Movie Reviews by Fenil Seta
There was a time when masala action flicks were the order of the day. Such films were regularly churned out and it had a dedicated audience who wholeheartedly endorsed this kind of cinema. However, as time passed, the number of such films began to decline drastically. But still the love for these flicks hasn’t died down and we won’t mind watching them once in a while. Aamir Khan’s Ghajini re-popularized the trend followed by Salman Khan’s Wanted. And Sallu is now back with another sureshot masala entertainer Dabangg, a film that is meant to just fully entertain the viewers! Nothing new in terms of storyline, what works in Dabangg is solely Salman and his brilliant performance!
The story of the movie: Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan) is a fearless but corrupt police officer in the town of Laalgunj, Uttar Pradesh. He family consists of his mother Naini (Dimple Kapadia), step father Prajapati Pandey (Vinod Khanna) and step brother Makhanchan aka Makkhi (Arbaaz Khan), the latter two who are hated by Chulbul due to bitter experiences of childhood. Chulbul at this point comes across Rajo (Sonakshi Sinha), a girl with a unique perspective of life and he instantly falls for her. Things were going smoothly for Chulbul when his world turns upside down with a sudden catastrophe. A ruthless villain enters his life-Cheddi Singh (Sonu Sood). How he fights evil and emerges triumphant is what the rest of the film is all about.
Dabangg at several points reminds of Wanted. Remember Salman’s intro scene in Wanted where he enters the goon’s adda and attacks them single-handedly which is followed by a foot-tapping song? Something similar is to be seen in Dabangg too! Thankfully, the action scenes are much more refined and have a dash of humour too. Same with the interval scene which is similar to Wanted (Salman bashing up goons while the heroine looks on with an expression of shock)! Yet, the film doesn’t give a reason to complain as the treatment for both the films is drastically different. Also, as mentioned before, Dabangg is a full on entertainer. The film is made only to give the viewers a paisa-vasool experience and special care is taken by the director and writers for the same. There’s not a single dull moment and although the film slows down at places, it still keeps the viewers gripped.
The film begins with a bang with Salman’s rocking entry followed by the title song. Chulbul’s ways of wooing Rajo bring a smile on the face! The film jumps to a new level after the song Humka Peeni Hai with an interesting development in the plot. Post-intermission, its Chulbul’s unique way of marrying Rajo that was too good. The bomb blast and Makkhi realizing he has been used was damn impactful. And as for the climax, it was just outstanding and perfect for such kind of a film! See it to believe it!
However, while the director focused on making this film totally mass-centric, he didn’t prefer to give some additional touches to the plot and the characters which might have improved the film to some extent. Chulbul Pandey had a bitter childhood as he never got the love and affection from his father. The director could have treated this angle in a better way. Also, maybe, they could have focused on how Chulbul became a positive person and realized the importance of having a family after meeting Rajo. However, all these aspects were ignored in the quest for delivering a ‘massworthy’ product. Still no complaints as the film entertained!
The film obviously belongs to Salman Khan! He is totally rocking as Chulbul Pandey aka Robinhood Pandey! He’s an expert when it comes to playing such kind of roles. He proved it in Wanted and does the same good job in Dabangg as well. To be frank, I am at a total loss of words and will simply end by saying-Salman, you may be giving couple of duds here and there but still you were and you are THE SUPERSTAR! Rock on Sallu!
Sonakshi Sinha looks extremely beautiful and has loads of talent which she unfortunately doesn’t get to exhibit here. Hope to see her in better roles in future! Sonu Sood entered the narrative in the beginning, disappeared midway but came back into focus in the 2nd half. Performance-wise, he was too good and delivers as per expectations. He proved his worth with Singh Is Kinng and Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi (where he was the solo hero) that he has immense talent and with Dabangg, he’s going to be noticed by more and his fan base is bound to increase! Arbaaz Khan (who’s also the co-producer of the film) plays his part well. Malaika Arora Khan (also a co-producer and the sexiest one ever!) was sizzling in the item song Munni Badnaam Hui! Vinod Khanna was okay while Dimple Kapadia leaves a mark. Mahesh Manjrekar, Om Puri, Anupam Kher, Tinnu Anand and Mahie Gill were good in their respective roles.
Sajid-Wajid’s music was foot-tapping and had the wonderful rustic touch to it. Tere Mast Mast Do Nain and Udd Udd Dabangg are the best of the lot followed by Munni (by Lalit Pandit). Special mention should be made of the choreography, especially of Salman’s phaadu dance steps in Tere Mast Mast Do Nain and Munni! Sandeep Shirodkar’s background score was topnotch.
Wasiq Khan’s production design was damn impressive. The sets seemed very authentic (especially Salman’s residence). Mahesh Limaye’s cinematography was flawless. S Vijayan’s action is one of the best things about the film. Some of the action scenes are creatively handled and executed which makes it a pleasure to witness them especially on the big screen.
Dilip Shukla and Abhinav Singh Kashyap, the writers, deserve credit and appreciation mostly for the fast-paced script and dialogues. In such kind of films, the dialogues have to be clapworthy and sharp. Dabangg fortunately has many such dialogues that enhance impact in many sequences. As for the story, well, as mentioned above, it was very ordinary and nothing special! Abhinav’s direction is excellent for most part of the film. He knew his job well and what he actually wanted to deliver and he does it convincingly. But as commented above, if he would have taken care of finer details of some characters, the film might have touched and impacted the viewers more. But notwithstanding the same, he shines and succeeds!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Chulbul’s entry
2. The title song, Tere Mast Mast Do Nain and Munni
3. Chulbul trying to woo Rajo
4. The intermission point
5. Chulbul marries Rajo
6. Makkhi joins Cheddi Singh
7. Makkhi realizes that he has been betrayed
8. The climax
On the whole, Dabangg is a totally rocking entertainer that delivers as per the expectations. Don’t go looking for a nice story. Just sit back, relax and enjoy Salman’s histrionics which is much more worth than a movie ticket any day! Another advice: if possible, watch this film in a single-screen theatre. The seeti-taali crowd present in such theatres will ensure you have a rocking time when you see Dabangg, something which you won’t be able to experience in multiplexes! Enjoy!
My rating-*** ½ out of 5!
It’s now an accepted fact that small films getting churned out at regular intervals have lots to entertain and give a good time than the biggies. To this list, one can now add one more flick and that is ‘The Film Emotional Atyachar’. The film is as unusual and weird as its title but manages to give a paisa vasool experience!
The story of the movie: Vikram Jaiswal (Mohit Ahalawat) is all set to sign a deal with Mr Khanna (Nasser Abdullah). But at the last moment, Khanna ditches Vikram and refuses to work with him. Khanna instead strikes a deal with Bosco (Abhimanyu Singh) and buys his club in Goa. Junior Bhai (Ravi Kishan), a small time goon, comes to know about the exchange of money between Bosco and Khanna and decides to attack them and rob all the cash. He takes the help of 2 wannabes, Goti (Snehal Dabhi) and Pichhku (Rajkumar Kanojia). Bosco on the other hand needs the money desperately to pay off to 2 corrupt cops, Joe (Vinay Pathak) and Leslie (Ranvir Shorey). The cop duo fears that Bosco might dump them after getting the money. Hence they take Bosco’s muse Sophie (Kalki Koechlin) as hostage until Bosco pays them their share. How all these characters unintentionally clash with each other on a secluded Mumbai-Goa highway at night is what the film is all about!
The film initially fails to impress and is damn confusing. Although all characters get introduced in style, you get a feeling that it’s not been a fine ride. However, the film picks up dramatically with the scene where Vinay and Ranvir enter when Abhimanyu’s room whose hands are tied up! The thrilling shootout minutes before the intermission escalates the impact. And if that wasn’t good, then the film turns better and better during the second half with each passing minute. A series of double cross by various characters and the unpredictability of the plot ensure that viewers remain gripped to their seats with no idea of what will happen next. The climax seemed totally justified.
The film might give you a déjà vu feeling of many films of this genre. The highway drama and heist episode gone wrong reminds one of Johnny Gaddaar, the somewhat-inferior production values is a remembrance of Ek Chalis Ki Last Local while the marvelous interconnection between characters bring back memories of Sankat City! But yet, the film and its script can be considered as completely original!
Without a shred of doubt, Vinay Pathak is the scene-stealer! His mannerisms and his sexy style works very well and put a smile on the faces of viewers although he is a baddie in the film (just like everyone else). Although he and Ranvir Shorey are together in every scene, it’s Vinay who leaves a mark. Ranvir on his part puts his best foot forward but fails up to match up to Vinay this time. It was nice to see Mohit Ahlawat after a long time (the RGV effect has totally waned away from for the better!). Kalki Koechlin looks stunning and gives a brilliant performance as expected from her! It’s indeed great that she has a number of films lined up! Ravi Kishan was very impressive and convincing. He was tailor-made for this role! Snehal Dabhi rocks in the scene where he is in the van sitting injured. Anand Tiwari (as Hiten Sardesai) comes up with yet another brilliant performance. Abhimanyu Singh and Rajkumar Kanojia play their part well. Others were okay.
There was no need for music in this film at all. However, the background score (Mangesh Dhadke) was simply fantastic. Editing (Pranav Dhiwar) was slick. Kartik Krishnan and Bhavini Bheda’s dialogues were witty and raise laughs at many places (esp the ones mouthed by Vinay). Story was truly hatke and very well written. So was the screenplay.
Director Akshay Shere scores a sixer with his debut! A film like The Film Emotional Atyachar wasn’t easy to make since there are so many characters and so much happening at every moment. But doing total justice to the script (not to forget that its Akshay’s first film) is a great feat indeed. The film has lots of abuses thrown in and some scenes are damn violent and gory. But that works and gives the film a real look. A great job indeed!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Hiten helps the injured Vikram
2. Joe and Leslie at Bosco’s club
3. Goti and Pichhku go to buy a gun
4. Junior, Goti and Picchku attempt the robbery
5. Junior and Picchku arguing as to what should be done about Goti
6. Vikram meets Sophie
7. The last 20 minutes
On the whole, The Film Emotional Atyachar is a neat little surprise of this season! It is extremely fast paced and gives 100 minutes of total thrill and entertainment! If you aren’t interested in any of the recent releases, giving The Film Emotional Atyachar a try would surely be no harm! Go for it!!
My rating-**** out of 5!
Lets one get one thing straight-We Are Family isn’t a ‘copy’ of or ‘lifted’ from Stepmom as is believed by some. It’s an ‘official adaptation’ of the Hollywood flick and due credit is given to its writers as well. With a brilliant plot in one hand and powerhouse actors on the other, the makers could have easily come up with a classic. However, We Are Family suffers from the same problem that some recent films helmed by debutant directors faced-an execution which just isn’t upto the mark. Inspite of it, the film has its moments and also the wonderful performance make it worth watching!
The story of the movie: Although Maya (Kajol) and Aman (Arjun Rampal) are divorced, they are still on good terms. They have 3 children – Aliya (Aanchal Munjhal), Ankush (Nominath Ginsburg) and Anjali (Diya Sonecha) who live with Maya. She’s the perfect mother and wonderfully takes care of them and adheres to their needs. Aman, too, catches up with them regularly. However, he has moved on and has a girlfriend Shreya (Kareena Kapoor). On Anjali’s birthday, he introduces Shreya to Maya and their children who develop an immediate dislike for her. Aliya is angry and feels that Shreya will ‘rob’ her daddy from them and they both will marry. Whenever Shreya tries to be friendly with the kids and strike a chord, something unexpected happens which leads to the kids hating her more! However, one day Maya discovers a very bitter truth and realizes that Shreya needs to be made a part of their family. Will that be possible? Will the kids able to love Shreya as they love Maya? Can 2 mothers make a home?
Let’s talk about the plusses first. The casting is just perfect! Every actor does total justice to his/her role. Storyline is unusual but works well. There were doubts that such kind of plot will not be accepted by Indian audiences. Not true! A story like this one is made for Indian audiences even though it’s little unorthodox. Moreover, some scenes are very well treated and instantly touch the hearts. Especially the climax which takes the film to a high!
However, on the flipside, as mentioned above, the direction isn’t topnotch. The plot needed to be more sensitively treated which unfortunately doesn’t happen. The director should have given more time to the characters to develop, mature and bond with each other even if that would have increased the duration of the film (which was anyways just 2 hours). Also, some scenes just don’t make any sense. For instance, Kajol’s outburst on Kareena when she had prepared peanut cookies was too exaggerated. It seemed like an unnecessary attempt by the director to add some drama and conflict in the film to spice up the proceedings! Wish if the flaws were taken care of, what a film We Are Family would have been!
The two actresses-Kajol and Kareena Kapoor-rock the show! Kajol was terrific to say the least! She gets better in the later portions of the film wherein she has a pale look. One of the reasons why you’ll get teary-eyed in the end is because of Kajol and her brilliant performance! Kareena Kapoor also manages to hold a strong position throughout the film. I was skeptical whether she’ll be able to play a convincing ‘stepmom’ considering she has never done even remotely similar. But surprisingly, she comes out with flying colours and was in fact perfect for this role! Another brilliant performance from a terrific actress!
Arjun Rampal also does a great job but somehow his performance doesn’t satisfy. Maybe because he had delivered the best work of his career in his last film (Raajneeti) that is still lingering in our minds. Or maybe because the scene here is dominated by the two ladies and in many scenes he’s just relegated to the background! Overall a fine attempt though! As for the kids, the youngest one, Diya Sonecha stands out because of her cuteness. Aanchal Munjhal shines in several scenes while Nominath Ginsburg don’t get much scope.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music was strictly okay and this is easily their weakest attempt at composing. 2 songs which stand out are-Dil Khol Ke Let’s Rock and Reham O Karam. Raju Singh’s background made an impact in certain scenes. Cinematographer Mohanan captures the locales of Australia wonderfully. Costumes, especially those of Kareena Kapoor (Manish Malhotra) were too good and Kareena as usual was looking stunning! Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogues made a mark at several points. Story (by Gigi Levangie who wrote Stepmom) was no doubt brilliant. The adapated screenplay (Venita Coelho) could have been better and fails to match up to the script of the original.
Finally, Siddharth P Malhotra’s direction wasn’t up to the mark. He has handled several scenes with utmost sensitivity but overall he was just okay. If Karan Johar had helmed this film, We Are Family would have been as brilliant and exciting as say Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham or Kal Ho Naa Ho! Hope Siddharth comes up better prepared when he directs his next!
Some of the best scenes:
1. The first scene
2. Anjali’s birthday party
3. Shreya takes care of the kids for a day
4. Maya stumbles upon the bitter truth
5. The intermission point
6. Maya realizes that Shreya can be a nice stepmom
7. Maya hospitalized
8. Maya gifts each child one by one (watch out for Kajol here!)
9. The climax
On the whole, a film like We Are Family needed an expert direction which Siddharth P Malhotra fails to do. And that’s what goes against the film which is otherwise well shot, well written and well performed. Notwithstanding the flaws, it is still worth watching for Kajol, Kareena and its theme!
My rating-*** out of 5!
The story of the movie: Rahul (John Abraham) is a compulsive gambler and a chain smoker. One day he succeeds in winning a huge amount in gambling and throws a party to celebrate. In the party, he proposes marriage to his longtime girlfriend Nafisa (Sonal Sehgal). However, immediately after doing so, he collapses. After a medical checkup, the results are out-he has lung cancer and only a few months to live. He is obviously shocked and then decides to shift to a hospice without telling anyone about his whereabouts. It is here at the hospice that he learns some lessons of life.
Aashayein begins well and grips your attention immediately. Rahul’s conversation with the doctor who was talking in circles about the former’s medical condition was brilliant to say the least! The film goes even higher as soon as Rahul lands at the hospice. The bond that he forms with 17 year old Padma (Anaitha Nair) which was the best part of the story, and Madhu (Farida Jalal) will put a smile on your face! Especially his relation with Padma was damn interesting and fresh-something shown rarely in our cinema.
Anaitha Nair is the surprise package of the film! She just stunts with her incredible performance! Her chemistry with John was too good! Your heart goes for her! Surely one of the finest performances in this year! Sonal Sehgal looks extremely beautiful and lends able support. Girish Karnad was good but disappears in the middle portions. Ashwin Chitale (as Govinda) has an important part to play in the 2nd half and does well. It was good to see Farida Jalal in an A-grade film after a long time! Prateeksha Lonkar (Sister Grace) and Vikram Inamdar (John’s buddy) do a great job. Others were fairly good.
Salim-Sulaiman’s music suits the mood and theme of the film. 2 songs which stand out are Ab Mujhko Jeena and Chala Aaya Pyaar. Their background score enhances impact in many scenes. Sudeep Chatterjee’s cinematography was excellent and captures the locales of Pondicherry exceptionally!
Nagesh Kukunoor, after giving 2 duds (Bombay To Bangkok, 8×10 Tasveer) comes up with a film that was better than these disasters but not as good as his classics (Iqbal, Dor). The plotline was little abstract at places. However, still it could have been an interesting film had Kukunoor not dragged the film and simplified some scenes. Overall, a nice experiment and hoping to see him back in form in his next!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Rahul finds he has lung cancer
2. Rahul leaves for the hospice
3. Rahul befriends Madhu and Padma
4. Rahul and Padma watching Anand
5. The intermission point
6. The Indiana Jones track (little weird but very well shot!)
7. Rahul takes Padma on a date
8. Padma at the deathbed
On the whole, Aashayein is a fairly okay film. It has a nice thought but tends to get too dragging because of which the impact withers away. However, it’s surely a must watch for all John Abraham fans!
My rating- ** ½ out of 5!
The makers of Hello Darling were surely at an advantage as their film dealt with sexual harassment at workplaces, something which is common in today’s time and also not to forget, there are handful of films which have tackled this issue. Unfortunately, while the writing is impressive, the execution is damn messy. Result: another disappointing flick from Mukta Arts!
The story of the movie: Mansi (Gul Panaag), Candy (Celina Jaitly) and Satvati (Eesha Koppikhar) work in a fashion designing company. Their boss is Harddick Vasu (Jaaved Jaafery), who leaves no stone unturned to lure young and good-looking girls working under him. No wonder that the trio hate him. By a small error, Mansi one day mixes rat poison in Harddick’s coffee who has to be immediately hospitalized. Fearing the worst, the Mansi and the other two try to hide her crime but they get caught by none other than Harddick himself. He lays down a condition in front of them-he’ll bury the issue and not take them to police if they agree to spend 7 nights with him at his Khandala bungalow! The ladies agree but silently decide that they will teach their lecherous boss a nice lesson.
Hello Darling has a fairly dry narrative in the beginning portions. The film picks up when Mansi puts rat poison instead of milk in Harddick’s coffee. The hospital sequence that follows was unbelievable but grips your attention. And not to forget, the fight between Chunky Pandey and Sanjay Mishra was the funniest sequence of the film although it was one of the most absurd scenes of Bollywood!
However, post-interval, the film just drops to a low and doesn’t pick up except in the track of the NGO dealing with erratic husbands and the mix up that occurs. Several scenes don’t make sense at all. Eesha’s transformation from a small-town girl to a glamorous babe was too sudden. Jaaved Jaffery, while chained, manages to access the telephone and calls his wife (Divya Dutta) who doesn’t respond properly. He could have called the cops because what the girls had done to him was akin to kidnapping! The climax, involving Sunny Deol, could have been great but disappoints.
Gul Panaag was the best of the three girls. Eesha Koppikhar comes next although some of her jokes were not funny at all. Celina Jaitly was alright. Jaaved Jaffery was totally convincing as the playboy. Divya Dutta plays her part perfectly like everytime! Chunky Pandey, who rocked the show in Housefull, does a brilliant job yet again in Hello Darling! Asawari Joshi as Tanya doesn’t get much scope. Seema Biswas as Phoolan Tai was too good. Vrajesh Hirjee was funny although he was there only for one scene. Sunny Deol makes a guest appearance and didn’t seem much in form. Others were okay.
Pritam’s music was plain mediocre. All songs are forgettable and unnecessarily placed. Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background score, however, was decent. So was Ravi Yadav’s cinematography.
Pankaj Trivedi and Sachin Shah have written the story which was great but was totally lifted from 1980s Hollywood Hit Nine To Five. While some dialogues are indeed funny and witty, the rest are unimpressive. Debutant Manoj Tiwari’s direction was disappointing. He had a nice story in hand and if he had treated it well, he could have come up with a better film. Alas, that doesn’t happen!
On the whole, Hello Darling boasts of a good plot but unfortunately isn’t well made.
My rating-** out of 5!
Pradeep Sarkar carved a niche with his directorial debut Parineeta but his reputation took a beating with his second venture, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. That was one of the two reasons as to why everyone is so skeptical about Lafangey Parindey. The second reason being, Lafangey Parindey seems so different from Sarkar’s kind of cinema. The promos showed Mumbai, its gritty streets, chawls, boxing, dance and skating…something which is surely isn’t his forte. But surprise! Lafangey Parindey turns out to be a neat film! Pradeep Sarkar handles it very well and is surely worth the 250 bucks ticket!
The story of the movie: Nandu (Neil Nitin Mukesh) is a street fighter who has a unique way of fighting with his opponents-blindfolded. Confident, charming and carefree…he lives a content life fighting and roaming with his chawl friends. In the same chawl lives Pinky Palkar (Deepika Padukone). She works at a mall but can wonderfully dance on skates and dreams of winning a reality show. One rainy night, hell breaks loose as Nandu has a dreadful experience. On the same night, Pinky loses her eyesight in an accident. Fate brings them together and how Nandu and Pinky teach each other lessons of life is what the film is all about.
You fall for Lafangey Parindey in the intro scene itself (Nandu explaining his fighting strategy). Nandu’s interaction with Anna (Kay Kay Menon) and the accident takes the film higher and higher! Especially the accident sequence was nicely executed (by showing it in 2 different ways). It also adds a nice surprise in the narrative. The scene thereafter right till the intermission keep you hooked thanks to interesting sequences and a fast-paced narrative! In short, the first half is just awesome!
Post-interval, the film tries to maintain the flow but gets dragging at places. Also Neil’s dance was weird in the elimination round sequence. Perhaps he could have worked better at his moves. The writer could have added some more turns towards the finale. But that would have not only increased the length of the film but also could have failed. Hence he kept it simple but at the same time predictable. Thankfully it works but also reminds you of the climax of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi! Nevertheless, overall the film turns out to be a decent attempt!
Neil Nitin Mukesh was a surprise for such a role. But he does total justice to it and although he doesn’t look like a chawl guy, his terrific performance compensates for it. The actor will soon be seen in 2 exciting films-Vishal Bhardwaj’s Saat Khoon Maaf and Abbas-Mustan’s The Italian Job remake! Way to go NNM!
Deepika Padukone is undoubtedly the best performer in the film! Her dance, mannerisms, expressions and her beautiful smile…everything about her shall leave you spellbound! Another amazing performance from an amazing actor! Piyush Mishra was great no doubt but he doesn’t leave a mark as he did in Tere Bin Laden and Gulaal. Manish Choudhary was decent as the cop. Namit Das who played Ranbir’s pal in Wake Up Sid was too good. So was Palomi. Kay Kay Menon has a special appearance in the film and nice to see him after a long time. Others were good.
M Anandh’s music wasn’t outstanding but made for decent listening. The title song was the best song of the lot followed by Man Lafanga and Nain Parindey. Zubin Balaporia’s background music was perfect. N Nataraja Subramaniam’s cinematography was as usual excellent. Sanjib Datta’s editing works especially in the beginning scenes. Sham Kaushal’s action was terrific and very realistic. Bosco Caesar and Sandro Guerra, the choreographers do a great job and they contribute in the film’s success considering that dance and skates have an important role in the film.
Newbie Gopi Puthran has written the story, screenplay and dialogues and has excelled in all 3! Story was novel but it’s the screenplay that is really terrific. Dialogues seem very real for the setting of the film.
Finally Pradeep Sarkar springs a surprise! He enters a new territory but does an exceptional job! Good to see that he’s back in form and hoping that his next film, too, would work!
Some of the best scenes of the film:
1. The first scene
2. Nandu with Anna
3. Pinky’s accident
4. The song Nain Parindey
5. Nandu trains Pinky
6. The intermission point
7. Nandu puts on the skates for the first time
8. The cop’s investigation
9. Nandu and Pinky watching movie (hilarious!)
10. The last 15 minutes
On the whole, Lafangey Parindey is a great attempt and succeeds in impressing. Surely worth putting your money for! At the box office, it has all the time upto the release of We Are Family (September 2) to rule and emerge as a hit!
My rating-*** ½ out of 5!
Farmers’ suicide has been a grave problem since past many years and no individual, commission or government has able to put an end or at least reduce it. Peepli [Live] is a story based on this burning issue. However, the treatment is simple and a major part of the film is light-hearted and comical. However, at the same time, the goings-on at several places terribly move you. Achieving such a fine balance between the two is difficult but debutant director Anusha Rizvi succeeds in doings so very well. Peepli [Live] thus is a must watch…something that our countrymen should not miss!
The story of the movie: Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) and his brother Budhia (Raghuvir Yadav) are involved in farming and live in a small village called Peepli, somewhere in the state of ‘Mukhya Pradesh’. The brothers are about to lose their land as they are unable to pay a bank loan. At this juncture, they learn that the government pays one lakh to the family of all those indebted farmers who commit suicide. Budhia thus persuades Natha to do the ‘honour’ so that their land can be saved. However, somehow, the local journalist Rakesh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) gets to know about their plan and publishes it in the local newspaper. From here, the news reaches the national television channels whose reporters immediately head to Peepli and turn the issue into ‘breaking news’! What makes the story ‘spicy’ is the fact that by-elections are soon happening in the constituency in which Peepli falls and this constituency belongs to the chief minister Ram Yadav (Jugal Kishore) of the state! Media, state government, central government…everyone sees this as an opportunity to outdo their rival and shine among the masses!
Peepli [Live] is based in a small village and all the actors playing villagers look exactly like one. Most of them are real-time villagers (the lead Omkar Das is a Chhattisgarh native). Hence the film looks more authentic and believable. Similarly the ones playing news reporters have gone into the skin of their characters and pitched a lifelike performance! Having spoken about the actors, let’s move to the winner of the movie…the script! The best part is, although the film throws light on those living below poverty line, you can feel a connect as we have been aware of their issues and problems. Same goes for news channels and their TRP-driven overdrive which we all have been witnessing since years. However, simultaneously, the director gives a behind-the-scenes take of these people and that’s when you realize that we are living in extremely cruel and insensitive times!
The film gets dry at times but not boring at all. Right from the first scene, the film shall keep you hooked. The film sets the mood with the scene where the brothers argue as to who should die. The intermission point was truly hilarious! The scene where Natha gets a ‘Lal Bahadur’ from the district board and later a television from a political party brings the house down but also exposes as to what level people stoop down to publicize themselves. Then the entire government track (involving rivalry between the central agricultural ministry and state government) was very well shown.
Certain scenes deeply move you. For instance, the sequence where Natha hugs his goat. And not to forget, the mini-track involving an extremely malnourished farmer is the most touching part of the story. The film reaches a high when an important development takes place in the narrative. The climax, involving chasing of one another was similar to Priyadarshan movies but seems very true and believable. The last scene was unexpected but was totally justified.
Hats off to all actors for pitching in brilliant performances! The film belongs to Omkar Das Manikpuri! He hasn’t mouthed many dialogues but it’s his eyes, mannerisms and (adorable) looks that speak a lot! One of the best debuts this year! Raghuvir Yadav shines whenever he does an out-of-the-box film and Peepli [Live] is no exception! He has a major role in the first hour but gets sidelined in the second half (there was no option actually). Nawazuddin Siddiqui (who rocked in Black Friday, Firaaq and New York) gives yet another powerful performance. He has a major part in the narrative and he plays his part very well! An actor to watch! Mallika Shenoy as Nandita Mallik leaves a mark. She looked every inch a news reporter. A performance you’ll surely remember for a long time! Same goes for Vishal O Sharma as Nandita’s rival. What a performance!
Shalini Vasta as Natha’s wife and Farrukh Jaffer as Natha’s mother provide some funny moments throughout the film. Naseeruddin Shah as the agricultural minister Salim Kidwai was absolutely natural. Jugal Kishore makes an impact especially in the scene wherein he’s deciding under which scheme Natha can be helped! Sitaram Panchal as Bhai Thakur was excellent especially in the entry scene. The person belonging to casteist party, the digging farmer and the rest do a great job.
Music was very rustic and soulful. All songs leave a mark. Des Mera (by Indian Ocean), Chola Mati Ke (by Nageen Tanvir) and most importantly, Mehengai Dayain (by Bidwai village artistes) were very delightful. Mathias Duplessy’s background score was effective. Hemanti Sarkar’s editing was crisp and flawless. Make-up and costumes helped even more in giving the actors a true-to-life look. Shanker Raman’s cinematography was one of the best this year.
Anusha Rizvi, the writer-director deserves brownie points for her outstanding job. Her story was novel but at the same time relatable. Screenplay was gripping and she did a great job by not falling to commercial diktats. As for her direction, well, it was a surprise! Rarely can a debutant director do such a fine job (the last one to probably do so was Nandita Das in Firaaq). A brilliant job to say the least and hope she goes a long way!
And finally, the review would be incomplete without the mention of producer Aamir Khan! It’s thanks to his efforts and name that the film is today seen in large numbers and creating waves everywhere! Hats off Mr Perfectionist!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Natha and Budhia meet Bhai Thakur
2. Natha and Budhia arguing as to who should die
3. Nandita interviewing Salim Kidwai in the studio
4. Natha gets ‘Lal Bahadur’!
5. The intermission point
6. News reports interviewing any tom, dick, harry in Peepli about Natha
7. Natha gifted television
8. The digging farmer track
9. Rakesh and Nandita’s verbal argument
10. The last 20 minutes
On the whole, Peepli [Live] is truly satire at its best! Aided with a brilliant script and performances, the film will not only make you laugh but the sensitive handling will also move you! One of the best films of the year, this one is not to be missed! Go for it!!
My rating-**** ½ out of 5!
Horror has always been an intriguing genre worldwide and Bollywood is no exception. While the West regularly comes up with interesting spooky films, our cinema hasn’t been much successful in this regard. Few horror films are made and fewer work. Help works but unfortunately only in parts. The plot is brilliant but the execution and some loopholes in the narrative spoil the show!
The story of the movie: Vic (Bobby Deol) is a film director and married to Pia (Mugdha Godse). Their marriage in on the rocks as Pia doubts that Vic is allegedly having an affair with a Bollywood actress. At such a point, they have to rush to Mauritius as Pia’s father (Salim Fatehi) suffers a heart attack. Her father gets out of danger by the time they reach there. However, strange things start happening to Pia as soon as she is Mauritius, especially in her old family house. She realizes that the ghost of her twin sister, who accidentally died when she was 5, is watching her. In the midst, she finds that she’s pregnant. Before she can realize, the ghost possesses her and its upto Vic to take immediate action. What is the ghost’s motive and why has she awakened after so many years? Watch Help to find out!
Help has a spine-chilling beginning! The titles that follow were damn interesting too. However, the film then turns boring and very ordinary thereafter. The heroine wakes up in the middle of the night after hearing something, she exits her bedroom to check what’s going on, an eerie feeling engulfs, and then finally the ghost appears followed by a scream by the heroine! Haven’t we seen that sooooo many times before?! Unfortunately, this is what happens in the first hour of the film when the director gets building up the tension and mood. The only two sequences that work are-the merciless killing of the dog and entry of Aditya (Shreyas Talpade)!
However suddenly, the second hour makes an impact thanks to a wonderful twist in the tale. In fact, for some time, it takes the film to another level and that is when you’ll realize that this isn’t just another Bollywood horror-cum-revenge drama! A lot of surprises are in store here and the various symbolic gestures that were flashed at various points earlier begin to make sense!
The climax was alright and justified but the film leaves several questions unanswered. Why didn’t the ghost kill Pia’s father since he was the one who was responsible for the injustice done to her? Where was the video cassette, which provides vital clues to Vic, since so many years and why did no one see it before? Also, as mentioned before, the treatment was over the top at times and at places, fails to do justice to such an excellent plot.
The film ends with an indication of a possible sequel. Frankly it doesn’t work and spoils the film even more! And whenever any film has come up with such kind of a climax (13B, Phoonk 2, Drona etc), it has miserably failed. Help will follow suit too!
Every actor does a nice job but no performance was extra ordinary. Mugdha Godse looks charming and does a fine job especially in scenes wherein she’s possessed. Another fine performance from her after Fashion and Jail! It was great to see Bobby Deol after a long time and does a fine job. However, this new hairstyle doesn’t suit him and would like to see him in his Tango Charlie killer looks! Shreyas Talpade has a major role to play in the second half of the film and yet his act was termed as ‘special appearance‘! Nevertheless he was excellent especially in the finale. Jyoti Dogra leaves a mark while Salim Fatehi was okay. The twin girls, Anushka and Ashoi, play their part well. Sophie Handa and others were good.
Ashutosh Pathak‘s music doesn’t impress but his background score does. Only one song is worth mentioning-Kehna Hai. Dhimant Vyas‘ cinematography was very effective. Same for the Visual effects (Prime Focus)! Sound design was too loud, required for such films. Mugdha’s 1-minute-long scream in the finale was deafening! Special mention should also go to make-up guy, Vikram Gaikwad.
Deepak Pawar and Viddesh Malandkar‘s wrote the story, screenplay and dialogues. Story initially seemed to be been-there-done-that types but impressed towards the later part of the film. Screenplay could have been better while dialogues were okay.
Rajeev Manoj Virani‘s direction fails to do overall justice to the plot. Basically, a film like Help required the expertise of a veteran filmmaker (someone like Vikram Bhatt). Rajeev shows flashes of brilliance in some scenes but in the rest, he was plain okay. Hoping to see him doing a better job in his next flick!
Some of the best scenes:
1. The beginning scene
2. The flashback of the accident, shown at regular intervals
3. Dog is mercilessly murdered
4. Aditya confronts Vic at the graveyard
5. Aditya explains the various stages of demonic possession
6. Vic gets hold of the video cassette
7. The climax
On the whole, Help is equipped with an interesting and novel plot but fails to overall impress due to bad direction and some glitches in the narrative! No one can HELP the film to get audiences, impress them and turn the film into a commercial success!
My rating-** ½ out of 5!
We all have tried to hook up two of our friends or at least someone has tried to hook us with someone, which most of the times fails miserably. But still there’s a matchmaker in most of us and this is especially to be seen in a marriage-centric country like India. Hence, Aisha reeks of a strong relatable factor and the makers and writers had won half of the battle by choosing a script like this one. Besides, they got some supremely fresh and talented actors on board and added some beautiful music too. With so many plusses in its favour, Aisha works but unfortunately only in parts. The treatment needed a mature touch which debutant director Rajshree Ojha failed to do so. A great chance lost!
The story of the movie: Aisha (Sonam Kapor) is an upmarket Delhi girl whose favourite pastime is matchmaking among her friends and relatives. Arjun (Abhay Deol), her childhood friend who has just returned from New York, detests this trait of Aisha. Aisha comes across Shefali (Amrita Puri), a small town girl, who’s in Delhi to marry. Her matchmaking side tells her that Shefali and one of her friend, Randhir (Cyrus Sahukar) can be a cute couple and she sets on a mission to hook them. She even involves Pinky (Ira Dubey), her friend since kindergarten, in her mission. Aisha loves when things go as she has planned. Hence, what would happen when she realizes that all her matchmaking plans are going for a toss? Watch the film to find out!
Aisha begins wonderfully, making you expect a lot as the film progresses. The introduction of all characters, which was done in the opening sequence itself, was cute and sets the mood for this chick flick. The story hardly moves in the first half and the only significant thing that happens here is the 7 important characters get to know each other. And also, the scene of Randhir minutes before the intermission (his proposal to Aisha at night and confession to Pinky next morning). However as the 2nd half unfolds, one realizes that the first hour was so much better! The problem is that when the writer so beautifully built up the plot in a fresh manner in the beginning reels, why did it switch to the track beaten to death so many times before in the later part? The emotional scenes tend to drag. Also, the 2nd half was where the makers were trying to go the Jaane Tu way but couldn’t do so. Moreover few developments in the story at this point seem to go over the head. Shefali telling Aisha that Arjun too likes her…what was that?!
However, the film gets back on track with the scene where Aisha shares halwa with her father at night and the scene next, where she gives a beautiful speech but to the wrong audience and wrong venue! However, the last scene (Arjun’s confession) was too filmy and although it was cute, it doesn’t work.
The film belongs to the female brigade who rocks the show! Sonam, of course, leads and this is easily her best work! This was a dream role for any actress in male-centric in Bollywood and she makes use of good use of the opportunity. Whatever kind of expression she emotes—angry, happy, sad, excited, crying—she does it in an extremely cute manner! As for her costumes, she has worn various types of clothes throughout the film and she looks a princess in each one of them! The film might not work but Aisha will surely be remembered for a long time as Sonam’s finest performance!
Ira Dubey looks and sounds very much like her mother, the talented Lilette Dubey! Performance wise, she was topnotch. With her role of Pinky, she proves that one can look superhot by wearing spectacles too! Amrita Puri gives an impactful performance. Watch out for her brilliant performance in the confrontational scene with Sonam!
As for the guys, Abhay Deol as usual gives a terrific performance. Although Sonam is the leading character here, Abhay too has an important part and does it well. Cyrus Sahukar was hardly there in the 2nd half but shines in the first hour, especially in Rishikesh sequence. Arunodhay Singh (Dhruv) does a fine job but looks horrible in his new haircut! Lisa Haydon (Aarti) didn’t much to do. Anand Tiwari, who rocked in Udaan and Kites does an equally good job here. M K Raina as Sonam’s dad leaves a mark only in the end scene. Anoordha Patel (Sonam’s masi) was good. The rest do a fine job.
Amit Trivedi’s music is soulful and easily one of his best works after Dev D, Wake Up Sid and Udaan. The best songs are the title track, By The Way, Gal Mitthi Mitthi, Shaam and Leherein. He even composed the background score which suited the film’s theme.
Maximum appreciation should go to hair stylist (Ity Aggarwal), make up artist (Namrata Soni) and Costume Designers (Pernia Qureshi, Kunal Rawal)! The girls and the film seemed glamorous and fresh thanks to them! Diego Rodriguez’ cinematography was flawless.
The film is adopted from Emma, a novel by Jane Austen. Adapting a 19th century novel into the present-day Delhi scenario wasn’t easy task and credit should go to screenwriter Devika Bhagat. However she could have done a better job towards the finale. Also the dialogues (Devika, Ritu Bhatia, Manurishi Chaddha) were very smart and witty.
Rajshree Ojha shows promise towards the beginning but her direction loses sheen during the later part. Overall, an okay debut and expecting her to do a better job in her next!
Some of the best scenes:
1. The introduction of characters
2. Shefali’s transformation from ‘behenji’ to ‘babe’
3. Aisha leaves Randhir and Shefali in the highway guest house
4. Dhruv repairs Aisha’s car
5. The entire Rishikesh sequence
6. Shefali destroying Randhir’s memoirs
7. Pinky and Shefali’s confrontation with Aisha
8. Aisha confesses about Arjun to her dad
9. Aisha’s speech in the marriage
On the whole, Aisha is strictly okay. It boasts of a great concept which could have turned into a brilliant film but the improper execution prevents that from happening. A must watch only for fashionistas and fans of Sonam!
My rating-** ½ out of 5!
Most of the gangster films that we have seen in Bollywood have all been inspired from real men of underworld. And when makers of Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai give a supposed indication that the film is a kind of biopic on the 2 famous dons, one might wonder-what will this film show that we haven’t seen or don’t know? And as expected, Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai is to a great extent a been-there-done-that affair. However, still it makes for a riveting watch thanks to the brilliant performances and direction and a lot more factors! More about it later!
The story of the movie: The film is set in Bombay of 70s. Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devgn) is a powerful man but on the wrong side of the law. For the poor, he was messiah; for the cops, he’s a smuggler who should be put behind bars and for the bhai-log of Mumbai, he’s the mediator and advisor. Unlike other goons, Sultan doesn’t believe much in bloodshed and wants peace to remain on the streets of the city. He has found a love interest too, Rehana (Kangna Ranaut), a rising superstar of Bollywood. Enters Shoaib Khan (Emraan Hashmi), a ruthless roadside ruffian who gets included in Sultan’s gang. Little does Sultan know that this could be his most fatal mistake!
The first striking and unique feature that you’ll notice about Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai is Ajay’s brilliant characterization which is so different from the rest of the gangsters we have seen on celluloid. Here’s a man who is so bloody rich but yet is always there to help the poor! Here’s a man who is ready to smuggle anything into the city except things which are morally wrong to consume! Here’s a man whose ways of getting things done are so smart and so harmless! Hats off to Sultan Mirza!
The entire film is told from the eyes of Inspector Agnel Wilson (Randeep Hooda). The movie gets on track as soon as the flashback commences. The beginning scenes where Ajay removes the tracks and the other where he divides the city among the bhais were brilliant and set the mood. From here, the film hops on a cliché track and this lasts till the end. However, you won’t mind as every second, there’s something or the other happening in the film that’ll keep you gripped!
One won’t have any complaints with the first hour. However, the second half has some share of flaws. The entire hooch episode could have been better treated. The climax was predictable but no doubt leaves a mark. However, the film ends without mentioning what happens to the significant characters of the film later. Also, showing an important character of the film in the last scene 18 years later with no change in his looks and features seemed too unbelievable. Notwithstanding all the glitches, the film gives a satisfying experience and that’s what matters!
There’s no doubt that the best performer in the film is none other than Ajay Devgn! Essaying a gangsta role is never easy but Ajay have done it twice (earlier in Company) and both performances are so drastically different from each other! An achievement indeed! Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai is surely another feather in Ajay’s cap! Keep rocking! Emraan Hashmi fails to reach Ajay’s level but still impresses with a rocking performance! His eyes and his expressions oozed evil which was what his character was all about! It was great to see him in full form after a long long time. And the good news is-he’ll soon be seen in 3 films-Crook, Raftaar 24×7 and Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji! Emraan’s face, rejoice!
Special mention should also be made of the kiddos who played kid Ajay-Emraan. Both of them had features which were exactly like two actors and hence it seemed authentic! Kangna Ranaut looks ravishing and as usual gives a top notch performance. The 70s-centric costumes given to her looked beautiful on her! Prachi Desai (as Mumtaz) does a fine job. However, her character doesn’t have much to do in the film. Randeep Hooda gives a stupendous performance. Bollywood is surely going to notice this neglected actor from now on! The one who plays Emraan’s father was terrific. Avtar Gill plays his part well. Gauhar Khan was awesome in the retro item track.
Pritam’s music is energetic and easily one of his finest works! Tum Jo Aaye is the best song of the lot followed by Pee Loon. I Am In Love is missing from the film! Parda, the item song, is beautifully picturised while Babu Rao gives a nice 70s feel!
Aseem Mishra’s cinematography was perfect. Nitin Desai’s art direction impresses a lot! The entire film is given a 70s touch thanks to him. Most of the scenes are smartly shot in the colonial areas of South Mumbai (which haven’t changed much since 70s). However, the sets (esp the one in Gauhar’s song) were brilliant and surely worth appreciating!
Rajat Aroraa wrote the story, screenplay and dialogue. Story is nothing new and something we all have seen in many films before. However, the screenplay was terrific and as mentioned before, the characters were too good. Dialogues were very sharp and one of the best things about the film. However, there was no need of giving such dramatic dialogues to the cop (Randeep). It just didn’t suit at all!
Finally, Milan Luthria’s direction was splendid! Although not his best work (Taxi No 9211 is), he should be appreciated for coming up with such a great film which has such an ordinary story! Great going and waiting for your next!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Sultan removes the rail tracks
2. Sultan divides the city among the ‘bhais’
3. Sultan meets Rehana for the first time and in the restaurant
4. Rehana gives gifts for Sultan
5. Shoaib’s childhood
6. Sultan at Shoaib’s inauguration
7. Rehana traps Agnel
8. The intermission point
9. Sultan burns the drugs
10. Sultan at Delhi
11. Sultan’s confronts Shoaib
12. The climax
On the whole, Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, inspite of having an ordinary storyline, gives the viewer a great time! Watch it for Ajay, well-shot scenes and the retro look!
My rating-*** ½ out of 5!