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I hope my reviews here are helpful and you enjoy reading them all with HIS BLESSINGS.
Identity Card (2014)
It begins realistically & then comes up with some extremely important questions raised on terrorism, reminding me of the dark days of Punjab.
Agreeing with the fact that Identity CARD is not any kind of masterpiece contemplating upon a burning issue through its honest- shocking content, the conclusion can only be drawn by those who have actually watched this lesser known film featuring a talented cast in the theatres. And since almost 99% of the people reading this, would not have seen it spending their valuable time & money, the film clearly reveals the hypocrisy practiced by "We, the viewers" when it comes to such comparatively small projects having a limited release.
Putting it more bluntly if you arrange a seminar on the issue of "Problems in releasing small independent films" calling in some celebrity film-makers participating in the panel OR release these kind of films in a well publicized festival where they are shown free of cost on first come first basis, then I bet that the theater would be full with mostly youngsters eager to discuss & watch it, not minding sitting on the floors too like some serious cinema lovers.
However on the other side, the truth remains that despite all the above mentioned positivity, if such a film gets released in one or two shows in a multiplex at a ticket price of say Rs.250-300 then 8 out of 10 times the show would get cancelled, due to no visitors, no ticket buyers or no takers at all.
And this is hypocrisy practiced by "We, the viewers" when it comes to showing the courage to watch these small films in the theaters, instead of the other usual star based projects releasing every Friday. So I am not going to blame the exhibitors/distributors for this mess but ourselves only, who are actually responsible for the diminishing quality of our Hindi films now mostly focusing on mere circus entertainment.
Coming back to IDENTITY CARD, Yes, it's not an exceptionally great film to be honest but not an ignorable or forgettable venture too due to its few powerful performances and the relevant question asked on the dilemma faced by the officials, human rights violation, the disappearance of thousands of Kashmiri civilians and the process to discriminate between a terrorist and an innocent person followed by the police or the STF.
It begins from a metro city with a TV journalist bagging an assignment of a documentary film to be made on Kashmir and then enters the tense zone when the journalist Nazia, her local resident (Facebook) friend Ajay and another local tourist guide Raju are arrested by the STG for further interrogations on the grounds of suspicion. The first half of the film is a bit tiring and repetitive too as it all happens within the same cell. But a powerful scene between the two junior officers talking about their personal life lifts up the progression emotionally, along with a lighter act from their recently married duty officer constantly receiving his wife's calls in the middle of the grilling.
Post intermission, as expected the narration explodes with all its meaningful questions asked and it's the last 30 minutes that simply make it a worth appreciating, thoughtful attempt indeed, ignoring the earlier flaws. So though at times the film seems to be quite stretched with some uneven editing, weak background score and an average camera-work, still IDENTIDY CARD should rightly be rated as a sincere and noble attempt from director Rahat Kazmi with a much better second half having all the hard hitting scenes focusing on the core issue.
The performances remain the key attraction throughout confidently led by Vipin Sharma as the senior most officer with a stern attitude towards the suspected. His few minutes act in the climax is nothing short of sheer brilliance, forcing you to keep thinking while moving out of the theater in realistic terms. Saurabh Shukla with his noticeable Kashmiri accent and Brijendra Kala as the annoyed junior are the two other superb actors who hold the film well along with veteran Raghuveer Yadav as a Government officer and so does Prashanth Gupta playing the newly-wed Inspector in the first half. Whereas Tia Bajpai, Furqan Merchant and Shoib Kazmi as the three prime suspect keep trying hard to get noticed.
Apart from the performances it was really enlightening to know the entire history of Kashmir told with the a slide-show post the climax and then even more pleasant surprise was reading the names of almost all the leading actors of IDENTITY CARD as the film's producers too, which in fact can be called as the vision for the future indeed for such small yet meaningful ventures.
In the end returning to the basic subject, it reminded me of those dark days of Punjab and the reign of officer K.P.S. Gill, who was and is still blamed by many for killing numerous innocent boys of Punjab in search of those hiding extremists. The same is now happening in all those states of India facing a similar problem be it Kashmiris, Assamese or more. Therefore as I feel the very question that "Whether the STG or Police is doing the right thing or not?" has actually got two correct answers given by two different sections.
From the administration viewpoint there is no other solution with them to find or catch the actual terrorists and as per the law it's a clear violation of the human rights, killing many unknown innocents in order to reach the real culprits.
The question still haunts people of Punjab even after more than two decades and it remains the key one being presently asked in Kashmir, Assam or other states quite strongly. And that's the reason I consider this film important enough to be seen at least once by all thinking citizens of the country supporting the commendable attempt.
Raja Natwarlal (2014)
When a con film is not able to con the viewers with its supposedly clever content then it actually fails.
Being a fan of con-movies I enjoyed the first few minutes of the film where both Emraan and Deepak Tijori fool the innocent people watching them playing the game of 'guessing the right card' with a clever trick. Perhaps I loved the sequence more because that was my personal experience too when I first visited Mumbai a few decades back (then Bombay) and lost a good amount of money guessing the 'Begum' with the marked card very smartly placed in the deck targeting me alone as the only stranger standing in that group of all con-friends posing to be some passing spectators.
Secondly, I started expecting a real good movie coming next hearing the catchy title song 'Dukki Tikki' which again took me back in time remembering a similar enjoyable song written on the playing cards in Dharmender-Jeetender starrer SAMRAT released in 1982. The next 30-40 minutes were all fine with a good con played by Emraan-Deepak on some other goons and the film actually began in the right sense with Paresh Rawal making a fine entry as the Guru giving few enjoyable moments along with Emraan. So till interval, I found RAJA NATWARLAL to be above average with some good peaks along with the lows, progressing at a less energetic pace.
But post intermission, I got hugely disappointed with the director Kunal simply playing all weird, unbelievable and silly tricks in the name of con, involving the cricket board and its big game of professional cricket (on the lines of T-20), making me lose all the interest generated by its first hour.
In fact such is the way in which both Emraan and Paresh go on playing their schemes fooling the shrewd Kay Kay in the second half that one begins thinking that have they really made this film for all grown up viewers sitting in the theaters or just kids below the age group of 12 without any reasoning or questioning ability as such.
For example, the laughable con played in the initial auction involving the real ball used in the World Cup final, the official premises of the board being rigged so easily, a big five star hotel being booked for Cricket team auctions fearlessly without any verification or media hassles faced, a whole new bank opened overnight in a posh road of Mumbai as if it's a piece of cake for them all being the typical Bollywood heroes and on top of all more than 1500 crores transferred into (ordinary) bank accounts in just minutes as if they have been doing such kind of transactions from years.
Along with the absurdity mentioned above, mediocre songs keep interrupting the narration as always turning the lead couple into two funny characters romancing on the screen in such a tense situation. The pace keeps dropping constantly due to the lazy writing and then the finale con sequence which looks completely unconvincing right from the word go, ruins the whole favorable build up witnessed before the intermission.
In short, a con-movie has to be fast, thrilling and exciting all together with some enjoyable twists & turns in its narration, which successfully is able to con the viewers too sitting in their seats all of a sudden. But since RAJA NATWARLAL fails to do so with some bad editing and everything happening on a childishly unbelievable scale towards the end, it falls flat and is not able to deliver the expected quite sadly. Further its average cinematography and background score too do not add any extra edge to the movie displaying a fine start.
However, despite having a weak screenplay & story progression the film still has few enjoyable performances to offer coming from the always reliable Paresh Rawal and Kay Kay Menon. Their sequences are a treat to watch along with the noteworthy supporting cast. Plus some good support is also provided by Deepak Tijori and Humaima Malik, who apart from showing the confidence in kisses, also displays her talent in the emotions scenes too quite boldly. Yet, I expected a lot more from her, post her simply brilliant and unforgettable performance in the shocking gem BOL. Talking about the lead hero Emraan Hashmi, I frankly found him the same as seen in his previous films without putting in some extra effort to match up the performances of both Paresh and Kay Kay.
Summing up, RAJA NATWARLAL had all the ingredients of making a fine, entertaining con movie for the interested audience. But its writing, editing and direction doesn't let the film move ahead than the level of below average. Moreover if any con film tends to treat its viewers as all early teenage kids without any logical thinking ability (and that too in the country worshiping cricket) then its bound to fail miserably in all probabilities. Still you can watch it for Paresh and Kay Kay alone and not for anything else.
Consider it as a new Hindi film released instead of a documentary and do watch it as a must since its about us fighting with the power supply agencies in our cities.
If you have ever lived or at present are living in those particular parts of the cities where electric poles, hanging clutter of wires and big power transformers are installed at just a few feet away from your house or balconies then KATIYABAAZ is exactly talking about your own city and you are sure going to enjoy its realistic narration a lot, without any doubt.
In other words, this is not a film/documentary made on a realistic subject but reality itself, featuring all real existing people who are still there fighting with their individual tough lives in various regions. Basically talking about the city of Kanpur in Uttar Pardesh, the story actually belongs to almost every city of India struggling with the uneven power supply and its erratic cost. Revolving around Loha Singh, the brave electrician, Ritu Maheshwari, an honest government officer and an opportunist local politician along with the common people, KATIYABAAZ doesn't follow the routine format of a documentary with a voice over explaining the situation. But defying the set norm, it impressively presents the helpless plight of the people in an unusual yet entertaining manner wherein they themselves become the good and bad characters of the film depicting the serious situation.
In reality, yes there are a certain section of people who do it deliberately breaking the law, still in many cases, the common man is forced to opt for 'Bijlee Chori" unwillingly, after getting fed up from the faulty supply system and their disrespectable interaction with the consumers. Resulting in many KATIYABAAZS in the city, who are well trained in switching illegal wires (called Kaitya) stealing the electricity into several houses of a locality diverting it straight from the mail pole. Taking up a relevant and burning issue, the director duo Fahad Mustafa & Deepti Kakkar build up a great drama explaining the scenario through all real life characters playing themselves, which is both thought provoking as well as entertaining like a typical Hindi film full of tension, action, drama and comedy too with the help of many commonly used cuss words.
The brilliant execution particularly makes you enjoy all the well- crafted sequences of Loha Singh (who surprisingly acts superbly). But at the same time also makes you think about the difficult life pattern of the lady IAS officer who is expected to give sufficient time to both her duty as well as the family within the available 24 hours of a day. At times one does feel awkward that probably they have shot all those official & personal scenes of the key characters with a prior preparation and instructions. Yet the thought doesn't let you find the faults and one enjoys the less than 90 minutes of its duration thoroughly.
In short, KATIYABAAZ is our own slice of life which deserves to be watched essentially like one of those exceptional attempts taking you into the personal lives of few real people who are all related to the city's power supply conditions in their own distinctive ways. The documentary also needs to be seen as a must since it gives you a chance to sharpen or enhance your regular movie watching taste, which certainly isn't being served well with all the routine, predictable and mediocre Hindi films offered every Friday. To encourage you further, if you loved watching SUPERMAN OF MALEGAON a few years back then KATIYABAAZ is one step ahead than the great documentary, though not related with our Hindi cinema in any direct way.
So with thanks for the presenters who made it possible for this film to at least reach the selected multiplexes, do watch the outstanding attempt if its being played in your city by making an extra effort, because your movie watching passion desperately needs to be provided with such well-made stuff more often.
Sarkar attempts to make a taut thriller tackling a serious social issue but it just remains an attempt with a pretty routine second half.
I have been a fan of Pradeep Sarkar since his days of directing music videos that used to be all about love, feelings and emotional warmth. The same touch was evidently visible in his first movie PARINEETA (2005) and to some extent in LAAGA CHUNRI MEIN DAAG (2007) too. But post the debacle of his second movie which had its own set of inspirations taken from films like AAINA (1977) & more, the director I loved got lost into this tempting commercial world giving away to his big producer's dictated products and the influential star system running our major part of the industry. His next LAFANGEY PARINDEY (2010) caused a great amount of unexpected dissatisfaction and though the latest MARDAANI is certainly a better attempt, but continues to do the same, probably once again made as per someone else's directions and requirements.
Tackling a serious social issue of Child Trafficking or Child Sex Rackets, Sarkar begins well offering some fine emotional scenes and a shocking depiction of the truth with some hard hitting sequences too. The concerning working style of the Police squad headed by Rani Mukherjee reminds you of Aamir Khan's SARFAROSH right away and one feels that there is surely something great coming up next well supported by a talented cast.
Sadly just after the first 45-50 minutes or let's say post the intermission, MARDAANI completely gets derailed and makes way for all routine, predictable & clichéd sequences ruining the fine build up created by its initial hour. The writing begins taking bits and pieces from many earlier thrillers and the direction simply falls down to the level of 'mediocre'. For instance the ages old formulas of using the 'Tailor's tag on the clothes' or 'the sound of train or Azaan' spotted in the phone call of the kidnapper are fitted into the screenplay as if they wished to give a tribute to that gone era. The ministers involved in the racket are simply showcased as some sick perverts turning into helpless clowns towards the end and the Police department is supposed to be run or guided by a single lady officer in a complete filmy Dabangg style.
So what could have been the next intense, thought provoking big thriller becomes a pretty poor and weak film in its second half saved by just the performances to say it all. Rani Mukherjee tries hard and excels in her action and emotional scenes in particular. Due to the weak characterization she does tend to go over the top in the beginning but certainly deserves appreciation for agreeing to the unconventional role and then performing it well to. Tahir Raj Bhasin makes his presence felt boldly and so does Mona Ambegaonkar in her short but convincing portrayal of an evil lady. Jishu Sengupta, Priyanka Sharma, Anil George and others in the supporting cast do not get much scope but they don't disappoint either in their respective performances.
Shot in a gritty style with a fine background score not making it too loud like SINGHAM RETURNS, the film impresses in its first half and then loses the major marks post interval. Yet, the attempt cannot be ignored for three major reasons.
First, for having an important and worth noticing subject of child trafficking.
Second, for its completely focused progression throughout the two hours of duration without any song, denying the usual norm.
And third for some good performances which don't let you to write off the film unlike any other repetitive cop-movie made without a vision.
The concept of getting back an abducted girl sure reminds you of many Hollywood films like the TAKEN series and the latest Nagesh Kukunoor project too titled LAKSHMI (2014), which was also about the same issue projected more sensitively with a brutal realistic touch. Yet MARDAANI rightly scores few good points due to its off the routine attempt supported by some big names and a reputed production house.
However if only, Sarkar and his writers wouldn't have gone the obvious Dabangg way just to showcase the women power in a pure filmy manner towards the end and could have presented the investigations in some novel style in its concluding hour, MARDAANI would have been so different and impressive reaching out to many more viewers as desired. So in the present avatar, it just remains an OK one time watch putting the much needed light on a burning and shameful truth of our sick social structure.
Singham Returns (2014)
Gives a clear message that sequels should strictly be made only if you have got something novel to add.
The first thought I had after watching SINGHAM RETURNS was, that is this really a Rohit Shetty film? The hit-machine's latest project with no spirited highs, no great entertaining moments, no jaw dropping action and all repeated seen before stuff served uninterestingly? Or to put it in different words, a product unlike Shetty, which was supposed to be a power packed entertaining explosion but sadly keeps dropping constantly till the end with no exceptional climax which was actually the USP of its first part.
In short I found only three positive points in SINGHAM RETURNS. One the repetitive yet spirited performance of Ajay Devgun, second (thankfully) only two mediocre songs in the narrative and most importantly one particular sequence guiding the viewers about how a lady can only be arrested by the lady police officers alone as per the strict law.
But apart from that, frankly I found nothing to be discussed in details as there is no novelty in the story progression at all and other than Ajay Devgun (and to some extent Mahesh Manjrekar & Anupam Kher) not even a single actor comes up with a worth mentioning act to be straight. In fact the two villains Amol Gupte and Zakir Hussain never seem to be any kind of powerful opponents as compared to Prakash Raj witnessed in the earlier part and no-one else in the supporting cast gets the attention of its writers too. Kareena remains the usual glamour doll in all forced in sequences falling flat and their love doesn't even seem to be a part of the film throughout.
Hence this time Rohit is not well equipped with many enjoyable peaks in his script and the film keeps moving at the same level with no major twists & turns (with an excessive use of Marathi) shattering all reputation built by the director's earlier blockbusters. The action isn't any step ahead than his previous works and neither are the dialogues which formed the backbone of SINGHAM as everyone strongly remembers. Moreover both the cinematography and background score continuously give you an impression of 'Deja Vu' with nothing fresh or path breaking. So the part two is not able to surpass its prequel by any standards (including the scale) and putting it rightly this can easily be stated as a step backward, both in terms of execution as well as entertainment offered to its viewers.
However with SINGHAM RETURNS, Rohit strangely tries to walk on the path of Madhur Bhandarkar in a different way by mocking few known personalities like Smriti Irani, Barkha Dutt, Asaram Bapu, a major political party and its leaders. The basic plot line reminded me of Chiranjeevi's PRATIBANDH released in 1990 and the climax made me recall Rupa's undergarments advertisement hilariously. The famous Daya from the never ending serial CID continues breaking the doors in the film too and it sounded quite weird to hear a devotional kind of song calling for the Almighty's help (at the Dargah) made purely like a love ballad with all slow western beats instead of a traditional Indianised rhythm.
With a more than 140 minutes of duration, the film becomes all predictable and boring towards the end. Because of which as the Honey Singh song's started playing along with the credits, I was also whispering the same words in desperation saying Aata Majhi Satakli .in literal sense!
So ending with a request to the reputed film-makers, the trend of sequel is acceptable only if the Part Twos and Threes have something novel, better and substantial to give to the viewers expecting a lot. Therefore please make any sequel only when you have got some newness to add to the hit concept, otherwise let it be.
It's Entertainment (2014)
They may call it loud or crass but I loved watching the film with the man's best four legged friend and am proud of my love too.
In all possibilities this is going to be a review which might not find many takers basically due to the new-age lifestyle we are now used to live in, keeping the heart at the last and many other things before that, ..unfortunately.
Plus it might not be a great review for the viewers who are now habitual of watching a movie taking it as an X, Y, Z Star's film above than anything else, with an already prepared mindset irrespective of its content matter or presentation.
So accepting the criticism well in advance I would like to begin that though the film doesn't feature the animal friend as intensely as they did it in HAATHI MERE SAATHI (1971), TERI MEHARBANIYA (1985), MAA (1976/1992) or most importantly in HACHI (2009 It will be a SIN to miss it). Still ENTERTAINMENT does offer few brilliantly shot emotional moments making you feel the value of this four legged best friend in your personal life, which many would readily agree to.
Hence first of all it rightly deserves some brownie points both for its 10 minutes before the intermission as well as the climax giving you that emotional high as expected from a film talking about our animal friends. Particularly its well shot, pre interval 'under water' sequence deserves a special mention here which straight away reminded me of a similar one (not with the water) earlier seen in the Spanish masterpiece AMORES PERROS (2000). And honestly that was one of those scary, disturbing sequences I had ever seen, which didn't let me sleep well for a few days and kept haunting me repeatedly.
Secondly other than the adorable dog, what really works in the film is its dialogue writing, which has enough comic punches to keep you in splits both in the first and second half consistently. Specifically the ones written for Krishna alone, incorporating the names of all famous film personalities in an innovative hilarious style, which frankly plays the major trick for the film most of the times.
Thirdly the songs are not thrown every 10 minutes just like that and you don't mind watching the few with all that positive energy moving. Moreover 'Johny Johny' and 'Veerey Di Wedding' surely have that catchy compositions & beats required to play in the party sessions loudly. Plus the DOP captures it all beautifully and the background score doesn't overlap the sequences as mostly seen in such comic films.
Now apart from the above, yes there is much absurd slapstick comedy in the film too which always has many distinctive reactions coming from the viewers. But thankfully this time the absurdity isn't completely flat and remains enjoyable at regular intervals basically due to the few leading good performances by the cast and their dialogues. In the flipside, the second half of the film drops majorly as the villain track doesn't work at all with an all forced in and clichéd plot having nothing much to offer.
Rating the individual acts, Akshay Kumar once again proves that he still has got much comedy left in his funny acts & incomparable timing as seen before. But what actually makes his performance look so bright are two superb supporting acts from Johny Lever and Krishna. In fact I enjoyed watching Johny Bhai after a long time and truly feel that the actor deserves much more than he is offered by the industry people. Krishna in reality becomes the lifeline of ENERTAINMENT in the first half and its indeed a treat to watch him together with Akshay & Johny saying those skillfully written one-liners naming many key actors. As the leading lady Tamanna certainly does much better than her previous films and Mithun Da is fine as her father. In the supporting act, Dalip Tahil, Darshan Jariwala and Vrajesh Hirjee are just okay, whereas Riteish Deshmukh, Shreyas Talpade and Remo D'Souza entertain well in their respective cameos right in the beginning. Sadly Prakash Raj or Sonu Sood fail to make any kind of impact on the viewer with nothing exceptional and the wonderful JUNIOR lovingly proves to be the real hero of ENTERTAINMENT in the finale song sequence.
Talking about the highly criticized illogical and silly plot of a dog becoming the owner of 3000 crores as per the will of an Indian millionaire living abroad, I would like to add (addressing many reputed reviewers here) that it seems to be the same ages old inferiority complex surfacing again somehow. Because if in a Hollywood film a cat can become the legal heir of a rich man and animals can talk with their doctor too without caring about any so called logic. Then why our Hindi films are laughed upon when they try to incorporate the same things with their hearts fitted in the right place.
Anyway, I would like to admit that before going for ENTERTAINMENT I was really expecting something similar to a Sajid Khan movie reading the names of debut directors Sajid-Farhad in the credits, who earlier were associated with Rohit Shetty in many of his famous films. But the director duo really surprised me, especially with their enjoyable writing and fine handling of a risky subject, without falling down to anything vulgar or objectionable. The duo mostly keeps the humour all clean and entertaining throughout, which is sure going to be a major merit for the project keeping in mind its family audiences.
Yet I would like to end with a clear conclusion that ENTERTAINMENT is certainly going to appeal more to the kids and the viewers who have experienced a life of several years lived with their beloved pets.
If only you can watch it for Scarlett alone.
'Humans only make 10% use of their brain and what if there is a drug which can trigger it to 100% usage in just a few hours?' - That's the basic thought behind this science fiction cum action thriller cum philosophical film incorporating many vague metaphors at times conveying nothing.
Revealing its basic plot, LUCY is about a beautiful girl, who unintentionally gets caught in the international mafia trap and is given an unsafe drug which in turn enhances her body function drastically. The drug starts increasing her brain power in an unusual manner and she soon explores some exceptional super-powers much beyond the known capabilities of a normal human being, which in turn help her to break through the mysterious nexus of underworld, drug mafia, police and more. Her brain usage keeps on increasing as the film progresses further and it all ends when she eventually reaches to the maximum level of 100%.
Now the short synopsis shared above sure sounds pretty interesting but I wish the film was equally engaging too justifying its novel concept. It has a promising start featuring a betraying friend and the Chinese don but soon starts giving away due to a weak script and too much focus kept on its style and presentation. The film actually doesn't work because of its thin storyline stretched for long and an unconvincing narration, despite having some excellent production values and superb graphics.
With an otherwise fine performance by Scarlett Johansson, who later fails to leave an impact due to the ineffective culmination of a great plot, LUCY also wastes Morgan Freeman as the professor/researcher working on the brain concept. The film doesn't explode later as per the expectations raised in the first ten minutes and hence can easily be rated as a flat science fiction which keeps on giving some forced philosophical lessons at regular intervals in vain. In fact LIMITLESS (2011) made on a similar concept was a far better entertainer comparatively.
In short, LUCY's brain might have reached its 100% in the script, but the film couldn't even reach 50% in terms of satisfaction offered, honestly. So you can opt for it only in case you don't mind watching Scarlett alone for those 90 minutes.
Amit Sahni Ki List (2014)
Begins with Mr. Yogi and ends at the usual love triangle offering nothing new.
The first curiosity one feels towards the movie knowing its unusual title is that what could be this LIST made by Amit Sahni different from the earlier Bucket Lists & many more seen in several films? But sadly, the exciting mystery dies in just few minutes into the film, when Amit turns out to be nothing but another version of Mr. Yogi looking for a perfect girl with some specific qualities written in his so called list. And the moment this fact gets revealed, you feel like saying, Oh Not Again please!
Frankly post Ashutosh Gowariker's big debacle & many other projects made on this identical concept, it was really strange to see that such kind of boring and routine script was approved by the makers quite ignorantly. Or probably it was done by few persons who are well aware of many popular Hollywood rom-coms made in the west but haven't seen our own Indian projects made with the similar themes in the past as it seems. Anyway in short the story of the film can be described in these indicative pointers beginning with one Mr. Yogi, his list of qualities to find in a girl, meeting a girl who has nothing out of the list but likable, beginning of a sweet relationship, entry of another gorgeous business women, a quick second affair, then break up and that too with a break up consultant, return to the original girl realizing the true love and that's it.
Enacting this rotten storyline Vir Das tries to play his part of a new age Mr. Yogi as if it is something epic being made, speaking right into the camera (conversing with the audience) taking the straight clue from Kavin Spacey in HOUSE OF CARDS Series. The girls visibly prove that this one of their first projects got by chance and the actor playing Vir's close friend poses to be another Love Guru without any impact. Above all there is a pug featuring in the film too named Noni Singh and that should say a lot about the mindsets behind the project to be honest.
The cinematography, background score & art direction tries to give it a young feel in a very uninteresting manner and once the secret of Amit Sahni's List is out, the film becomes a continuous drag towards the end along with many mediocre songs, which might sound OK to many youngsters as a soundtrack unrelated to the film.
In short, it's really weird to see that the directors are not willing to take up some novel concepts in their films made without any big star cast. Because in reality that remains the only way, they can make their presence felt in front of the other big projects marketed so well. And since AMIT SAHNI KI LIST doesn't offer anything fresh in its content or execution, therefore you can easily give it a miss to catch up later at any channel in the coming months. But that too along with performing some kind of creative multitasking for sure, since the film seriously doesn't deserve your complete attention.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
A delightful extravaganza with an engaging plot.
The latest offering from director Wes Anderson, who is known for his own style of presenting a magical make-believe world on the screen, this is a fine example of an imaginative art of storytelling taking you into a different world of the past quite impressively. Narrating the story of a vintage hotel, the film has glimpses of more than one genres including illegitimate affairs, crime, love, murder, theft, jail-break, mystery, chases and much more. But in spite of that it never puzzles you due to an absorbing treatment of an interesting concept and some brilliant performances by a rare cast ensemble with many reputed names.
Set in different time zones of the twentieth century, it is mostly narrated in flashback and tells us about the life a young 'Lobby boy' and his experiences with his boss,Mosieur Gustave. The lobby boy known as Zero is now the owner of The Grand Budapest and the film is all about his journey from joining the hotel to the present status of a sad, lonely man owning the mansion and much more. In the story told of the past, as one of richest regular visitors of the hotel suddenly dies, she leaves a precious antique painting for Gustave to be her parting gift in the will and that's from where the whole saga of crime and deceit begins involving the young Zero.
The film unfolds like an exciting fast paced tale in a bedtime storybook of the young ones and presents many charming cameos of prominent names such as Jude Law, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Tom Wilkinson, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe and more. Along with the lead roles played by Ralph Fiennes & F Murray Abraham with a splendid portrayal of the young zero by Willem Dafoe.
A kind of wacky comedy, it also subtly showcases the war scenario of those times & three different eras of century through some smartly written witty dialogues, an excellent background score, well detailed art direction and a worth experiencing cinematography (particularly the snow chase sequence at the mountains) which preferably needs to be seen at the big screen. The storyline also has a refreshing emotional angle between its leading male characters and then has a few surprising insertions too like a turbaned Sikh participating in a sequence happening in the Eastern Europe region of the 1930s.
But at the same time, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL doesn't offer any great energetic crescendo and is also not for the ones watching Hollywood Cinema mainly for their mainstream well promoted films releasing worldwide. This is for the niche audiences who are more into the offbeat movies and can easily relate to this eccentric kind of story-telling not interested in giving any kind of simulated high through an overdose of computer graphics or some loud treatment. So if you love watching this specific genre then you are sure going to enjoy The GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Despite its shortcomings, this is one of the better films of Salman which might remind you of finding your own KICK in life before its all over.
First addressing the people interested in slamming it down due to its avoidable minuses, yes the film defies all logics as always seen in a typical Hindi film aiming at entertaining its larger section of viewers, ignoring the others. It doesn't offer any fresh or unpredictable storyline taking the easy path. Has a longer length with few unwanted scenes and mediocre songs thrown in uselessly hindering its otherwise likable progression. Takes too long to come to its actual story plot. Has few close resemblances to films like THE GENTLEMAN, KRISHH and DHOOM, whereas is yet another remake of a South hit with the same title KICK (Telugu) released in 2009. And needless to say has Salman Khan in almost every frame of the film right till its last minute as desired by his die-hard fans who have fondly given him the title of BHAI.
But having said that, KICK still cannot be rated as anything bad or ridiculous despite having all the above mentioned hiccups in its around 145 minutes of duration. And the reason behind this contradiction is that the film does have a breezy entertaining feel maintained till its impressive climax, has few enjoyable sequences coming in at regular intervals performed well by all the known faces and it holds you on firmly through some superbly written dialogues by Rajat Aroraa.
To give you a fair idea, KICK has no cheap sequences, objectionable lines or cheeky avoidable humour as seen in many of Salman's recent films including JAI HO. It doesn't drag after a while and keeps progressing at a brisk pace, though having all those unwanted songs and sequences adding to its extra length. It doesn't go into that silly & boring 'Love Angle' mode as the latest sequels of KRRISH and DHOOM do. Keeps the much needed fun element intact even till its finale leaving you with all positive vibes. And more importantly this is one of those rare films where Salman Khan doesn't take off his shirt in any of his last minute fights breaking his own set norm religiously followed in the last few years.
Besides where Salman successfully manages to keep you hooked in the first half along with Randeep Hooda & Jacquelin, there Nawazzudin Siddiqui comes in to provide his big noteworthy support post intermission keeping the energy going. And saying the bitter truth, both Randeep and Nawazuddin frankly can be called the second source of oxygen to this latest Salman Khan movie made on a weak premise. In addition, KICK also gets some valuable strength from its entertaining supporting acts led by Sanjay Mishra in his only scene at the Police Station, Mithun Chakraborty as the spirited father, Saurabh Shukla as the girl's pa, Archana Puransingh in her one scene playing the loud mother, Kavin Dave-Sumona in the film's opening chase sequence and Vipin Sharma as the enjoyable, annoyed minister towards the end.
Plus two other thankful saviors of KICK are that this time the lead actress doesn't tease you at all due to her calm & pleasing appearance (ignoring her diction) and the lead actor i.e. Salman doesn't look like an arrogant, over confident star performing the role at his own will, ignoring any specific demand of his actual character written in the script. In other words KICK has the Salman Khan we saw in WANTED & DABANGG, but not the one witnessed in READY, BODYGUARD, EK THA TIGER or DABANGG 2 to be precise.
Moreover it's the unexpectedly surprising debut achievement by the director-producer Sajid Nadiadwala which simply makes you think that why Sajid didn't opt for direction in all these years for any of Salman's film, since he has actually managed to deliver a much better product than many renowned directors of the industry, unarguably. Anyway a good start has been made with a bang and I hope he will give us much better films in the future which would ideally be based on some original scripts and not just be the routine remakes of the south following the easier path. Interestingly one fight sequence in its first half has been straight away taken from Prakash Mehra - Amitabh Bachchan's SHARAABI released in 1984. And I would really like to know that whether it was unintentional or Sajid actually wished to pay a tribute to the master film-maker in his very first venture.
Coming back to KICK, cinematography & action gives an international look to the film, especially post intermission in its actions sequences and background score keeps the tempo high as required. Sadly the soundtrack remains the weakest link of the film once again and one or two catchy hit songs could have easily taken the project to another level altogether. Here the point to be noted is that the original Telugu movie does have few melodious upbeat tracks composed well. So I wonder why they didn't go for the official rights of those songs only, following the ROWDY RATHORE route playing it safe.
Now apart from the commercial aspect, the one thing I would personally like to appreciate here is that since his last two attempts, Salman is trying to give a social message through his films fulfilling his moral responsibility towards the people being their loving celebrity. Unfortunately he failed to give that message impressively in JAI HO but has once again tried to do the same in KICK. And I hope this time the message reaches the maximum, encouraging them all to find their individual KICK of life, before the time is over.
Summing up, I would like to rate KICK as a much better movie than KRRISH 3, DHOOM 3 or even EK THA TIGER in terms of entertainment. So Salman is definitely here to get a bigger Iddi this festive season along with Randeep and Nawazuddin loudly claiming their respective shares too.