rating: 1/5

Regards...Ben



Monday, November 14, 2016

Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada review: "STR rediscovers form with the help of Gautham Menon!!!"

Whenever a discussion about the finest Tamil romantic movies in the past decade comes up, one which is likely to feature in almost all the lists will be "Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa". Directed by the maestro Gautham Menon, the movie featured the lead pairs Simbu & Trisha; with the former arguably at his best along with the legend A R Rahman's brilliant music. So when the news came that the trio were joining hands again after 6 years for "Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada"  the expectations had gone through the roof. The songs are already chart busters & the trailer looked interesting, but will AYM match upto VTV, against which it is going to be invariably compared???


Simbu (his character name isn't revealed as it is expected to be a spoiler) is a jobless MBA graduate who viled away time with his friends. After a couple of failed encounters with love, Simbu falls for his sister's friend Leela (Manjima Mohan) who had come over to stay with their family. When he decides to go on a tour of South India on his bike with his buddies, Leela expresses her interest to go along with him. During the course of their journey, the two gets closer but before they could confess their love; they meet with an accident which changes their lives for ever.


Gautham Menon had announced this movie in 2013, but due to various issues the film had to be postponed quite a number of times. This is pretty evident when we see Simbu who seem to have changed quite a bit physically over this period of time. It is a bilingual & made in Telugu as "Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo" with Naga Chaitanya in the lead. Scripted by Gautham himself, the film unfolds with the mention that it is inspired from a sequence in "The Godfather, though frankly speaking such a statement wasnt required as it wasnt so evident. Anywaz it is a well known fact that he is an expert when it comes to portraying romance on celluloid. The first half is about the romance which blossoms between the lead pairs which reminds us of VTV & there are a couple of subtle references about the movie as well. In the second half, Gautham transforms it into an action thriller which is unfortunately the weak point. The climax was hurried & it lacked logic considering the way it was built up. It seemed like Gautham wanted to play to the gallery for the STR fans & the heroine was relegated to the sidelines. 

On the technical side, A R Rahman rocked the show with his music & BGM. Almost all the tracks are fine though my pick among the lot was "Thalli Pogathey" not just because of the rendition by Sid Sriram , Aaryan Dinesh & Aparna but also for the manner it was picturised. The cinematography was top notch courtesy of Dan Macarthur & Dani Raymond. Even Anthony Gonsalves has done a fine job with the editing though the second half could have been better.

Apart from the mediocre "Vaalu" last year, it's been a while since Simbu have featured in a full length role & even longer when we choose one which endeared to the audience. From a personal point of view, VTV was definitely his best & with AYM, he is back in form which goes on to prove that in the hands of a talented director, Simbu can rock the screen. Manjima wasn't the original choice for the movie, however she fitted the part & did her role quite well. Baba Sehgal might have played his character a bit over the top, but he was an apt choice while Daniel Balaji was completely wasted. 

Verdict: With no big releases in the horizon, the film should have a free reign at the box office for the next few weeks. However, it might be affected by the demonetization which is being implemented especially in the single screens where online booking isnt available. AYM does have the Gautham Menon stamp on it which will endear to the audience & with STR along with Rahman in form as well, it is definitely worth a watch. 

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Rock On 2 review: "Lacks the freshness & zing of the prequel!!!"

In the past week, the world has been rocked by two major news; Donald Trump being elected US President & the demonetization back home. PM Modi & his team came up with this bold decision in an effort to curb black money. Whether it would actually find the result that is expected remains to be seen especially with the launch of a higher denomination, but effort to rein in black money will ensure that our nation can rock on the world stage. Taking about rocking, this week we have "Rock on 2" hitting the screens which as the name suggests is a sequel.  More often than not, sequels fails to live upto expectations. Hmm...so will this also have a similar fate or will it rock the box office???


More than five years have passed since Magik has been disbanded & though all the members are still close buddies, each one was busy with their own lives. KD (Purab Kohli) who doubles up as the narrator made jingles for clients, something which he was not particularly happy with, while Joe (Arjun Rampal) was the owner of a happening club & also the judge of a music reality show. As for Adi (Farhan Akhtar), he was in Meghalaya helping out the natives hoping that it would help him overcome the guilt of being responsible for the death of a singer. Into their midst comes Jiah (Shraddha Kapoor), who has the talent to make it big but is bogged down by her father's hate for any genre of music apart from classical. Will she have the guts to stand up to her father to pursue her ambition & will Adi ever overcome his guilt???


Almost 8 years have passed since "Rock On" had released & it did impress the audience at that time. However, the sequel which is directed by Shujaat Saudagar fails to tick the boxes that it had successfully managed to do so earlier. The biggest drawback with the film is that it doesnt connect with the audience inspite of the emotional drama that is happening between the characters. Abhishek Kapoor & Pubali Chaudhuri who had penned the script touches on the topic of neglect & troubles faced by the North Eastern people & the despise for fusion music by purists both of which came across as half baked. Even the music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy didnt have the peppiness that was evident in the prequel. On the brighter side, Mark Koninckx has exquisitely picturised Shillong. 

On the performance side, all of them have done a decent job be it Farhan, Arjun or Purab. Shraddha who was the new addition to the team has done a fine job while Shashank Arora was wasted along with Kumud Mishra. 

Verdict: Just like the prequel, it is a movie which will have takers only in the multiplexes, But unlike "Rock On", this will not be able to satiate the audience neither in terms of the script nor the music. In short, a rather disappointing sequel!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben




Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Shivaay review: "Desi version of Taken minus the intricate attention to details!!!"

Festivals like Diwali, Eid etc, are eagerly awaited by Bollywood hoping to cash in on the extended weekends. Due to this, film makers announce their releases usually a year in advance in order to avoid a tussle at the box-office. Even then at times, mud slinging has occurred between rival camps when both of them vie for the same dates. This year, Ajay Devgn had "Shivaay" hit the screens on the same day as "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" & it had stirred a controversy prior to release when the "attention seeker" Kamaal Khan claimed that he was offered money by one camp to bad mouth the other (only God knows, whether anyone would seek this idiot's help). Anywaz this wasn't the first time that Ajay was involved in a controversy coz in 2012 as well, he claimed his "Son of Sardar" was denied screens in favour of "Jab Tak Hai Jaan". Well his movie came in second at that time, but will there be a shift in momentum this time around???


Shivaay (Ajay Devgn) is a Himalayan mountaineer who made a living arranging trekking expeditions. During one of the treks, he saves a Bulgarian female named Olga (Erika Kaar) from an avalanche which provides fodder for a romantic relation to develop between the two. Their relation leads to her being pregnant much to her dismay but she decides to bear the child for Shivaay. However, after the birth of their daughter, Gaura; she leaves her in the care of Shivaay & returns to Bulgaria. Gaura (Abigail Eames) was made to believe that her mother had passed away but she gets to know the truth & coax Shivaay into taking her to Bulgaria to meet her mother. Will she get to meet her after all they had no clue about her whereabouts???


This is the second directorial venture of Ajay after "U, Me Aur Hum" which was pretty average & failed to impress the audience. Scripted by himself, the basic thread is definitely inspired from Liam Neeson's "Taken" & he has tried to showcase the emotional connect between the father & daughter in addition to the high octane stunt sequences. He is basically a one man army who vanquishes the enemies with his brawn while there doesnt seem to be any specific planning as everything seemed to work like clockwork. On the positive side, most of the stunts are well choreographed & gives the movie a racy feel in some portions. Aseem Bajaj has done an impressive job with the cinematography but the editing by Dharmendra Sharma was pathetic as it's damn long with numerous scenes that could have been easily chopped off. With regard to the music, Mithoon has done a decent job with the BGM.

The director in Ajay, seemed like he couldnt get enough of himself & ended up being present in almost all the scenes. He has done an earnest job as the protagonist & as always rocked in the action sequences. Abigail Eames might have been mute, but even then she performed reasonably. As for the rest, Sayesha Saigal & Erika Kaar was average while Girish Karnad was wasted.

Verdict: The box-office collection will be dependent on the single screens as the mutiplexes are likely to favour ADHM. The stunt sequences are the USP of the movie while the emotional drama wedged into the movie fails to connect with the audience. With everything at his disposal as he was both the director & producer, Ajay ought to have paid more attention to the story as it did have the potential to be a winner in all centres. In short, watch it for the action or else forget it!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, October 31, 2016

Kaashmora review: "Karthi rocks even as the horror comedy tests our patience!!!"

Diwali is here & it's that time of the year when the Tamil film industry goes into overdrive mode hoping to cash in on the festive mood. This year, the big ticket movie apart from "Kodi" that has graced the screen on the festival of lights is "Kaashmora". Directed by Gokul, this Karthi starrer had created interest in the public coz of the catchy promos which showed Karthi in two avatars that was as distinct as chalk & cheese. In one of the interviews, Gokul had mentioned it was more of a comedy movie with elements of fantasy added onto it. So was the director able to convey his vision effectively to the audience???


Kaashmora (Karthi), a fradulent exorcist along with his family made a living duping people in the name of dark spirits. As Kaashmora's fame travelled far & wide, he is approached by a corrupt & superstitious minister (Sharath Lohitashwa) to help him tide over the trying times that might come in his path. At around the same time, a man comes to seek Kaashmora's help to cleanse a haunted bungalow in Andhra. Little did he realise that he was going to confront a real ghost who wouldn't stop at anything to reach the spiritual world. 

As mentioned earlier, the project is helmed by Gokul who is said to have impressed the audience with his previous venture "Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara". Since I havent watched that, I dont have a point of reference with regard to his caliber which is a positive thing. The first half of the movie didn't have much substance apart from the gimmicks that Kaashmora's family employed to hoodwink the public which does give rise to some genuine hilarious moments. In the second half, we are introduced to the actual purpose of the movie & that's where it does manage to arrest our attention as it had a faint resemblance to "Baahubali" with Raj Nayak (Karthi) looking more like a cruel Katappa. Frankly speaking, the humour failed to produce the desired effect & the running time of close to 3 h doesn't help the cause as the audience wont be able to resist yawning. On the technical side, Om Prakash & Rajeevan deserves a pat on the back for a job well done as they had handled the cinematography & art direction respectively. Santhosh Narayanan's BGM was fine but I cant say the same about his music.

Karthi is the heart & soul of the movie and he has given a brilliant performance in both avatars. His portrayal of the evil warlord Raj Nayak was nothing short of spectacular & there is nothing between the two characters that makes you feel that it is done by the same person. So kudos to Karthi for that. Nayanthara rocked in the brief role with her elegance, poise & beauty while Vivek does manage to tickle the funny bone. As for the rest of the cast, they barely had anything to do.

Verdict: Being Diwali, the film is likely to make a killing at the box office & will emerge as Karthi's biggest hit. So the question naturally arises as to whether the movie is so good. Well Karthi was brilliant but the movie does bore for large parts until Raj Nayak & Nayan's part comes in. In short, the humour works but not for long, however the film is worth a watch for Karthi!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil review: "Will be mushkil for many to sit through the emotional drama!!!"

Soon after the Uri attacks where 19 of our brave soldiers lost their lives, they were calls to cut off all ties with Pakistan on all platforms which included Bollywood as well. Well I am not going to dispute the stance that was called for, but many from the film industry including Karan Johar came forward stating that it was not right to deny Pakistani artists from performing in the country. Frankly speaking, I dont believe many of them actually mean it as their eye is only on the money they can garner from the Pakistani market & one of the easiest way to do it is to include stars from there in the movie. This is exactly what KJo did with Fawad Alam in his latest movie "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil", the promos of which has caught the eye of the public. So was it the typical KJo movie with just glitz & glamour or was there more depth to it???


Based in London, Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) an aspiring singer & Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) meet up at a bar & try to make out but it turned up to be an absolute drab. However, they hit off famously to end up as close buddies in quick time after the break up with their respective partners. With time, Ayan started having feelings for her but Alizeh wasn't able to take their relation to the next level as she was still in love with Ali (Fawad Alam) who had broken her heart many years back. When she bumps into Ali in Paris, all those feelings gets rekindled which shatters Ayan. Will Alizeh ever able to reciprocate Ayan's unrequited love???


It's been a while since KJo has called the shots as his previous release was "Student of the Year" in 2012. From the outset, it has all the ingredients of a typical Johar movie such as the uber lifestyle of the protagonists, foreign locales & great music. What sets this movie apart is the pull it exerts on the heart cords which feels realistic & genuine, thanks to the terrific leads. Even the dialogues by Johar oscillated from being witty & stupid to sentimental & philosophical which added a lot to the overall impact of the movie.  But where this movie falters is that it offers an undeniable sense of deja vu as it seems like a potpourri of "Tamasha" & "Rockstar". It also comes across way too emotional & brooding which might not be to the liking of a segment of the audience. On the technical side, everything was top notch be it Pritam's music (almost all the tracks were awesome, "Channa Mereya" & "Bulleya" were my favourites) or Anil Mehta's exquisite visuals.  

Both the leads were absolutely brilliant, that it's hard to say who has aced it; though I have to say Anushka Sharma surprised me with her confidence & attention to nuances. I couldnt possibly imagine anyone else apart from her as Alizeh. Ranbir Kapoor credentials as a phenomenal actor is well established & this role just reiterated the fact that he is indeed the best of his generation, though he intends to mess up with his choice of movies. Aishwarya Rai has done a decent job but her segment with Ranbir was the weakest in the movie. Fawad Alam barely had much to do while Lisa Haydon was spot on as the bimbette. As for the cameos by SRK & Alia Bhatt, it barely had any impact.

Verdict: KJo might had to bow down to the wishes of the MNS & even put up a message thanking soldiers (nothing more than a gimmick to be frank), but he will be laughing his way to the bank with the initial. It will have the multiplexes & overseas lapping it up, but single screens are unlikely to warm up to him. It should be a blockbuster in the long run as it's surely KJo's most intense movie to date & his lead pairs has just smashed it. In short, if you dont mind emotional drama then definitely go for it!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mirzya review: "Visual spectacle that fails to connect!!!"

October is upon us & it's time for the Puja holidays which is eagerly looked forward to by students & employees alike. This year, it so happened that the auspicious days fell on the first few working days which invariably meant a long weekend. Hoping to cash in on the extended holidays is Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's "Mirzya" that had the tinsel town gushing over the making of the movie & the performances of the lead pair. Well it wasn't surprising after all you wouldn't possibly expect them to say anything negative about Harshvardhan Kapoor, son of Anil Kapoor who was making his debut in a movie which was being crafted by some of the best technicians. There is no doubt that the frames shown in the trailer was awe-inspiring & with Gulzar having written the script; the expectations of it being a classic was nigh high. So did it deliver what it promised???


The film opens with a warrior winning an archery competition with the prize being the hand of the princess. However, it didnt seem to impress the other members of the clan & they make it amply clear with their hostile demeanor. The warrior wasn't disturbed by the events that unfolded & elopes with the princess in the dark much to the chagrin of the others who follows in pursuit. In an alternate time period, which happens to be the present day; Munish & Suchi are inseparable friends who always looked out for each other. But when Suchi gets reprimanded at school when she tried to cover up for Munshi who had forgotten his assignment, little did they realize that the subsequent events that unfolded would change their lives forever. 


Rakeysh Omprakash is a director who needs no introduction especially with movies like "Rang De Basanti" & "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" to his credit. In "Mirzya", he has been honoured with the services of renowned lyricist Gulzar who has penned the script with the legendary tale of Mirza Sahiban being the basic idea behind the thread. The highlight of the movie is undoubtedly the magnificent visuals by the Polish cinematographer, Pawel Dyllus who has captured the Leh-Ladakh landscape & the Rajashthani deserts in such a manner that it will leave us spell bound. Equally impressive was the soundtrack by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy which blends with the mood of the movie & elevates the experience especially in the warrior sequences. But there is a limit as to how much technical brilliance can help if it doesnt have a tale that connects with the audience & that's exactly the problem here. The format which is followed is pretty much similar to "Rang De Basanti", where we have two similar stories running parallel to each other in different time periods. While in "RDB", we root for the protagonists, over here we are more bothered as to when we can relieve ourselves from the boredom gifted by the movie.

Harshvardhan Kapoor looked awesome as the warrior but he didnt quite suit the character of Munish as he failed to convey the rawness & ruggedness that was evident in his appearance. Even Saiyami Kher didnt impress me with her histrionics or dialogue delivery. If at all there was someone who deserves a mention, then it has to be Anjali Patel while all the rest were either average or mediocre. 

Verdict: Apart from technical brilliance, there is hardly anything in the movie which makes it worth watching. The movie will have to depend solely on the multiplex audience for its investment but even they are likely to stay away due to the incoherent script. In short, dont bother!!!

Rating: 1.75/5

Regards...Ben




Sunday, October 2, 2016

MS Dhoni: The Untold Story review: "Engaging though many aspects especially the lows remains untold!!!"

Cricket, the game which holds the nation together & which is like a religion in the sub-continent holds an unfair advantage in the region much to the chagrin of lovers of other sports. Being a sports buff, I pretty much follow most of the sports with unbridled enthusiasm but Cricket remains my favourite though I admit we need to give as much support & respect to Champs of other sports. It might seem like an absolute waste of time with hardly anything happening for long periods of time to many of the detractors. But once you love the game, even Tests can be engrossing; maybe check out the Kolkata Test which has Kiwis on the ropes & you will understand what I mean. Over the years, we had many legends in the game & one name which will be added to that list by the time he hangs his boots will be our Captain Cool aka M S Dhoni. In recent times, we had a couple of biopics on sports icons such as Milkha, Mary Kom, Azhar etc . So when a biopic on MS was announced & that too by the talented Neeraj Pandey, I was eagerly waiting to check it out. Will it be able to give an insight on how Captain Cool thinks & handles the challenging situations???


As it is well known to most of the cricket lovers, MS hails from Ranchi & the movie is about his journey from that small town to the pinnacle of Indian cricket. Dhoni was the goalkeeper of his school & during one of the practise sessions , he catches the eyes of the school's cricketing coach, Bannerjee (Rajesh Sharma) who sees his potential as a wicket-keeper & coaxes him into taking up the game. His father, Pan Singh Dhoni (Anupam Kher) was the pump operator in MECON who just like any other father wanted his son to concentrate on his studies as he believed sports cannot become a form of reliable livelihood. However his sister Jayanti Gupta (Bhumika Chawla), mother & close buddies supported his passion for cricket. In due time, his exploits with the bat becomes known far & wide.But his promotion to the Indian team was still a distant dream. How he makes that big leap from Ranji to the most successful Indian Captain forms the subsequent portions of the movie.


Neeraj Pandey is a director who needs no introduction courtesy of his excellent movies "A Wednesday", "Special 26" & "Baby". Even his latest venture, he has done utmost justice as it emotionally connects with the audience due to the authenticity it imparts in its execution. The first half was fantastic as it captures the struggles of MS extremely well & also the influence of his friends & family who does whatever is possible from their side to support his growth as a player. But the second half was were the efforts of Neeraj Pandey & Dilip Jha as writers was disappointing as they chose to just eulogize the highs of Dhoni with absolutely no mention of the controversies be it IPL or equation with certain players with whom there is said to be animosity. Apart from a fleeting mention of the dropping of the seniors prior to the Commonwealth series in Australia, there is also no insight provided into what makes him Captain Cool in crunch situations or the dressing room interactions ; all of which was expected after all there was emphasis on the phrase "The Untold Story" in the title. Inspite of this, it's still a cracking movie which keeps us hooked till MS hoists that famous 6 into the stands & wins the World Cup. All the technical aspects were top notch be it Santhosh Thundiyil's visuals, the impressive CGI & catchy BGM. However, Shree Narayanan ought to have done a better job with the editing while the songs though fine proved to be speed breakers.

There is no doubt that the film has been well crafted but one of the prime reasons for that is the excellent performance of the artists who were aptly chosen,so kudos to the casting team for that. Sushant Singh was brilliant as MS in all aspects be it the calm restrained demeanor, his body language or typical Dhoni shots. As Dhoni said in one of the promotions, it seems Sushant is actually better than some of the Ranji players; I guess he is going to be the most sought after star in the next season of CCL. As for the rest, it is hard to pin-point as each one has done their part really well such as the ones who essayed the role of Dhoni's friends, Rajesh Sharma, Anupam Kher, Bhumika Chawla etc. Among the female leads, Disha Patani was fantastic while Kiara Advani as Sakshi was fine.

Verdict: The film has all the makings of a blockbuster not to mention Captain Cool has one of the biggest fan following in the country. Neeraj has showcased the journey of MS extremely well though he chose to focus on only the high points of MS's career which was kinda disappointing. But there is no denying that the film is both engaging & inspirational at the same time making it an enjoyable experience for the audience.In short, do check it out!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, September 26, 2016

Banjo review: "Credible thread which gets bogged down by its superficiality!!!"

"If music be the food of love, play on" is a famous quote from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night which emphasizes the importance of music in life. India is a nation that is blessed with diversity that is evident in all aspects be it language, cuisines, customs & even music. Musicians have always been held in high regard in our country irrespective of which nationality they belonged to which explains why many of the Pakistani artists have a huge fan base here. Even Chris Martin of Coldplay & current creative director of Global Citizen Concert announced at the event in New York last night that they will be performing in Mumbai in November. Coincidentally, this week we have a music based movie "Banjo" hitting the screens which focuses on the street musicians in Mumbai. But it remains to be seen whether it was indeed music to the ears or a migraine inducer???


Taraat (Riteish Deshmukh) is an extortionist for the local corporator who also doubled up as a banjo artist with his gang of friends for functions in their locality. Far from the slums of Mumbai in New York, Chris (Nargis Fakhri) an aspiring musician happens to listen to their music & gets mesmerized with it. She decides to seek them out to form a band & compose a couple of tracks for a music competition. However, tracking them down wasnt going to be easy & even if she did manage to, will she be able to inculcate discipline into these ruffians???


Since I am not so well versed with Marathi movies, I have to admit that I didnt know about Ravi Jadhav who is said to be a respectable name in the fraternity. He already has a couple of National Film Awards to his credit courtesy of his Marathi movies such as Natarang & Balgandharva. "Banjo" is his debut Bollywood venture & typical to his culture, he has chosen banjo music which is an indispensable part of festivals in Maharashtra. It has been scripted by Ravi along with Kapil Sawant & Nikhil Mehrotra and kudos to the trio for choosing a credible subject. However, they failed to delve into the details of it & chose to take a tried & tested path rather than offer anything unique. Vishal-Shekhar does impress with some of the tracks though it doesnt stick for long. 

Riteish has always been part of multi-starers, so it felt kinda different to see him shoulder a movie on his own. He has done a decent job as the protagonist  with his body language & lends credibility to the character. Dharmesh Yelande as Grease was fine along with Luke Kenny while Aditya Kumar & Ram Menon does manage to evoke a couple of chuckles. As for Nargis Fakhri, she yet again proved as to why she should not been acting.

Verdict: Apart from the Maharashtra circuit, the film will barely make its presence felt in the other regions. Riteish's credentials as a solo hero isnt great & his cause hasnt been helped with this venture also. Despite having a subject that could have been well exploited, it turned out to be a damp squid as it resorted to predictable formulas & cliches. In short, dont bother!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Parched review: "Impressive but the theatres will have a parched look!!!"

This week our nation was rocked by the ghastly attack in Uri which claimed the life of 17 of our brave soldiers. Even as our country grapple from constant militant attacks in Kashmir we have also been plagued with many other grave problems with injustice against women being prominent among them. If last week saw "Pink" address the problems that a lady faces in the urban society, then this week we have "Parched" addressing it from a rural background. This movie has been in the news for the much talked about intimate scenes between Adil Hussain & Radhika Apte which to be frank got the publicity that it needed prior to release. So will it be able to win over the box-office just as it did at the film festivals???


The film unfolds in a Rajasthani village where women were shackled by age old traditions in a patriarchal society. Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee) was a young widow trying to get her teenage son married off to a beautiful bride in the neighbouring village even though it meant mortgaging whatever she had. She had two close buddies, one of them being Lajoo (Radhika Apte) & Bijli (Surveen Chawla), the lead erotic dancer & prostitute in the region. Both Rani & Lajoo were financially independent thanks to the small scale crafting industry that was set up in the village by Kishan (Sumeet Vyas) which irked many of the men in the village at the idea of women becoming bread earners in the family. However, each of them had problems of their own as Rani's son Gulab disliked his mother's choice & created ruckus with his loafer friends, Lajoo was repeatedly abused by her alcoholic husband for being infertile while Bijli had to stave off the challenge posed by a younger dancer in her troupe. But whatever might be their issues, they always confided in each other which enabled them to deal with it in the best way possible. So will these three friends ever manage to break off from the living hell they had subjected themselves to day in & day out???

Leena Yadav has helmed this project who already has "Shabd" & "Teen Patti" to her credit both of which were unconventional & failed to impress the audience. In her latest venture which she has scripted as well, she has touched upon various problems that women in rural areas still face which we are pretty much aware of. What actually makes the movie click is the manner in which the characterization of the female leads has been done & the relationship they share which allows them to discuss everything with each other unabashedly. As many of us are aware, the film initially came into the news primarily due to the love making sequence & other such similar instances which was brilliantly picturised by Academy Award Winner Russell Carpenter who has movies like "Titanic", "True Lies" etc to his credit. But I felt that some of the sequences didnt add much to the story be it the mystic lover's angle which seemed more like a class on Kamasutra which the West will lap up or the Shahrukh Khan phone calls. 

Surveen Chawla was the pick among the lot as she was brilliant as the spirited female who lights up the screen with her presence inspite of an undeniable sense of vulnerability behind her bold exterior. Radhika was a natural as the battered wife & essayed the love making scenes with utmost ease while Taanisha was spot on with her characterization as well. Lehar Khan who plays the role of Taanisha's daughter in-law was impressive as well along with Sumeet Vyas. The rest of the cast, have also done their parts aptly.

Verdict: As mentioned earlier, the erotic scenes will generate a certain deal of interest in the movie but the off-beat content will not be to the liking of the majority. The film definitely deserves an audience as it does have a decent storyline which speaks about the travails of three women that are inflicted on them both emotionally & physically. In short, wont hurt to give it a try!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben





Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pink review: "Brilliant take on the plight of independent women due to prejudices!!!"

In recent years, one of the most oft seen headline in the media is the atrocities happening against our women in various parts of the country. It's an undeniable fact that just like every nation, even we do have our shortcomings with the primary one being prejudistic misconceptions. Like it or not, an independent female is invariably looked upon with a suspicious eye by many especially if she is living life on her own terms away from her family. This week we have Aniruddha Roy's "Pink" which highlights on this issue. The trailer was awesome & had all the makings of being a damn good film. But my doubt was whether it will turn out to be too preachy towards the end rather than being blunt???


Minal Arora (Taapsee Pannu), Falak Ali (Kirti Kulhari) & Andrea (Andrea Tariang) were independent professionals who stayed together in the South Delhi region. On one of the weekends, they decided to attend a rock concert & by the end of it, they happened to befriend a couple of guys through a mutual friend. On the invitation of one of the guys, Rajveer (Angad Bedi); who hailed from an influential family they decided to spent some time with them over food & drinks in his resort. But things spiraled out of control as Rajveer was inflicted a severe blow on his head with a bottle by Minal when the former tried to molest her. This enrages the guys & resolves to make their lives a living hell or in their terms " ladkiyon ki aukat". Left with no option, the girls decide to take the legal route but it was much tougher than they had anticipated. So will their lawyer Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan) be able to win it for them without their names being tarnished for no fault of theirs???


This powerful movie is the directorial debut of Aniruddha Roy who has made a name for himself in the Bengal film industry. The script by Ritesh Shah is so damn impactful & Aniruddha has executed it so brilliantly on celluloid that it does make us realise the amount of hardships many of the women face on a daily basis due to the prejudistic mindset of many of the people. If the first half focused on how they are crushed emotionally, the latter half is a captivating court room drama. It runs close to 140 mins but it doesnt make us squirm in our seats. All the technical aspects were in sync with the mood of the movie be it Abhik's visuals or Shantanu Moitra & Anupam Roy's music. 

There isnt a single actor who hasnt given his best & kudos to the casting team for having selected such a team. Coming to the girls, I have never considered Taapsee a competent actress coz she was horrible in the few movies that I had seen such as "Doubles", "Aarambham" etc except for "Baby", But she totally changed my view with her brilliant performance here as the bold female who breaks down with time. Kirti Kulhari was the best I felt especially in the sequences where she explodes on the phone & in the court room where she turns the tables on the prosecution. Equally fantastic was Andrea, who might not have as many lines but whose body language was spot on exuding vulnerability. What do I say about Big B??? he just amazes us with his screen presence & reverberating baritone, all the while making sure that he doesn't go overboard. Among the guys, Vijay Varma steals the show whenever he is on focus with his callous nature towards women while Angad Bedi fitted the bill of the spoilt brat. A special word of praise for Piyush Mishra as the prosecutor whose cold hearted attitude really irritates us along with Dhritimann Chatterjee as the kind hearted & empathetic judge. 

Verdict: It might not have the glitz & glamour of a big budget movie, but it's hard hitting realistic movies like these that gives us a whole new experience. In all probability, it should have the word of mouth going in its favour & it truly deserves all the accolades coming its way. I just hope that each one of us watch this as it is relevant to our times & atleast make an effort to change if such prejudices are harboured. As the movie says "Her attire, relationships & sexual life shouldnt be used as yardsticks of her morality. She is the master of her own will & if she says NO...it's a clear NO". For me, this movie is a YES...AN EMPHATIC YES...SO DONT MISS IT!!!

Rating: 4.5/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, September 12, 2016

Baar Baar Dekho review: "Ek Baar is sufficient!!!"

After the disappointment of  "Freaky Ali",  I was hesitant as to whether I should watch "Baar Baar Dekho" though I have to admit I did like the trailer which seemed interesting. The lead pair i.e Siddharth Malhotra & Katrina Kaif made a cute couple & the movie seemed to be a take on relationships with Farhan Akhtar & Karan Johar involved in it as producers. With the US Open Final wrapped up much quickly than expected by Stan The Man, I didnt have much to do & hence decided to check out the flick.


Jai (Siddharth) is a mathematician who was recently offered a position in Cambridge to do research on vedic mathematics. He had a steady relationship with his childhood sweetheart Diya (Katrina) but when she expresses her desire to take their relation to the next level & proposes to him, he develops cold feet. Eventually he blurts out his reluctance to tie the knot on the eve of their marriage which breaks Diya's heart. He finally sleeps off wondering what the next day lay in store for him after this sudden change of events. Surprisingly, he wakes up only to realise that it's been a couple of days since they got married though he doesnt recollect any of it happening. The very same thing happens yet again the next day but this time he was almost 10 years into the future. Was it just a dream or did he actually suffer from memory loss & why was this happening to him???


From the manner the film pans out, there is an undeniable similarity to "The Time Traveller's Wife" & also seems to be inspired from "A Christmas Carol". This might be the debut venture of Nitya Mehra but she comes with a great deal of experience having worked as assistant in projects like "Life of Pi", "The Namesake" etc. It has been scripted by Sri Rao with the screenplay drafted by himself & Nitya. The storyline as such is fine but the execution wasnt quite upto the mark especially for sequences showcasing the distant future. There is no moral preaching here which was the problem with movies that dealt with marital discord except for a subtle message that the small things in life is what actually matters. On the technical side, Ravi K Chandran impresses with his visuals while the music tracks done by a host of individuals was soothing to the ears. The make up department ought to have done a much better job as this seems like the efforts of some paltry budgeted drama company.

Both Siddharth Malhotra & Katrina Kaif have done reasonably well as the protagonists especially when the movie focused on their present ages. But the older they became, both of them struggled to portray it convincingly as it appeared more like they just wore make up with no significant change in body language. It's been a while since Sarika had appeared on screen & she has done a fine job along with Rajit Kapur. As for the rest such as Ram Kapoor, Sayani Gupta, Taaha Shah etc, they have done their parts adequately.

Verdict: The movie will surely have a decent opening in the multiplexes though it will suffer in the single screens. However, realistically speaking I dont think this will be able to accomplish much apart from break even as it's a type of movie which wont be palatable to many. In short, it wont hurt to watch it ek baar !!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben




Freaky Ali review: "Expecting creativity from a Sohail production is freakish!!!"

Apart from the Onam releases, the Bollywood movies that had hit the screens this weekend were "Baar Baar Dekho" & "Freaky Ali". I wouldn't have even bothered watching the latter one as it was a Sohail Khan production which invariably lacks any kind of sensibility or logic. However, since Nawazuddin Siddiqui was playing the lead & it belonged to the sports genre (which is incidentally one of my fav); I decided to check it out. So was it a wise decision???


Ali (Nawazuddin) was from the ghetto who struggled to make a livelihood as none of his modest jobs failed to strike gold. After his latest venture also bit the dust, he decided to team up with his buddy Maqsood (Arbaaz Khan) as an extortion debt collector for the local thug. During one such collection drive, they ended up at a golf course where the industrialist was struggling to make putts even after repeated efforts. This makes Ali to mock at him which infuriates the guy & asks him to put his words into action.  Incidentally, Ali manages to putt the balls with ease which catches the eye of the caddy, Kishan (Asif Basra) who also happened to be Ali's family friend. Seeing his talent, Kishan coaxes Ali to allow him to be his trainer with their first target being to get selected into the Golf Tour. So how Ali rises through the ranks forms the crux of the story. 


Inspired from Adam Sandler's "Happy Gilmore" which was a hilarious comedy, this one barely managed to draw a couple of chuckles. Scripted by Sohail Khan & Raaj Shaandilya, there isnt anything which could be said to be original or atleast treated in a refreshing manner. The argument of class disparity that the Champion places when Ali takes up the sport, jokes on obesity, misogyny, etc all reeks of influence from movies of a bygone decade. None of the technical aspects impresses & we are left flabbergasted as to how talented artists like Nawazuddin & Seema Biswas agreed to be part of this project. 

There isnt much that Nawazuddin could do especially when the screenplay is downright mediocre. To be frank, he didnt quite seem the talented golfer that he is made to appear while brother's love might have made Arbaaz take up his role. Asif Basra has done a fine job, Jas Arora seems more like a veteran rather than a Champion, Seema Biswas hams it up royally & Amy Jackson (oh..she was there???) well nothing apart from flash smiles which is the most she has ability for.

Verdict: Unless people think in the same manner as I did, there is very less chance that this will make any tremor at the box office. With a screenplay as pathetic as this, there is not going to be any word of mouth going in its favour. In short, don't even bother watching!!!

Rating: 1.75/5

Regards...Ben





Sunday, September 11, 2016

Iru Mughan review: "Script fails to do justice to Vikram's efforts!!!

Onam is just a couple of days away as the roads & shops are abuzz with people who is getting ready for the big day. Even the film industries work overtime during this time to make sure they release their movies on this auspicious occasion to ensure more footfalls. So even though Onam might be a celebration of Malayalis like us, even our Tamil brethren do release a couple of big banner movies. So this time we have Vikram's " Iru Mughan" gracing the screens whose slick trailer had excited the audience. Well it's a fact that more often than not Tamil movies garner more collections than Malayalam in Kerala during festive seasons. But this time, will it be able to stand up to the tough challenge posted by our Onam releases since most of them had received impressive reviews???


The Indian Embassy in Malaysia gets attacked by an elderly who seemed to have super-human powers & vanquishes the security personnel with utter disdain in a matter of minutes. From the crime scene, RAW managed to unearth a clue in the form of a 'love shaped tattoo" which hinted that the killer was recruited by "Love", a chemical genius who was hell bent on wreaking havoc in the world through the sale of his drugs to terrorists. The evil mastermind was believed to have been dead four years back, when RAW agents Akhilan (Vikram) & Meera (Nayanthara) had decimated his empire. However, in the process Meera who was also the wife of Akhilan lost her life & Akhilan decided to call quits to his career. Since Akhilan was well versed with the way Love operates, RAW coaxes him to come out of retirement & finish the latter for good. So what tricks will Love have up his sleeve this time around???

This is the second endeavour of Anand Shankar after the crime thriller "Arima Nambi" which had received both critical and commercial acclaim. In his latest venture, he has opted for a sci-fi action genre which he had scripted as well. Coming to the positives of the movie, it is stylishly shot and kudos to R D Rajasekhar for his brilliant effort. Even the music by Harris Jayaraj though not awesome, was pretty good especially the "Halena" track & the BGM was fantastic not to forget the well choreographed action sequences. Nevertheless all of this bears no purpose, if the script & screenplay isn't sound & that's exactly the problem here. The basic thread seemed fine but the way it pans out it terms of characterization, twists & climax proves that not much thought has gone into it & leaves a lot of questions lingering in the mind of the audience. Due to this very shortcoming it doesnt keep us engaged & to add to it, the film runs for more than 150 mins.

Frankly speaking, there isnt much the artists could do if the characters aren't given freshness & depth by the writer. As always, Vikram has done a fantastic job & his effort in portraying the arch rivals was praise worthy making sure that Love wasnt reduced to a mockery of such genders. Akhilan didnt offer anything that we havent seen but Love was top notch with his effeminate body language, eccentricity & killer instincts. Nayanthara had a substantial role and she looked absolutely wow while Nithya Menon didnt have as much screen space. As for the rest, Thambi Ramaiah does tickle the funny bone at times while Nasser was wasted.

Verdict: As expected, the film will have a cracking opening though will it be able to sustain it remains a question (I don't believe so). The sci-fi inspite of being technically top notch suffers from a rather lazily written screenplay. In all likelihood, it wont pose as big a threat as expected to our Onam releases. In short, watch it for Vikram especially his Love avatar but whether it needs to be in a theatre or in the confines of your home is your call!!!

Rating; 2.25/5

Regards...Ben


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Janatha Garage review: "Predictability takes centre stage even as Lalettan & Junior NTR impresses!!!"

It's been a long weekend thanks to the holiday that had popped up on Monday. Since there wasnt much to do apart from the usual chores, I had kept myself occupied catching up on some reading, brushing up my culinary skills & watching shows like Masterchef Australia. Incidentally while surfing the net, I happened to read that Lalettan's Telugu movie "Janatha Garage" had grossed 100 C in just 4 days & he was the first Malayalam star to enter the club. To be frank, the trailer didn't seem so awe-evoking but this news tempted me to check it out. So was it different from the staple Telugu masala???


Satyam (Lalettan) opens up a workshop known as Janatha Garage in Hyderabad where apart from repairing the vehicles, he also takes it upon himself to address the grievances of the people in need. In due time, he becomes the darling of the masses and a headache for the corrupt forces with the industrialist, Mukesh (Sachin Khedekar) being prominent among them. The price for Satyam's upright & noble character was paid with the lives of his brother, Shiva (Rahman) & sis-in-law. In order to prevent any harm coming over his nephew, Anand; Satyam leaves him in the care of Anand's uncle who takes him to Mumbai. With time, Anand (Junior NTR) grows up into an environmental activist & on one of his campaigns, he shuts down an illegal quarry run by Satyam's son Raghava (Unni Mukundan). This incident brings him faces to face with his uncle even though both were oblivious about their relation. Will they join forces & if so, at what cost will it be this time???


Though I cant claim myself to be knowledgeable about Telugu movies, thanks to my senior & close buddy Rajendra K; I was kinda aware about the renowned hit makers in the region. One such prominent director is Koratala Siva who had churned out blockbusters such as Mahesh Babu's "Srimanthudu". Since Lalettan was involved in the project, just like numerous other fans I was also pretty curious to know about the script which was penned by Koratala himself. The film shows promise early on, but the story is so damn predictable that you can claim yourself to be a Mentalist by foretelling the story even before half an hour is over. Actually, it seems to be a variant of "Jilla" with Lalettan not as much as on the same footing as Junior NTR (which is understandable). But to be fair to the director, the film does have some impressive sequences such as the interaction between Lalettan & Junior NTR. Tirru deserves a word of praise for the visuals but the music by Devi Prasad was average while the editor, Rao barely did justice to his responsibility.

It might be a Junior NTR, but I cant help being biased towards Lalettan & hence I would talk about him first. As expected, Lalettan have done utmost justice to his role though I am still confused as to why he chose to take up this project as the script didnt offer anything fresh. I guess maybe the opportunity to test uncharted territory & work with talented technicians might have inspired him. Being a Allu Arjun fan, I have barely watched any of Junior NTR's movies except for maybe one (I dont quite remember the name) in which he was pathetic. However, after seeing him in this; I would have to admit he does act pretty decently & impresses with his screen presence. Actually Lalettan & Junior NTR have lifted the quality of many sequences which would have fell flat otherwise. Apart from these two, there are numerous supporting artists; all of whom have done a decent job while the female leads barely had any significance apart from being eye candy & the villainy which is entrusted on Sachin Khedekar and Unni Mukundan barely had much substance. They should have gone for someone more imposing or spruced up their roles significantly. 

Verdict: Well the verdict is already out as it seems the public is lapping it up which is responsible for the humongous numbers. Frankly speaking, I dont understand what is the big deal about this movie. It's not mediocre but it doesnt offer anything that we haven't seen from Telugu movies. In short, watch it for Lalettan & Junior NTR with the awareness that it is typical Telugu masala!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben