Saturday, 21 September 2013

Shuddh Desi Fun My Review Phata Poster Nikla Hero

Director  Rajkumar Santoshi

Starring  Shahid Kapoor, Ileana d'cruz, Padmini Kolhapure, Saurabh Shukla, Sanjay Mishra

Rajkumar Santoshi has directed 13 films to date, ranging from Ghayal and Damini, to the cult caper Andaaz Apna Apna and his last film Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani though not my favorite, rang loudly at the BO cash registers.

He is back with Phata Poster Nikla Hero. With Shahid Kapoor really in need of a hit, this film has a lot riding on it for him too.

Let me set this straight at the beginning, its an out and out commercial film, seeped in formula, ridden with cliches, some plot points taken directly from other films like Munnabhai MBBS.

The story is of Vishwas Rao (Shahid Kapoor) and his mother Savitri (Padmini Kolhapure). Savitri has only one dream that her son Vishwas joint the Indian Police force and become an honest officer. She has brought him up alone, working as an auto rickshaw driver in a small town near Mumbai. On the other hand, Vishwas has only one dream, of becoming a hero in Bollywood. The clash of their dreams, and how he fools Savitri into believing he has actually become a police officer is the base around which this comedy is woven. Add to it a hilariously useless Police department siding with the nefarious gangsters and a hero who gets embroiled in their business, throw in some romance and songs and you have the film.

The beginning of the film transports you to the late 70s and 80s style of film-making and you know the film can either become a campy ode or fall flat. For me it stayed in the middle, neither gaining the epicness of Andaz Apna Apna nor failing miserably like lot of bad comedies we have been subjected to in the recent past. 

Shahid is excellent in his role of a bumbling, good at heart wannabe hero. His comic timing is good and he has let go of himself, and surrendered to the director fully. He is a joy to watch in this film, and suddenly I have hopes for him again after the last two miserable films he did. He definitely is back. Illeana is totally wasted here, apart from looking pretty and gracing the songs that keep popping up out of nowhere. Padmini Kolhapure gets the most hackneyed character of the "Maa" and has very few comic scenes, mostly sniffling and sad. I wish Santoshi had given her character shades of madness that would have made this film better. In the supporting cast Darshan Zariwala does a good job given the scope of the role, Saurabh Shukla, Zakir Hussain and Sanjay Mishra are always fun to watch, and frankly help the scenes more than the script does. 

Like most films these days, the bane of the second half strikes PPNH too. Santoshi flounders in the last act, the film becomes predictable, the screenplay struggles to stay on track and the last half hour is a drag. But despite that, some moments still keep propping up where you manage half a giggle.

So does the film work for me? Yes, largely it does. Keeping the masses in mind, this film is clean fun. After the assault of Grand Masti, finally a film the family can watch together. It is way better than Chennai Express in the humor department, doesn't make fun of any community, stays away from double meaning dialogues and the other crutches Bollywood has become used to. 

See it for Shahid's comic act, he is brilliant in some scenes, specially mad moments like with a gun pointed at his chest he breaks into a sexy dance, and then goes coolly to bash up the baddies. 

And the best saved for the last, Salman Khan makes a cameo appearance, and in 2 minutes, he takes off on almost everything, including himself and Rajkumar Santoshi. Hats off for thinking of this scene Mr. Director, and Sallu is such fun!

My Verdict  2.5/5

Leaves You Craving For More My Review The Lunchbox

Director Ritesh Batra

Starring  Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Nimrat Kaur, Lilette Dubey, Bharti Achrekar (voice)

After hearing continuous applause for a film which has traveled globally to extremely positive reviews, it is natural for your expectations to be at a tremendous peak for this debut film by Ritesh Batra. 

Fleeting connections, stolen glances, loves never found.... 

This is something I tweeted on 16th September. It is something we all have felt in our lifetime. I believe life is about the people who appear in your's, some stay, some leave, but they always remain in bits and pieces in your heart. We reach out to complete strangers in ways more intimate than we realize. Loneliness is a strong bond, and it makes us brave, to either end everything or start something new.

The Lunchbox is a delicately layered rainbow cake, where each layer goes perfectly well with the other, standing out, yet merging in perfectly complimenting flavors and you want to relish each morsel slowly till you are left with a lingering after taste.

The story is of Ila (Nimrat Kaur) and Saajan Fernandez (Irrfan Khan). Ila is a lonely housewife, who has become a furniture piece in her own house, a marriage that is stale, crusty and gathering fungus. Her life brightens a little in the haven of her kitchen where she cooks up delicious food in the hope of finding a way back into her husband's heart through his lunch box. But the Dabba finds its way to a wrong table, stomach and heart. Saajan is an aged widower. Serving the last month at an insurance company as he has applied for an early retirement. His life is a static routine, everyday an exact copy of the last one, even he would have difficulty in recognizing one from the other. With age, his habits have become him. From taking the local train everyday to sitting at his desk poring over claims files to sitting alone at the lunch table and eating from the dabba that gets delivered everyday from a local service. He is a respected employee, having served there for 3 decades. He is stern and walled in. Even the little kids in the neighborhood know that and keep their distance. Every night he smokes on his balcony and a window across the building where a happy family eats their dinner together is shut as a small girl finds him looking in. No one wants melancholia.

His life is shaken out of somnolence by the arrival of the Dabba, which looks a little unfamiliar and when he tastes the food, it is as if through his taste buds, his whole being has found flavor.

From here begins a tenuous communication of hand-written notes, each revealing the need to connect, to feel different, to feel alive.... loneliness making them do things which are surprising to themselves. What starts by mistake, slowly turns into the best thing they have in life at this moment.

The Lunchbox will not be what it is without superlative and heart wrenching performances by each of the actors. Irrfan is so so real, I felt like giving him a hug and feed him my cooking. Nimrat Kaur, whoa, debut film and such a solid performance. Coming now to my darling Nawazuddin, hats off. He is the perfect foil to Saajan in his role as his junior, Aslam Shaikh. The way he owns this character, funny, sweet, achingly vulnerable at times, and oh so cheeky. What a pleasure. And finally Bharti Achrekar, bus aawaaz hee kafi hai as a full of beans neighbor staying in a flat above Ila's. Sending down masalas in a basket, and playing songs and doling advice, her voice and modulation made me picture her without any effort. Though I must say I was hoping to see her at some point in the film.

The dialogues are another win. The letters emanate the fragility of their relationship and some of them brought tears to my eyes, while some made me smile and Aslam's lines made me giggle more than once.

The Bombay Ritesh has captured is the bitter-sweet city it is. The Dabba walas get a special doff of the hat and it is they who are also the thread that wove the lives of Ila and Saajan together. The cinematography is brilliant. Capturing the faces and milieu just right.

The depth of the film belies the maker's age. The emotional quotient is so high, the attention to detail so perfect, the choice of creating claustrophobia by staying with one subject in their gnawing space, I daresay this film is perfect. 

The only thing that did not work for me in the film was Lilette Dubey playing Ila's mother, she doesn't fit and for me the film could have done easily without that track. 

So grab your tickets and go get served this delectable Lunch Box. I may go for another helping myself.

My Verdict 4/5

Monday, 16 September 2013

Ramleela - Theatrical Trailer ft. Ranveer Singh & Deepika Padukone

The much awaited, much hyped Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Ramleela is ready for release.

Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Gulshan Devaiah and Supriya Pathak this film is creating lot of buzz and considering the rife rumors of their affair, a love story between them might just change the tide for SLB

I like the vibrancy of this trailer, and at this point will reserve my opinion on the acting skills of Ranveer.


Friday, 13 September 2013

UGLY Theatrical Trailer | Anurag Kashyap | Ronit Roy

Anurag Kashyap returns with Ugly. A crime thriller with a delicious Film Noir flavor.

This film sees Rahul Bhat returning to the big screen again after a long gap of 10 years. His last was the forgettable Nayi Padosan. Tejaswini Kolhapure has come a full circle, with Paanch still unreleased, this is her second outing with Kashyap after exactly a decade. Ronit Roy is back too.

This film also stars the very gifted Abir Goswami who passed away at a very young age earlier this year.

I am liking the vibe. Join in. Film releases Oct 11, 2013

RAGINI MMS - 2 (Teaser) Sunny Leone

As the name suggests it is a sequel to the horror film Ragini MMS. A small budget film which did well at the box office.

Why would anyone release a trailer this early is anyone's guess.

Relying heavily on Sunny Leone's bosom, this film already has an audience.

Directed by Bhushan Patel, this film may dole Balaji from the bad run at the box office in 2013.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Theatrical Trailer Gori Tere Pyaar Mein Imran Khan, Kareena Kapoor

Dharma Productions presents Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, directed by Punit Malhotra. This is his second film. His debut I Hate Luv Storys was a very average film.

This stars Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor, who were paired successfully in Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.

Enjoy the trailer.

The Lunchbox New Trailer Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur

Can not wait to see this film. Armed with rave reviews internationally, now UTV motion pictures is releasing it in India finally.

Directed by Ritesh Batra, the film stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Bharti Achrekar.


Friday, 6 September 2013

My Review Shuddh Desi Romance Chanchal Mann Ati Random

Director Maneesh Sharma

Starring  Parineeti Chopra, Sushant Singh Rajput, Vaani Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Rajesh Sharma

Maneesh Sharma knows his job. From a really entertaining and bold for Bollywood, Band Bajaa Baarat to a Rom-con-caper Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, he has proven that girl meets boy - they fall in love - things do not go the cliched way is a territory he is very comfortable with.

Shuddh Desi Romance is almost an extension of BBB in a broad sense. Love and what happens next in today's modern world, where neither the boy nor the girl are naive and swooning is the thread that he follows here too.

Raghuram Sitaram (Sushant Singh Rajput) is set to marry Tara (Vaani Kapoor), in an arranged set-up. Raghu who works as a tourist guide - cum - Hired wedding guest (Baarati) - cum - conning salesman doesn't really want to get married and bumps into Gayatri (Parineeti) on the bus full of his own baraatis. He falls for her in a few minutes and they make out, instant chemistry has struck its arrow. But the reality is that Tara is the one who is going to be his wife. Raghu can not go through it and runs away from his own wedding. This starts the ride that is SDR, which goes through twists and turns and the by-lanes of hearts and the city.

The name of the film is not the film, let me say that at the outset. There is nothing desi about the characters and their love. Times have changed and love has evolved with the it. At least that is what the film is trying to say.

Jaideep Sahni has created 3 characters who are mint fresh, yet relatable to young, educated, urban Indians. Raghu, the commitment phobe, not an achiever, yet cocky, Vaani, a bride who can take rejection at the altar in her stride and is so cool she says "Thanda milega?" as the news of the run away groom is broken to her and Gayatri, a wiser beyond her years girl, who has seen enough heart breaks not to give in too easily to her own heart.

The film flows well, specially the first hour is excellent. It is frothy, the writing is very good, the pace is perfect. Despite the predictability, one is immensely engaged. The setting of Jaipur gives the film a rich visual appeal and characters that are really funny, specially Goyal sahab (Rishi Kapoor) who is a Baraati arranger, wedding planner and a father figure to Raghu, and Chacha ji (Rajesh Sharma) in a cameo as Tara's uncle. Rishi Kapoor is sparkling in this avatar as a small town lala ji, and has given a consistent performance. Sushant is in form, and is really easy on the eyes, Parineeti is excellent, and is getting better with each film, despite playing a tonally similar character. The chemistry between Sushant and Parineeti clearly crackles. Vaani Kapoor is a confident performer and has made a good debut.

The dialogues are the real scene stealers, I kept chuckling through out. Jaideep has done an excellent job there and for me they are the best dialouges I have heard this year, yes. The assured direction and the way the film keeps it real and handles its love and love making is a big plus in its favor.

But the film is not without flaws. The screenplay is full of convenient plot points. On the characterization front, apart from Parineeti, I don't garner much about Raghu and Vaani, infact to me Vaani's character is the weakest in the film. The backdrop of Jaipur is clearly a smartly chosen one, purely for its visual appeal. Another thing which I found fraught with convenience to carry forward this story is the fact that Raghu and Vaani are both orphans and even Gayatri doesn't have a mother, only a father who lives far far away in Guwahati. So there is no outer conflict at all.

For a film that is addressing a contemporary issue of live-in relationships, we know that parents do play a very large role in the lives of their kids and these decisions are never easy, the acceptance and the societal pressures on these relationships is what makes them so interesting as a subject for a film. In Salaam Namaste it was Australia, in Jaipur, its almost like a vacuum that our protagonists exist in. Apart from a few fleeting raised eye-brows, it seems its the most normal thing to do in Jaipur. If the motive was to highlight their inner conflicts rather than decisions coming out of outside circumstance, then again, I wish there was some time spent in carving moments looking inside of our protagonists. All in all, I just didn't feel anything for any one. Yes I enjoyed it, tremendously, but did it pull my heart strings... apart from Gayatri's one outburst, no.

Manu Anand's camerawork is nothing short of brilliant, helped greatly by the production design and the real locations, the editing by Namrata Rao keeps the film moving fast, loved the use of slo-mo in Gulaabi, the last half hour of the film seems slow largely due to problems in the narrative. The music of the film is another huge plus. I loved Tere Mere Beech Main and the title track. Kudos to Jigar Sachin.

This film deserves a watch definitely, its a breath of fresh air and firmly pushes the envelope for the kind of films we need to make more and see more.

My Verdict 3/5

Thursday, 5 September 2013

First Teaser Dhoom 3

After writing the first two movies of the Dhoom franchise, Vijay Krishna Acharya returns this time as also the director of the third edition, Dhoom 3. He has earlier directed Tashan.

Starring Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Uday Chopra, this film has the makings of a blockbuster. Aamir and Katrina will be the biggest draws at the BO.

This first teaser doesn't impress me much, and I am waiting for a well cut trailer.

Enjoy the first look!