Category Archives: Movie Review

Movie Review: Shuddh Desi Romance: A Crackling Storyline

Shuddh Desi Romance

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor.

Introduction: ‘Kamine hai re’ This desi romance is no way shuddh but is a crackling film all the way.

Plot: Raghu (Sushant) is a guide, about to get married when he develops cold feet. Enter Gayatri (Parineeti) and they fall in love. Fall out of it, fall in it again. Vaani is the damsel in distress who loses out eventually. Set in Jaipur this movie catches the essence of youth and their confused minds.

Tech Spec: The pink city has turned blue for this one, yet is captured very well. The minutest detailing by Jaideep Sahni is very intriguing in the screenplay. The music has a feel good factor to it and enhances the plot in totality.

Acting: Vaani makes an impressive debut and essays her role with ease, Sushant Singh portrays the role of a rustic guide with elan, but its Parineeti that steals the show. She is vivacious and will leave the audience spellbound with her performance. Rishi Kapoor: Do we say more?

Citizen Kane moments: Many of them but the stand out ones are a jalebi vendor scratching his back with a spoon, or the scene where Sushant cheats neighbors two be the cousin of Parineeti or the scene when they fall in love.

Kela moments: The final clash between Vani & Parineeti is a huge let down.

Brownie points 4 out of 5.

Yashraj stable has reversed the trend. Watch it for the new order that has been established.

Zanjeer Review: Not Cult But Not Bad Either

zanjeer

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt, Ram Charan & Prakash Raj.

Introduction: The original Zanjeer was not a cult classic yet was a good movie. Its remake is no different.

Premise: An angry cop and his angst against the system. A revenge saga that is brutal yet very fresh and convincing.

Plot: Same as the Bachchan original.

Acting: Ram Charan makes an impressive debut, he was never going to be compared with the legend, but still if comparisons are drawn he has performed no less. Priyanka is in to do very little. Mahie Gill & Prakash Raj have done a splendid job. Watch the two when they spoof Bindu & Ajit from the original. It is hilarious.

Tech Spec: The script is very well crafted, retaining the essence of the original and meshing it with modern day drama can get very confusing, but the writers have got this one spot on. The action of the movie is very well choreographed. Apoorva Lakhia holds the film together very nicely. He has smartly created an intelligent masala potboiler.

Kela Moments: None to be honest.

Citizen Kane moment: The scene of Mahie Gill & Prakash Raj spoofing Ajit & Bindu, the opening scene where Ram Charan bashes up a goon on the streets with Chiranjeevi’s poster in the background. The one-liners which are used judiciously and generate laughter.

Brownie Points: 3.5/5.

Ram Charan stands out as the men amongst the boys!!!!

Movie Review: Satyagraha – It’s Just Okay!

By Shankar Venkatraman

13aug_Satyagraha-MusicReview

Satyagraha – reminder of the “Lokpal” Andolan!!! Some good insights in “what could have transpired behind the scenes of Anna Hazare hunger strike”, great use of technology with focus on Social Media Marketing, minimal ‘gyaanbaazi’ though Jha had the platform to rake in ‘n’ number of issues and the brilliance of Bachchan…

Corruption, politics and revolution huh…a poignant and helpless B speaks the angst in the climax “where is the nation headed as there is no one to hear us out…”True indeed as ‘aam junta‘ continues to suffer for there is nobody to listen to them. It is better to forget the civic lessons we’ve had on the freedom and rights fundas!!! The movie takes a dig on almost all aspects – youth to take up a cause with the advent of technology, the games played by the political parties, conscientious citizens who sacrifice their “current” in lieu of a “future” which looks still bleak. A moralistic media (for a change) who speaks on the “need for a change” without unscroupulous means…the tirade against justice continues.

The movie has come at a time when the country is perhaps undergoing the worst economic and social turmoil ever. There has been a complete breakdown of every possible fabric that binds the nation together. The movie limits itself to a small town while addressing that “this is the state of affairs” across the nation. But how far can a common man go to make life better is still unclear! We pay all our taxes right?

Income tax with onions and oil prices going up…30% of our earnings and efforts…are donated to the national and state exchequers for these goons to keep looting us in every plausible way!!!

Road tax with no proper roads…an aam junta is so burdened with his own troubles…where has he got time for such idealist movements??

Devgan is in his usual space (as always in a Prakash Jha movie), Rampal gets wasted, Kareena is poise personified and Amrita is just about okay…Manoj is cheesy and awesome. BiG B-wallah re wallah…check out his eyes, his gait, his downburst…too much!

Go watch it and if possible grab a copy of “Main Azaad Hun” movie – nothing has changed in the last 25 years though.

Movie Review: Satyagraha: Poor Story Except In Bits

satyagraha_poster

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, & Manoj Bajpayee.

Introduction: The message is loud and clear. And Satyagraha adds no new aspect to the revolution.

Premise: Only if you are news blind, you will miss the fact that this one is based on the Arvind Kejriwal & Anna Hazare movement.

Plot: Dwarka Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) is a school teacher who lives by the Gandhian principles, Maanav Raghvendra (Ajay Devgn) is a NRI business magnet. At the core it’s the story of these two individuals. How a shrewd businessman becomes a nationalist and then becomes part of the revolution.

Acting: Amitabh Bachchan is brilliant as he underplays his character, the portions where he really breaks down with citizen kanesque acts he is let down by his editors, Ajay Devgn disappoints this time though, the punch is missing in his dialogue delivery. Kareena Kapoor looks less of a journalist and more like an add on. The whistles might be heard but Manoj Bajpayee character is becoming caricaturish now. Arjun Rampal has a miniscule role but his heart is worn on his sleeves.

Technical Insight: The script disappoints, Anjum Rajabali can learn a thing or two with changing times, you will feel like re reading the newspapers all over again with very little entertainment value, editing is hopelessly bad, scenes of highest emotions has been killed by lazy edits. Cinematography though is brilliant especially the revolution bit. The music is a sore bore except for Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram. Prakash Jha, maybe out of commercial compulsions gives in, sir atleast once give us a Damul again.

Kela moments: Many actually. The songs weren’t needed. And how on earth Kareena Kapoor is the only journalist covering the agitation?

Citizen Kane moments: Amitabh Bachchan consoling his widowed daughter in law Amrita Rao, the scene where Mr. Bachchan breaks down when he returns to the scene of his son’s death and Mr. Bachchan scene where he tells Devgn he will miss him when he is gone.

Brownie Points: 2.5/5.

5 Reasons Why Chennai Express is Houseful Despite Pathetic Film-making Compartments

chennai express shwetha

Google Chennai Express and you will find pathetic review headlines like the one pasted above for the film. If Box Office is to be believed all these reviews have gone for a toss. The film is set to breach 200 crores and is almost certain to beat 3 idiots for the record. Just goes on to show all that hype we create around only good movies irrespective of the stars working is just hype, nothing else. Anyways, here are five reasons we thought Chennai Express is houseful despite a pathetic storyline and script.

1.     Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone: You might bomb me here saying the last two films of SRK has bombed big time so I am wrong in putting this as my first point. Wait, let me bring forth my thought. I mean how many times have you seen Shahrukh Khan doing a comedy with someone like Deepika Padukone and failing. Does anyone think that Om Shanti Om had a plot. The film though still was massively successful, wasn’t it. Same reason.

2.     An audience that is masses: So you thought someone reads the reviews and then watches films. You are right but you are absolutely wrong with the numbers of such folks. They can be counted on your fingers and on most occassions even they do not agree to reviews unless they see themselves. Plus movies like this do a world of good outside metros, especially in Hindi speaking states and this one of course even in Tamil Nadu. Go and see the kind of whistles Lungi song would have got in the hinterlands of UP as well as in Chennai.

3.    The entertainment quotient: For the majority of the audiences, filmmaking doesn’t matter the most as long as it entertains them for the time being. Chennai Express may not have the great content in terms of a script but it does have those elements to entertain and that not many can debate. One of our authors who to us is the most prudent film person also liked the fact that you could keep brain outside and watch this flick. Frankly, in a daily life that is too bugged with serious issues the maximum that is needed is a good time-pass two and a half hours. He says Chennai Express comes well on that point.

4.     Marketing: How can we forget marketing in today’s filmmaking business. Especially in an SRK film who personally if you take my opinion knows the best ways to use pr and media coverage in his advantage. The way he toured promoting the flick even at time when he was unless spoke volumes about the kind of extent the filmmakers where going to create an impact. The film had to do well after this, the only surprise was the doing as good as it has done till now.

5.     Let’s not forget the fans: These one brought together a huge chunk of fans considering at stake where three big stars, SRK, DP and not to forget the blockbuster as I call him, Rohit Shetty. The fan power spoke of itself when no one spoke of them and showed the reviewers their real value. SRK’s fans again re-instated him at the top and he would be definitely cherishing this after a couple of duds in the last couple of years.

Let’s cast no doubt over the fact that Rohit Shetty’s films are meant for fun and nothing else. It was upto the audiences to make up their mind and watch the film which they did in huge numbers. We have the option to keep our intellectual eyeglasses on or simply go as someone with whistling skills; good and bad films come later.

Movie Review: Jobs: A Complex Man, A Complex Story

jobs movie review

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, and Josh Gad.

Introduction: Steve Jobs was a complex man as long as he lived, the film is no different.

Premise: JOBS is a competent retelling of Steve’s life till he took control of Apple Inc. in the nineties.

Plot: The film opens in 2001 at the launch of the iPod. And then traces the journey of the greatest innovator from his formative years in college to his wayward actions to his making of Apple. Likewise an apple product the movie keeps moving to one big aspect one after another.

Technical Insight: The background score in the opening scene, through its speakers is one of the best to be heard in recent times. The make up of Ashton Kutcher is a very believable Steve Jobs. The editing disappoints as the director tries to squeeze in too much of everything in one movie.

Acting: Ashton Kutcher plays the role near perfectly, the star in him is not visible as he plays Steve Jobs just well, the supporting cast is good but the man who takes home the honors is Josh Gad who slips into the role of Steve Wozniak beautifully.

Kela moment: The direction overall. Too much has been squeezed in.

Citizen Kane moment: The opening sequence.

Brownie points: 2.5 out of 5.

Madras Cafe Review: Dark, Deep And Exemplary Storytelling

madras cafe

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, and Raashi Khanna.

Introduction: Coffee apart, this one filters bullshit as well and presents an engaging political thriller; get off the train baby and head right into ‘Madras Cafe’.

Premise: This is a story about a hero who fails to save the Prime minister. It’s built around the incidents leading upto the assassination of the Prime minister.

Plot: ‘Madras Cafe’ is a dark, deep and exemplary film about the politics of separatism. If you have a penchant for history and know a little about the LTTE struggle, the connect will be instant. For the naive, it still is an engaging entertainer. Even though no names are taken its quite obvious that the story is about Prabhakaran, LTTE and the killing of Rajiv Gandhi.

Technical Insight: The cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi captures the right tones throughout, the music is unconventional but has a double play value, the editing and sound designs is the stand out aspect of the film. But what puts a cherry on the top is the direction of Shoojit Sircar.

Acting: John Abraham plays a RAW agent, and for a change looks and behaves like one. Nargis Fakhri essays the role of a war correspondent and does it brilliantly. Raashi Khanna is promising but the stand out one is is Prakash Belawade as John associate who takes home the honors.

Kela moment: Jaya speaking in English and Vikram answering in Hindi.

Citizen Kane moment: The climax of the movie.

Brownie points: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara – Review

By Ankush Kumar

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One of the reasons why the sales of ‘Pass pass’ slumped at its launch was the movie Yaadein. Never in the history of entertainment a movie as lame as that was made, but the makers of painkillers had a smile everytime the movie was screened at any theatre in India. Once upon a time in Mumbai dobara is no different.

Premise: An extremely unique story of two friends falling for the same girl.

Plot: Well! They Lost it!

Acting: Over the top, caricaturish & Lousy.

Citizen Kane moment: A few scenes like Akshay Kumar’s bank sequence or the tayab Ali song and possibly the background music.

Kela moments: Sans the above three the entire movie.

Technical Aspect: As usual brilliant by bollywood standards, gaudy by our western counterparts.

Take home: Acting by Pitobash and Sonali Bendre.

Leave Behind: The dialogues, Rajat Arora tries too hard this time. The plot if there was any, acting a huge let down by the main cast and a disappointing result to a brilliant first part.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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

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!