f Bollywood Scandal: Movie Review
Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts

26 February 2016


Aligarh
Director: Hansal Mehta
Actors: Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao
Rating: ****

Of all communities discriminated against, it’s easy to sense through this film, and otherwise as well, how homosexuals perhaps get it the worst.
Even in cases challenging the Indian law criminalizing homosexuality itself, several people possibly don’t come out, as it were, to accept they’re homosexuals to begin with.
This is natural. The victims fear further persecution—from the law much later, but from their own family and friends first. The same strange paradox applies to rape survivors I suppose.
It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to live such alie—far more than a letter away from life. Professor Siras, the lead character in this movie, makes a rare exception.
manoj-rajkummar-aligarh
He accepts his sexual orientation in public. The case he is fighting is personal. He is up against his university. That moment where he says yes, like the rest of the movie, is so beautifully downplayed that if I didn’t draw your attention, you may not even realise its significance.
This sort of simplicity won’t surprise you either, if you’ve been following this gently under-stated and frail professor thus far—a man past 60, drooping shoulders, creased forehead; wearing a thick grey stubble, and a tie equally thickly knotted over the V-neck of his sweater…
While Siras is pretty much fighting for his life, he’s inward enough to be more at ease listening to Lata over Royal Stag whiskies at home. The professor is also a poet. He is an introverted, lonely man, perhaps aware that the world is what it is. It equates love to shame, and reduces an “uncontrollable urge” to a three-letter word g-a-y.
You get instantly drawn to this guy and therefore this film. Sure, the issue it addresses is urgent (homophobia, section 377, right to privacy, etc. etc.). But there is something very deeply unaesthetic about mere activism posing as art. It rarely works. This film does. Because of its very personal, painfully heart-felt writing (Apurva Asrani), first.
manoj-bajpayee
The director (Hansal Mehta) steers clear of hyperbole. There is quietness in the air. Nobody talks at you, or just tries to drive home a point. Except maybe in the courtroom sequence that seems to have been designed to make conversations directly with the audience rather than between litigants and the judge.
Manoj Bajpayee plays the vulnerable Professor Siras, looking so effortlessly cocooned from the madness that surrounds him. From distant memory, I could recall Tom Hanks from Philadelphia (1993). But hey, Bajpayee has himself been around for nearly two decades in films. He knows how to hold a moment, rather than only express an emotion.
If anything, this film proves yet again that he is such an under-rated actor still, mainly done in by the decade that followed the memorable Satya (1998), where he wholly immortalised a Marathi goon.
Bajpayee is a prof who teaches Marathi in this picture. Four fellow professors barge into his apartment. They salaciously watch and thereafter broadcast a clip that was secretly filmed by a shady television crew of the professor making love to a man in his house. Siras is suspended. A rookie reporter (Rajkumar Rao) tries to get access to him.
This is a true story. It happened in 2010. Unlike, say last year’s The Imitation Game, on Prof Alan Turing, that was set in 1950. The setting is, well, Aligarh. Or rather the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), referred to as the Aligarh University, captured almost as it is.
Now I haven’t been to that campus. And would very much love to. I’m told a famous guest speaker at AMU once encouraged students and teachers to dig up the soil there. He said a place that had so many conservative fanatics must have oil underneath!
Of course that’s a joke. Surely this isn’t only about AMU. Most Indian universities aren’t universities in the true sense. And maybe hatred and bigotry is intrinsic to the human gene, whether you choose to get yourself educated or not. But aren’t laws made to protect us from these very prejudices?
Section 377 continues to operate in India, despite popular wisdom and mainstream voices against it. Any law that criminalises love (of any kind) only legalizes hatred. Lawmakers could have saved someone like Prof Siras. We elect them to. They must watch this simple but such a significant film. As must you.

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20 February 2016

Review: 'Fitoor' - Don't have great expectations from this bland adaptation

Cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Katrina Kaif, Tabu, Ajay Devgn, Aditi Rao Hydari and Rahul Bhat

Director: Abhishek Kapoor

Rating: **

To begin with, the title "Fitoor" is such a misnomer. There is nothing maddening or crazy in the film that is worth screaming about!

With themes of wealth and poverty, love and rejection, Abhishek Kapoor's "Fitoor" based on Charles Dickens's novel, "Great Expectations", is set in Kashmir.

It is the love story of an orphan, Noor Nizami (Aditya Roy Kapur) who lives with his married sister and caring brother-in-law.

The narration begins with Noor coming face-to-face with a terrorist Mirza Beg (Ajay Devgn), on his way home one night. The terrorist scares him into getting food for him and offering him a safe hideout for the wintry night.

Days later, Noor, who accompanies his brother-in-law on an assignment to the rich heiress Begum Hazrat's (Tabu) house, happens to spot Firdaus (Katrina Kaif), her daughter. Smitten by her good looks and charm, love happens at first sight for Noor.

But Firdaus is cold and does not reciprocate his feelings. Encouraged by Begum Hazrat, Noor pursues his love only to realise that love is elusive.


While every actor is enthusiastic about their individual part, they lack the passion and this shows in their performance, which is very poised and theatrical.

Moreover, Katrina Kaif and Aditya Roy Kapur's onscreen chemistry, though deliberate, seems uninspiring. Tabu as the eccentric Begum Hazrat offers nothing new or extraordinary to her character.

Ajay Devgn in a special appearance as Mirza Beg is wasted and Aditi Rao Hydari as the young Begum with her voice dubbed by Tabu only rattles the viewer.

The young Noor steals your heart with his simplicity, innocence and endearing looks.

This Victorian Era story is narrated at a leisurely pace, perhaps in keeping with that period. But that does not work for the viewer. The first half is painfully slow and drags, making you restless. The second half gathers momentum with the Begum's back-story and the second act of the main plot, but still does not rivet you to the screen.

The script written by director Abhishek Kapoor along with Supratik Sen, though close to the source material, lacks depth in characterisation, especially that of Mirza Beg. And, thereby the tale loses its plot and emotional quotient, which is so apparent in Dickens's novel.


Furthermore, the film lacks dramatic twists and surprise elements that could have kept the audience intrigued. The only time you get jolted out of your seats is during the unexpected, well-synchronised action sequence that takes place in the first half. And, thereafter you keep pining for more such action, but alas! Nothing happens.

The Urdu infused Hindi dialogues like, "Main aur meri alishaan mohabbat" which means, me and my magnificent love, are poetry to the ears, but these are few and far between. What mars the listening experience is the heavy anglicised accent, of Katrina Kaif.

With wide angled shots or the tight close-ups, be it the white, snow-covered terrain or during the golden hued autumn, cinematographer Anay Goswamy's frames pack the ornate imagery of Kashmir and Delhi to picture perfection. They are a treat for the eyes and definitely one of the few highlights of the film.

Hitesh Sonik's background score has some nice delicate pieces that elevate the viewing experience, but the soundtrack by Ankit Trivedi does nothing to propel the narration. Even "Pashmina" sounds lacklustre on screen.
Overall, "Fitoor" does not live up to the great expectations you have from the film.

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11 February 2016

Review: 'Sanam Teri Kasam' - Intense and emotional

Cast: Harshwardhan Rane, Mawra Hocane, Murli Sharma and Vijay Raaz

Directors: Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru

Rating: **1/2

'Sanam Teri Kasam' is an intense love story of two diametrically opposite people; Saraswathy Parthsarthy aka Saru (Mawra Hocane), a Tamilian Brahmin and her wealthy neighbour Inder (Harshwardhan Rane). While Saru is a bespectacled plain Jane, who works in a library, Inder is a cynical rebel who lives life in the fast lane.

Leading a sheltered life, under the aegis of her strict disciplinarian father, her marriage is the biggest bone of contention in her family as she is always rejected owing to her dowdy appearance and staid personality. One day, in her desperate attempt to transform herself, Saru inadvertently changes her destiny.

With a well-written screenplay and powerful performances by the debutant duo in Bollywood, the film tugs at your emotional chords and makes you empathise with Saru and her plight. Their love story is credible and their onscreen chemistry is strong and tangible.


The dialogues befitting the characters who mouth them, are not the regular cliches in a love story and offer depth to the narration.

Harshvardhan Rane as Inder, delivers a controlled and poised performance, giving vent to his angst, love, frustrations and sorrow with restraint. He lights up the screen with his strong and well-chiselled physique and emotes superbly through his eyes. He is equally at ease as the silent lover, as he is in an emotional outburst.

Mawra Hocane, the Pakistani VJ, model and actor, is a delight to watch as Saru. She slips into the demure character with ease and her get-up certainly adds to her persona. She is confident and her innocence is endearing. You are one with her in her unrequited love, as also in her hour of grief.


Manish Choudhari as Saru's stern father essays his role competently and brings alive the character of the Tamil Brahmin authoritarian patriarch on screen. Murli Sharma as the policeman who is a sucker for love stories performs well too. Anurag Sinha as Abhimanyu Shastry, Saru's colleague and crush, offers a sincere portrayal.

The powerful background score is apt and uplifts the tenor of the scenes. The music by Himesh Reshammiya is soulful and one of the highlights of the film. The songs are penned well and bring out the mood of the film, especially "Haal-e-dil" and "Bewajaah". The only unwarranted song is perhaps the one picturised on Vijay Raaz.

With brilliant production values, "Sanam Teri Kasam" manages to draw you into the lives of Saru and Inder and moistens your eyes too.

Perhaps it is the last fifteen minutes of the film, which drags a bit and given the few cinematic liberties that the directors have taken, becomes a little mawkish. Else, theirs is a love story that will touch your heart without a doubt.


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Review: 'Ghayal Once Again' - High-octane action, drama
Cast: Sunny Deol, Soha Ali Khan, Om Puri and Tisca Chopra

Director: Sunny Deol

Rating: **1/2
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30 January 2016

Review: 'Saala Khadoos' - Madhavan is a champ in this one
Cast: R. Madhavan, Zakir Hussain, Ritika Singh, Mumtaz Sorcar and Nassar

Director: Sudha Kongara

Rating: **1/2

"Saala Khadoos" is an inspirational sports drama, based on some true incidents. The film revolves around the theme of exalting women to join and shine as sports stars.

Adi Tomar (R. Madhavan), an embittered boxing coach, whose boxing career is ruined owing to a devious plan executed by his then coach, Dev Khatri (Zakir Hussain), has lost all hope, till he spots a poor local girl Madhi (Ritika Singh) in Chennai who sells fish but is keen on boxing. He then trains her to represent India.

Through the lives of Madhi and her sister Laxmi aka Lux (Mumtaz Sorcar), the film highlights issues like politics in sports, girls being discouraged to take up sports by their families and the fact that girls too are equally talented and can become champions.

R. Madhavan essays the title role playing Adi Tomar, the disgruntled boxing coach full of angst against the system, to perfection. His frustration, bohemian lifestyle, passion for boxing and even the determination to make Madhi a champion boxer, are real. With his dishevelled appearance and boxer-like physique, he looks every inch the part that he plays and emotes with equal fervour.


Ritika Singh as Madhi, is the star of the film, not merely because she is the protagonist, but because she puts her heart and soul into her character. Whether it is fighting with grit in the boxing ring, dancing on the streets with gay abandon, being awe-inspired by her mentor, giving vent to her anger, or her disappointment and agony upon losing a match and letting down her 'Master', she slips into her role with convivial ease and portrays the gamut of emotions with spontaneity and restraint, as the scene demands, delivering an electrifying performance.

Mumtaz Sorcar, as Lux, Madhi's elder sister, ambitious, but not talented enough, who is blatantly envious of Madhi, is equally a delight to watch as an actor in an honest portrayal.

Zakir Hussain as the quintessential corrupt and slimy National Women's head coach, indulging in politicking too, is impressive and does justice to his character, making one sufficiently abhor his unethical ways.

Nassar as the junior coach in Chennai, who takes pride in his students and is supportive of Madhi, renders a fine performance.

The rest of the supporting cast although with limited screen time leave an impact.


A simple story, well-told, in a linear narrative, with well-etched characters and right amount of drama, "Saala Khadoos", is brutally honest. Sudha Kongara's writing and direction is praiseworthy, as she has dealt astutely with the subject with no major deviation.

The screenplay is extremely measured, well-presented and captures the essence of the subject and the relationship between Madhi and her mentor aptly.

With minimal sound design and constrained camera movement, the film offers a realistic feel.

The music is nothing to write home about by way of melody, yet the powerful lyrics by Swanand Kirkire, depict the emotions of the characters in that context flawlessly.
With a thumbs up to woman power, coupled with a strong subject and good performances, "Saala Khadoos" is bound to strike a chord with a cross section of viewers, irrespective of being sports lovers.

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25 January 2016

Review: 'Airlift' - A salute to an unsung hero

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Nimrat Kaur, Purab Kohli and Inaam-ul-Haq

Director: Raja Krishna Menon

Rating: ***1/2

"Airlift" is a human saga set in the backdrop of war-ravaged Kuwait in August 1990, when Saddam Hussein attacks and takes over Kuwait, rendering several thousand Indians homeless.

How an otherwise shrewd and prosperous businessman named Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar) rises to the occasion and selflessly leads the rescue operations to evacuate 1,70,000 Indians, forms the crux of this over two-hour long film.

Akshay Kumar as Ranjit Katyal, the unsung hero, is sincere and portrays the character credibly. He is a self-absorbed businessman living in the lap of luxury one minute and a distraught family man the next. With equal ease, he brings out the frustration and fears of a helpless Indian in Kuwait trying to help his fellow countrymen.

Nimrat Kaur as his wife Amrita fails to leave an impact as she seems disconnected with her character and merely delivers her lines.


The ensemble actors, with limited screen time, manage to leave an impact: Purab Kohli as Ibrahim Durani is natural and convincing; Inaam-ul-haq as the greedy and opportunist Major Khalaf Bin Zayed of Baghdad with a quirky Middle East accent wows with his performance; Prakash Belawadi as George Kutty is every inch the disciplined but selfish old man in the Indian camp in Kuwait; and Kumud Mishra as Sanjeev Kohli, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, touches your heart with an honest performance of an Indian who answers the call of duty.

The film starts off on a sluggish note, with a fairly slow pace and minimal drama, but picks up post intermission and more than makes up for the dull first half with drama, action, emotion thrown in for good measure.

The graph of the story is flat and lacks the peaks and troughs of a thriller. Furthermore, owing to the predictability of the subject, there is no element of surprise for the viewer. It is only the performances and the human pathos that keeps the viewer going.


Priya Seth's cinematography of the war scenes and destruction is praiseworthy, as she recreates the anguish and fears of the stranded Indians, right before your eyes, enabling you to relive those moments.

Raja Krishna Menon astutely wields the baton as a director, handling the powerful subject in its entirety with honesty and manages to evoke a feeling of pride in the minds of the audience.

He recreates the vulnerability of Indians and their indefatigable spirit with aplomb along with displaying a spectrum of human emotions in the hour of crisis.

The music in the film is perfunctory. The song, "Mera nachan nu", conveys the emotion, yet seems a tad forced as it is picturised at an inopportune moment.
With minor flaws that can be overlooked, "Airlift" is a well made film that would definitely appeal to patriotic Indians.

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11 May 2015

Movie Review: 'Piku' - When it's all about E-'Motions', Flawless film with Stellar performances!

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan, Jishu Sengupta, Moushumi Chatterjee

Director: Shoojit Sircar

Rating: ***1/2
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2 October 2014

Movie Review: `Bang Bang`- Ends with a Whimper!


Cast:Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Danny Denzongpa, Jaaved Jaffrey, Pawan Malhotra, Jimmy Shergill, Kanwaljit Singh, Deepti Naval

Director:Siddharth Anand

Rating:**
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23 September 2014

Movie Review: `Finding Fanny` is quirky and `HATKE`, but not for the masses


Cast: Deepika Padukone, Dimple Kapadia, Arjun Kapoor, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah

Direction: Homi Adajania

Rating 3.5 Stars 
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Movie Review: `Khoobsurat` - A fairytale which is a laughter whizzbang!


Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Ratna Pathak, Kirron Kher

Director: Shashanka Ghosh

Music director: Sneha Khanwalkar, Badshah and Amal Malik

Rating: ***
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Movie Review: Daawat-E-Ishq is not a very palatable appetizer


Cast:Parineeti Chopra, Aditya Roy Kapur, Anupam Kher

Director:Habib Faisal
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9 September 2014


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1 September 2014

 Movie Review: `Raja Natwarlal` is an engrossing con-saga


Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Humaima Malick, Paresh Rawal, Kay Kay Menon, Deepak Tijori

Direction: Kunal Deshmukh

Rating:**1/2 stars
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23 August 2014

Movie Review: `The Giver` - disappointing, one dimensional tale

Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift and Emma Tremblay;

Director: Philip Noyce;

Rating: **1/2
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Movie Review: `Singham Returns` - An ordinary cop saga strictly for action junkies
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Amol Gupte, Dayanand Shetty, Anupam Kher, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Zakir Hussain

Direction: Rohit Shetty

Rating: **1/2 stars 
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Movie Review: `The Expendables 3` high on action, low on performance

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Jason Statham, Kellan Lutz, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell and Victor Ortiz;

Director: Patrick Hughes;

Rating: *1/2
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Movie Review: It`s time for `Singham` and `Dabangg` to make way for `Mardaani`
Cast: Rani Mukerji, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Sanjay Taneja, Jisshu Sengupta, Anil George, Mona Ambegaonkar

Director: Pradeep Sarkar

Rating: ***
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17 July 2014

Movie Review: `The Fault In Our Stars`- No fault with this poignant tale


Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek, Mike Birbiglia;
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Movie Review: `Dawn of the Planet of the Apes` superbly crafted, engaging

Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Jon Eyez, Enrique Murciano, Keir O'Donnell, Kevin Rankin, Jocko Sims;

Director: Matt Reeves;

Rating: *** and 1/2
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