Category Archives: Bollywood

Chennai Express: Finally An SRK Film With A Story

chennai_express

By Ankush Kumar

The last interview I read on Shahrukh Khan, he said two things. One ‘ Deepika Padukone is the soul of Chennai express’. Two ‘ he wants to be remembered as an actor who constantly tried’.

Chennai express is an example true to his latter statement. The man has definitely tried. SRK has always been your boy next-door actor, whenever he has tried hardcore action, the Baadshah has looked stupid. But here in this journey he has balanced the genres of romance and action perfectly well.

Add to this the comic elements Rohit Shetty style and ‘you would want to get on this train baby’! His former statement that ‘Deepika is the soul of the film’ also holds true. She plays a South Indian girl whose dad is a don and gets the accent and mannerisms spot on.

Rahul played by SRK gets on a train and witnesses the death of a ticket checker, hence Deepika escorts him to her house till matters calm down, and how Rahul escapes the clutches of the goons forms the crux of this Southern sojourn.

The cameraman has captured picturesque Kerala beautifully. The editing of the movie though is a huge let down. The first half of the movie is crisp until Deepika and SRK escape from her home. Post interval though the film drags on endlessly. 

Every time a Rohit Shetty film is filled with amazing car related action sequences; this is no difference except for the fact that Ajay Devgn possibly looks better doing those stunts. As long as SRK plays the quintessential lover boy Chennai express is a joyride, but beyond that the movie falters!

The saving grace though is that the movie atleast has a story, and for a change the item numbers have the fun element than the vulgarity.

I am going with 2.5/5 stars with this movie; die-hard SRK fans relish the character of Rahul yet again. Till then Eid Mubarak!

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5 All-Time Favourite Bollywood Friendships

No matter whether they are off-screen or what type of their relationships they share in real life, but these on-screen friendship stories have been a hot favorite amongst the viewers. Kushal Sakunia brings to you your favourite friendship jodis.

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1. Sholay – Amitabh & Dharmendra (1975)

The first film that comes to mind when we think friendship is of course Sholay. The title role of Jay and Viru excellently played by Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra respectively would etch into your hearts permanently post viewing this classic film and the song “Yeh Dosti”.

Dosti

2. Dosti – Sudhir Kumar & Sushil Kumar (1964)

Another classic from the golden period of Indian cinema that will touch your emotional chord is ‘Dosti’. Starring Sudhir Kumar and Sushil Kumar, the film is the story of two friends who help each other out even in the face of extreme hardship.

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3. Rang De Basanti – Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, Kunal Kapoor, Madhavan, Soha Ali Khan (2006)

Fresh faces and an inimitable storyline including friendship, war against corruption and political distress made Rang De Basanti an apt film for the times. It had an incredible story about friendship which the youth of today can relate to. RDB is a must watch this weekend with your friends.

DIL-CHAHTA-HAI-friendship-movie

4. Dil Chahta Hai – Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna (2001)

The only film that revolves completely around friends and friendship is Dil Chahta Hai. The three lead characters are the epitomes of true friends, but circumstances drift them apart and the film essentially tries to establish that whatever complicated situations come in one’s life, it’s absolutely impossible to break the bond of a true friendship.

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5. 3 Idiots – Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi & Madhavan (2009)

The story of 3 Idiots is a entertaining journey of three friends who try to explore themselves and share them unforgettable experiences.  It dealt with the education system in India and the bond between three engineering students in a premier institution of engineering. It also showed how if one followed his dreams, fame and family and friends will never leave his or her side.

D-Day Movie Review: Story, Performances Awesome

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The movie goes beyond the plain logistics of the ugly world of espionage to try and put a human face to the people who lose everything and gain nothing in their line of work, says Jaideep Ghosh

The movie’s momentum is built up right from the first sequence, as a catchy version of ‘Damadam Mast Kalandar’ sets the pace which is sustained remarkably throughout the plot by director Nikhil Advani. The tempo has its ups and downs in terms of speed but doesn’t lose the momentum of intensity at any time.

Wali (Irrfan Khan), Rudra (Arjun Rampal), Zoya (Huma Qureshi) and their local outlaw-turned-agent Aslam (Aakash Dahiya) are ordered by the RAW boss in India, Ashwini Rao (Nasser), to bring back to India the most wanted terrorist, Iqbal (Rishi Kapoor).

Within that framework, Advani has been able to push through the human tragedy that espionage can be. Wali’s wife and son are used as a handle by the ISI to try and snatch Iqbal back, tearing the spy between country and family. Zoya’s marriage falls victim to her work while Rudra’s love is a death sentence for a Pakistani prostitute (played brilliantly by Shruti Haasan).

It’s a movie about how human tragedy can even work as a catalyst for people to go so far beyond the realms of realism in an effort to achieve something. Also, it shows how these people, operating in the shadows, are no one’s children (RAW frantically tries to disown them when the plan threatens to fall through).

Rampal is sculpted to near-perfection, but Advani decided not to load him with excess histrionics, which worked fine. Huma is good and Irrfan, who has set a high benchmark, does sometimes threaten to look like the same guy we saw in other movies. Rishi Kapoor is at his cynical best while Haasan and Shriswara, as Wali’s wife Nafisa, have really done extremely well.

The music, if you have the patience to appreciate a good score, will keep you spellbound, especially if you can appreciate the mix of music and picturisation.

Rift – A Short Story

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By Ganesh Subramanian

The bell rang loud and clear. It signalled the end of the final semester exams. All the students heaved a sigh of relief. Vikranth rushed madly towards the college bus- Route No.6 which takes him to his house. Finding his favourite seat, he dumped his bag and slumped by the window seat, closing his eyes for a moment allowing his brain cells to relax which seemed to have worked overtime cramming up equations and formulae. There was a tap on his shoulder. Vikranth opened up his eyes to see Nidhi standing next to him. She sat beside him and asked, “How did it go?” Vikranth sighed and said, “Hoping to clear it. Surely not going to top the subject though”. Both of them laughed.

“You know what”, Nidhi continued, “Actually feel bad that we are gonna miss all this fun of college life”.

“Yeah. In a way.” replied Vikranth. “But equally excited looking forward to the corporate life”.

The next 45 mins of the bus journey passed in a jiffy with Vikranth and Nidhi reminiscing about the 4 years that they had spent in engineering. When Nidhi’s stop came, she waved good bye to her best friend Vikranth and promised to call him up soon.

Weeks passed. Vikranth and Nidhi are computer engineering students from a newly opened engineering college in the city. Vikranth and Nidhi opted for this college despite the college being a new one and despite the fact that the college may struggle to find campus placements for its students, simply because they could be at home during their graduation. So barring a few students who were willing to accept jobs in mediocre BPOs that visited the campus for placements, the college placement department couldn’t do much. As a result, students were left to seek their own avenues for jobs.

Nidhi called up Vikranth on one day. She seemed excited. “Hey Vikranth. I got placed in Czone solutions. Attended an aptitude test followed by an interview two weeks back. Looks like I did well. Got the offer letter from them today. I have to join in a month’s time from now.” replied Nidhi.

“Hey Congrats. So now this news calls for a treat. Isn’t it?” said Vikranth.

“Surely it does. But only after I get my first salary” Nidhi teased him.

“Hey that’s unfair. I need it soon. I can’t wait for two months till you get your salary” reasoned Vikranth.

“Ok. Ok. I will treat you soon” laughed Nidhi. “How’s your job search coming along?”

“In Czone, my application number is in 10000s. Not sure if and when will they call me. Other prospects not looking that promising at the moment” replied Vikranth.

“Don’t lose hope. It’s only a matter of time before you land on a new job”, Nidhi tried to pacify him. “Ok. I have to hang up now. Will catch up with you later. Bye”, said Nidhi

“Bye.”

Two months passed. Vikranth was still jobless. Nidhi didn’t call Vikranth even once in the interim. Vikranth was also increasingly getting frustrated by the fact that another one of his classmates – Nitin – has been visiting Nidhi’s house often on weekends to work out aptitude questions with Nidhi’s help for his job search.

Nidhi ignoring him was killing Vikranth. He told another of his best buddies – Dinesh – that he’s got a bone to pick with Nidhi. Dinesh advised him not to do anything stupid. But Vikranth was determined to set things straight.

He finally called Nidhi. “Hello Vikranth. Nice to hear from you. It’s been a long time. You’ve forgotten me or what?” laughed Nidhi.

“I should be asking you that question. Madam seems to be very busy these days”, said Vikranth in a no-nonsense tone.

“Lots of work, Vikranth. No time to breathe” reasoned Nidhi.

“Oh, I see, You don’t have time for me. But you have time for Nitin. Isn’t it?” remarked Vikranth sarcastically.

“Nothing like that, Vikranth. Why are you comparing you and Nitin? What’s wrong with you?” asked Nidhi.

“What’s wrong with me??? Everything’s wrong with you only. Not even one call in 2 months, but you have time for that egg-head Nitin” thundered Vikranth.

“Stop that Vikranth”, growled Nidhi.

“What do you think of yourselves? Just because you are in a job, you think you are a demi-god or something?” Vikranth screamed. His joblessness feeling was getting the better of him and his emotions came in a torrent.

“If you are going to speak like this, don’t call me hereafterwards” Nidhi remarked angrily.

“Fine. So be it” thundered Vikranth and slammed the phone down.

Two years passed. Vikranth and Nidhi didn’t speak even once after that incident. Ironically, Vikranth was also now working in the same company as Nidhi’s. Vikranth found Nidhi’s mail id through the people search option in his mail folder. He mailed her apparently in an effort to mend things. No reply even after 4 hours. Vikranth called Anisha, another collegemate of Vikranth and Nidhi and a common friend to both of them and she also worked in the same company in Nidhi’s team. Anisha spoke to Nidhi and informed him that Nidhi will be sending him a reply shortly.

Ping. Vikranth’s mailbox beeped with the sound of arrival of a new mail 20 minutes after Vikranth spoke with Anisha. Vikranth opened the mail from Nidhi. The reply was short. It said:

“I don’t know what to say. You apparently feel that what you have done is wrong. But we can’t be the same friends anymore. We can just be hi-bye friends” replied Nidhi.

Vikranth realised that a rift has formed between them. He acknowledged the fact that he and Nidhi can never be the same good old best friends once again. He shook his head and closed the email from Nidhi.

Review Ramaiya Vastavaiya: The Story Brings Back A Real Rom-Com

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So I heard a dime and dozen critical reviews of Ramaiya Vastavaiya. The critics left no stone unturned to tell us that the film is crap. Unfortunately we all know the story behind these reviews. So as a fan of motion cinema I never take these seriously. They are flawed mostly and are myopic. The same critics went gaga over porn and poor taste comedies like Delhi Belly and Masti ( a super semi-porn sequel is about to come). Just goes to show the quality that we have in town.

I went and saw Ramaiya Vastavaiya for myself and though I must admit the film has bits and pieces picked up from Maine Pyaar Kiya and Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kiya, still it kicks of the humour inside you and gives you a great watch of 2 hours and some odd minutes. The performances, especially from Girish Kumar, the male lead was fabulous and Shruti Hassan was as usual refreshing. The other cast that completed the film was ensemble including the likes of Poonam Dhillon, Randhir Kapoor and Sonu Sood and we all know their capabilities as actors. Keeping all this in mind here are two reasons why such films need to be made.

1. We live in an era where comedy is restrained to either semi-porn or poor taste. I gave a couple of examples above and both were monstrous hits. In times like these, a film like Ramaiya Vastavaiya is fabulous to watch with your parents. I know I call upon the wrath of the modern folks here who would call me backward but so be it.

2. Who do we make films for and who do these reviewers talk to while reviewing a film? Big questions these. Frankly, even though a huge chunk of revenues have started to come from multiplexes audiences, we all know films last longer than a week still at single screen theaters in small and medium sized towns. The film completely grasped these audiences mind and hats off to Prabhu Deva for this. He has produced a classic and if you want to test just go and watch the applause in a theater in Tatanagar when Girish wins in the end against his brother-in-law Sonu Sood or when comic scenes happen. Not that these audiences don’t get titilated easily with Masti and Jism but the moment you produce vegetarian comedy like this, you strengthen the life of your film in a theater and increase audience base too.

The review would be incomplete unless we speak of Prabhu Deva. The man chose the script perfectly. Ramaiya Vastavaiya is a remake of his own 2005 Telugu film, Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, which was a remake of the 1989 Salman Khan starrer, Maine Pyaar Kiya. Then he made sure we all loved the lead actor because if the battering and abuses that were hurled upon him. He completed the film with a lot of finesse and in a film with so much inspiration from everywhere else, a lesser mortal than Prabhu Deva would have surely failed. The way he makes sure everything in the film is made larger and than life is astounding. Colors used are awesome and the village landscape used is also brilliantly shot.

Overall a good watch with the family and I would go in with 3 out of 5 for this one. Frankly one more point for the director Prabhu Deva. 

Ship of Theseus: Movie Review: Story Sails Into The Hearts Of Film Lovers

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By Ankush Kumar

Once in a while comes a man who does not even try to be part of the crowd? There are many who believe they possess certain inherent qualities that will help them be part of the masses easily.

But individuals like Anand Gandhi choose to wait relentlessly for their time to come, and today it’s his day. The day ‘Ship of Theseus’ sails into the hearts of many film lovers. This movie instills pride in you for being part of a humble but subtle audience that craves for true cinema. It shakes up the inner core of your emotions and guides you into a spiritual journey. 

The story is set in Mumbai about three individuals and the impact on their lives after certain circumstances. The name of the movie comes from a Greek philosopher’s musing ‘ if a ship is changed plank by plank, log by log, will it be the same as it started out to be’? Anand Gandhi’s film goes through a similar pattern of fate.

The first story is of a photographer whose life changes after a cornea transplant,
the other one of a man who is against animal testing in India and third of a man who has just been donated a kidney. It’s a movie where the actors have put in their hearts and soul in bringing forth the dilemmas of their journey.

The cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is outstanding keeping in mind that most of it is done hand held. A special mention has to be of actor Neeraj Kabi who stands out amongst others. His performance will draw comparisons with Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.
Lets celebrate the courage of Anand Gandhi and his cinema.

Rating: 5/5

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Wrath! A Shagufta Rafique Meet-Up

Shagufta-Rafique

By Ankush Kumar

I had met her way back in 2008. I did not know much about her except that she was a writer. She had a film to her credit. She also penned lyrics for Vishesh films. On the outset she was very rude to me and she questioned the male society a lot during our entire conversation.

I couldn’t derive much from that meeting, but she did give me a few insights on the filmy career and the uneven path that I was going to encounter in the coming years. The only memory I still have is her face and those eyes that communicated a very different language. Today I read about her in the newspapers and the entire meeting flashed in front of my eyes.

Shagufta Rafique an established screenwriter with several hits like woh lamhe, Aashiqui-2 and murder-2 to her credit is a prolific individual. Someone who has seen so much in such little time, she had every right to question my motive behind meeting her. She was forced into flesh trade at the age of seventeen. She escaped the wrath of vultures and landed up working in dance bars of Mumbai.

On account of the fact that she had a face that even a blind man could not miss she graduated to dancing abroad in the gulf nations. Now I know that those eyes spoke an universal language of struggle and triumph, maybe hence she was harsh at me, she wanted me to fall and rise without any support.

I guess those eyes communicated just one message ‘ If I could do it, so can you. Don’t lose hope’. For every Jiah Khan’s who end their lives in tinsel town we have a Shagufta Rafique who has battled odds of humanity to make a living. She eventually met someone who got her out of the rut and helped her become a writer. And here she is one of the most sought after writers of mainstream Bollywood today. I salute you mam.

P S: This story needs to be told on the silver screen. It will be the best way to celebrate the courage of the lady.