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Sensational but disjointed. Lacks soul.
I binge watched this show over two weeks. Needless to say that it is gripping but it is only because it is sensational. It lacks the soul of a great show and you feel betrayed by the directors at the end of the show. I assume that there will be other seasons. However, what I have seen so far is just taking advantage of the audience. This is a new era in hindi shows where content is being produced by Netflix and Prime. This kind of content is self censored and hence tend to push the envelope in terms of language, violence and sexual content. All of this gives added freedom for the makers to tell their stories. Some producers will use it to tell the story that they were unable to tell earlier but in case of this show the added freedom was used to exploit the baser instincts of the audience.
Delhi on trial
I saw this movie only yesterday and was moved by it. It is an excellent movie that depicts the struggles of women in India and more specifically Delhi. It is a story of sexual assault in Delhi and various trials and tribulations that victims have to go through just to survive let alone prevail.
This movie is based in Delhi and I don't think it is by any coincidence. Delhi has gotten the moniker of "Rape Capital" and I don't think it is totally wrong. There are certain subtle and not so subtle reasons that lead to rape in Delhi. What I am not sure is whether Delhi is unique in it.
I write this review assuming Delhi, its population and its system, is one of the characters in this movie. I believe there are are multiple reasons why there are so many rapes in Delhi but I would like to concentrate on system, society and boys of Delhi.
1 System: By system I mean law enforcement and judicial system. They are extremely powerful systems but they are also the most inefficient and can be easily bought by those that can exert power. As a default, law enforcement doesn't do much. You would hardly find a police officer stopping a crime even though there are various check points all over the city. Judiciary by default doesn't provide timely judgement and can not be counted upon. Additionally, you can buy the services of these systems relatively easily to do your bidding however illegal or immoral it may be. For example in this movie a police officer could be paid to create wrong police report and no one bats an eyelid. I am sure this can be done in other parts of the world too but it would require lot more effort and it will lead to big fall out if such a crime was to be caught. Judges in Delhi can be routinely bought. So two mechanism by which a victim could get justice and future crime could be deterred are used by perpetrators primarily as weapon in this city. Everybody knows this and therefore a victim is very wary to approach these two systems for protection just like the victims in this movie.
2. Society: North Indian society that makes up Delhi, worships a number of Hindu goddesses. So they respect women but only when they stay on a small elevated pedestal. If women display any human tendencies the society consisting of men and women of all ages come out to put these women in their place. So this society gets very uncomfortable when a girl chooses her own mate, wears the clothes that are not prescribed by her parents, lives on her own or consumes alcohol. Fathers give up on their daughters and brothers give up on their sisters if they display desires that are considered natural in west. Honor killings are common in these parts and so is putting women behind closed doors for supposedly sake of their own safety. Rarely do we see this society rise and come to rescue women when they are doing things that are not within the narrow scope of what they are allowed. So a girl who wears short dresses and stays out till 9 pm with her boyfriend is considered to be asking for rape and will garner little support unless she dies a gruesome death. A rape victim is usually forced into hiding as if she has somehow invited the rape as opposed to going after the perpetrator. The same society which judges girls so much doesn't judge its boys at all. They have a free reign to do pretty much whatever they want.
3. Boys: The biggest culprit are these boys and man children. A wide swath of boys grow up with very little contact with women other than their mother and sisters if they have one. This is because society frowns upon any contact between boy and girl before marriage. Most grow up with no knowledge of what women want. In their mind the women should be pious and stay away from boys like him. When they see a women that smiles and talk nicely to them it just messes up their value system and they start degrading such women even though that is exactly what they desire. Women and girls are well aware of this dynamic and they stay away from all boys and this leads to a positive feedback. Only way to get female companionship in this situation is to either get married or get it by power. Power means spending money on prostitutes but it also means rape. Most boys/men are well aware that a women is not protected by either the system or society. There is a good chance that they can get away with using force against women. Forcible rape in moving car on gunpoint are more common then any of us would care to admit. Forming a group with similar motives that includes harassing a women is not difficult. It is almost like people around you are egging you to do it and ready to be your helper by either driving the car or making threats on your behalf or protecting you if you ever get in trouble. Targets are plenty and easy picking with very minor consequences if it ever comes to that.
Shoojit Sircar captured all of this in his movie very well. He did show a corrupt system ruling over apathetic impotent society in which powerful boys go after targets with utter impunity. If target fights back then the first instinct of perpetrator is to put them in their place and teach them a lesson just like shown in this movie. Often they are successful. This movie shows this struggle and highlights a case where things don't go as usual. In doing so it shines the light on what we are doing wrong.
Amitabh was excellent as an aging retired lawyer who understands this struggle. He is fighting his own demons but gathers himself to fight this one last battle on behalf of victims.
Taapsi, Kirti and Andrea acted beautifully depicting independent women with hopes and desires but are hunted by these boys with help of system and not protected by society. Lots of girls get broken or give up. Movie beautifully depicts their anguish and the hard decisions they have to make just to preserve themselves .
The entire cast deserves kudos to play the roles they were given. This include prosecution lawyer who is paid to harass the victims in the court or the friend of perpetrator who aid and abet him. Lady constable did talk in perfect haryanvi and did capture the rotten portion of the system.
This is a must watch movie and we don't see enough of such movies in Hindi.
An all too real movie.
The beauty of this movie is that it is a tragedy and it is all too real. I read reviews from some of the western viewers who found the concept of police taking money unrealistic. Welcome to India where a girl having sex before marriage is considered worse than crime. Things are changing in India but they haven't all changed so it is real.
There are some powerful performances from Richa Chadha (Devi), Sanjay Mishra (Devi's father), Vicky Kaushal (Deepak) and above all Shweta Tripathi (Shalu).
I am going to start with Shalu. She is a college girl who loves poetry (Shayari) and falls for this boy who she doesn't know very well. She enjoys his physical touch and his company and that is portrayed so well by her. You could see her as that innocent girl next door. She only has a relatively small role in the movie but she does shine.
Deepak is young boy who is from a poor family and he is about to complete his bachelors in civil engineering. He has a bright future in front of him but he does carry his family background as a baggage on his shoulders. He falls in love and deeply cares about this girl but he is not sure if he can get her even though she loves him dearly. He does lose her and he portrays the grief astoundingly. You feel bad when he is crying and that is hallmark of good acting. Vicky has that effortless way of selling his character.
Devi is another character who you feel really bad about. She falls in love with a boy and decides to make love to her. This act is caught by police and the boy commits suicide and she is told that she has committed a crime. She is not so sure that she has done anything wrong but the society including her father thinks otherwise. She feels trapped and wants to break free but this is not easy in this male dominated society. You root for her and movie stops at the right juncture.
Last character I was touched by was Mr. Pathak who is Devi's father. He is exploited by local authorities who are threatening to ruin his daughter. He knows that his daughter hasn't committed any crime but he finds himself too weak to really stand up for her. Instead he tries to cover for her the best he can. He loves his daughter but finds himself somewhat powerless and meekly gets exploited. Sanjay Mishra portrays the helplessness so well.
Supporting characters besides the above four were also real. I watched this movie because its writer is Varun Grover who I have started to admire after watching some of his stand up routines. I do see this movie and say to myself that Hindi movies do indeed have a future. There is life beyond multi crore Khan movies.
I highly recommend this movie if you don't mind a tragedy. It is not going to be a song and dance routine but is a real depiction of life in many circles.
Pedophilia Justification in guise of realism
I watched this movie because I saw another movie of Shweta Tripathi (Masaan). To me she is the bright spot in this movie. She plays the role of 15 year old girl (her real age is 31) who is growing up in a household without any other woman. Her father is a drunk policeman and she feels he is cheating on her mother even though her mother has left them quite some time ago. She does capture the vulnerability and insecurity of this character well. Her vulnerability is exploited by her school teacher Shyam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). He is supposed to the Haraamkhor as he sexually exploits this 15 year old even though he is happily married by all accounts. I was supposed to find some redeeming quality in his character and that is what I failed to do. That in my opinion is shortcoming of this movie. This movie just became about child sexual exploitation and violence against them. The two child artists Irfan and ?? acted well and showed there innocence and curiosity. I found the editing of the movie to be tedious. Movie ends abruptly with lives coming to abrupt end. Overall it didn't seem like a movie which was particularly entertaining or with a particular message. It just seemed voyeuristic and opportunistic. Whole movie was rather pointless.
I am a fan of Sidharth Malhotra so I watched this movie on Netflix with some anticipation. Movie started out well and promised to be a good watch but then it meandered into pointless. So what was all the fuss about. Were people complaining why a building that was supposed to be only 6 story became 31 story and some people got residences in it. I am not saying that it is right but you don't go around shooting people for it and lose your faith in system that you have sworn to protect and serve. Couldn't you find something else to be unhappy about. Sounded like another of political propaganda that is being dished out these days.
Sidharth Malhotra did the best he could but Manoj Bajpayee overacted as always. He is one of those guys who needs to dominate the screen and in doing so he overacts. He didn't sell himself as the master tactician that movie claims him to be. Rest of the cast was forgettable. As usual the non Indian (British in this movie) characters were shown as clowns.
I don't remember any of the songs from this movie. Chases were insipid. You just have to take the word of the director that heroes were really good at Aiyaary as you come back unconvinced.
Overall a waste of time.
Are we glorifying Sati in 21st century?
This movie generated lots of passion in India. Buses were burnt and threats were made to the actors. Movie release date had to be postponed and its name had to be changed. However, at the end, it is just a poorly made movie with bad dialogues, lot of histrionics and poor cgi. The only bright spot in the movie was Deepika Padukone and her depiction of Padmavati. Ghoomar song is choreographed beautifully. Ranveer Singh acts like a psychotic clown and that is being nice to him. Shahid kapoor's performance is forgettable. What really made me wonder is how we can glorify the custom of Sati in 21st century. Thank god for Raja Ram Mohan Roy to have gotten rid of this horrible expectation from women. Why some people are proud of this custom from the history is beyond me. I understand that my views will be in minority as this movie turned out to be one of the highest grosser but that doesn't make me wrong. In my view just watch the ghoomar song on the youtube for free and forget about the rest of the movie.
Love Breakups Zindagi (2011)
Not so entertaining love story
Watched this movie on Netflix because I had nothing else to do. A rather poorly made love story. Both hero and heroine are pretty but not very good actors. Zayed fails to show a Delhi guy. He just doesn't have the dialogue delivery to be convincing. Dia Mirza has a pretty face but she can not act. She is rather unconvincing as girl who is torn between two guys. Songs are forgettable and dances are pathetic. Overall this movie is a waste of time.
Tomb Raider (2018)
I am a big fan of Alicia and i was looking forward to this meeting. Missed it on big screen so I finally saw it on blu ray. Must say that I was underwhelmed and disappointed by the movie. Alicia couldn't make me forget Angelina and I think that was a requirement. Movie was not very good either. Plot line is weak and Alicia's co-stars are nothing to write home about. Stunts that look good in preview are just kind of ok. Overall, I am kind of disappointed by this movie.
Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018)
Great fun movie with some good actors but disappointing end
Saw this movie on Amazon prime yesterday. I am biased towards movies based in DELHI. Loved the depiction of rich boys in Delhi. Characters were well developed except that of main heroine. I still don't know what was supposedly wrong with her. Songs are catchy and well choreographed but they may not be everybody's cup of tea.
Film would make lot of sense if we believe that directors were not allowed to say certain things due to local laws. For example if we assume that the two heroes of the movie were gay and Sonu knew that Titu can never be happy with a girl then it will explain his fierce resistance. Sonu does tell Sweety that he knows things about Titu that Titu doesn't know about himself. Sonu likely is out of closet as we don't see him with any girl other than perhaps one song of the movie where he is led into bedroom by a beautiful but domineering girl. Titu likely is in closet as he does have girlfriends but he is always unhappy with them and his girlfriends have tinder accounts.
Anyways I liked this movie. If my alternate theory is not true than the movie is borderline misogynistic.
Secret Superstar (2017)
A beautiful fairy tale
Review of "Secret Superstar" Date: 27-Oct-2017
Watched this movie last Friday with my wife. Another excellent movie from Aamir Khan. I am a great fan of his work and I look forward to release of his movies. Aamir usually releases only one movie a year and this movie was released in less than a year primarily because the release of his last movie Dangal was delayed because some people in power didn't like an innocuous (seemingly critical?) comment he made.
Secret Superstar is another excellent movie made by Aamir. Thing about Aamir's movie is that they are highly entertaining but they also force you to think about something that people have stopped thinking about. They are not like candy like most other Hindi movies but they are a scrumptious hearty meals with layers and flavors. This movie was about several themes with domestic violence and equality of opportunities for boys' vs girls being on top. Aamir also questioned the need to put all kids into same mold in this movie and touched upon the need to pursue dreams and passion. Child marriage and female infanticide was also questioned.
The best thing about the movie was its casting. Zaira Wasim plays the role of a 15 year Insia with aplomb. She has the right combination of innocence and awkwardness of a teen who has dreams that she wishes to pursue but often finds herself frustrated by rules that are made for her by society. Meher Vij plays the mother of Zaira and she looks like her mother every bit. They both have this on-screen chemistry which convinces you that they are willing to do anything for each other. No sacrifice is too small and no joy is too large to share. Aamir takes a back seat in his own production and confines himself to a comic role but delivers nonetheless. He is very entertaining, loud but also human in his role as music director Shakti Kumarr. Surprise delivery came from Tirth Sharma as Chintan Patel. He is classmate of Insia and loves her. He looks awkward as most 10th graders in India do but he knows the world. He is an optimist and you root for him along with Insia. A few words for Raj Arjun who plays the father of Insia. His performance is also great as he does some really horrible things but does portray them as taking care of his family and doing the right thing.
Music was great though I don't think it is going to do very well. I did see the attention to detail in the movie. Watch the chemistry questions written on the blackboard when Insia is taking an exam at the tutor's home. They are all valid 10th grade chemistry questions and they are tough! I know because I taught my daughter chemistry last year.
One thing Aamir's movie does is to force you to think about it. I came back thinking how Indian society (both Hindu and Muslim) tend to marry their daughters before they are self-sufficient and tend to put most of their resources on their sons. It then creates a vicious cycle where a girl is always dependent and vulnerable. She is not allowed to make any big/small purchase herself and doesn't own anything. There is no room for her growth and she is expected to follow the instruction of her father and then her husband. Furthermore, we have created a society where it is not safe for a single woman to live alone. I do see welcome changes around me however, we do have a long way to go.
This movie at the heart is a fairy tale. A talented girl does find her due and place in the world. I am not sure if in real life all struggles have such happy endings.
Another Cinematic Masterpiece from Aamir Khan
I am a big fan of Aamir Khan and I watch all his movies. Aamir sets a high expectation bar for his movies in all departments. Dangal also had a high bar to climb and it did so with aplomb. Aamir chose a great subject of encouragement for female wrestlers in India. Against all odds Mahavir Singh Phogat decides to train his daughters in wrestling to win a gold medal for India. Movie's casting was excellent with all actors doing so well in their characters. Aamir was great as usual but I was really impressed by how well the four girls did as growing wrestlers. They were strong and they were agile and they owned the court they were in. I am sure there were some technical help provided in shooting all those wrestling scenes but you will not be able to tell that while watching the movie. Their scenes were authentic and you were rooting for them as they were gritting their teeth and fighting tooth and nail to defeat their opponents. Dialog delivery in Haryanvi was on the money and you really will come out thinking that these actors speak that way everyday. I am not going to provide any spoiler but will just say that this is a movie to watch. It is a shame that release of such a beautiful movie had to be delayed by more than a year because of political fear.
Waste of time
I must start by saying that I had heard of Amy but had not watched any of her work prior to watching this movie. I expected this movie to be a comedy and perhaps that is where I made my first mistake. This movie tried to be funny but it never was for me. All the characters seemed unreal and not likable at all. There was no chemistry between Bill and Amy. I still cannot see how those two characters can be together. Most likable characters were those played by the professional athletes. Not sure how and why this movie made so much money and got nominated for golden globe. I guess marketing can do wonders. Watch it if you have nothing else to do.
IMDb ratings are useless
High rating of this movies is a proof that IMDb rating system can be rigged fairly easily. This is especially true for ratings of non-English movies like Hindi. This movie came out in 2006 and was a copy of Hollywood movies. Stars in this movie are good actors but they were over-acting in this movie. This movie had poor dialogues, poor copied story line and poor music. I can only surmise that this movie is rated so highly because the reviews are written by professionally paid writes on behalf of producers. You can also see this happening for quite a few other Hindi movies where new movies are rated very highly even though they do very poorly on box office as well as big duds artistically. IMDb rating system is gamed over here. Unfortunately there is no easy way to stop this exploitation of volunteer system.
Kapoor & Sons (2016)
A great movie that you might miss!
Just saw this movie without knowing much about it. The only thing I knew was that this movie has a cheesy song from this rapper called Badshah - "Ladki beautiful .." If you know this movie only because of this song, like I did, then you will be missing a great family drama. What a powerful movie with so many flawed characters. All the characters are played by some really good actors. Some really great performances by Alia, Sidharth, Rishi, Fawad and Ratna. Truly amazing Hindi movie which handled so many complex issues like, infidelity, homosexuality, jealousy, sibling rivalry and loneliness. Without giving away too much, you have to see this movie if you want to see a serious family Hindi movie.
Jason Bourne (2016)
Not a great Bourne movie
To me Bourne movies changed the face of a genre. After the Bourne movies James Bond couldn't remain the same and had to morph to meet the new standards. In this movie, I found that there was nothing new. Head of agency is again evil. Him and the asset that is going against Bourne are conveniently the ones who also killed his father. Female lead was not well developed. We are not sure what her motives are and where she is coming from. Chases and fights were stale and we have seen those in previous Bourne movies. Overall this will not be a movie that will live up the reputation of other Bourne movies. It feels like a movie that was made in haste to cash the reputation of this series.
A very likable and cute movie
Saw this movie on a camera print DVD yesterday. Usually I never enjoy a movie on this pirated format but this movie is an exception. Kangna rocked as queen and made the audience fall in love with her. Kangna has that endearing quality that most Indian heroines lack these days. She reminded me of Juhi Chawla from not so recent past. The movie is certainly worth a watch. Kangna carries the movie on her shoulders. Rajkumarr(sp?) repeats his role of overbearing cute guy as he did in LSD and Ragini MMS. Halfway through the movie I was worried that the directors will screw up the ending of the movie but they didn't! Enough said, now go watch the movie.
Bad Teacher (2011)
Not sure about the teacher but this was a bad movie!
I saw this movie in mar-2014 which is 3 years after release. I am really glad that I didn't pay good money to watch this movie on theater or even blu ray (downloaded it via Dish on demand). Cameron Diaz has acted in some bad movies but this I believe was most horrible. Story line didn't make any sense. Cameron's character changes towards the end but why does it change and does it really change. The movie was supposed to run because of Cameron Diaz but I don't think she has enough star power to carry this disaster on her shoulders. Movie was not funny and just dragged on for some time and then came to an abrupt stop. I was glad when it was over.
This Is the End (2013)
What was the point of this movie
This is the question I am left with. What was the point of this movie? I am not Christian and I haven't read bible. I am somewhat familiar with concept of rapture. Was this movie believed to show that there is indeed rapture going to happen and it will lead to this kind of situation which may be hilarious. I enjoyed Superbad and Pineapple express but this movie I just couldn't figure what was going on. I am afraid that the directors and producers didn't either. There were some artists whose movies I have enjoyed in past but I didn't recognize the entire cast and I didn't enjoy this movie just because these guys were in this movie. May be this movie was not made for me and there might be others who might get the humor on it. That must be it. Because nothing can be entirely pointless.
World War Z (2013)
Saw this movie on DVD last week. I haven't read the original book. Zombie plot was nothing new. Plenty of zombie movies out there. What I found unique in this movie however, was the propaganda it carried especially for state of Israel. It kind of reminded of the novels written by Frederick Forsyth. Subtle suggestions that Israel is a oasis of intelligence and compassion whereas all other countries are bumbling idiots or brutes. Wall they built is really built to save humanity. This subtle propaganda does work and I am sure lot of people's existing biases will be confirmed.
Brad Pitt was not convincing in his role. Other characters were fairly weak too. Action sequences are pretty average. I personally liked the other recent zombie movie "I legend".
Overall this was a fairly forgettable movie.
Poorly made movie on Cricket fans
Saw this movie on Netflix yesterday (feb-2013). Found this movie to be amateurish and basically be there to cash on cricket hysteria in India. All the characters were cartoon like, including teenagers from poor (good) school and rich (bad) school. Even the main character of Hari Sadu (Suri) was not fully developed. Music was pathetic. I liked whatever few scenes Sandhya Mridul was in. She brought some level of normalcy and humanity in this movie. Movie tried to copy a big blockbuster Lagaan but failed miserably. I am sure this movie was made on a very small budget but that should not be an excuse for a bad product. There are other better movies made on cricket in India. Avoid this one.
Jack Reacher (2012)
Good movie but not great
I saw this movie in the first week of its release. I have not read any books related to Jack Reacher so my review is only for the movie. My general thought is that movie was nicely made and Tom Cruise did a good job. However, I felt that none of other characters were built properly in this movie to make it a great movie. Everyone in the movie is scared of the villain but I cannot understand why. Overall I enjoyed the movie while I was in theater but at the end I was left asking myself what was the point behind the movie. So good movie to see on a DVD if you have a few hours to kill but certainly not a movie for which you would want to make a trip to the theaters.
Tanu Weds Manu (2011)
Not your usual cast of characters
I am not a big fan of Kangna and before watching the movie I was convinced that Kangna will flop at playing the role of a small town girl. However, I must say that Kangna performed very convincingly as Tanu from a small town in UP. Movie had lots of twist and turns but was very convincing up until the end. Madhavan as Munnu Ji was also very likable and convincing. The guy falls in love with a girl at first sight and does things for her even though she is cruel to him. Overall a very good movie that exceeded my expectations. The music of the movie was also very good. Especially like the punjabi songs. My favorite one was kadi sadi gali .. I also liked the rehash of Kajra mohabbat wala. Supporting cast was also strong.
A poor remake of Tamil Original
I had watched this movie while I was studying in Madras (Tamil Nadu). This movie is a poor copy of an excellent Tamil movie named Nayakan. The problem is that Dayavan movie pretended that it is not a copy and did a very poor job of copying. Dayavan is produced and directed by Feroz Khan who made some mega productions like Qurbani and Jaanbaaz. In this movie Feroz took the short cut and copied a widely popular movie without putting any though on his own. I was very impressed by the photography of the original Nayakan which captured the loneliness of a boy while keeping things dim. Dayavaan failed on the photography front. Nayakan starred Kamal Hassan who very deftly portrayed his characters with equal measure of strength and hesitation. Vinod Khanna in Dayavan doesn't even come close to Kamal in capturing the range of emotions. Watch a scene in the movie where Kamal and Vinod grieve for their dead son and note that Vinod was copying Kamal and still did a bad job of it. Original movie had excellent score provided by Illayaraja and it was poorly copied in Dayavaan. Overall I was very disappointed to see this remake/copy.
Rowdy Rathore (2012)
Waste of time and money
Saw this movie on DVD yesterday. I am told that this is a remake of a Telugu/Tamil movies. That was apparent to me even from start. The movie is over the top but not entertaining. Characters are not developed and they keep jumping from one place to the other. The bad guys were not really scary and were more comical than anything else. It is difficult to review these kind of movies and you have to see whether it is entertaining or not. I found the entertaining portion to be very small and only limited to the time when Sonakshi Sinha was wooed by Akshay. In my opinion don't waste your time on this movie. Do something more meaningful or just watch TV!
Jism 2 (2012)
A poorly made erotic thriller
Watched this movie on DVD yesterday. This movie was dubbed as erotic thriller. The debut movie of Sunny Leone who is of Indian origin and has acted as a porn star in some Hollywood movies that I haven't seen. Indian movies have lately become lot more racy but this movie fell short. This was neither erotic nor thriller. Sunny Leone the star attraction of the movie doesn't know how to act but that was not expected of her either. She looked older than she claims to be. Her still pictures look good but she wasn't erotic in the this movie. Randeep Hooda I thought did fine in whatever he was allowed by directors to do. He was also impressive in Sahib bibi aur gulam. He doesn't have a chocolate face but I think he will do well. Bhatt's direction was poor. Bhatt's films are usually copies of a foreign film but I couldn't figure out which film they copied here. May be they tried to make an original and hence the poor final product. Music is usually good in Bhatt's movie and it was decent for this movie too. I don't remember all the songs now but they sounded good while I watched the movie. I have given it 4 out of 10 stars and I think am being generous!