Chhichhore – Review

A very apt movie for today’s genx who are short on patience and give up easily. It really disturbed me, when in Mumbai, a young boy and a girl committed suicide near the place where I stay. The reasons made known later were unbelievable and made us wonder why..

#NiteshTiwari touches the issue here to make a point that being termed as losers or feeling like one, is just one of the phase of life. #Chhichhore starts on a #3Idiots style hostel prank and the first half is focused on building the characters. Hostel H4 inmates are termed as losers. Their names will stay with you post the movie, and you will remember them as Acid, Sexa, Mummy, Bevda and Anni and Maya, the lead protagonists.

The complete movie is in a flashback, when Anni and Maya’s son attempts suicide and is critical. Anni decides to narrate the story of losers to his son, on hospital bed. The moral of the story being failure is not the end of the world.

The characters after sometime seem caricaturish, except for Sexa [Varun Sharma] and Derek [Tahir Raj Bhasin]. #ShraddhaKapoor continues to score.. #PratiekBabbar has a small role but has the required screen presence and the charisma, only if he got the right roles.

Definitely a good watch, with the social message etc., but cannot be compared to #3Idiots or #Dangal.

 

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Once upon a time in Hollywood – Review

The Master Filmmaker is back !

With Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino, had already established himself. However it was “Natural Born Killers”, an Oliver Stone film, with story and original screenplay by Quentin, which made me his fan. That movie still remains among my top must see list.

He takes his love story with Hollywood a step further with this movie, with two of the most handsome top list stars, Brad Pitt and that chameleon of an actor #LeonardoDiCaprio.

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Ricky Dalton [Leo] a TV star realizes that times are changing and new actors are replacing him. He has a double or a stuntman on his payroll, Brad Pitt. Both of them lookout for each other. Ricky is scared and is low on confidence and high on alcohol. But Cliff Booth [Brad P] is made of sterner stuff and keeps an eye on his master and pal.

The director weaves this story around real life incidents in hollywood during the late sixties, the so called end of golden age, and more with the cult of Charles Manson who murdered a heavily pregnant Sharon Tate. You need to read on Manson if you want to know more of this incident.

Leonardo – is amazing, whether it’s his breaking down in front of an child actor or acting as a villain. Check out his solo outburst, talking to himself and cursing self for forgetting dialogues. I probably may end up watching this movie twice for him.

But Brad Pitt is solid too – a very understated performance to Leo’s zany one. They both need to come together more often. Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate is awesome too – using her dove eyes to express wonder on watching herself on screen.

However the director is the ultimate hero here – check out the scene when Brad gives lift to one of Charles’s crazy ranchers and visit’s the Spahn Movie Ranch. Those aware of the Manson story will relate to the scene – it gives you the chill.. something is about to happen. You literally pray that Cliff [Brad] gets out of there alive, who gave the lift to the hippy girl to check on the owner of the ranch where he has shot movies before.

The Climax is awesome – typical Quentin style – the audience were cheering. Here the director has some fun with facts. Among the flaws though I was disappointed that the director took a dig at Bruce Lee and Steve McQueen..

An absolute must watch !

 

 

 

Batla House – A moviegoer’s review

One of the major letdown in the movie is, when you get engrossed and all disturbed at the way the things were handled, the director shows a disclaimer that the production team does not prescribe to anyone’s side and are presenting this semi-fictionalized and yet a gripping true event as is.

While the intention is probably to steer clear of being accused of being against a community, the movie still potrays ACP Sanjeev Yadav as a hero, which he is. He is an 9 times winner of President’s gallantry medals.

John Abraham perhaps essays the best performance till date, looks like Hulk and is intense. Rest all are ok. The movie rides on his able shoulders and he carries it with aplomb.

Batla House was a huge controversy and cannot be summarized in a 2 hour movie, may require a web series.

The movie raises many questions –

Why are the interfering politicians allowed to go scot free? Why are leaders like Amar Singh, Digvijay Singh and Kejriwal above the law and are not made to answer the questions they raised – as shown in the movie from real life news.

Why are the Maulvi’s allowed to use loudspeakers and pass messages on Delhi Police – are the speakers not only for religious purpose ?

How many such medal winners will have to go through PSTD, despite giving the ultimate sacrifice in the name of duty. ?

How do we ensure that the wheat is separated from the chaff while ensuring justice – so that no innocents become scapegoats.

For those who followed the BATLA HOUSE controversy, the questions remain unanswered, but worth a watch.. could have been more detailed, for the monologue by ACP Sanjeev at the end, the movie gets a three star.

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Game Over – Review

DO NOT MISS !

The movie will bowl you over. It reminded me of the first time I had seen the cult classic “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. No the movies are not similar at all, but will leave you gasping for breath like its lead character and your heart thumping at it’s loudest.

Superb Sound Design ! Whether its the creaking sound of the swing in the garden, the footsteps or even during the claustrophobic attacks of Sapna which is also an anniversary reaction to a traumatic event in her life.

A video game developer, she works from home, with a housekeeper for company. She has suffered a traumatic event in the past during new year and at every approaching new year she faces phobia attacks apart from being perennially afraid of the dark.

She has also done a tattoo on her wrist, which in a classic connect with games indicates the number of lives [chance] she has. This tattoo is also called as memorial tattoo, in which the ashes of a loved ones are mixed with the ink, but in case of Sapna, it was done by mistake ! Taapsee Pannu lives the role!

Cannot continue further on the story plot without spoilers so won’t do that. The movie excels in every department, camerawork is stupendous and the way it moves in the house, it will give you the chills and make you claustrophobic too.

The climax reminds you of Run Lola Run, the german cult classic, which had three possible ways of ending.

There is one poster in Sapna’s home which says “What if life is a video game and deja-vu are just checkpoints”. Think about it and go for this movie, you may need an auto-save for yourself.

5 stars, for this is one awesome movie which simply establishes the fact that content is king.Game-Over-Hindi-Official-Trailer-Taapsee-Pannu-Ashwin-Saravanan

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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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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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.