Sunday, 26 January 2014

Film Review - Jai Ho

It's All Jai Ho Hum
Film: Jai Ho
Cast: Salman Khan, Daisy Shah, Tabu
Directed by: Sohail Khan
Duration: 2 hrs 25 mins
Rating: * 1 /2

For fans of Salman Khan, it doesn’t matter if the review accords the film one or five stars, bhai’s films are critic proof. But for all those who care about cinema and sanity, get this straight – this is the worst Salman film in years (yes that includes Veer and Main aurr Mrs. Khanna) simple because the film maker (in this case his brother Sohail Khan) takes the audience for granted and dishes out a film that looks older than an Egyptian mummy on just about every count. Officially, the film is a remake of Chiranjeevi’s Stalin (2006) which in turn was inspired by Kevin Spacey’s Pay it Forward (2000)

If you must know the story, the superstar plays the latest flavor of the season, a common man. This common man has extremely uncommon powers though; he can beat up goons dime by the dozen without even so much getting a scratch. Maybe that Revital thing that he endorses, works after all. You’ve seen people kick start a scooter but bhai can even start an ambulance with a kick.

He is a good Samaritan helping people, including an amputee (Genelia Deshmukh) who needs help to write her college exams (the actress is only 27 years old and her character is that of a ‘bright’ student). When he was in the army, he also saved a bunch of children from terrorists and for not obeying orders he was dismissed.

For the life in me I can’t figure why and what was Tabu doing in the film. She plays the common man’s sister and when some good try to put a hand on her izzat he beats them to pulp.

Among other skills, he can also scare his opponents by roaring like a tiger, after all,  Ek tha you know what. Since a heroine is necessary for some song and dance routine, we have Daisy Shah to fulfill that quotient and since it is a Salman Khan film, actors need acting skills like a fish needs a Harley Davidson. 

The ‘humor’ comes mostly from jokes about the heroines pink underwear and other oddities include a kidney that gets damaged when a woman gets run over by vehicle and needs replacement (all other parts of the anatomy remain intact). But then who cares of logic or common sense.

There are plenty of actors here to remind you that they are still around – Mohnish Behl, Aditya Pancholi, Ashmit Patel, Mahesh Thakur, Mahesh Manjrekar, Nauheed Cyrusi, Tulip Joshi, Vatsal Seth and even good old Danny Denzongpa. If that is not enough, Suniel Shetty also pops up on an army tank. Enough endured.

Oh just one more thing, Salman also takes off his shirt and you could go to Mars and come back by the time the last fight can get over.

With such a hackneyed plot and antiquated plot there is nothing much you can do except grin and bear it in your seat. Technically, the films of the 80’s were much superior and as far as the music goes, it is pretty much like kids banging pots and pans.

The film exhorts the values of helping other people but it is repeated till the cows come home. Here’s my humble way of helping others- avoid this film and save your money. And please spread the word. 

Published in The Navhind Times on 26th Jan 2014

Film Review - Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom

The Long and Winding Road

Film: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Cast: Idris Elba, Naomi Harris
Directed by: Justin Chadwick
Duration: 2 hrs 21 mins
Rating: * * *

Based on the autobiography by Nelson Mandela, director Justin Chadwick chronicles the life of one of the most revered personalities of all time. The film was shown at festivals (including the International Film Festival of India) just before Madiba passed away. Incidentally, it was Shekhar Kapoor who was supposed to make this film, years ago.

The chronicles Mandela’s  life are fairly we known, especially the fact that he was jailed for almost 27 years and went on to become the first black President of South Africa and was also instrumental in ending apartheid in South Africa.

His story is no doubt a very powerful one but how does the film fare? Well, it offers a mixed bag. Bio-pics are always tough to do there is always the question of how much to show and how much to leave out. One of the best, if not the best biopic of all time is Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi which was over 3 hours but yet it is one of those films you can watch over and over again.

Idris Elba plays Nelson Mandela and it begins with his roots and as a young man how he did his best to help his people as a lawyer. His first marriage was on the rocks especially after he got involved with Winnie (Naomi Harris) whom he married later. Mandela’s tryst with the ANC and his subsequent imprisonment in Robben Island are all depicted here.

While the middle portions meander, the grip is again firm towards the end when he is about to be released from prison to become the President. Mandela would have perhaps become a more taut motion picture if it was trimmed a little bit. There are quite a few unnecessary flashbacks and certainly no one would have missed much if they had omitted showing him put a hand up Winnie's skirt. The editing is lax as there is too much information in some instances here while other bits seem rushed.

The production values are of high standards considering they have recreated the settings that span over a few decades. Of the cast, Idris Elba and puts up a splendid performance and steals the show. Naomi Harris as Winnie Mandela is apt.

All said and seen, Mandela is watchable because of the powerful story rather than the depiction of the story.

Published in The Navhind Times on 26th Jan 2014

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Film Review - American Hustle

The Con Job

Film: American Hustle
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper
Directed by: David O Russell
Duration: 2 hrs 28 mins
Rating: * * * 1 / 2

The release of American Hustle coincides with the Oscar nominations that were announced earlier this week and this film directed by David O Russell manage to garner ten nominations including four in the acting department. The film has already won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical.

Winning a lot of accolades can be a double edged sword for a film. It gets publicity but then it also raises expectations.

Director David O Russell has always been making interesting films, from Three Kings to The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. Inspired by the real life Abscam where several senators were arrested on corruption charges, this time he takes you back to circa 1978. An almost unrecognizable Christian Bale plays Irving Rosenfeld, a talker who is as smooth as they get. He has a well to do dry-cleaning business but ambition and his hustling talents get the better of him when he meets Sydney (Amy Adams) who makes his perfect partner in business. If the wolf on Wall Street made money by selling penny stocks, this hustler promises people a loan and takes a commission in advance which he gets to keep even if the loan never materializes. Sydney pretends to be a Brit with banking connections and uses the alias, Lady Edith Greensley.

Irving meanwhile has a wife (Jennifer Lawrence) who is bored at home and she also has a son, whom Irving treats as his own. The FBI led by Richie (Bradley Cooper) clamps down on his business and arrests him and Sydney but they also make an offer to help them nab other offenders. After careful consideration and with no other choice, they decide to join hands with the Feds.

With their conning skills, they are expected to help the officials catch some big fish and when the net is cast, the catch is indeed a big one. But not before a few complex situations arise for Irving on the personal and professional front.

While the pacing of the film is leisurely, it is with the characters that Russell keeps you involved in the proceedings. You sympathize with all of them especially Irving who wants to eat his cake and have it too. Robert De Niro plays a cameo and a terrific one as the big boss of the mob.  Jeremy Renner plays the mayor of the town who gets caught in the cross fire. 

The soundtrack is effective using retro songs from Donna Summer (I feel love), Elton John (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) to Duke Ellington and Paul McCartney (Live and let die).

The cast has given a remarkable performance. The ladies Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence are among the most sought after actresses in Hollywood and for a good reason. Bale adds yet another feather to his hat, from the lean and mean brother in The Fighter to this paunchy character, the physical transformation and the portrayal is amazing.

American Hustle may not a classic as the awards and nominations suggest but it is still an entertaining enterprise.

(Published in The Navhind Times on 19th Jan 2014)


Film Review - Miss Lovely

Melancholic Ecstasy

Film: Miss Lovely
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddique, Anil George, Niharika Singh
Directed by: Ashim Ahluwalia
Duration: 1 hr 53 mins
Rating: *  *  *

Long before DVD’s, internet, streaming and torrents came on the scene, people used to throng the theatres to watch soft porn flicks. The trend still continues in many cities but the scale has reduced drastically. 

Director Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely is a tribute to those seedy B and C grade films that were made and screened in shady theatres. It premiered at Cannes in 2012 and after a considerably long wait, it has finally hit in the screens here.

Whether you watched those B grade films or not is a different story but surely everyone who was around during that period must be aware of them that stood out for their titles as well – Pyaasi Nigahen, Khooni Panja, Woh Bhayanak Raat. There were also films which had a ‘story’ and ‘plot’ but suddenly an X rated scene was inserted out of the blue, which had no connection with the film, pretty much like many a present day item number songs.

Set in the late 80’s, 1988 to be precise, the main protagonist here is Sonu Duggal (Nawazuddin Siddique), his elder brother Vicky (Anil George) is a film maker of soft core porn. Sonu is very much his partner but some what reluctantly. The films mostly have horror and sleaze and duo arrange for the ‘actors’, the shoot and then hand it over to distributors.  

Sonu usually follows his brother’s orders and does all the errands but he wants get out of this business and to do something different, a romantic film perhaps. Vicky meanwhile is having an affair with an actress who gets bitten by the jealousy bug when he sets his eyes on a newcomer, Nadia. 

Sonu meanwhile falls truly madly and deeply in love with Pinky (Niharika Singh) who is trying to establish her acting career. He wants to make romantic film with her titled Miss Lovely and even gets himself in a spot of bother to fulfill that ambition.  But it all falls apart after the police crackdown on this ‘industry’ arresting anyone associated with it.

The film strikes a chord with the mood that it sets. K.U. Mohanan’s cinematography brilliantly captures the sleaze and the underbelly of Mumbai. Where words are not enough, the visuals also try to tell a story. It falters at times especially when very little happens in the fast half and then moves to fast forward mode towards the end. 

Beyond the film business there is also the story of the man who is trying to break free of the rut. But no matter how hard he tries, he can’t break free. 

Anil George may not be a well known name but as the Sonu’s elder brother he makes the cut. Nawazuddin Siddique has already carved a niche for himself and here, he has added so much more to his character than perhaps what the screenplay suggested.

For those who like discerning cinema, Miss Lovely beckons you to the theatre. 

(Published in The Navhind Times on  19th Jan 2014)

Film Review - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Present and Clear Danger

Film: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Cast: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley , Kevin Costner
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Duration: 1 hr 45 mins
Rating: * * *

The character created by Tom Clancy has appeared in five films before this, the last time was in The Sum of All Fears (2002). Much like Clancy’s novels, the films have also been decent entertainers and in the latest venture Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Kenneth Branagh, who has come a long way since his Shakespeare days, dons the hat of the director. 

Incidentally, Shadow Recruit is not adapted from any Clancy novel, unlike the previous films. 

Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan who is severely injured during a mission in Afghanistan. A mysterious CIA agent (Kevin Costner) is impressed by his rehabilitation hand picks him and sends him back to college to complete his Ph.D  only to be recruited as an undercover agent working on Wall Street, years later. 

His job is to track suspicious financial deals which might lead to terrorist groups. It doesn’t take long for him to find one, the source seems to be in Russia where most of the action takes place.   

The Russian tycoon (Branagh himself) has a few scores to settle with the Americans and he plans to cripple them with a financial tsunami. The scene shifts back to the U.S. where expectedly, Jack Ryan saves the day with his heroics.  Keira Knightley plays his fiancée who also finds her self in the thick of the action. 

While it is not an edge of the seat thriller, for most parts it keeps you interested. The plot is predictable and there are no surprises in store here. 

On the whole, it is a watchable action thriller. 

(Published in The Navhind Times on  19th Jan 2014)

Film Review - Carrie

Telekinetic Energy
Film: Carrie
Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
Duration: 1 hr 30 mins
Rating: * *

Based on the novel by Stephen King (his first to be published), Carrie was made into a film in 1976 by Brian De Palma and quite admirably. Since this is virtually is a scene to scene remake of the original, it raises the question, what was the need for this film?  

While Kings novel had elements of horror, it was also meant to be a reflection on the society. There is an attempt to revive that factor but it is not entirely successful.

Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz of Kick Ass and Hugo fame) is a teenage girl who lives under the shadow of her religiously fanatic mother. As a result she is shy and an introvert in school with hardly any friends. When she gets home, all her mother is interested is in praying and cleansing. 

Carrie is mocked by the girls in school when she starts menstruating; the video of her humiliation is also posted online. Soon, she discovers that she has telekinetic powers, of controlling, moving and throwing objects.

The climax occurs during the most import aspect of American schools. No, it has nothing to do with studies or exams. It is the prom night. Carrie goes berserk unleashing her fury on everyone.

The adaptation doesn’t add any more value to Palma’s effort. It of course has a bigger budget and slick but beyond the gloss, there is nothing much. The stand the film takes is also not clear, while for most you are sympathetic with Carrie because she is always bullied, the ending fritters it all.

Chloe Grace Moretz excels in the lead role which was played by Sissy Spacek in the original. The best part of Carrie still remains the telekinesis prank they played as a promotion of this film (you’ll find it online).

 If you haven’t seen Palma film, you can sit through this one but just about. 

(Published in The Navhind Times on  19th Jan 2014)

Film Review - The Legend of Hercules

Sleepy Hollow
Film: The Legend of Hercules

Cast: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss

Directed by: Renny Harlin

Duration:  1 hr 39 mins

Rating: *

The Legend of Hercules aka How-not-to-blow-up-70-million-dollars is the most spectacularly dull film made in recent times. Directed by Renny Harlin (Die hard II, Cliffhanger) the film is morose, poorly acted and has absolutely nothing new to offer.  

It chronicles the birth of Alcides after his mother had a not so casual visit from Zeus. Years later, Alcides becomes a brave young man who romances Hebe, the girl also attracts his brother Iphicles’ attention. Alcides also fights with a lion and slays him, that scene in fact reminded me of the action in Chota Bheem on television.

His brother is jealous of him as his father (Amphitryon not Zeus) sends him to fight a war and you need not be bothered with the rest. Neither the action nor the narrative holds any interest, it is all a case of been there seen that.  

There is another Hercules film in the offing this year (The Thracian Wars) but hopefully the worse in behind us. The Legend of Hercules is one of those films where if you sleep through for most parts, you won’t miss much. The good thing is, it offers considerable hope to insomniacs. 

(Published in The Navhind Times on  19th Jan 2014)

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Film Review - Dedh Ishqiya

Sight For Sore Eyes

Film: Dedh Ishqiya (with English Subtitles)
Cast: Nasseruddin Shah, Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi, Huma Qureshi
Directed by: Abhishek Chaubey
Duration: 2 hrs 32 mins
Rating: *  *  *  *

Once in a blue moon you get a film that is delightful, has a good story, excellent dialogues, is very well acted and also very witty - in other words, it has the X factor. During times when, forget the sequel, even the first part of most films is unbearable, Director Abhishek Chaubey who delighted us with Ishqiya (2010) doesn’t disappoint. The surprise element may be missing but be that as it may, Dedh Ishqiya is more than just one and half times better than most of the weekly stuff dished out every Friday.

The devil as they say, lies in the detail and since a lot of attention is paid to it here, it is this element that will enamor you. It has been a while since we saw some chaste Urdu (or Hindustani as it is known in cinema) on the big screen. Darab Farooqui, Vishal Bhardwaj and Abhishek Chaubey have done a marvelous job as far the writing is concerned - the dialogues are seamless, not a single line looks out of place.

Last time around, the lingo was Bhopali but this time, we are in Uttar Pradesh, where Khalujaan (Nasseruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) are back to their antics. After stealing a necklace they part ways only to meet again in Mahmoodabad in Awadh at one of those crumbling mansions where poetry sessions are still the in thing. The host is Begum Paro (Madhuri Dixit) a widow who is looking for a suitor. Her woman Friday is Muniya (Huma Qureshi) who is also in the thick of things and Vijay Raaz plays a politician who is first in the queue to become the Nawab of Mahmoodabad. In one of the many hilarious scenes, he kidnaps a poet curiously called Noor Mohammed Italvi, whose mummy is Italian and father is an Indian.

Love, heartbreak, deception, double crossing – its all there to make up for the second half which includes a shoot out filmed at a fairly deserted railway station, with Begum Akhtar’s Wo jo hum mein tum mein karaar tha playing the background. 

And who would have thought that someday we would hear Begum Akhtar (Hamriatariya pe aao is also brilliantly used) and Yo Yo Honey Singh in the same film!  

There are some hilarious scenes like the all night stand off between the two warring sides and some funny lines like the one where a U.P. don (Salman Shahid) says “Batman ka naam suna hain? Agar Joker mar gaya to saala Batman kya karega? Ghar baith ke aataa goondega?”  There are evocative scenes as well where the Begum calls Khalu by his name (Ifthekar) and he replies by saying that his first name never sounded so good.

The writers have also pushed the envelope as far as portraying the relationship between the two prime characters is concerned.  

For those interested in poetry, there is a lot to appreciate here, especially the many verses of Dr. Basheer Badr (Yahaan libaas ki keemat hai aadmi ki nahi / mujhe gilass bada de sharaab kam de)

Nasseruddin Shah in the costume and the character, reminds you of another role that he essayed, Mirza Ghalib. Needless to say, his performance is solid. After last weeks disastrous Mr.Joe B.Carvalho, it is such a relief to see Arshad Warsi do a role where he can truly showcase his talent. Vijay Raaz as the desperate lover is perfect for a few laughs. Like their counterparts, the ladies also have delivered what is expected. Madhuri Dixit’s as the dignified widow is apt and a feisty Huma Qureshi shows that she is a powerhouse when it comes to talent.

Dedh Ishqiya is sight for sore eyes. Go for it.

Published in The Navhind Times on 12th Jan 2014

Film Review - Yaariyan

The Worst Students Of The Year           

Film: Yaariyan
Cast: Himansh Kohli, Serah Singh, Rakul Preet Singh
Directed by: Divya Khosla Kumar
Duration: 2 hrs 5 mins
Rating: *

If you ask a seven year old kid to tell a story they will surely come up something better than Yaariyan. This film is an insult to anyone who has something that even remotely resembles intelligence. Meant to be a Gen Next story it is so silly that it makes you laugh, unintentionally. 

Debutante director Divya Khosla Kumar tries to do a student of the year, in this case with a tinge of patriotism because these bunch of kids have to beat the Australians at rock music, rock climbing, bike racing, chess and other assorted tom foolery.

So there is this school in Sikkim wear the girls wear clothes that would make the Baywatch girls look over dressed. Himansh Kohli plays Lakshya who is desperate to kiss a girl. Defying all the laws of physics, he even once saves a pussy cat on top of a building and that impresses the Principal Jim Martin (Gulshan Grover) a lot.

When the school is in trouble because of an Australian tycoon, the principal summons his best students to compete with the Aussies. There is a brainy girl Saloni (Rakul Preet Singh), “Uski memory computer se bhi zyaada tez hain” says the principal. So this bunch of guys and girls go to Australia to participate and they even sing a song that starts during day time and ends at night. No wonder everyone looked exasperated. But they don’t win a prize because it’s a Hindi song and hence it cannot be rock.

The story is regressive, silly and just about everything in the film looks fake, including the acting. The only one I felt sorry for was Deepti Naval. Surely, she deserves better than this. And so do we.

Published in The Navhind Times on 12th Jan 2014

Film Review - Grudge Match

Old But Not Gold

Film: Grudge Match
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kim Bassinger
Directed by: Peter Segal
Duration: 1 hr 52mins
Rating: * *

Recently we saw Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger come together in Escape Plan but the movie turned out to be so-so. Now the prospect of two actors like Stallone and De Niro together in one film that too with a boxing story (Rocky vs Raging Bull) is also exciting but unfortunately it doesn’t go beyond that hoopla.

 The basic outline of two aging rival boxers coming out of retirement has some promise as far as the story is concerned but the screenplay is very ordinary and has too many clichés.

Stallone plays a retired boxer named Razor (whatever happened to normal names? ) and his one time rival was The Kid (De Niro). They won one match a piece during their previous encounters and now Razor is in need of money so he is coaxed by a promoter to have a deciding match even though both the boxers are no longer a part of the sport. 

Kim Basinger plays Razor’s love interested who cheated on him by having an affair with his rival so there is emotional drama in it as well but it doesn’t hold any value.The story appears very artificial with no depth to speak of. The point about family bonding is a drag and even the boxing match doesn’t hold much interest.

The only reason you might want to watch the film is because of the two lead actors. And if you do, make sure you stay till the end credits roll, the best part of the film, a cameo, is during the credits.

 Published in The Navhind Times on 12th Jan 2014

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Film Review - Wolf of Wall Street


Money For Nothing 

Film: The Wolf of Wall Street
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Duration: 2 hrs 54 mins
Rating: *  *  *  *

Based on a book by Jordan Belfort (inspired by his own true story) The Wolf of Wall Street, to begin with, proves that director Martin Scorsese is on the top of his game. A film of this caliber had to be made by someone special and Scorsese has delivered the knockout punch.

It also has a superb screenplay by television writer Terence Winter and even though the film clocks three hours (six minutes have been chopped off by the censors), they are the breeziest three hours you’ve encountered at the cinemas in a while. This is one helluva trip.  

Jordan (Leonardo DiCaprio) was just an ordinary guy till he got a break on Wall street as a dealer. Soon he branched off and started on his own and with a motley crue, it didn’t take him long to climb the ladder. Their modus operandi was simple – sell penny stocks to unsuspecting clients and make money. Soon he had so much that didn’t know what to do with it.

Apart from the love of money, there were other serious vices as well – drugs and women. In the form of tablets or powder Jordan was addicted to it and he also left his first wife and married a pretty woman (Margot Robbie). The chickens had to come to roost and greed may be good, but not for long as finally, the long arm of the law catches up with him.

Reflecting the high that Jordan has all the time, the pace of the film is relentless and every scene exudes so much energy. Scorsese has also laced it with humor which is not necessarily meant to be funny-you may let out a chuckle but the irony of the situation at times goes beyond the obvious humor. And that’s where Scorsese might also be trying to make a point about the perils of a fast life. He also doesn’t pass any judgment on the characters - it is all there for the audience to see.  

We don’t really know how much of Jordan’s claims are true and about the accuracy of what has been depicted. But that aside, what we do know is that Scorsese has made a film that will stay with you for a long time and you wouldn’t mind watching it again to admire his art.

Margot Robbie (who was also noticed in About Time recently) as the trophy wife not only looks pretty but acts with confidence. Jonah Hill as Jordan’s partner is aptly cast and the other supporting actors like Jean Dujardin and Matthew McConaughey make their presence felt. The film is also a triumph for Leonardo DiCaprio who has given an outstanding performance. Surely he is in the race for the Oscars with this film, not that it matters a lot.

The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the best films in recent times, don’t miss it.  

Published in The Navhind Times on 5th Jan 2014

Film Review- Sholay 3D

Still The Greatest Story Ever Told

Film: Sholay (3D)
Cast: Seriously, you don’t know?
Directed by: Ramesh Sippy
Duration: 3 hrs 20 mins

The greatest story ever told is back on the big screen, this time in 3D. Over the years, reams have been written, hours have been spend discussing and dissecting Sholay which is not just a film, it is a part of our pop culture. The characters have become a part of folk lore and the dialogues are still so popular that you can virtually have a communication with someone using only the immortal lines penned by Salim-Javed.

The question to ask anyone is not if you have seen Sholay but how many times?

For those who have missed out watching it on the big screen, here is an opportunity of a life time. And the good news is that the 3D version is pretty neatly done, it may not add a great deal of value but it doesn’t take away anything either. Besides, there is nothing on earth can add any more value to Sholay.

This 3D release is the same as the original censored version with the ending that we all know of. Most film lovers are aware that Sholay was originally shot in 35mm and then blown to 70mm for theatres that were compatible for that format and there weren’t too many in those days. This version also fits the screen (like 70mm) and hence everything appears ‘closer’ in tight frames.

The background score has also been reworked with modern technology although I would have been perfectly happy to hear it in the original format. Some of the sound effects have been enhanced take for instance Gabbar Singh’s entry scene, the sound of his boots is almost scary.

Has the film dated over the years? Not at all. Maybe a couple of scenes like Jaya Bhaduri’s flashback for instance could be trimmed but otherwise the whole 204 minutes of it is still a treasured gem. Right from the opening bars of R.D Burman’s memorable theme music to the end, this is one heck of trip. The fight sequence on the train is still one of the best ever and even with all the CGI, none of the contemporary films can match that.

Basanti in kutto ke samne mat nachna, tere kya hoga kaliya, tumhara naam kya hain basanti, Loha hi lohe ko kat ta hain, yeh haat mujhe de de thakur, Bahut yaraana lagta hai, Kitne aadmi they?, Hum angrezon ke zamaane ke jailor hain, Arre O Saambha,  Itna Sannata kyo hai bhai? There is perhaps no other film in the universe which has lines that are so popular like the ones mentioned above.

So ahead, make you day. Again.   

Published in The Navhind Times on 5th Jan 2014

Film Review - Timepass

Straight From The Heart

Film: Timepass (Marathi)
Cast: Prathamesh Parab, Ketaki Mategaonkar, Vaibhav Mangale
Directed by: Ravi Jadhav
Duration: 2 hrs 20 mins
Rating: * * *

Director Ravi Jadhav scored at the box office with Balak Palak and his latest venture Timepass is more than just what the title suggests. It offers some solid entertainment and also makes some valid points about the society.

If the Nagraj Manjule’s brilliant Fandry was about the caste divide, Timepass delves on class but with a slightly lesser intensity. There is also common link between Sujay Dakahe’s Shaala, Fandry and this film – they all have an adolescent love story around which everything else revolves.

Dagadu (Prathamesh Parab who also acted in Jadhav’s Balak Palak) is a young guy who has failed repeatedly in Std. X. His father who drives and auto rickshaw to make ends meet, kicks him out of the house and Dagadu becomes a newspaper delivery boy. One day he sees Prajakta (Ketaki Mategaonkar, playing a similar role to the one in Shaala) and instantly falls in love.

Now Dagadu is not the ‘smartest’ guy around, he is more like what is conventionally referred to as a tapori. But he is a sincere and earnest boy who wears his heart on his sleeve and that’s the reason the girl falls for him. Her background couldn’t be more contrasting though – her father (Vaibhav Mangale) is a disciplinarian who wants to raise his daughter with ‘traditional values’. Interestingly though, in a conversation with the rickshaw driver, he mentions that doesn’t believe in the class divide but is more concerned because the boy whom his daughter loves is uneducated and coarse in the way he speaks.  

For most parts, the film will have you in splits and that is primarily because of Dagadu’s character and his lines, which are some what similar to Munnabhai’s lingo. It is only in the last lap that the film looks a bit stretched and labors a bit.

Technically, the film is quite polished and the songs are well shot and integrated in the story. Prathamesh Parab deserves an A for his acting and has a terrific sense of comic timing. Ketaki Mategaonkar has been there done that but it has to be done again and she fares well.

Timepass offers some wholesome entertainment and is eminently worth a watch.

Published in The Navhind Times on 5th Jan 2014 


Film Review -The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Just Do It

Film: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Duration: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: * * 1 /2

Based on the short story of the same name by James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the second feature film, the first was made 1947. Incidentally, both films are made by Samuel Goldwyn productions.

This is a modern day adaptation that has its moments, but on the whole the film is a bit too ‘bookish’ – you can almost feel turning the pages as the story progresses. Ben Stiller who has directed the film (after the enjoyable Tropic Thunder) plays the lead role of Walter Mitty who is a negative assets manager at the Life magazine. Since the film is set in 2011 (there is a reference to the volcano in Greenland which erupted couple of years ago) I can only assume that the photographer referred to in the film still used film role and didn’t go digital.

So Mr. Mitty is an introvert who works hard and does his job well. Till he discovers that a particular negative sent by the top photographer Sean (Sean Penn) is missing. In order to trace the same, Mitty has to get in touch with Sean who is globe trotting without a phone or email. Using clues from the other negatives, Mitty embarks on a journey that takes him to Greenland, Iceland and then to the Himalayas all in search of that one picture.

The larger message here about being adventurous in life and living it king size becomes apparent in the second half, especially after the numerous conversations that he has with the representative of a dating website.

Kristen Wiig plays his romantic interest and it is always good to see the lovely Shirley Maclaine who plays Mitty’s mom. It takes a while to figure out the direction in which the film is going. But once that is clear, there aren’t too many surprises left. So all you have to do is enjoy the gorgeous landscapes because there is precious little otherwise as far as the story is concerned, which takes it self a bit too seriously. 

Published in The Navhind Times on 5th Jan 2014