Category Archives: Films

Chennai Express – Is A Full Paisa Wasool Journey

chennai express shwetha

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

All set to board the Chennai express?!? Vaango…ukkarango (read: please come…please sit)!!! Is the journey worth the ride?!? Read on.

Full credits to SRK and the moviemakers to have the name of the female lead displayed over the male counterpart! This drew loud raptures from the crowd and what a way to start the two and half hour odd train journey.

Back again as Rahul (naam toh suna hoga), a planned trip to Goa changes track to Rameshwaram, as he comes across Meenamma, who boards the Chennai Express in typical DDLJ style. As the train chugs along, there are definitely some funny gags which have you in splits. A la Rohit Shetty’s ishtyle, the movie serves comedy and action in equal dosages – flying cars and bikes and colorful sets, for a change, we got to see some action involving steel buckets too!

The movie does have its share of rough patches. Deepika’s twang was lousy, despite being a southern belle. Her Hindi was fluent in certain places, while in most of the other scenes, her dialogues were laced with the southern accent. How’s that even possible?!? Gal, you ought to have gone in for a dub-artist. SRK keeps referring to the power of the common man in the movie. Now, how many common men wear or for that matter can afford a Dolce & Gabbana vest today?

A major portion of the film had Tamil dialogues – for a moment, I was confused if I was watching a Hindi movie or a Tamil flick. The female lead, aptly nicknamed Ms. Subtitle serves as an interpreter whenever the need arises. As much as the important bits were translated, it’s obvious that some portions were lost!

SRK’s screen presence is mind blowing and has you begging for more. He tickles the funny bone, makes you shed a tear and packs in quite a punch in the action scenes. Deepika Paduone was a complete stunner and surrenders to her character completely (albeit her southern accent). The veteran southern star Sathyaraj leaves a desired effect but his role was down played that had me a tad disappointed. The villain Niketan Dheer looked menacing and fit into his role perfectly (but even the villain couldn’t speak good Tamil!). Rohit Shetty travels the full mile to deliver an action packed comedy with all the tried and tested ingredients of the genre he is known for.

Chennai Express is a typical family entertainer – full paisa vasool journey!!

Chennai Express: Finally an SRK film with a story

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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!

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.

sholay_friendship

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.

rang de friends

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.

three idiots

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

D-Day-Poster3

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.

Review: The Wolverine: The Best We Saw Wolverine on Screen

wolverine-8-(1)

By Ankush Kumar

The Trailer and the Movie are worlds apart. This movie feels like a wolverine movie. Do some of the characters come off as cheesy? Yes. Viper is hard to take seriously. But… does the movie deliver?

Its pretty gory for a movie trying to sell toys. It really sets Wolverine up to be almost a zombie. In a sense that if he has his healing factor, you better get creative on how to kill the Mofo. Because it aint going to be easy. We see wolverine dealing with a lot more than he has ever had to deal with in this movie. Losing his healing factor is just one of the many things. PTWS is another.

Jean plays a great role in showing us that Logan is dealing with suicidal thoughts after killing his lover and seeing his professor explode. I guess they actually try to get you to see his personality. Which is hard to do, because at Wolverines truest, he is an IMMORTAL GYPSY.

There is a scene in the beginning of the film that deals with a grizzly… it really makes an effort to get you to understand Logan’s character.

Now… what fans will complain about. Never suits up. Silver Samurai is a Mecha and totally butchered the origin. Some fight scenes are cut short while some drama character developing scenes seem to drag on (which is one of my favorite parts about this movie). And the movie just does not feel like a superhero flick. It feels like a superhero drama, which is something I will not fret about.

Darren Aronofsky was suppose to direct this originally.. I am not sure if he had any influence on the script but… I could see him directing this movie. It was dark, and violent, there was blood on claws! (Never thought I would be excited about that).

So… this was the best Wolverine we will get on screen for a while. Hugh was pushing for this kind of a movie, he has wanted an almost R rated Wolverine forever; it was his push for Darren Aronofsky to direct it. I have to give Hugh credit for knowing that the fans think Wolverine is a violent, Clint Eastwood type of wander and trying to figure out to be that on screen and still sell toys to kids for Fox’s greedy execs. I think if that is the goal… the team nailed it. 

Rating: 3.5/5

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

Jeene-Laga-Hoon-Ramaiya-Vastavaiya

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. 

Romi and Gang: Book Review

romi and gang

By Kartik Kannan

To paint an image, this is basically a ‘Swami and Friends’, for the kids who grew up playing Gully cricket in the 90’s. While ‘Swami and Friends’ and ‘Romi and Gang’ are different from the generations that they picturise, the quality and simplicity in writing is similar. The book is a refreshing read into the daily lives of Romi, Sulkhi, Golu and Sunny, whose lives are based around the 3 pillars of cricket, school and their tryst with the maidan. The story re-connected me with my childhood, and brought back memories of gully cricket. As an Indian, most of make that transition from child hood to Adult hood, by spending more time with our studies, gradually leaving the memories of gully cricket a distant and fading dream. This book has taken me back in time to re-affirm the importance gully cricket once had in the list of ‘priorities’

The first chapter draws the connect to its audience, like Tendulkar took to opening the batting in his first game. The image of a helmet(albeit a scooter helmet), 4 stumps, bat and gloves lying unused, as the 4 of them were busy searching for the lost ball in the bushes, replaying the trajectory of the shot to locate the ball. During my growing up years, I remember searching for a lost ball in the bushes , usually with a lot more gusto, so as to make hay (read as getting a few overs to bat), while the sun shone( make use of whatever little light was there).

Adding flavor to the description are the real world connects to ODI cricket played in the 90s’. Whether its the 1992 World Cup labels, the Bumper Sportstar issues, the posters adorning the walls or the parallels drawn between Romi’s innings of 47 and Sachin’s 47 ( In the 1995 New Zealand Cricket Centenary tournament). The innocence of the conversations makes you nostalgic of the simple 90’s, when ‘priorities’ had still not swamped you. I basically rediscovered that lump-in-the-throat feeling, that was last felt when India chose to turn up on Friday’s at Sharjah to lose to Pakistan in the 90’s.

The backdrop of the school, adds more memories, whether its the PT room’s active inventory, or a scooter (I imagined a Bajaj) within the school premises of a teacher which we eyed with mischief, or conversations with a topper girl, whose parent taught at the school.

I am not going to talk more about the suspense or the climax, but I’d recommend this for a beautiful Saturday read, so that by Saturday night you are hunting all your childhood friends on Facebook to re kindle the emotions of childhood so beautifully captured by Tushar in ‘Romi and Gang’.

PS: While we don’t require to any more handle clumsy antenna’s on the terrace to get any free feed/signal from Prime Sports any more, I’d give anything for the sheer fun of what we did growing up in the 90’s, to be associated with cricket(even if it means looking like Sachin in Ambrose’s pads) I am going next month to my native city, to catch a glimpse of whatever’s left of the little maidan that we once used to play cricket in. Thanks Tushar for rekindling the memories.

Some More PS: You can purchase the book here in its print avatar, or buy the kindle version here