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7/10
Inspirational family drama yet understated and escapist....
17 February 2018
Aamir Khan remains one of the genius considered in the Bollywood film industry with most of his films gaining a cult status. "Secret Superstar" shall join this league, but it isn't the one which shall gain him accolades for his role or performance. He makes his short but a jovial presence which gives a pounding effect to this understated drama, but often his over-acting gets in between.

"Secret Superstar" is the tale of a 15 year old girl aspiring to become a singer with his abusive father as the major hindrance between her dream. Along the way, the film emanates a genuine, inspiring tale suffused with brilliant acting from a non star cast including Zaira Wasim from "Dangal" or the 'Bajrangi Bhaijan" fame Meher Viz. Many sequences are emotional whereas there are witty moments to elicit smiles at moments. Overall, it's a heartfelt, inspirational, and emotional drama which shall make its audiences happy despite an understated or an escapist approach.

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4
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Kanoon (1960)
8/10
A taut classic......
3 February 2018
While most of the '60s movies are known for their songs, "Kanoon" is a film revered for its story. Devoid of any songs, it emanates a court room drama which keeps one to the edge of their seats. The beginning itself sets the mood raising an issue on the judicial system which under false evidences and witnesses sends the innocents to the gallows. The theme is exemplified by its jaw-dropping plot with a thrill to the last minute, often achieved in the Hitchcock thrillers. Just forget Mehmood's slapstick comedy, there is much of conviction delivered through the impeccable performances from Ashok Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, and Nana Palsikar, for which he was rewarded the Filmfare Awards for the Best Supporting Actor. Overall, "Kanoon" is a taut classic, which should be remembered for its story. Later, B.R Chopra came with "Ittefaq," but "Kanoon" still is a gem.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4
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Simran (2017)
6/10
A bubbly entertainer worthwhile for Kangana Ranaut's vivacious performance.....
30 January 2018
A divorced lady in her 30s loses all her money in Los Vegas' casino and burrows a huge sum of money from a gangster, which she loses too. To pay back, she starts to rob the banks as the notorious "The Lipstick Bandit." This summons a gullible plot of "Simran," said to be loosely based on a real life story; but nevertheless, it keeps one watching for the curiosity and entertainment it creates. Kangana Ranaut as a feisty single lady steals the show with the shades she gives to her character, and the glossy look of the film often does the wonder. Despite an ease and the implausibility the film carries, it surely is entertaining and worthwhile.

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4
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Sully (2016)
7/10
Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks come with a revered film on real life incident....
22 October 2017
"Sully" depicts the real life incident involving the ditching of US Airways Airbus A320 on Hudson River saving the lives of 155 passengers and crew which is considered one of the miraculous survivals responding to an efficient crew resource management. Anyone like me with a strong urge for aviation will heartily take this movie important which salutes the professionalism brought to the screen by the flight crew.

Clint Eastwood, one of the revered actors and directors of all time, does it again drifting from his usual genre of fictitious stories, to capture the prompt decision the cockpit crew take. The film is based on real statistics and investigation which avoids sentimentality or drama unlike Denzil Washington's "Flight" (a good thriller) which fictionalized the real life accident into a heroic survival game receiving Oscar accolades. In that case, the film remains subdued with yet an another revered performance as a controlled captain of Airbus A320 showing the patience, diligence, and dedication of a senior captain equally supported by Aaron Eckhart as the first officer. Don't worry if the film didn't sweep major Oscar nominations, it's a sincere film on a heroic deed worth watching.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4
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Mom (I) (2017)
7/10
An emotional family thriller.....
14 October 2017
"Mom" is a family thriller centered around a step mother who avenges the rapists freed from the court following the gang rape of her daughter. Besides, it includes her journey to come close to her estranged and traumatized daughter.

The story is emotional, nuanced which gets a mesmerizing touch through the beauty of its camera work and stupendous performances from Sri Devi (after English Vinglish), Akshaye Khanna, and Nawazuddin Siddhique. However, in between the film becomes sluggish and feels weary to see how manipulative and clichéd its revenge drama becomes. Despite its flaws, the film feels compelling to view for the emotional layer the film carries till its last minute alteration.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4
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Kaabil (2017)
6/10
Hrithik Roshan Back in Form....
1 May 2017
For quite a time Hrithik Roshan had been out of the screen, except a cold presence in "Mohenjodaro." But with "Kaabil," I think he is back with his revered performance he had delivered in "Koi Mil Gaya," "Krish," or "Jodha Akbar." In this film he has acted a man blind by birth. His jovial moods, tragedy struck grievance, vengeance all have a right touch. The first half with his lust for life with his wife and sporadic flashbacks are worth appraising. The second half appears tactful where a blind takes a revenge where he is two steps ahead the police or the villains. It tries to become intriguing but still I preferred the first half where it's spread with the wonders. The revenge sequences are I don't know a bit like "Appu Raja" and the villains aren't pretty novel ideas and have a jaded looks of "Dabanng" or "Boss." Overall, Hrithik Roshan makes "Kaabil" worth your time and money, Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4
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Man Pasand (1980)
5/10
An Indianized Version of My Fair Lady
27 March 2017
Many successful Hindi Movies have been inspired from Hollywood movies, most don't even mention their inspiration. During transformation, many films mix the formulas which lose the charm of the initial movies. In that case, "Man Pasand," a least known movie, does avoid the Bollywood clichés to some extent; but it also lacks the spontaneity in its storytelling. In other words, the film lacks substance and witty situations to captivate the viewers. However, it does maintain certain interest owing to some of its beautiful tunes, sets, and few performances. Overall, despite its implausible flow, it does maintain certain charm in its execution which makes it worth a watch.

Rating: 1 star out of 4
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Te3n (2016)
6/10
A spooky thriller with a phenomenal performance by Amitabh Bachchan
5 February 2017
"Te3n" is a thriller concerning the investigation of an old grandfather to find the kidnapper of her granddaughter who was kidnapped and killed eight years ago, after the police is unable to solve the case. The film starts somewhat slow, but as the film proceeds, the suspense deepens and the end astonishes and takes your attention from what had happened in the beginning. The suspense has a right touch and the spooky twists may be the brainchild of the Korean Film "Montana" on which it's based. But the genuine thing to watch in the film is the controlled and stand out performance by Amitabh Bachchan which is phenomenal. Vidya Balan and Nawazzudin Siddique also do their roles well but somewhat look weary. Overall, the film begins a bit slow and sets to its suspense soon.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4
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Balak (1969)
4/10
Mostly unseen and unheard movie.....
24 January 2017
It's not unusual to see an overdose of coincidences and improbabilities in a '60s movie, especially when it's a family drama. Besides there will be an adequate amount of tears and laughter all measured in a right quantity. This is what exactly is in "Balak," a film viewers might be rarely heard of or seen. It tells a story of a boy who is considered ominous by his own people as his parents passed away with his birth. It tries to bring the bond between his sister and his maternal uncle, who are the only ones who care for him. For the rest of the two hours very strange sequences of coincidences and tragedy have been created which are pretty spurious. There is also a lot of preachiness, artificalness, and cardboard characters. Yes, one major attraction is Baby Sarika in the title role and some of the emotional sequences she tries to give.

Rating: 1 star out of 4
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Dangal (2016)
8/10
Dangal: an inspirational movie
21 January 2017
With word of mouth, you may have all known what a big hit "Dangal" became lately and the critical accolades the film received. Instead of taking the promotions for granted, I insist you to watch this film first.

The film is based on a true story of an Indian wrestler, Mahavir Singh Phogat, who trains his two daughters, Gita and Babita, to win the international level wrestling competitions. It's commendable that few film makers have started to make movies on the real heroes of the country, whose tales of heroism are often unheard of. It takes a story from a small village of Haryana and takes it to an international milieu. Many are relating this movie with year's another hit, "Sultan." But these two films are in no way to be compared of. Though both the films are on wrestling, "Dangal" explores many entities like the social discrimination on girls, state of sports federation, father daughter relationships.

Where the film explores the wrestling arena from a small Haryana village to a national level training centre, the film is also filled with emotions, wit, and other finer nuances of life. Aamir Khan as usual is good, but the two girls as Geeta and Babita both were outstanding. Watched this film in theatre, and the audiences were seen applauding when the girls enter the arena and play for their country. The Haryani environment and the dialects used in the film gives it a mesmerizing touch. Just like "Chakde India" and "Mary Kom," "Dangal" will remain one of the finest sports movies to come lately.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4
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Finding Dory (2016)
6/10
Adventure under the water continues.....
19 January 2017
Those who loved "Finding Nemo" will anticipate some adventures under the water, which "Finding Dory" caters. Just like the previous film, which has gained a cult status, the animation and sequences are pretty marvelous. I guess it would be much more a lavish experience if you watch it on a big screen. It takes you to the world inside the water under the seas, pipes, aquariums, and buckets. Through the superb animation and a fast pace, it holds you and entertains you for its entire length. Though there is a lot of happenings in the film, it is not an improvement over "Finding Nemo," in terms of story or characters. Dory lacks the charm spelled by Nemo; and it kinda drops to unbelievable clichés in the end. In comparison, "Finding Nemo" is still preferable.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4
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Rainbow (2015)
6/10
Dhanak: Colors of Life.....
17 January 2017
"Dhanak" means rainbow; and just like the seven colors of a rainbow, the film tries to bring different colors of life through a bonding of a sister and her blind brother, who take a journey of 300 kilometers on foot to meet a superstar. The two children steal the show and overshadows any adult character of the film. The dialogues and the songs of the boy elicit smile on your faces. Actually, the film stands as an escapist against the odds of the life and the ease with which the journey continues makes it a fantasy against the harsh realities of the rural India which won't make it a touching film. Despite a beautiful performance from its lead, the film makes only a passable entertainment.

Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4
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5/10
A Visual Delight.....
11 January 2017
"The Jungle Book" was one of my favorite TV series that aired in the Doordarshan in the early '90s. The story has been retold through several movies and this latest blockbuster also does the same. It tells the story of Mowgli, a young boy, grown by a pack of wolves in an Indian Jungle. Disney Pictures this time takes into the CGI over the conventional 2D animation and creates a stunningly superb visual feast. It's certainly something very different you've ever seen. The jungles, animals are all a part of a CGI animation and with the superb techniques you're taken to an hour long drive to the forests in which everything looks for real. Instead of the distant shots, the film uses close shots for which the film looks visually pleasing. No doubt, technically the film is somewhat a testimony of something you've ever encountered in movies.

The acting of the boy as Mowgli and his screen presence looks astounding and the voices given to the animals get quite well. But the grave problem in the film is the lack of the wittiness and charm in its narrative. For one third of the film, there seems a bit of charm and laughter which soon disappears and falls into the computer glitches. Somewhere the innocence, wit, and surprises get lost for which the film though being technically superb starts to lose your attention by the second half.

Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4
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Chauranga (2014)
5/10
A realistic film lacking cinematic frames.....
10 January 2017
"Chauranga" delves into a long forgotten subject in Hindi Movies, caste discrimination. The film serves an eye opener to the fact that there are still places where the Dalits (the lower caste) are oppressed against their human rights. The higher caste still exploit them for cheap labour, sexual relationships, and to retain their self esteem, yet they are mutilated, abused, and killed. The film presents a horrific picture of our society; and for its subject, the film remains commendable.

But whatever has been presented, has been done in subdued colors lacking the cinematic charisma for which the viewers might not accept the film for entertainment values. In the central are two teenagers from Dalit community along which the whole story revolves, and for the both the film remains watchable. On a whole, this short film remains a documentation of a society which despite been well made lacks the cinematic frames and is unable to astound you.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4
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4/10
An overlong, dragging tragic story
10 January 2017
The title of the film reminds of an 80s film of the same title which has been remembered for its songs. But this film has nothing to do with 80s "Sanam Teri Kasam." Instead it resembles some hits like "Love Story" (1970) or "Prem Geet"(1981) destined for a tragic end. But you don't get fully soaked in the emotions of this film due to its entangled narrative, unlovable characters, and its over length. The beauty of the film remains only in a sparse through a decent performance by its debut actress, few song numbers and the pleasant colors used in its backdrop. For me it was a slight, passable movie which drags for the rest of your two hours.

Rating: 1 star out of 4
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Jazbaa (2015)
4/10
an adrenaline rush time waster.....
5 November 2016
With "Jazbaa," Aishwarya Rai Bachchan makes a comeback in movies as a criminal lawyer, who defends a case of a rapist and murderer as a ransom to flee her kidnapped daughter. The film is said to be based on a Korean crime thriller "Seven Days" (haven't watched the movie). The pace is fast and the events succeeds before you have a time to think. Aishwarya Rai's voice has been kept loud and fast, and it appears less that she's a lawyer who is defending a case. Aishwarya Rai is a fabulous actress but she appears a bit miscast for the role. Others like Irfan Khan, Shabana Azmi, Jackie Shroff, all brilliant actors, do little to make an impression though Irfan Khan gets a higher footage and plays well. Though the film is fast paced, gets you with adrenaline rush and surprises, by the end the film just doesn't touch you. Neither the film claims any relevance to the social reform or touches the emotions for which the audiences find it mere a watchable time waster.

Rating: 1 star out of 4
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Pink (III) (2016)
8/10
A Thought Provoking Drama on Women Empowerment.....
27 October 2016
Modern society has came along a lot. Feminism is not confined into household work. With the changing time, girls are doing jobs, staying away from the families, staying late night in the parties. But that doesn't mean she has given away her honor' and if she says no to any intimacy it means no. The statement comes very strongly in the film through a thought provoking story that captivates your interest to the very end. The film pictures a scenario of the modern society and alerts you of the perverts in the society.

The film is told through three ladies sharing an apartment who encounter a situation in which their modesty is questioned in the court, and they are defended by a mentally disturbed advocate played by Amitabh Bachchan. All the three ladies have given mind blowing performances and represented today's generation for which their name credits roll before Amitabh Bachchan's, who himself gives a mind blowing performance. This year I have watched both his earliest film "Saat Hindustani" and latest one "Pink" and in the both, he has established himself a better performer than a superstar. Overall, it's commendable that movies like "Pink" depict the real picture of the present generation and even alerts you.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4
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8/10
A Brilliant and Touching Nepali Movie....
27 October 2016
Pashupati Area, the most important pilgrimage center of Nepal, has the biggest cremation ground, the so called "ghats" which are the main means of livelihood for many people who dream of making a living in the city. It concerns few characters whose lives revolve around the holy area. It escapes from the dream world and projects the real aspirations, hardship, agony of common people whose lives are hard than they appear. The major specialty of the film is the connectivity it establishes with the audiences yet remaining entertaining which has been seldom seen in a Nepali movie.

Instead of presenting the holiness of the Pashupati Area, the film exposes the ugly side. Even the cremation becomes a mean of livelihood for few people like burning the corpses, collecting the coins, belongings, ornaments of the dead, unburnt firewood. There are even brawls and thefts in such activities. Besides, the film depicts the livelihoods made by the people through informal sectors like food stalls, selling cloths, amusing others through props like Hanuman Ji of the film. All these revolve around the protagonist, Pashupati Prashad, hailing from Sindupalchowk, who has come to the capital to make a living and pay the debt of his parents who have tragically perished in the great earthquake of 2015. Other characters include his Mitba, who makes a living cremating the dead, his friend Hanumanji making a living through his get up for selfies of the visitors in Pashupati, a friend who sells snacks in a kiosk, a granny living in the old age home of Pashupati area, few thugs, and his love,a mute girl. All the characters though have a separate world and ways, all dream of a decent living and intersect by the end, which leaves the audiences agape; and perhaps that's sad but the truth, which are seldom encountered in the movies.

Although the film drops into certain cheapness through the thugs shown in the movie or the just the superficial background the film touches on the characters, the film sweeps along well. The metaphorical representation it makes through Hanumanji is commendable. The acting and direction are brilliant, which grip you to the end. Overall, to encounter the realities of people around you, do watch this well made and touching movie.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4
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Sultan (2016)
5/10
Technically good... but lacking in melodrama....
24 October 2016
"Sultan" was one of the most awaited releases of 2016, owing to its stardom values and the success of "Bajrangi Bhaijaan." Technically the film is, no doubt, sound. The cinematography, music, special effects all are well done; but the film lacks much of substance, twists and turns in the story. Besides, the film is overlong and appears more an escapist melodrama which goes to easiness instead of an emotional depth.

Salman Khan, with added weight, and Anushka Sharma, speaking Haryanvi, are the major attractions of the movie, who add the credibility to the film. Salman's get up is pretty well and he performs nevertheless good and Anushka Sharma, though in her regular image, still add some glamour in this overlong, deserted melodrama. Though the film gets dragging due to lack of shades in the story, the film does lack the regular Bollywood gimmicks or the unnecessary violence, for which the film still remains watchable. For me, the film was fine, technically it's good but story wise, it's dragging and overlong failing to weave a touching melodrama.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4
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Swami (1977)
6/10
A nice endeavour in emanating a rich literary work with the roots of our values......
21 October 2016
"Swami" is based on a story written by the Bengali novelist, Sharat Chandra Chattopadhaya, whose many works have been made into movies, like Devdas, Parineeta, Apne Paraye, all dealing with the social issues. Very few film makers pick the rich literary work to the big screen and do justice to them. "Swami" is a nice effort in the league and becomes admirable for the tie it makes with the eastern values and culture.

"Swami" delves into the story of a woman who first dejects her family and husband and slowly understands the values of family and a marriage. The story is far behind today's life, where the society use to be male dominated with the males only the bread earners of the family and the women are mere the house wives though they might be educated. Due to the story, settings, and an average technical treatment the film has a bit faded look; and its slow pace makes it hard to keep up at instances. The music and photography aren't notable. However, except for few roles, there is a much of spontaneity in the characters, especially that shown in Girish Karnad's family, where the disputes are over small things of life like the daily chores of the kitchen. The simplicity of the film is able to touch you. Girish Karnad and Shabana Azmi both look spontaneous in their roles. Vikram looks weak. It's the realization of the eastern values and culture with a simplicity in the story that makes the film adorable. Though the story doesn't reflect today's realities where the husband and wife both make a livelihood, it still offers the roots of our society.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4
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7/10
An iconic love story.....
6 October 2016
Just like the title suggests, the film has two sides, 1942, a historic period and a love story. 1942, represents the time period when the Indians revolutionized against the British rulers for the freedom of the country, popularly know as "Quit India" movement. Many patriots sacrificed their lives during the freedom fight of the '40s. Under this backdrop, a beautiful love story has been weaved under a fabulous music of music maestro RD Burman. It was his last movie for which he won the coveted Filmfare awards for the best music director.

The film remains commendable for three strong reasons. The first is obviously RD Burman's memorable music, which was unfortunately his last masterpiece. The songs like "Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To" or "Kuch Na Kaho.." remains the modern day classics. The songs get blended well with the beauty perpetuated through the superb cinematography. The lights and colors of the sets and the costumes all have a right touch for depicting the period. And the third nice aspect of the film remains the performances. Vidhu Vinod Chopra recasts Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff from his "Parinda" and they look good enough in their roles. Manisha Koirala adds beauty to the film and looks innocent. In the small roles, Raghuvir Yadav, Anupam Kher, Pran, Danny, Sushma Seth all play their roles perfect. Although the film saw some criticism and wasn't a very big success in the box office, the film is an iconic love story from '90s which has been made with an optimum care for which the film appears technically flawless.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4
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4/10
a failed giant.....good subject but poorly made......
3 October 2016
The film pays tribute to the most respectable profession, medical. The film had one of the greatest screen pair, Sunil Dutt and Waheeda Rehman, who give powerful performances this time also. Besides, the film has brief but nice roles from Ashok Kumar, Jalaal Agha, Deb Mukherjee, and Fardia Jalaal too. Everything seems fine, but still the film doesn't work. The film was a major flop that time; and the reason seems obvious that it fails to captivate the interest. First the theme doesn't look very clear. It dwindles from caste system of the society, medical profession to a melodrama; and nowhere the focus remains sharp. There are also plenty of flaws in direction. For instance, Sunil Dutt's get up and looks remain constant despite the time period of 8 years when he grows from a student to an experienced doctor. His dialogue delivery was also constant throughout. The music and songs aren't memorable despite SD Burman's enchanting voice and music. Ramesh Dev's role was a wash out nor the cameo of Ashok Kumar was something brilliant. To appreciate, there were less of the formulaic sequences or flights from the regular '70s flick. Overall, it's such film which though had big names and a good subject still doesn't work due to the poor film making.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4
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Madaari (2016)
5/10
A common man's plight against the system.....
20 September 2016
"Madaari" presents the anger of a common man against the system. Every year thousands of civilians fall prey to the negligence of the system and government remains reluctant to provide any support in such circumstances. The plot revolves around one of such common persons whose son is killed in the collapse of a fly-over road of a city. He wants to talk some of the officials who are guilty for the collapse of the structure. For the purpose, he helds captive an eight year old son of the home minister and starts to play a game to provoke the corrupt system.

In terms of story, the film is close to the thriller "A Wednesday" (2008). Where the motive of "A Wednesday" remains unclear till the very end of the movie, "Madaari" becomes a bit obvious by the interval. The element of surprise in the former film is missing in this one. Besides, the film also becomes overlong; and the climax lacks the effect. Despite the flaws, the film remains commendable for a terrific performance from Irfan Khan. The tactics played by him as a kidnapper are interesting and flashbacks shown enliven the father son relationship. The flashbacks and the relationship between irfan Khan and 8 year old boy as an abductee are cleverly portrayed which will hold your attention to an extent. Though the subject has been sensitively carried through out, just in the end the film doesn't suffice the prominent issues it raises.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4
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Sarkar (2005)
5/10
Well made with good performances but lacking entertainment values....
10 September 2016
As mentioned in the credits, the film is inspired from "The Godfather" and is Indianized in the setting of a gangster family. Well, it's not really the gangster family, but the head of the family is above the police or government and rules the whole Mumbai. The focus here isn't very sharp whether the story is on patronizing a mafia family or the conspiracies between different gangs. The work or the income of the family also appears unclear. The whole film runs in a tension, and is very hard to keep on watching it. Despite this, the film is directed very well; and has few good performances. Amitabh Bachchan, in the tile role, performs and gives a dynamic screen presence with minimal dialogues. Abhishek Bachchan too appears calm and suites as a devoted son of a gang leader. All in all both have relived the powerful performances given by Marlon Brando or Al Pacino in "The Godfather." As a whole, the film sets a different genre, plays with a conviction, and is greatly performed. Due to lacking entertainment values and its slow pace, the film unfortunately didn't get much absorbed by the viewers.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4
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Dil Se.. (1998)
4/10
Utterly unconvincing......
3 September 2016
After a success of "Bombay," Mani Ratnam came with "Dil Se..." People had a lot of expectation with the film watching its promos. But the film wasn't accepted by the viewers and was a flop. Hadn't watched the movie till date reading the rave reviews it got at the time. Well, after watching the whole movie, I just questioned myself what was really in the film to like about. The story was just not happening, performances were not to the mark, and the end just stretched on and on; and what I felt of the movie was utterly unconvincing and boring.

Shahrukh falling for Manisha Koirala and pursuing her even after her rejection is just not convincing. Mani Ratnam had a special purpose in "Bombay" whereas "Dil Se" seem to be misleading patronizing terrorism. The film couldn't be a political drama nor a romantic movie. The film refers no historical event for which it remains meaningless. Performance wise, Shahrukh makes a routine role; and nowhere he comes out of his regular image. Manisha Koirala fails to impress this time, and Priety Zinta makes her debut in a slight role and fulfils a bit of glamour. The only saving grace of the movie is the big canvass of the movie including the nice photography and AR Rehman's stunning music and background score. Just like Subash Ghai's "Kroadhi" or Yash Chopra's "Vijay," "Dil Se" is a backfire of a distinguished film maker due to a poor script.

Rating: 1 star out of 4
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