Monday, September 18, 2017

Simran review: "Kangana nails her role though the screenplay doesnt quite!!!"

This weekend could be termed as the week of "Girl Power" as we had Sindhu making the nation proud with her exploits at the Korean Super Series. Even in Bollywood, we have a women centric movie with Kangana Ranaut, the reigning queen in the lead. There were numerous controversies leading to the release of the movie with regard to her statements on her male counterparts & nepotism. Whatever might be the case, the trailer of "Simran" seems to convey that it is going to be yet another gem from Kangana. With Hansal Mehta calling the shots, the quality of the movie wont be in question. But will it be able to satiate the audience???


Praful Patel (Kangana Ranaut) is a divorced, independent Gujarati female who worked in the hospitality industry in Atlanta. As her parents constantly nagged her to get hitched, she has been on the lookout for a suitable apartment where she could move into. After years of hard work, she finally managed to hoard sufficient savings along with a loan from the bank that would enable her to get a place of her choice. But before she could seal the deal, she goes on to Sin City with her cousin. Just like it has happened to many, she loiters into the casino & gets hooked onto the dealer's table once she starts winning. Hoping to cash in on more money, she gambles the next day as well & that's when reality hits her hard as she looses whatever she had including the deposit to her apartment. Her desperation to win it back makes her borrow money from a loan shark. Little did she realise that she was in an absolute quagmire which would change her life forever. 

Hansal Mehta's credentials as a director is well established with movies like "Aligarh", "Shahid", "City Lights" etc to his credit. His latest venture is loosely based on Sandeep Kaur aka "Bombshell Bandit", a Punjabi Sikh nurse who is presently serving jail time in the US for robbing several banks. The story by Apurva Asrani as such is interesting especially the complex character of Kangana that is intriguing, childish & crazy all rolled into one. But his screenplay falters in the second half, as the robbery, police investigation & climax seemed rather silly & preposterous. All the technical aspects has been handled adequately be it Anuj Rakesh's cinematography, Antara Lahiri's editing & Sachin Jigar's music.

Coming to performances, it was a one woman show with Kangana being absolutely brilliant. Her goofiness in Vegas reminded me of Mr. Bean which was spot on. Equally impressive was her ability to convey her vulnerability & establishes her position as one of the finest actresses in the industry. Since the story basically revolved around her, none of the other characters barely got much screen space but even then Sohum Shah as Sameer deserves praise along with characters like Praful's parents & the bar attender in Vegas. 

Verdict: Well it's not a type of movie that will be lapped up by the masses but it will have the urban audience interested. There is no doubt that the film has flaws in the screenplay just like the protagonist. But if you ask me, Kangana's performance definitely makes it worth watching. In short, do check it out!!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, August 28, 2017

Vivegam review: "Slick flick which defies vivegam for most parts!!!"

It's been a rather eventful last couple of days with Sindhu & Saina making the nation proud with their exploits at the World Badminton Championships. At the same time, the incidents that unfolded at Sirsa & Panchkula by the senseless followers of the self styled God man Ram Rahim made us a laughing stock in front of the world. As it was a rather hectic week, I was eagerly looking forward to the weekend & my eyes lit up when I came to know about Thala's "Vivegam" being released. The trailer showcased it as a Hollywood style action thriller. So does it deliver what it promises???


AK (Ajith Kumar) was the head of the counter terrorism squad, who had 'supposedly' gone rogue. He had taken down a terrorist outfit single handedly & confiscated a hard drive which contained the codes to launch a nuclear weapon. This prompted the intelligence agencies to issue a look-out notice for him & the task was assigned to his former team-mates headed by his best buddy Aryan Sangha (Vivek Oberoi). AK was said to have moved over to the dark side after their botched mission to capture the hacker, Natasha (Akshara Hasan). So why did the best agent in the world become rogue???

The project is helmed by Siva, who is well known for his masala entertainers. Incidentally this is his third movie with Thala on the trot after "Veeram" & "Vedhalam". He has pretty much taken care of the core aspects of the movie such as script, story & screenplay and has done a fine job in the execution of it. It is a top notch action thriller without doubt but it goes over the top after a point that you cant help chuckle & cringe at times. However, one cant deny the fact that the punch dialogues will evoke whistles. With regard to the climax, there was talk of a much hyped fight between Thala & his rival that had many people going ga-ga over it. But it was hilarious to say the least & you will realise the reason when you watch it. 

It is an out & out Ajith movie and he has done utmost justice to his role His charisma & style is used to the hilt and he delivers to his fan's satisfaction. Vivek Oberoi had the aura that his character required but the dubbing done for him wasnt quite upto the mark. Kajal Aggarwal has done her part adequately as well while the rest were ok as well. Anirudh' music elevated the mood of the movie while Vetri's visuals deserves praise.

Verdict: It is a movie for the fans & they will lap it up happily. As for the rest, the action sequences will surely thrill but the lack of logic in many scenes will be a turn off. So is it worth a try?? Well if you are a Ajith fan, then it will surely whet your appetite. In short, Jason Bourne might pale in comparison to AK in terms of brawn & brains!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bareilly Ki Barfi review: " As sweet as barfi!!!"

Last couple of days has been rather eventful with the Supreme Court passing the judgement that triple talaq is illegal, the Solar eclipse over the US & Nadal back to World No.1. Even I was quite busy with work commitments that I didnt quite find the time to pen down my thoughts about 'Bareilly ki Barfi". In normal circumstances, I wouldnt have bothered to write the review since it's been in the theatres for more than half a week. But I would have to admit, I was pretty entertained by it & as it doesnt have huge stars there is a good chance that many of my friends would have skipped or even be unaware about it. Hence I felt I should give you my opinion as to why it is worth a try.

As the title indicates, the story unfolds in the bustling small town of Bareilly where Bitti Sharma (Kriti Sanon), a strong opinionated free spirited girl lived who was quite unlike other girls in the area. So much so, her mother (Seema Bhargava) constantly worried about the prospects of her daughter getting married off in the traditional manner. On the other hand, her father (Pankaj Tripathi), who ran a sweet shop gave his approval to all her crazy antics. None of the prospective grooms gave her the impression that they were ready to embrace her for the person that she was, until she stumbled across a novel called "Bareilly ki Barfi". Incidentally, the girl mentioned in the book had her same traits which made her decide to meet the author Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkkumar Rao). But all her efforts to locate him drew blank & therefore she sought the help of Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurana), the publisher of the book who was said to know about his whereabouts. However, she was oblivious of the fact that Chirag was indeed the author. So why was Pritam being credited as the author???

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The creator of this hilarious rom com is Aswiny Iyer Tiwari, who had made an impressive debut with "Nil Battey Sannata" that was critically acclaimed far & wide. She was aided in her task by her husband Nitesh Tiwari (of "Dangal" fame) who along with Shreyas Jain & Rajat Nonia had penned the script. It was sprinkled with humorous dialogues & situational comedy which was both realistic and in sync with the region where the story is based.Personally speaking, I absolutely loved the speech in the climax which kinda reminded me of Aamir in "Dil Chahta Hai". There are hardly much twists & turns making it fairly predictable.All the personnel involved in the technical aspects have done their jobs well.

Frankly, I never thought Kriti Sanon would be able to do justice to the feisty character of Bitti as it seemed like a role which was up Kangana's alley. But she aced it in style along with Ayushmann who portrayed the forlorn lover as well as the grey shades in Chirag convincingly. But the star of the show is undoubtedly Rajkkumar Rao who was brilliant in the two avatars that he appeared. Equal praise needs to be vested upon Pankaj Tripahi, Seema Bhargava & Rohit Choudhary who have done utmost justice to their roles & also to Javed Akhtar's narration which made the viewing experience all the more enjoyable.

Verdict: Undoubtedly one of the finest rom coms to have come out from Bollywood. Many a time, good movies do get overlooked due to the lack of star power. Hopefully this doesnt turn out to be one & therefore in case, you guys havent watched it; do check it out!!!

Rating: 3.25/5

Regards...Ben



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Toilet-Ek Prem Katha review: "Impressive satire that gets constipated towards the end!!!"

As we step foot into the 71st year of Independence, we are at the cusp of becoming the next global economic powerhouse. But we fail to realise our true potential as there are many areas where we are still stuck in the medieval period.  At times, it is due to the Governments in power while at most instances it's due to the lackadaisical attitude of the population . One such problem that has plagued the country is lack of hygienic toilet practices & this issue is presented as a satire in "Toilet-Ek Prem Katha". The trailer was interesting & with Akki in the lead, there are high hopes about the project. So will it quell the dry spell at the box office after all Bollywood hardly had any big hits this year???


Keshav (Akshay Kumar) is the 36 year old son of a hard liner Brahmin, Panditji (Sudhir Pandey) who was the proprietor of a cycle shop. So dogmatic was his father, that Keshav was forced to marry a buffalo to ward off the 'maanglik' effect that was believed to have delayed his marriage. To add to his woes, his father was adamant that he should be married to a female who had polydactyly to ensure that he had a peaceful life. Around this time, he meets Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar) a state topper & with time, they enter into a relationship. He comes up with an ingenious idea to fool his father into believing that Jaya had an extra finger which paves the way for their marriage. But this was hardly a problem, until Jaya realizes that Keshav's house doesn't have a toilet & she would have to go with the 'lota party" in the wee hours to empty her bowels. She was livid about it & Keshav had to come up with an idea to resolve the problem lest she walks out on him.

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It's not surprising that Shree Narayanan Singh is a relatively unknown name after all he only has a forgetful "Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai" to his credit as a director.  However, with his latest venture he will be heard with more regularity. He has done a fine job with the execution of the satire for large parts though it falters towards the end. Inspired from real life characters such as Anita Narre & Priyanka Bharti (you would have seen her in the Vidya Balan UNICEF Total Sanitation ad); it has been scripted by Siddharth Singh & Garima Wahal. The predicament that Akshay finds himself in & the 'jugaad' that he comes up with evokes laughs. The manner in which the movie tackles the core issue is hilarious & thought provoking, but the hurried climax seemed rather unconvincing & kinda misses the mark as it stretched a tad too long. Despite his praise worthy credentials as a editor in movies like "A Wednesday", "Baby" , "M. S Dhoni" etc.; he has come up short here as it ought to have been trimmed much more efficiently. Anshuman Mahaley has done a commendable job in maintaining the rustic feel to the visuals while the music which was done by a host of artists were satisfactory.


Over the past couple of years, Akshay's choice of movies has been nothing short of brilliant whether it hits the mark or not. His conscious effort to dabble with various genres be it comedy, social issues, action etc., makes him the actor that I most look forward to (apart from Aamir). He was fantastic as Keshav especially in the marriage scenes where he does goofy stuff that made me almost fall off the seat laughing. Equally impressive was Bhumi who portrayed the fiesty spirit & romantic avatar with ease. It's hard to say who hasnt aced their part as each & every artist has done utmost justice to their roles be it Sudhir Pandey, Anupam Kher, Divyendu Sharma etc. 

Verdict: The box collections at the end of the opening weekend stands at an impressive 51 C, which gives ample proof  that if the content is good then the audience will lap it up. Even as our nation talks about going digital, the stats shows us that close to 45% of our population still dont use toilets even when the authorities offer to build it. From time to time, we have had movies with strong messages; but I sincerely hope that this one will atleast make people make a conscious effort to deter from open defecation. In short, dont miss this hilarious satire!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben






Saturday, August 12, 2017

Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 review: "Stale screenplay poses queries whether to watch even if one doesnt have velai!!!

Ever since Poratchi Thalaivi passed away, the political environment in Tamil Nadu has been in constant turmoil. One of the most curious news that has emerged from there in the past couple of days was the interest shown by Rajni & Kamal to enter into politics. Whether they would actually dive into it is a topic for later discussion. But in the meantime, we have Rajni's daughter Soundarya helming the sequel of her brother in law's "VIP 2". The trailer gave the impression that it is made for the masses. But it remains to be seen whether she will be able to make it as well as the prequel???


After his exploits in "VIP", Raghuvaran (Dhanush) is presently a chief engineer in Anita Constructions. His brilliance & unflinching attitude to plough through adversity made him the recipient of the Engineer of the Year. This honour caught the attention of the arrogant Vasundhara Parameswaran (Kajol), whose construction company occupied the numero uno spot in the southern region of the country. Her adamant nature to have the best people work for her, made her make an offer to Raghuvaran. However, he turned it down without much of a thought much to the chagrin of Vasundhara. This spurs her to vent anger on his employee's business ventures & it proved to be a challenge which was too tall for them to withstand. 

This could be said to be Soundarya's debut venture in a way, since her previous effort was "Kochadaiiyan" which was a photo realistic motion capture film. The prequel directed by noted cinematographer Velraj had satiated the critics & masses alike.Unfortunately that's not the case here as the story which is scripted by Dhanush was nothing more than a slightly altered version with an undeniable sense of artificiality. The humour does work at times though it feels that it is been forced upon us & the overall feel is tried to be maintained with characters showing distinct changes in terms of behaviour (eg: Samuthirakani becoming more like Saranya & Amala as Samuthirakani). 

The first half plays to the gallery & breezes through inspite of the drawbacks. But the same cant be said about the latter half as it huffs & puffs towards the climax with hardly anything significant happening apart from a meek villain. Another major drawback is Sean Roldan's music & BGM which lacked the punch of Anirudh. Prasanna could have easily made the movie crispier while Sameer Thahir's visuals were fine. Dhanush rocked as the protagonist & carries the movie on his shoulders. He was ably assisted by Samuthirakani, Vivek & Amala Paul while Saravana Subbiah hardly seemed to strike fear as a villain. The USP of the movie was the clash between Kajol & Dhanush, and the former has done a decent job though there were lip sync issues & her character could have been etched better.

Verdict: It should be able to hold fort at the box office over the weekend on the back of high expectations. Though it doesnt quite live upto it, it will still have the masses interested. If you ask me, I would suggest to think twice before watching it after all the curse of the sequel is inflicted on it to a certain degree!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jab Harry met Sejal review: "Wish they never met!!!"

On the occasion of Friendship Day, I would like to tell to all my buddies that I do cherish the support & brotherhood that we have shared over the years. As Aristotle said "friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies". Even as this weekend celebrated companionship, it also saw the release of  Imtiaz Ali''s "Jab Harry met Sejal" with King Khan & Anushka Sharma as the lead pair. With such a deadly combination, the expectations are nigh high, but will it be a milestone in Bollywood's array of romantic movies???


Harinder Singh aka Harry (SRK) is a tourist guide in Europe, who is adept at his work but emotionally disturbed with memories from the past haunting him. His latest assignment was with a Gujarati family who were dropped off at the airport at the end of the tour. But before Harry could leave the airport, Sejal (Anushka Sharma) a member from that team stayed back & sought his help to find her engagement ring that she had lost during the tour. Though reluctant, he was eventually coaxed into helping her when she threatened him of complaining to the agency. Thus begins their search for the ring across the length & breadth of the continent.

It's been a couple of years since we had a movie from Imtiaz Ali, with the last one being "Tamasha". I have been a fan of his brand of film making which invariably focused on his distinct take on romance that is expressed through self discovery in a travelogue setup. As in the case of his previous ventures, he has scripted this one as well & it deals with the same topic. The biggest flaw with the movie is the script itself as it seemed more like a travelogue of exotic locations with scant regard for the characters. To put it bluntly, hardly anything happens in this 144 minute drag fest. The one aspect that deserve brownie points is the cinematography & kudos to K U Mohanan for it. The same applies to the stylist as well, who made sure that the protagonists looked good together. As for the music, there were way too many songs; some of which were forcibly inserted into the proceedings. Unfortunately for Pritam, none of his tracks actually registers while I wont put the blame of Aarti Bajaj's mediocre editing solely on her.

In recent times, SRK hasnt been able to juggle up the numbers at the box office in proportion to his star appeal. So is it because of his acting skills or choice of scripts? From my point of view, even though he isnt the most gifted artist around; he is beyond doubt the most charming one. To be fair to him, I actually feel his performance has been impressive in recent times ("Dear Zindagi", "Raees" & "Fan") but his choice of scripts has been pathetic for large parts. Even Harry will go down as one such misfire where the script slips worse than a banana skin. Anushka does capture our attention with her histrionics, though it seemed artificial & over the top at various instances.

Verdict: As per box office reports, "JHMS" was one of SRK's worst opening in recent times. It might sound harsh to the makers, but it's a welcome sign that more & more people are giving importance to content rather than the artists involved. With a rather non-existent script, this is more like a travelogue that you can watch in the confines of the cool theatre. In terms of the emotional baggage (no semblance to the story at all), it felt like the inferior sibling of "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil". In short, taking cue from their tagline "this movie is definitely not what we seek"!!!

Rating: 1.75/5

Regards...Ben


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Indu Sarkar review: "Hardly worthwhile apart from the controversial hype!!!"

One of the biggest blemishes in Independent India was the Emergency imposed during the period of 1975-77 by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed on the behest of the PM Indira Gandhi. The mastermind behind this decision was said to be Sanjay Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru dynasty & it was a curb on all sort of freedom of the citizens, not to forget the forced sterilization of men. Madhur Bhandarkar's films have always focused on the vices & virtues of various industries be it "Fashion", "Page 3" etc. This time around he has turned his attention to Emergency & it remains to be seen whether he has given an unbiased account of events???


The protagonist of the movie is an orphan Indu (Kirti Kulhari) who suffered from a congenital stammer. It proved to be a hindrance during her days at the orphanage as many potential parents refused to adopt her. In time, she grew up to be an educated lady with a flair for poetry though her ultimate wish was to get married & settle down. However, her stammer was too big a problem for many prospective grooms & their mothers. But destiny finally smiled on her as she got married to a civil servant, Navin Sarkar (Tota Roy Chowdhury) who was the go-to man of a prominent minister in the Government. It was around this time that Emergency was imposed, which made Indu witness to many unsavoury events. How it brings about a change in her attitude forms the crux of the movie.

Madhur Bhandarkar's credentials as a director needs no introduction as it is well documented with some classic films. But it's been quite a while since his movies have made an impact at the box office which is understandable as most of them were abysmal. This track record is unlikely to change for his latest venture as well as his script doesnt offer anything substantial rather than just barely skim through some of the prominent events. Despite the uncanny similarities to prominent political figures, he refrains from using their names & reduces them to typical Bollywood villains, rather than attempt to make it into a thrilling political drama. 

On the positive side, credit ought to be given for the casting; as the choice of artists was impressive & they have delivered as well. Kirti Kulhari continues her fine form from "Pink" & was spot on with her portrayal of the protagonist. Tota Roy. Sheeba Chadha (as Mekhla) & Manav Vij (as Inspector Sodhi) have done justice to their roles. Neil Nitin Mukesh could have been the doppelganger of Sanjay Gandhi but he was handicapped by being reduced to a stereotypical Bollywood villain. 

Verdict: Apart from the clever choice of words for the title, there is hardly anything worthwhile contrary to what the trailer conveyed. There was ample scope for a riveting political drama but what we get is mundane stuff. However, kudos to the sincere effort of the artists though the same cant be said about Madhur. In short, wont hurt to give it a miss!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mubarakan review: "Typical run of the mill though it does evoke laughs!!!"

Hilarious comedies has been far & few in recent times for reasons best known to film makers. Invariably, majority of the so called "comedies" that hits the screens are inundated with sexual innuendos. I would have laughed at some of the jokes though frankly speaking, I am not a huge fan of such comedies. This week saw the release of Anees Bazmee's "Mubarakan" which was in the news as it featured the first reel collaboration between uncle Anil Kapoor & nephew Arjun Kapoor.  So will it be as hilarious as some of his previous ventures???


Karan & Charan (Arjun Kapoor) were twins who were orphaned in their infancy when their parents met with an accident. They were then raised by their aunt & uncle, with Karan in London under the care of Jitto (Ratna Pathak Shah) & Charan with Balvinder (Pavan Malhotra) in Punjab. Both of them grow up to become handsome hunks & Jitto decides to fix Charan's alliance with Bickle (Athiya Shetty), daughter of Sandhu, a rich industrialist. Since Charan was already in a relation with Nafisa (Neha Sharma), he sought the help of his uncle Kartar Singh (Anil Kapoor) to somehow get out of the proposal. But instead of solving the issue, the situation got messier by the minute.

It's been a while since Bazmee had a release with his previous one being the forgetful "Welcome Back" a couple of years back. It's common knowledge that Bollywood does struggle to make movies that belong to the comedy genre without going under the belt. In that respect, this one stands out though its plot is neither unique nor executed in a fresh manner. But there are a number of sequences that will genuinely make us laugh. However, it is awfully long & Rameshwar Bhagat ought to have cut it short by half an hour. None of the other technical aspects deserves mention.

Arjun might be the protagonist, but it's his uncle Anil who walks with the applause courtesy of his comic timing & buffoonery. Equally impressive were Ratna Pathak & Pavan Malhotra, who shoulders many of the scenes expertly. Arjun has done a decent job though there is much scope for improvement. As for the female leads, Ileana is spirited, Athiya didnt have much to do while Neha was given a raw deal. 

Verdict: It's been a while since we had a comedy movie which should work in its favour as it ticks that box. For a weekend spent out with family, this movie will be an ideal choice to lift the spirits. In short, it wont become a money spinner for Bazmee but you my give it a try !!!

Rating; 2.25/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Nibunan review: "Not a memorable 150 for the Action King!!!"

Just when I thought that I would spent a good part of the weekend watching the Test match, the Men in Blue decimated the Lankans by a whooping 304 runs with a day to spare. The mainstay behind this emphatic victory was the 150 plus scores smashed by Dhawan & Pujara. Incidentally, there was another individual who reached the milestone of 150, though it was from the film fraternity & it happened to be the Action King Arjun Sarja. So will it be a happy outing for the veteran like our boys???


Ranjith Kalidoss (Arjun Sarja) is the dynamic DSP of the Crime Investigative Department who along with his team, Joseph (Prasanna) & Vandana (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) had solved many challenging cases in the past. Their latest case seemed like the work of a serial killer & it all began with Ranjith receiving a package which contained a doll. Soon after a murder happens & the doll happened to contain the clues for it. One murder led to the other & it seemed to be part of an elaborate plan in which Ranjith was also linked. But before Ranjith & his team, could crack the case; he was diagnosed with a debilitating condition. Will it be the end of the distinguished career of the ace cop???

Arun Vaidyanathan is a familiar name for Malayalis as his previous venture was "Peruchazhi" with Lalettan. But he is well known for his debut venture "Achchamundu Achchamundu" which dealt with pedophiles. His latest effort "Nibunan" is a crime thriller that looked promising at the onset but failed to live upto expectations. The manner in which the murder was carried out was interesting, however it didn't seem unique or managed to impart an edge of the seat experience for the audience. Another flaw is the casting of the antagonist, who was incapable of sending a chill down the spine & the choice of Suhasini, who though had a brief role didn't seem the apt choice. Arvind Krishna & Sathish Suriya has done a fine job with the visuals & editing respectively. As far as music is concerned, Navin didnt quite hit the bull's eye. 

There are a handful of artists in the movie but it is primarily an Arjun feast as he is pretty much there in almost all the scenes. He has done utmost justice to his role & seemed at ease with both action & emotions. As for the rest, Prasanna & Sruthi Hariharan was fine while Varalaxmi was average & Vaibhav was wasted.

Verdict: The trailer of the movie was released with much fanfare a couple of months back & boy, just like millions of fans even I loved it. It did have the substance to be a brilliant movie but falls well short of it. In short, you can give it a try though not with much expectations!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Vikram Vedha review: "Smashing thriller where lines blur between good & evil!!!"

It's been a while since I have watched a Tamil movie as none of the recent ones had enticed me to check it out. But all that changed this weekend when "Vikram Vedha" hit the screens. The main reason being the stellar star cast which pitted Madhavan against Vijay Sethupathy & the classy manner in which the trailer was made. Interestingly, I haven't watched any of Sethupathy's movies though many of my friends told me that he does make wise choices. So was it wise of me to watch this one???


Vikram (Madhavan) is an encounter specialist who along with his colleagues are entrusted with the task of nailing the dreaded gangster, Vedha (Vijay Sethupathy). The film unfolds with Vikram & his team on a mission where they eliminate many of Vedha's aides including his innocent brother, Puli (Kathir). Even as Vikram plans his next move, Vedha surrenders to the police & hence begins an intriguing match of wits between the two. Vikram strongly believed that there is a clear demarcation between right & wrong and that there was no justification for Vedha's crimes. But the latter tries to prove it otherwise & coaxes Vikram to listen to his story before he makes an assumption.  Will Vikram beliefs still remain unshaken???

It is rather uncommon to see director duos nowadays & even more so, when the pair is a couple. The brains behind this intelligent thriller is Pushkar & Gayathri who are calling the shots after seven years. Since I havent watched their previous ventures, "Oram Po" & "Va", I dont have any preconceived notion about their craft. The uniqueness of the movie is the manner in which they have taken the essence of the Vikramadityan-Vedhalam tale & incorporated it here. The interactions between the protagonists is the main highlight, to the extent that each dialogue has relevance at some point in the movie (if I say anything more, it would turn out to be a spoiler). On the technical side, the tone & texture of the visuals adds to the overall effect for which P S Vinod deserves praise. Sam C's tracks & BGM gels with the mood while Richard Kevin's editing was impressive.

But there is little that a director can do unless he has a credible star cast that does justice to his efforts. Luckily, Pushkar & Gayathri have opted for the services of Madhavan & Sethupathy, both of whom were electric on screen. As the track moves forward, we cant help root for Vedha which happens solely due to the swagger & bindaas attitude that Sethupathy imparts to the character. Madhavan was equally good as the no nonsense cop & they were ably supported by Kathir, Varalaxmi, Shraddha & Hareesh Peradi.

Verdict: There is no doubt that this is one of the finest crime thriller that I have watched in the last couple of years. Apart from the acting caliber of the lead pairs, the film has a credible script which is executed in a unique manner. As a person, who never felt the urge to watch a Sethupathy movie until now; this movie was definitely an eye opener. In short, dont miss it!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dunkirk review: "Non linearity at its best as Nolan beckons Oscar!!!

Over the years, Hollywood has had some extraordinary directors such as Hitchcock, Spielberg, Lucas, Ridley Scott, Tarantino etc etc. But one person who has absolutely fascinated me with each of his films is Christopher Nolan. I became his fan with "Memento" & since then he has never ceased to surprise the audience with his craft. On the contrary, he kept setting the bar higher & higher. So when the trailer of his war thriller "Dunkirk" hit the screens just before Xmas, it created an unprecedented hype & anticipation. Is it indeed one of the greatest war movie ever made???


As the name suggests, it is about the evacuation of the British forces who were stranded on the beach of Dunkirk in France during WWII. The enemy (interestingly not even once, Germany is mentioned) was unleashing hell on the 400,000 soldiers who were virtually sitting ducks on the beach. The movie moves in a non linear pattern with three separate tracks, each of which focuses on land, water & air respectively. The first track happens over a week & is about a young British soldier Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) who had managed to reach the beach alive & was trying to find a vessel which would take him home. With the Royal Navy ships coming under heavy fire, they opt to command private boats for evacuation. Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) joins the mission but rather than wait for the Navy, he sets sail on his own with his son Peter (Tom Glynn) & his friend, George (Barry Keoghan). This track unfolds over a day while the third segment happens over an hour in the sky. The Royal Airforce spitfire fighters which included Farrier (Tom Hardy) tried to keep the airspace clear to provide a safe passage for the rescue boats.

Apart from donning the director's hat, Nolan has penned this brilliant script as well. The beauty of the movie is that even though there are very few dialogues, the impact that is able to create on the audience is unbelievable. He has weaved all the three segments so well that even though there are difference in time duration, we dont feel it at all. All the technical aspects are brilliant & so realistic especially the aerial sequences that we actually feel we are on the fighter planes, kudos to Hoyte's breath taking visuals. Another major factor that elevated the viewing experience to a whole different level was Hans Zimmer's music which instills chills & goose bumps in equal measure.

As far as performances are concerned, each & every actor has done utmost justice to their roles. Tom Hardy with his mask on reminded me of Bane from "The Dark Knight Rises" but that didnt handicap him as his expressions conveys the emotions effectively. The same applies to Kenneth Branagh as Commander Bolton, Mark Rylance & Tom Glynn as well.

Verdict: It is undoubtedly one of the greatest war movies ever made which is more than reason enough not to miss this gem. Even without the gory scenes that is part & parcel of movies in this genre, it still manages to keep us on the edge of our seats. In short, just rush to your nearest theatre if you havent done it till now!!!

Rating: 4.5/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jagga Jasoos review: "Unique & absorbing but not many would share the same opinion!!!"

The Indian eves have booked their place in the WC semis & Roger will be gunning for his 19th Grand Slam title in less than 6 h from now. Since I had time at my disposal, I decided to check out "Jagga Jasoos" after I was done with the household shopping for the week. Ever since I had seen the trailer, I was enthralled by the manner it was picturised as it seemed like a mishmash of Hollywood & Bollywood (in a good way). With a stellar cast & crew behind the making of the movie, the expectations are nigh high. So will it be a critical & commercial success like "Barfi"???


Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor) was an orphan who had the problem of stammering but had a keen eye for detail which made him an expert at deduction. He didnt have anyone for company, until he was adopted by Badal Bagchi aka Tooti Footi (Saswata Chatterjee) who instilled in him the confidence to overcome his stammer. Life moved on happily for Jagga, until his father puts him in the boarding school & leaves on a secret mission. Over the next few years, the only contact that Jagga had with his father was the video cassette that Tooti Footi used to sent him on his birthday. But when the present stops coming, he senses that some danger might have befallen his father & sets out to unravel it with the help of the journalist, Shruti (Katrina Kaif). 

This impressive piece of art is the creation of Anurag Basu, who continues his fine form after "Barfi" which was released five years back. Scripted by Anurag himself, the film is a combination of different genres such as musical, mystery & adventure. Kudos to his vision, as it engrosses our attention even though it runs close to three hours. The protagonist seems to be a desi version of Tintin & the whole movie has basically got three separate cases which gets bigger & grander as it reaches the climax. 

Personally speaking, I absolutely loved the musical format & all the technical aspects were brilliant. Pritam & Amitabh Bhattacharya deserves praise for their excellent music & lyrics such as "Khaana Khaake", "Galti se Mistake" etc which accentuates the mood of the movie. Equally impressive was Ravi Varman's visuals that captivates us. Ranbir was brilliant as Jagga & has done utmost justice to the role. The same amount of praise or even more applies to Saswata as well, who would be familiar to many as the assassin in "Kahaani". Saurabh Shukla rocks as usual while Katrina & Rajatava Dutta have done their parts aptly as well. 

Verdict: The unique treatment & musical format might not be palatable to many as was evidenced by the mixed reviews that had come out. From my point of view, it is an excellent movie which is distinct in flavour & yet ticks all the desired boxes that would entertain the audience. In short, definitely check it out; who knows maybe you will also love it!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mom review: "Impresses for large parts but lacks the edge of the seat effect!!!"

Over the years, we have heard & read about articles which scream hoarse about the importance of women equality. There is no doubt that it is a fundamental right that is extremely important for the upliftment of the female gender & development of any nation. However, I believe all of this will happen unless the women is given the respect that they deserve as a human being rather than a commodity for gratification. Sadly, we are witness to news about gory rape incidents all across our country every day & though there are rules in place, more often than not our judicial system is found to be woefully short. This is exactly what is depicted in Ravi Udyawar's "Mom" which has Sridevi as the protagonist. But Bollywood has a habit of making such movies pretty cliche & titillating rather than make us empathetic about the victim. Will this be any different???


Devki (Sridevi) is a Biology teacher in a respectable school in Delhi who is popular among her students. But she knew were to draw the line as Mohit, a wayward rich kid realised when she threw his mobile out of the window as punishment for sending a porn clip to her step daughter Arya (Sajal Ali). Even though, Devki adored Arya as her own child; the latter maintained a frosty relation with her. With Valentine's Day just round the corner, Arya sought the permission of her father Anand (Adnan Siddiqui) to attend the most happening party in the city. Though reluctant early on, he eventually agrees after Devki's persuasion. Little did they realise that this party would change their lives forever. 

The film was helmed by debutant Ravi Udyawar who is relatively well known in the advertising world. Along with Girish Kohli & Venkat Rao, he has scripted a story which is not unfamiliar to any of us due to similarities to real life incidents. Even otherwise as well, it is more or else similar to Raveena Tandon's "Maatr". But it would be fair to admit that this is a superior version of it, in terms of the way it has been shot & the caliber of the leading lady. However, it fails to thrill the audience & except for Sajal, we dont empathize with neither the sequences (except for the court scenes which was brilliant) nor the characters. Equally unrealistic was the manner in which the protagonist gets away with the crime. 

On the technical side, hats off to the Anay Goswami's slick visuals especially the manner in which the rape was picturised until the victim gets disposed. AR Rahman's BGM was brilliant & added to the overall impact. However, I wish Monisha Baldawa was more judicious with the editing. Coming to performances, this is Sridevi's first outing since "English Vinglish" & is her 300th movie in the 50th year of her film career. She carries the movie on her shoulders & brings her A game to the fore, though she hams it up at times. Sajal Ali was excellent along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who provides the comic relief with his hilarious statements. Akshaye Khanna was wasted while the others have done their parts adequately.

Verdict: As expected, it is unlikely to create a rush at the box office due to the genre & grim nature of the subject. When it comes to the thread, it wont come across as anything unique but the manner in which it has been shot coupled with credible performances makes it worth watching. In short, it's definitely worth a try!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spider-man Homecoming review: "Marvel gets the Spidey series on the right track!!!"

In recent times, superhero movies have taken the world by storm & the two big players slugging it out for box office glory are DC & Marvel.  But it would be fair to admit that Marvel have come up on top invariably at all times. However, about a fortnight back I had watched "Wonderwoman" & my word, it was freaking awesome. It is surely the first genuine threat that DC had posed & Marvel would be hoping that they can negate that threat with the Spiderman franchise launched a third time. Hmm...it remains to be seen whether "Spiderman: Homecoming" would impress the audience or are there already too many spiders in the web???


The Avengers' battle with the Chitauris had demolished New York & the responsibility of cleaning up the city was entrusted upon Adrian Toomes (Micheal Keaton) & his salvage company. However, due to the risk of presence of exotic alien artifacts in the ruins; Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) Department of Damage Control took over the responsibility which put Adrian out of business. In order to make up for the loss, Adrian & his team enters into arms trafficking making use of the Chitauri technology that they had scavenged. Things moved along smoothly until a conflict broke out between Captain America & Iron Man (“Captain America: Civil War”) & the latter brings in Spiderman (Tom Holland) into his team. After the conflict was resolved, Stark informed Peter that he would be kept in the loop as he still needed further training before being inducted into the Avengers. But Peter was impatient & inspite of Stark’s stern message, tries to prove his worth by taking on criminals. It was during one such pursuit, that Spiderman stumbled upon Adrian’s arms deal. So did he have it in him to take on Adrian or was Stark right after all???

At the turn of the 21st century, Sony Pictures decided to launch the Spiderman series & it was a decision that they never regretted The first two parts were both critical & commercial successes with Tobey Maguire donning the suit, but the final part garnered mixed reviews. They rebooted the franchise with Andrew Garfield which also saw a see saw effect after the initial hype. However, Sony laughed their way to the bank as they reaped close to four times of what they had invested. Now they have joined hands with Disney & Marvel, to launch a new version which would be in turn integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Jon Watts was entrusted with the task & I would have to admit he has done a pretty good job despite the fact that he doesnt have a track record to harp about. The story by Goldstein & Francis Daley wouldnt make us sit up, but their screenplay made up for it with a lively premise. Interestingly they didnt waste time on the origin of Spiderman or characters like Uncle Ben, which was a smart move & gives us a fun filled breezy film instead that is so typical of Marvel productions. Tom Holland has done justice to his role while Michael Keaton breathes life into a villain which barely had much spice to it. As for the rest, Jacob Batalon as Ned was spot on, Marisa Tomei was wasted while Robert Downey Jr impresses in his extended cameo.

Verdict: Spiderman has got off to a roaring start cashing in about $117 million dollars over the weekend. Frankly speaking I was sceptical when I had seen the trailer as I felt Tom Holland didnt seem to have the X factor needed for the character In addition, the movie lacked a meaty storyline as it seemed like this was just to establish the character as we approach the Infinity War series. However, you can rest assured that when you watch the movie you would be thoroughly entertained!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tubelight review: "Kinda yakeen that it wont match Salman's usual box-office onslaught!!!"

The holy month of Ramadan has come to an end with the fast broken & the new moon sighted. So on this auspicious occasion of Eid Al Fitr, I would like to wish Allah's Rahmat on all my fellow brings for a peaceful & prosperous life. Apart from hogging on the goodies, one of the indispensable ways of celebrating a festival is watching a movie & when it comes to Bollywood, this day is invariably locked down for Salman. In accordance with the usual trend, Salman presents "Tubelight" this year hoping to add further light to the festivities. Hmm... but will it be able in the same league as his previous blockbusters???


Based on Alejandro Monteverde's "Little Boy", the tale is set against the backdrop of the Indo-China war in 1962. The protagonists were two brothers who lived in the misty town of Kumaon nestled in the hills. Laxman Singh (Salman Khan) is a man child (more along the lines of Forest Gump) who endeared to one & all due to his innocence & slow witted nature which gave him the nickname "Tubelight". He was looked after by his protective younger brother, Bharat (Sohail Khan) & life seemed to move along peacefully until war broke out between the two neighbouring nations. As it was the need of the hour, there was large induction of youth into the army & Bharat happened to be one of them. Even though reluctant to leave his brother, Bharat heads into the war zone. Since he feared for his brother's well being, Laxman makes efforts to bring his brother back home. But will the two brothers ever meet again???

After the bombastic success of "Bajrangi Bhaijaan", Kabir Khan has yet again joined hands with Salman for their third collaboration. If "Little Boy" had a 8 year old kid as the protagonist then Kabir Khan used his creative freedom & financial acumen to make it into a guy in his early 50s. The primary flaw here is that there isnt a credible thread to the script & it's all about Laxman putting his faith to the test (except that it came across as rather trivial). In such a scenario, the 136 minute long movie tests our patience which should have been taken care of by Rameshwar Bhagat. On the brighter side, I did like Pritham's tracks which was in sync with the mood created while Aseem Mishra has done a decent job with the visuals.

There is no doubt that Salman excels when he plays characters which exudes innocence & has a heart of gold. However, over here there were more emotionally charged sequences & he seemed rather inept at it; though we will still take a liking for his character's simplicity. Salman's scenes with Matin Rey Tenga worked out pretty well & the boy has given an impressive performance. Surprisingly, Sohail Khan has done a fine job in the few scenes that he appeared. The late Om Puri, Zhu Zhu, Zeeshan Ayub etc have all done justice to their parts. Shah Rukh's cameo as a magician was fantastic as he fitted the character perfectly.

Verdict: The weekend got off to a great start for Salman as "Sultan" won the best action movie award at the Shanghai International Film Festival. However, he wouldnt have got a similar high from "Tubelight" as the opening day collection was one of the lowest for his Eid releases. Well it's definitely not surprising due to the reasons mentioned earlier. In short, it is yakeen to fall well short of expectations!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben




Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sachin: A billion dreams review: "A whirlwind of emotions, nostalgia & goosebumps!!!"

India begins its defense of the Champions Trophy in a week's time with the first clash against arch rivals Pakistan. Whether our team manages to defend the title remains to be seen but this excitement for the game began after we had lifted the WC in 1983. However, it was the greatest cricketer of all time Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar who skyrocketed our interest with his brilliance, humility & character. In the 90s, he was so dominant that the opposition feared him while the public adored him to the extent that people used to switch off the TV after he was dismissed. He has given us numerous memories over the years & carried the hopes of the nation for more than two decades. Hence when director James Erskine announced that he was planning a movie on the Bharat Ratna, the hype & excitement had gone through the roof.  In recent times, there has been quite a few biographical movies about sports personalities like M S Dhoni, Milkha Singh, Phogat etc. However, this was a docu-drama rather than an biopic & it remains to be seen whether it would be as awesome as the legend himself. 


Sachinnnn...Sachinnnn...the chant still reverberates in my ears every time I set eyes on a cricket match. Just like many others, he was the sole reason why I started to watch the game & is one of the two idols that I always looked upto (the other being my father). I still remember the day when I first saw him on TV giving an interview to Tom Alter. In those days, the only cricketer's name that I knew was Kapil Dev & I was pretty fascinated to see a puny kid who was just 8 years older to me rub shoulders with the big guys. So I coaxed my mom, who was an avid sports lover to teach me the rules of the game. Incidentally the first match that I saw was the exhibition match in which he smashed the legendary Abdul Qadar for 27 which included four consecutive sixes. This craze continued until he hung his boots at the Wankhede Stadium after 24 long years. Erskine has tried to capture the highs & lows of Sachin's career, something which is not so easy after all he must have been the most scrutinized sports icon in the world. So there is hardly anything that most of us don't know about the Master Blaster. 

James Erskine might not be a popular name for many but those who are well versed with sports documentaries, he is a doyen at it. Some of his popular ventures being "Battle of the Sexes", "Pantani", "Shooting for Socrates" etc. In his latest venture "Sachin: A Billion Dreams", he has pretty much covered all the major events in Sachin's life with insights provided by his family being the highlight. Knowing the person that Sachin is, it wasn't a surprise that nothing much has been revealed about the match fixing scandal but ample screen time is devoted on his relation with his father, his injuries & mental state during the lows of his career. Even though the music wasnt vintage A R Rahman, it was in sync with the mood & elevates the viewing experience. 

Verdict: It wont rate as a top notch documentary drama but it has got everything that would keep us hooked. Sachin is not just a name but an emotion & for all of those individuals who had followed his career, this will give us an opportunity to relive the memories. It will make us smile, hoot, whistle & even choke a bit when he gives his heartfelt retirement speech. Being a hard core Sachin fan, I  might be biased but even if you are only a cricket fan; you just cant afford to miss this!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hindi Medium review: "Impressive satire which all parents would relate to!!!"

As I was idling on my couch after a sumptuous Chinese buffet on Sunday afternoon with my friends, I happened to come across some articles about an Irrfan Khan movie titled "Hindi Medium" that had released over the weekend. Incidentally, it spoke positively about it & my curiosity was aroused as I was still hurting from the "Half Girlfriend" debacle. Though the thrilling IPL final & Real Madrid's La Liga triumph had made up for it, I decided to check it out after all I had some time to spare & Irrfan invariably had a track record of working in sensible movies. 


Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan) is the owner of an expensive boutique in Chandni Chowk & was blessed with all the luxuries of life. However, he wasnt proficient in English & didnt quite have the mannerisms of the so called "elite class", which his wife Mita (Saba Qamar) aspired for. Both of them had studied in govt schools & Mita was pretty adamant that their daughter studied in one of Delhi's prestigious English medium schools. Out of the prominent schools, 'Prakriti' was the one which was most sought after but it had a condition that it would provide admission to only those who stayed within a 3 km radius. Hoping to keep his wife happy, Raj unwillingly agrees to shift to Vasant Vihar & make changes to their lifestyles to gel with the upscale neighbourhood . Little did they realize that this was the least of their problems.

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The scramble for admissions in prestigious schools is a sight which we see every year & it goes without saying that most parents would go to any extent to ensure that their child is enrolled into one. Another main reason for this mad race is our nation's obsession for English over regional languages & it is a fact beyond doubt  More often than not, the admission criteria for such schools is based on the bank balance of the parents, their lifestyles & status in society.  Saket Chaudhary who showcased his prowess with "Pyaar Ke Side Effects" & "Shaadi Ke Side Effects" has been successful in weaving a hilarious satire on the scamper for admissions in the company of Zeenat Lakhani. 

There are sequences in the movie which are far fetched but it still strikes a chord with the audience as it is both funny & thought provoking at times. Laxman Utrekar's visuals was in sync with the mood while Sachin-Jigar has given some decent tracks as well. Irrfan Khan rocked as the protagonist which yet again reiterated as to why he is held in high esteem in the West & his chemistry with Saba Qamar was one of the main positives of the movie. Apart from being a delight for the eyes, the Pakistani actress is undoubtedly the best from her country to have graced the Indian screen in recent times. Equally impressive were Deepak Dobriyal & Swati Das who nailed their parts while Amrita Singh was ok who was hampered by a rather weakly written role. 

Verdict: As far as the script is concerned, it is undoubtedly inspired from the Bengali movie "Ramdhanu" which was remade into "Salt Mango Tree"in Malayalam. The hilarious take on the plight of parents for admissions is something many of us would relate to. Though not meant to demean the Indian educational system in total, it poses relevant questions as to what each one of us considers as effective education for our children. In short, don't miss it!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Half girlfriend review: "Not worth watching even at half the price!!!"

What is the most important aspect of a movie? Hmm...well if you ask me it has to be the script. But that alone doesn't guarantee a good movie unless it is entrusted in the hands of a talented cast & crew. Irrespective of the language, literary works have always proved to be worthy scripts & over the years, many novels have been adapted into movies. Among the various novelists, Chetan Bhagat is one prominent name which pops up as many of his novels has been made into blockbuster movies such as "3 Idiots", "Kai Po Che" etc. His latest novel to have reached the 70mm screen is "Half Girlfriend". But will it be as successful as it's predecessors...hard to say, though to be frank, I don't believe it would.

Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor), the heir to an esteemed lineage from Bihar secures a seat at the prestigious St Stephen's College on the back of a sports scholarship. He gets smitten by his college mate Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor), who was more like a tomboy & flaunted her affluent background. But behind that bold exterior she was actually a lonely girl who longed for love & companionship. Though Madhav was head over heels for her, she preferred to be aloof at times as she wasn't keen on a commitment or in her own words would prefer nothing more than being a "half girlfriend. Their relationship didnt last for long as Riya dropped out of college & was married off to her family friend. As expected, Madhav wasn't able to cope with the heart break & tried to channelize his energy towards the welfare of his villagers.

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The New York Times in 2008 cited Bhagat as "the biggest selling English language novelist in India's history". Well he might have sold quite a lot but a significant reason for the blockbusters was because they were in the hands of talented craftsmen like Rajkumar Hirani & Abhishek Kapoor. Mohit Suri does have some huge hits under his belt like "Aashiqui 2", "Murder 2" etc., but I don't quite consider him of the same caliber. Since I haven't read the novel, I can't comment as to how faithful the movie has been to it. But the fact is the plot itself is rather vague & the characters come across as rather shallow that you cant help cringing at times; not to forget that Mohit had chosen a wrong set of lead pairs who doesn't do justice to the requirements of their characters. 

If you would look at the track record of Mohit Suri, one positive aspect in almost all of his movies is the music. More often than not, all of them had atleast one chart buster & it's pretty much the same here as well. There are a host of music directors at work here & they have produced a couple of soulful tracks such as "Baarish", "Phir Bhi Tumko" etc. The visuals doesn't deserve special mention & Devendra Murusdeshwar's editing left a lot to be desired. Coming to the performances, neither Arjun nor Shraddha had the capabilities to pull off the characters. The one person who did impress was Vikrant Massey who has done a fine job as Shailesh.

Verdict: There are no two words about it, the film has a lot of pitfalls in the script & it was further handicapped by two lead actors who doesn't have it in them the ability to enact with conviction. To make matters worse, they had zero chemistry between them.  Even though not intended to be hilarious, the scene where they superimposed Bill Gates's face on someone else's body just shows how tacky the making has been. In short, better to watch the IPL final rather than give yourself a headache!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Meri Pyaari Bindu review: "Struggles to kindle pyaar among the audience for the movie!!!"

Just as I was browsing through the entertainment news today, one headline which caught my eye was the news of "Dangal" having crossed 1000 C as well courtesy of its release in China more than a week back. Incidentally, Aparshakti Khurrana who made an impressive debut in "Dangal" had his more popular brother Ayushmann's movie "Meri Pyaari Bindu" hitting the screens this weekend. So will it make the situation even more graver for "Sarkar 3" which is struggling to make even 10 C???


Abhimanyu Roy (Ayushmann) is a best selling author in the horror erotica genre who decided to forego his corporate career to pursue his passion of writing. It proved to be the right decision as his books became an instant hit among the readers, though the critics panned it as nothing more than cheap thrills. It's been a couple of years since his last book had hit the stands as he was presently victim to the writer's block. With his publisher constantly nagging him, Abhi had to come up with something fast but he just couldnt produce it onto paper. It was at this juncture that his parents forced him to visit them in Kolkata. This sowed the seeds for his next book as he stumbled across a mixed tape that he had made with his best friend & crush, Bindu (Parineeti Chopra). How their relationship developed over the years forms the crux of the movie. 

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The film has been helmed by the debutant Akshay Roy who along with the help of the script by Suprotim Sengupta try to put their desi flavour to the rom com genre. The idea of narrating the ups & downs of their relationship with the mixed tape was definitely interesting. However, that concept was barely developed & it turned out to be nothing more than a collection of old classic songs which kept popping up at times. There are quite a few sequences which hooks the audience especially the parts shot in Kolkata which was both funny & sentimental but the plot as such was barely existent & we dont actually empathise with the characters. Tushar Ray has done a fine job with the visuals with the opening shot of Durga Devi deserving special praise while Sachin-Jigar has done a decent job with the music.

Both the performers have done their parts well, but Ayushmann's character had more depth to it which he portrayed equally well. As for Parineeti, her character felt pretty superficial & doesnt give much insight into Bindu as such. With regard to other characters, Aparajita Auddy who played the part of Abhi's mother was hilarious while the rest of the characters have also done their parts aptly.

Verdict:   It will cater to the multiplex audience & should be able to break even in due time. The absymal "Sarkar 3" will also work in its favour & most of the people would have watched "Baahubali" by now. In short, it is surely not one of the best rom coms to come from the Yash Raj stable, but it wont hurt to give it a try if you do like the genre!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sarkar 3 review: "As trivial as RGV's tweets!!!"

It's been a fortnight since "Baahubali 2" has released & as I had predicted it has crossed the 1000 C mark with ease. As the epic's box office collections steadily makes it way into unchartered territories, the other film makers back home have been skeptical regarding when to showcase their wares lest they get drowned in the Baahubali tsunami. However, we did have a reasonably high profile release this week in the form of "Sarkar 3". But will RGV's creation have the quality to make us sit up & take notice? Seems like a tall ask after all his creativity (does he still have it?) is a pale shadow of what it was more than a decades back.


Subhash Negre (Big B) is still the darling of the masses & headache of the corrupt as he maintained an iron fist over the political climate in the state. Inspite of having lost both his sons & survived numerous assassination attempts on his life, he continued to make sure that the commoners were not exploited by the rich & powerful. He was ably assisted by his trusted lieutenant Gokul (Ronit Roy) & as expected just as his followers increased, his enemies also grew in number. The latest adversary who sought to end Sarkar's reign happened to be Michael Mallya (Jackie Shroff), a real estate businessman who operated from Dubai. But a bigger problem was when Sarkar's grandson Shivaji (Amit Sadh) sought to come under his grandfather's wings. Just like his father, Shivaji was impulsive & brash which created unrest in Sarkar's camp much to the delight of Michael & his men who milked the situation to their benefit. Can Sarkar trust anyone on his side or was it the end of the road for him???

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There was a time when Ram Gopal Verma was one of the most exciting directors in the country with movies like " Siva", "Company", "Rangeela", "Ab Tak Chappan" etc. But a couple of years into the new millennium, he seemed to have lost his touch to enthrall the audience as he churned out mediocre ventures at alarming regularity. However, on saying that this is surely one of his better efforts in the past decade. When the first part came out in 2005, it gripped the audience as it was inspired from Bal Thackeray & the Godfather series. Even the sequel had a story to tell with Abhishek & Aishwarya put into the mix. But the latest installment didnt have anything to convey as Nilesh Girkar, Jaya Kumar & Ramkumar Singh seemed to have just taken the CDs of the prequels & changed the name of the characters. Interestingly even a fleeting mention of Aishwarya's character is not made in the movie considering she was calling the shots at the end of the second part. The only portion which did interest me was the climax though by that time I was waiting for the movie to end.

RGV always had a fascination for bikini clad chicks, silhouettes, odd camera angles, focusing on inanimate objects even as the characters are blurting out their corny dialogues & all of this is present in ample measure here as well. It has been captured through Amol Rathod's frames & the blaring BGM has been the contribution of Ravi Shankar & Rohan Vinayak. When it came to performances, it is basically a Big B show but he doesnt have anything to do apart from slurping his coffee & speak in his baritone voice. He has done justice to his role though he could have done it even with his eyes closed. Amit Sadh impressed as the short tempered instinctive Shivaji along with Ronit Roy. Manoj Bajpayee was wasted, Jackie evoked a couple of chuckles with his double entendres while Yami Gautam & the rest barely had anything substantial to do.

Verdict: There is hardly any factor which works in its favour to the extent that I would rate "Meri Pyaari Bindu" way better than this. With "Baahubali" going strong, it will struggle to make it to the next week & will end up as yet another flop in RGV's career. In short, dont bother as it's as trivial as his tweets!!!

Rating: 1.75/5

Regards...Ben