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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Super 30 – Review

A late review of an already rocking movie at the box office.

This is a true story of a man, who as an impoverished young man could not pursue his dreams though he was accepted by Cambridge based on an mathematical articles submitted by him but could not take it up due to financial condition.

What follows is story of perseverance, dogged determination to help the downtrodden students achieve their dreams despite attacks from the coaching classes mafia.

Education is indeed a big business in India. There is a city called KOTA, which thrives only on coaching classes for IIT-JEE. Families at times shift their to be with their child who intends to appear for IIT. Their lesser brilliant siblings too shift to be with families, it is so important for everyone in the family.

#HrithikRoshan is undoubtedly one of the most gifted actors in Indian cinema and this movie is a proof of the same. After Koi Mil Gaya, he gets to show his acting chops, the other movies in between were masala entertainers banking on his greek god looks.

Vikas Bahl, despite the #metoo controversy, redeems his graph post Shandaar.

#BasantiNoDance seems trivial on TV but on it grows on you on screen, bringing forward the wide chasm between castes, classes and the rich and the poor.

A must family watch!

 

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The Great Hack

A social media user’s profile, his status updates, opinions, likes, comments, inputs to different quizzes, games etc, is collected for data mining purposes.

Based on the above, a psychological profile is developed, his political leanings are determined and his social media is bombarded with fake news, manipulative video feeds that can bring about a change in the user’s preferences.

#TheGreatHack, reveals what #CambridgeAnalytica was about – using data sets or digital traces that “you” leave on whatsapp, FB, Google, Instagram and other apps – for data mining purpose.

#Brexit, #Trump Elections, Trinidad and Tobago elections are examples of CA’s interference. The scary part of the investigations is the fact that CA was interested in promoting far-right wing parties across the world – a desperate desire it seems bring in chaos and then mould the world with help from the lies they spread.

As one british legislator in the documentary terms the tactic as “weapons grade communication technique” to persuade, influence people for gains of their clients !

How you ask ? Well the digital traces or likes, comments etc etc that you leave on the social media are now also termed as your bloodstream that runs into the internet which can be injected with “parasites” or fake/manipulative information.

Cambridge Analytica has shut down but remember there are many more such firms who do the same. Beware !

A must watch !

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Article 15 – Review

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Maharashtra has always been touted as the number one industrial state in the country.

During 2005, due to the demise of a dear one, I decided on a road trip in Diwali to take my father away from Mumbai and spend some time at a hill station called Chikhaldhara (700 kms). Sonny was an infant than, so took a driver along. It would also help me to scribble some notes. We took an overnight halt at Shegaon, a pilgrimage center.

We started again early morning, but lost our way (no gps than). Going through tribal villages, what we observed was abject poverty, we could not believe that this was our own state – number one in India.

And yet when we took an halt for a cup of tea at a rundown shop, and some milk for our son, the shopkeeper flat refused to take money for the milk, saying it would be a sin as it was for a child. Humbled beyond our words, we bought some biscuits that he had.

That man is the essence of India, the state that he is in, is because of the blind, greedy and lethargic bureaucracy and politics. We reached our destination eventually.

However this movie is about the majority of India which is rural india, and feudal mindset is more prevalent in the states of uttar pradesh and bihar.

The movie is based on the true story of two sisters who were gangraped and hanged from a tree in Badayun district, Uttar Pradesh. If I am not wrong similar incidents were reported in Ghaghar, Sambhal in the same year.

Two girls insist on being paid 3 rupees more with a contractor and threaten to leave and work for another. They do so on not being paid and are followed by more. They along with their younger sister are chased by goons. The younger one runs away into a jungle through a swamp.

#AyushmannKhurrana is Ayan Ranjan, an newbie urban IPS officer. Having returned from abroad, he is not so sure of this “India” he is looking at, and lets us know of his thoughts through whatsapp chats with his girlfriend whose answers seem as its his conscience. Khurrana is on a roll with a performance that is easily his best till date. Manoj Pahwa as the corrupt police Brahmdutt is excellent and a surprise too as usually he is typecast as a comedian.

#SayaniGupta is a chameleon. One of the better actors around for sure. #ZeeshanAyub as a Dalit naxal is good too.

The movie may remind you of Mississipi Burning – a cult movie today. Do not miss the Bob Dylan song in the beginning – How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?.. Blowi’n in the wind.

It is the cinematography that immerses you in rural india and also into sewage. Literally scares you about this other face of India, where you may work along side one another but cannot eat from the same plate.

This is the “balance” or “santulan” which needs to be maintained among different castes and religion else there would be chaos – advises Brahmdutt to Ayan.

Unfortunately our elected reps continue to exactly do that, maintain this distorted balance and rule us.

Annabelle comes home – Review

Have always been a fan of horror genre, though not much of the slasher stuff.

James Wan is back with his anthology of the Conjuring series. Gary Dauberman directs this jump and scare visual treat with an excellent sound design.

The warren couple bring the malevolent doll named Annabelle home, to be locked away in a chapel glass made locker. The doll has the ability to invoke evil spirits. Their daughter has a babysitter. When the warrens are away, the babysitter’s pal let’s curiosity take over and it causes mayhem. How the daughter, semi trained by observing the parents along with the babysitter tackle the ghosts forms the plot.

Worth a watch for strictly horror fans.

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Kabir Singh – Review

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KABIR SINGH !

Really do not know how to review this movie. After the very underrated Batti Gul Meter Chalu, was really looking forward to this Shahid outing.

He doesn’t disappoint on the acting bit at all but the story ? I had started Arjun Reddy for few minutes on Amazon and switched off immediately. So the crude, harsh, pithiful dialogues and screenplay come from there, as the captain is the same.

#ShahidKapoor lives #KabirSingh but let’s down his family fan following for sure. If this is the definition of love, being a stud, commitment etc., god help us.

The direction shouts out loud throughout the movie about liberalism, through various dialogues, scenes against traditional values but in the end like a coward chooses the easy way out and ensures that the heroine remains an pregnant, married yet untouched by another male, a pativrata female for Kabir – who is the real father.

Had the director shown the reunion with someone else’s baby, that perhaps would have been a silver lining on this dark love story.

Game Over was a concept movie (slasher) which made no claims about any value system but this one does diss our value system and may be true on certain points but the manner in which it is depicted is pathetic.

What was more scary was the manner in which, in a multiplex, youngsters were cheering on certain scenes.

You may not want your daughter to see this movie in a late night show.

 

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.

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.

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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