Us – Movie Review

There is a scene in the movie where a homeless person is holding a placard that simply says “Jeremiah 11:11”. Now those who have read the testament, will immediately identify Jeremiah as the weeping prophet, the one who always gave the bad news.

The background score is so fantastic, that at times before you could comprehend the scene, the music kinda gives it away.

Jordan Peele’s “Get out” was such an fabulous horror flick, I just had to see “Us”. Undoubtedly, this will be remembered as a cult classic, few years down the line.

Imagine your shadows come alive, and demand to live the same life as you are living. You may interpret them as your internal demons too, who have suddenly sprung up in front of you. This is where the biblical “11:11” comes into the picture – “Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.”

Gabe and Adelaide with their kids plan a vacation to Santa Cruz beach. Adelaide is hesitant to go but gives in to Gabe. She remembers as a child going to the same spot and wandering off into a maze of mirrors, where she had met her doppelganger. She had seen an homeless man with the cardboard, written on it was “Jeremiah 11:11”. Now after years, she keeps seeing the number on clocks too, which also means in biblical terms that the God may manifest in forms our thoughts, including fears!

While on the beach, her son wanders off and she runs behind him and finds him. Gabe is unable to comprehend her anxiety and fear, but is soon to realize the same when they return back to their summer house.

During night they are visited by their doppelgangers or duplicates. A family holding hands, standing in the dark shadows of their lawn are staring at their house. Who are they or what are they ? Cannot prevent spoilers, so will stop here on the story plot.

But watch out for #LupitaNyongo, what a performance! Sure to be compared to Jack Nicholson’s The Shining. Both as Adelaide and her doppelganger she is amazing, you will be struck by her unbelievable talent. Not to be missed at all, #Us is top notch.

***** – 5 stars

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NTR Kathanayakudu / Mahanayakudu

During 1993, I had an opportunity to see NTR at Hyderabad. Being from Bombay, Bollywood capital, we used to see celebrities often, but the scenario unraveling in front of me was something surreal. People from all walks of life were prostrating themselves before him.

In a very nonchalance manner, I asked someone is he that big a star to which i got the reply that he is god for those people and then told me to shut up or risk being beaten up by them. That was the charisma of NTR, a man who played Krishna, Rama and Shiva in multiple movies.

His son, actor and producer, breathes life in the role of NTR, a performance of a lifetime. Just watch his don the make up of Krishna and walk through the studio to meet the producer who was hesitant to cast him as god. When he stands in front of the producer with folded hands, the overwhelmed producer holds his hands and says, God should never fold hands in front of mortals. The scene gives you goosebumps. But alas, the movie turns out to be tribute by a son to a father and cannot be termed as biography of the NTR the leader.

While the first part is enjoyable, focusing on NTR rise from a clerk to a film star, the second one focuses on a few incidents in the political life of the leader, especially the one where he was pitted against Indira Gandhi.

The director, Krish [Manikarnika] probably did not get the freedom to humanize the leader and that is exactly what you feel at the end of the movie. But yet it is worth a watch for Nandamuri Balakrishna’s performance as NTR.

Badla – A review

Cmon guys ! We are talking about Bachchan here !

The Invisible Guest is available on Digital Platforms. Apart from the changing the gender of the villain, it’s a frame to frame remake, and in some case I wouldn’t be surprised if stock images are used too! Because the movie is shot at nearly the same locations, same feel, same climate.

I cannot write further without handing out big spoilers so won’t do that. But yea, for those who haven’t seen “Contratiempo” or The Invisible Guest, they may like it.

Bachchan of course is good but not say at the level he was in Piku.. In Piku, he gave one of his best ever performances. Taapsee Pannu starts nervously, but in the second half gains the confidence. Watchable once..

2 **

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Sonchiriya – Movie Review

I am speechless and euphoric ! Abhishek Chaubey, take a bow sir cause this gem of yours reminded me of Sergio Leone and Vishal Bhardwaj is definitely our very own Ennio Morricone. I am just unable to remove the haunting background score and songs from my head.

The period is set in 1975, a fact that you are made aware of when a radio announces the imposing of emergency and a band of dacoits plan to loot a village. These dacoits are surrounded by the police and it turns out to be a bloodied conflict. Were the dacoits setup by their informant ? The leader of the gang Daku Thakur Mansing sees haunting images of a young girl, a guilt of an earlier crime gone wrong. The second rung leader Thakur Vakil Singh doubts that they were setup by an insider. But were they ?

A policeman, Birender Singh Gujjar, is after their blood, who is this police, and what is his backstory. ? The young rebel or “baaghi” leader of dacoits, Lakhna Thakur is in a dilemma, disillusioned by the life in ravines, he is having second thoughts. Will he surrender ? A thakur woman, called Indumati Tomar requests help from the dacoits to go to hospital, to save a girl child who is in a critical condition after being raped by another thakur. The girl is Sonchiriya [Pronounced as Son”chidiya”], an untouchable.

Looking for salvation, how each dacoit leader reacts to the situation is the plot of the story. Sonchiriya, a living person becomes a metaphor to hope for the dacoits.

Honey Trehan’s casting is fantastic, all actors are top notch. Manoj Bajpayee is super good and with this role, he has moved ahead of Bhiku Mhatre, and will be remembered as Daku Mansingh. and so will be Ravir Shorey as Daku Vakil Singh. Sushant is amazing, standing his own against veterans. Ashutosh Rana and Bhumi Pednekar are good too, especially Bhumi who nails it with her performance.

Direction, Cinematography and Music are top class and can give all established names, a run for their money.

The movie is undoubtedly heavy and may not be lapped up by the mainstream audience, but it’s their loss. Such movies need to be watched in theatres.

The dialogues though in Bundelkhandi, are fantastic too. “Sarkar ki goliyon se koi mara hai kabhi, ha unke wado se zaroor”.

After Gullyboy, it’s Sonchiriya..Indian cinema is on a roll ! Do not miss this haunting tale of desperation, guilt and hope.

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Four More Shots Please! – Review

Wow, was unsure of what to watch and was browsing through digital platforms. All alone in Ahmedabad, had the craving of my regular poison to destress – movies.

A sudden discussion on a whatsapp group of school pals by someone who had seen this one, made me take a chance and was it worth it.. absolutely cause i ended up binge watching the whole season!

Watch it for the performances and the writing. The story, the plot and a few scenes may prompt you to comment about originality too [Sex and the City]. Yet the four actresses, with their performances take it up a notch.

Four friends – Damini [Sayani Gupta as Fearless Journalist and a Startup owner], Siddhi Patel [Maanvi Gagroo – Forever in search of a knight in shining armour, poor little rich kid under pressure by Mom to get hitched], Anjana [Divorced lawyer, single mother and anxiety ridden person] and Umang [VJ Bani – as a gay individual, very independent and gym trainer to celebs] meet up under certain circumstances at a bar owned by Jeh Wadia [Pratiek Babbar] and become best of pals.

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Initially apprehensive that this may turn out to be more feminist propaganda, luckily it wasn’t. The casting is just a case of role reversal, and thank god for that, cause the ladies hit the ball out of the park! The background track is awesome too. Neither is it about female empowerment, the story could have been of, of either gender.

Damini gets kicked out of her own company, Anjana has jealous pangs when her husband moves on, Umang being an LGBT faces heartbreak by falling in love with her icon, a movie star, #LisaRay and has relationship with her, and Siddhi realizes by spending time with her friends that life’s not only about getting hitched. The four friends are there for each other and reminisce about their childhood and worry together about life ahead.

Being on digital platform, please note it is a rated watching. At the same time, I do not think it is something new for the urban folks.

The episodes will take you through the fun, sad, anxious, blissful and happy times of the four friends. #MaanviGagroo is a natural, loved her !

So collect your best pals, order 4 more shots and watch this together! Cheers.

Sanju – A cinegoer’s review

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For the young gen of 80s and 90s, Sanjay Dutt was the ultimate rockstar. Our very own Indian rebel without a cause. Yours Truly, was a big fan too, with a poster adorning my study corner in the house that was torn apart by a pal of mine during the TADA days. His Sadak, was a blockbuster, considered cult classic today.

A son of Superstars, a drug addict, a womaniser, a body builder and a superstar himself, Sanjay led a remarkably chequered life. His mother, wife died of cancer. His daughter was taken away from him. And then the Mumbai bomb blasts happened, where he was accused of colluding with gangsters.

Rajkumar Hirani has redeemed Sanjay Dutt by this movie, which shows as one scene in the movie says “You are the king of bad choices”. Ranbir Kapoor excels in every way not reducing Sanjay to a caricature however it is Vicky Kaushal who probably could walk away with a best supporting actor award. All other actors do their bit, but it is Sanjay’s life that makes you think.

If there is one person who is missed sorely in this movie, it is Sunil Dutt, Paresh Rawal’s attempt is sincere but cannot match up to the personality of Dutt Saab.

But the clear winner is the story/screenplay and the dialogues by Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani.

A must watch this weekend !

 

 

Shah Rukh “King” Khan..

Like him or hate him, but you cannot ignore him. Perhaps one of the most articulate, quick-witted, charming star of Indian cinema, SRK is a trailblazer.

#26GoldenYearsofKingKhan Twitter and the social media world is buzzing with his 26 years of superstardom today.

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His choice of cinema, may or may not be popular with you, but has earned him legion of fans across the world and more so it seems in Germany! #SRK

Well here are some of the names of his movies which I liked..not necessarily in the same order.

  1. Kabhi ha Kabhi na
  2. Baazigar
  3. Darr
  4. Swades
  5. Chak De
  6. Pardes
  7. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
  8. Om Shanti Om
  9. Raees
  10. Chennai Express
  11. Kabhi Alvida na Kehna
  12. Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham

His upcoming movie ZERO where he plays a dwarf along with a cameo by Salman is sure to break box office records.

 

The Insult – Review

The InsultProbably one of the best viewings that I have had in a long time. This Lebanese gem was nominated in the Oscars in the foreign language nominated category.

I would go to the extent of saying that this movie deserves to be in the classroom of all aspiring filmmakers. Whether it is the story, screenplay, directing or the acting, it excels in every front.

The screenplay is perhaps one of the best I have seen.

While the story if of Lebanon in the 70’s, when the country is flooded with Palestine refugees, it is a universal story that perhaps is as relevant today as it was then.

Forty percent of Lebanon’s population is of Christians and Palestinian refugees comprise of ten percent of the population.

A forty something mechanic, Tony Hanna, a right-wing Christian with a pregnant wife, is watering his plants in the balcony. The water from the plants, seeps through the gutter pipe, installed illegally on to the road on some construction crew. The foreman, Yasser Salameh [solid understated acting and winner of best actor in 74th Venice film festival], observes the pipe and offers to fix it. However Tony, slams the door on him. Why he slams the door on him, is something that you realise later in the movie.

Yasser still goes ahead and fixes it. Tony sees that the pipe is fixed, and he breaks it. Yasser sees this and calls him a “fucking prick”.

Tony is infuriated and demands an apology. Yasser’s boss tries to mediate, and convinces an reluctant Yasser to accompany him to Tony’s garage and make him apologise. Tony’s TV in the garage is on, a right wing speech to throw out the Palestinians is being aired. Tony rants and tells Yasser “I wish Ariel Sharon had wiped you all out”. On hearing this, a seething Yasser punches him in the gut and leaves without apologising.

The above is followed by a top-notch legal courtroom drama, that gives rise to riots in the streets of Lebanon, which however both the leads do not wish to happen. They in fact admonish their own lawyers, to not to humiliate and bring personal things out in the open in the court.

Today we see the same happening in our country, with hate speeches swaying our public and dividing them in the middle. Perfectly normal people do not think twice before uttering rubbish and spoiling relations.

The insecurity felt by the majority and the helplessness felt by the minority, especially if they are refugees, is perhaps highlighted the best in this movie, through a petty fight that escalates into a personal and political fight between two communities in a nation. Sounds familiar ?

This is one movie which perhaps with it’s content will always remain prevalent. I will definitely be watching out for director Ziad Doueiri’s filmography.

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Well.. What do you say about a movie, which you are aware is already a worldwide blockbuster.. Let me tell you. Lacks soul totally.

A big letdown, yet maybe a big hit among children because of the fantastic CGI work. Yes it is a seat of the edge thriller, if you still enjoy being scared by loud dinosaur roars and excellent sound design.

Nothing much to say about the actors here, whether Chris Pratt or anyone else.. wonder what is Jeff Goldblum doing here apart from announcing another sequel..

The story is paper thin.. Owen and Claire are out to save the dinosaurs from extinction due to a volcanic eruption, and no wonder they are tricked into going there by a villain who intends to sell the dinosaurs worldwide as “trainable” war soldiers. Rest is boom and bam ! #JurassicWorld #FallenKingdom

Good for a family weekend where you child will be staring the screen and you will be short of popcorn throughout the movie..

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Veere Di Wedding.. Review

Take a bow Shashanka Ghosh!

How wrong I was.. Had absolutely made up my mind, that this would be some preachy feminist movie, but thanks to the paid trolls I watched it.

It is definitely not preachy, but presents the new generation as they live their lives today. The fact that this movie was certified adults, shows how intolerant our system is. Sad, even Prasoon Joshi felt compelled to certify this movie as for adults only. We hear much worse language on TV!

All the four actresses are superb, led by Kareena who is wonderfully restrained and underplays her role as Kalindi who is commitment phobic. Swara plays to the gallery as the loud, risque and brazen Sakshi Soni, a character meant to shock with her language and dialogues. Sonam is fantastic as a divorce lawyer and comes into form in the second half of the movie, you may find her sexy just uttering the dialogue “Hello Bhandari” 🙂 Shikha Talsania is awesome as Meera too.

You may tend to compare the movie to ZNMD, but I think the ladies have done a fabulous job thus the movie is as good as ZNMD if not better – but definitely more believable.

Music is zany and in tune with the happenings but will not be chartbuster like ZNMD soundtrack.

The movie will definitely shock the prude in you, but be ready for a change, the fact that the movie is a blockbuster proves it. This is not “chick flick” and it should not be branded as one.

Instead of Adults, the movie should have been UA, we definitely need an autonomous censorship body that works independently and not succumb to any political pressure. We need a censor chief with balls.. as the ladies in the movie would say.

5 stars all the way !

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