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Only Ranveer Singh's act saves the day
Let me get straight to the point: Ranveer Singh's powerful performance as Allauddin Khilji is the only good thing about Padmavati (or Padmaavat). He is the only actor who manages to keep your interest alive in an otherwise routine movie. Ranveer manages to display every savagery, insecurity, vulnerability and vileness. It seems Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a bit biased towards the character of Allauddin Khilji that he gives a proper arc to this character, fleshing out his every moves and motives. The weakest character in this movie, in my opinion, is that of Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapur). He seems like a text book of Rajputi morals, principles and valour. He keeps spouting dialogues about what Rajputs can do and not do and they can do anything to preserve their honour and their principles can never be questioned. And that, I feel, is the biggest undoing of the movie. Because that makes the character so one-dimensional, failing us to be drawn to the character as he lacks proper strategy to counter the moves of a deadly and manipulative enemy. As Ratan Singh, Shahid fails to look the part and looks lost in some scenes. Also, he looks so diminutive to embrace a regal character like Ratan Singh. As Rani Padmavati, Deepika Padukone looks ethereal (as all other Bhansali's heroines) and the camera just loves her. She seems to be more smarter than her husband as she has a sharp eye and senses every danger ahead of time. However, Shahid and Deepika have no chemistry together and that's also one of the biggest undoings of the movie. Special mention must also be made of Jim Sarbh and Aditi Rao Hydari who give more layered and nuanced performances as Allauddin Khilji's slave and wife respectively. Their performances are also something that you can take back home along with Ranveer Singh's. Nothing about this movie engrossed me. I know SLB is a master of visuals and this time too he lives up to the expectations of creating a magnificent canvas of colors and grand settings. But the story of the movie is nothing new and quite boring at some point. I know that the story of Padmavati is inspired by Malik Muhammad Jayasi's poem "Padmavat," but the least SLB could have done is to give an interesting twist to an otherwise predictable plot and to tweak it to give it a more contemporary touch. The climax seems just like a rehash of Ketan Mehta's Mirch Masala with the women throwing burning coal (instead of spices) at Allauddin Khilji and the length of time that Rani Padmavati takes to commit Jauhar makes you so restless that you just want it to be over. The Jauhar scene should have been cut down by five minutes or so to create a stronger impact. I expected much more from this movie storywise from SLB and he disappointed me a big time! On a side note, I would like to say that all the controversies surrounding the movie is competely absurd and baseless. The claim made by the Rajputs and Karni Senas that this movie defames the fabled Queen Padmavati's legacy is absolutely untrue. The movie glorifies the Rajputs so many times that you just lose count and at some point, it gets on your nerves. I hope SLB grows up and learns that there is much more than visuals to keep audiences hooked to your movie.
Begum Jaan (2017)
Vidya Balan shines but the direction lets the film down
Begum Jaan works only because of Vidya Balan. As a performer, Vidya has never disappointed. Since her debut Parineeta, Vidya showed us why she's one versatile actor to watch out for. As Begum Jaan, Vidya gives the film her all. She's totally convincing as the owner of a brothel who's worldly wise and spouts philosophy at the drop of a hat. The only thing unconvincing about her appearance (and that's not entirely her fault!) is her unibrow. I don't understand why would the director ask Vidya to sport a unibrow while all the other girls in the brothel have perfectly shaped eyebrows. But that's just nitpicking in an otherwise brilliant performance. Now let's move on to the other aspect of this movie, I think it's the direction that falters the most. I never understood what the director is trying to tell us through this movie. He seems really confused about how to get his point through. There are a lot of scenes in the movie which don't seem to add to the actual plot of the movie. We never get to sympathise with Begum Jaan's plight to save her brothel. We know that she's emotionally attached to her house and that's about it. The time of The Partition was a tough one and we know that a lot of people were leaving their houses as they had no other choice. Then why would Begum Jaan try to challenge this movement at the cost of so many people's lives at her brothel? I mean, she's not the only one who is asked to leave her house at that time! Also, the background score seems too loud at some point and absolutely unnecessary at some. Talking about the supporting cast, I must say Vidya gets ample support from them. Gauahar Khan lends credibility to her role as Rubina, Begum's right hand woman. Pallavi Sharda also shines in some of the scenes. But the surprise package is Chunky Pandey in his never before seen evil avatar.
Overall, Begum Jaan could have been a much better film had the director put some thought on how to build up an engaging plot without unnecessary melodrama and sub plots. Still, it can only be enjoyed for Vidya and Vidya's performance only!
Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017)
It's not the ring, it's the plot that's missing!
I don't know why I am writing a review on Jab Harry Met Sejal but I think Imtiaz Ali is not the same man anymore who redefined love stories with gems like Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal and Rockstar. I wasn't expecting a fresh take on love from JHMS anyways, but I felt there is absolutely no plot in this movie. It's high time that Bollywood directors like Imtiaz Ali, Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra realize that they cannot keep churning out rubbishes like JHMS, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil or Befikre anymore. They need to touch a cord with the audience with their movies. Also, I think it's high time that Shah Rukh Khan should reconsider his movie choices. He just can't keep repeating his lover boy act from DDLJ anymore. He should keep up with his age and the current generation love stories. And he should STOP romancing girls half his age. I would also like to tell Anushka that she should start choosing her movies wisely. It seems like she's only interested in bagging movies of big Bollywood directors that she doesn't even pay attention to the scripts of the movies. First ADHM and now JHMS, she should stop picking these mindless romantic junks and do something meaningful like her contemporary Alia Bhatt who is making sensible career choices than her! The climax was such a bummer that I just got up from my chair. I didn't expect such stuff from Imtiaz and SRK. What were they even thinking when they made JHMS?
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)
Karan Johar has cheated us!
I found Ae Dil Hai Mushkil thoroughly disappointing. Nothing about this movie connected to me. In my opinion, Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna was the worst. However, ADHM manages to top even that!
Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma spend the first half imitating characters from Johar's previous movies and movies from the 80s while the second half looks like a retelling of Ranbir's own Rockstar (what with Ranbir eventually becoming a singer and the terminal illness track of Anushka)! Just disappointing! I think anyone could have played the role of Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan's Saba. There was nothing spectacular about her performance. However, I think she lets her eyes do most of the talking which is why Johar picked her for the role. She has this incredible talent of emoting with her eyes without saying a word which most actresses of today fail to do. Even her shayaris had no depth whatsoever. Not to mention she struggles with the Urdu portions. I don't think her role was even necessary as she appears in a 15 minuteish role. Ditto for Fawad Khan whose presence in this movie created such a furor prior to its release! Fawad is wasted in a role with which he could have done wonders with. Fawad lets himself to be overshadowed by Ranbir in some of the scenes that they share.
Performance-wise, it's Ranbir and Anushka's film. They own every scene that they have. However, it's the script that lets them down that they find themselves imitating characters from various old Hindi films! It's Ranbir Kapoor who rises over an inane script, leaving his own stamp in each scene which could have fallen flat in a lesser actor's hands. But then he has experience from his own movie, Rockstar where he also played a similar role, playing a lovelorn boy to the hilt. Anushka Sharma is good but finds herself trapped in a role that was done-to-death before a billion times in Bollywood!
On a final note, ADHM is just a one-time watch for Karan Johar and Ranbir Kapoor's fans. I felt like Johar cheated us by creating suspense about the plot of the film before its release. There's nothing novel about the plot of ADHM!
Bajirao Mastani (2015)
Deepika performs below expectations!
Seriously, I was expecting more from Deepika Padukone in Bajirao Mastani since she is one of the eponymous character in this movie and she can be called this generation's female Bollywood superstar no doubt after her brilliant outing in Piku and Tamasha. Sadly, Deepika failed to live up to my expectations. Her dialogue delivery is so weak in some scenes and her dance in the "rang do mohe lal" song just lacks the charm and grace. She seems like a complete misfit for the role of Mastani and looks too tall and modern to be able to carry off the royal look. Deepika just made me feel the need of the supremely talented Aishwarya Rai in many scenes. She just doesn't have varied expressions. Her last scene with her son where she tells him to go with the guards was supposed to melt our hearts. But sadly, it does not. Deepika just seems to be struggling with her emoting abilities. Also, her face when she gets out of a palanquin induces a laugh from audience. Wooden expression at its best! Surprisingly, it's Priyanka Chopra who stole the show from under Deepika's nose despite being a supporting (or is it?) character. Her confusion, anger and jealousy after learning of her husband and Mastani's (Deepika) love is really well etched. Priyanka seems to have developed a knack for stealing the show in every single movie of hers. With this movie, the stage is all set for Ranveer Singh to claim the throne of this generation's super star from the Khan trio. This guy is just something else. The way he masters the Marathi accent and the fight scenes is just wow! No one can be Bajirao other than Ranveer! He nails it like a pro. The only sore thumb of this movie is sadly Deepika Padukone! It's really sad how she ends up being overshadowed despite being the central character. Even Tanvi Azmi as Bajirao's mother gives a strong account of herself but Deepika simply fails to do so!
Anushka's career best performance
Before I even start, I'd like to say that Anushka Sharma's performance was the brightest spot in this film. NH10's story was really good and was something that not many filmmakers in Bollywood have attempted before. I mean, there were many road movies made in Bollywood before like Road, Daud, Kaal among many others. But none have presented a strong female character who was not dependent on the hero to rescue her from her miseries. NH10 rides completely on Anushka's slender shoulders and she proves that she can carry off any roles with aplomb if given a chance.
I was totally satisfied with NH10 but I found some faults in the film. There were some loopholes in the plot, especially at the end when Anushka is riding a jeep and crushing the men who battered her to death and there is a man she is aiming for. Now, he could climb around the stairs, get inside a house (the chase takes place in the bylanes of a village) or simply climb atop the vehicle. But he doesn't do any of this; he simply sits in front of a wall, making the perfect setting for a speeding jeep to crush him. Why does it have to be so convenient for her? Just because she's a woman?
The supporting cast was equally competent. Neil Bhoopalam does a great job as Anushka's caring and loving husband. Darshan Kumar does a complete U-turn from his previous role in Mary Kom as Priyanka Chopra's good-hearted and supporting husband. He was believable as a village thug who has no qualms in killing his sister who married outside her caste. Deepti Naval does a brilliant job as well as the 'Sarpanch' of the village who like Kumar doesn't have any qualms in killing her daughter to protect her honour.
I was also pleased with the flow of the movie as there are no songs to distract you from the plot. Though there's one song which I really liked, "Maati Ka Palang' which aptly describes Anushka's state of mind in the climax when she's ready to kill or to be killed. The editing is praiseworthy but I feel the lighting could have been better at some places.
I must say Anushka Sharma is the hero of NH10. She is absolutely convincing as the damsel in distress and she was brilliant in the climax. I had complaints with Anushka as she was getting type-casted as the bubbly, chirpy girl-next-door in Bollywood with her choice of movies. But she proved that she can be the next big thing in Bollywood with NH10. It's time for us to forget Anushka's cheerful, bubbly avatar as Bollywood has got its new angry woman in Anushka Sharma.
Watch NH10 for Anushka Sharma's powerful, gritty performance. You won't be disappointed!
Most realistic Bollywood film till date
Maachis (matches) is one of the most realistic Hindi film I have seen and I must say the film is engrossing from the very first frame. Gulzar saab is one of the greatest filmmakers of his time and his artistic ability are not to be doubted here as well. The way he has handled most of the scenes in this film is really mind blowing. Maachis is one of the few films where the narrative is of secondary importance while the performances of the actors are the primary focus. I never liked Tabu until I saw Maachis and I was assured that this girl is not just merely an eye candy in films, she was really irritating in Sajaan Chale Sasural. Chandrachur Singh has given his career best performance as Kripal Singh before sinking into oblivion. Jimmy Shergill was good. Om Puri and Kulbhushan Kharbanda are excellent. Raj Zutsi was also good. Some scenes like the brutality of the policemen who use the anti- Sikh insurgency only as an excuse to beat innocent people up really shock you. The climax is explosive and leaves you to ponder on the aftermath of the 1984 anti-Sikh insurgency. A brilliant movie with wonderful performances and a strong story. A must watch!
frightening but excellent
Ace filmmaker Mani Ratnam has attempted a film on inter-religion marriage and the aftermath of communal riots and came out with flying colors. Ratnam has struck all the right chords here as nothing in this film looks out of place and almost all characters have given their very best.
Arvind Swamy shows that he has what it takes to be the numero uno in the industry after his superb performance in Roja while Manisha Koirala is indeed very good here as a Muslim girl torn between her family and her Hindu lover and then a distraught mother of lost twins. None of the actresses portray vulnerability on screen like she does. Nassar is good as the hero's father while Kitty pitches in another believable performance as the heroine's Muslim father.
Music is excellent and I understand why after Bombay, Ratnam chooses A.R. Rahman as the music composer for most of his films. Cinematography is breath-taking and the scenarios of the rural India and the suburban Mumbai have been captured genuinely and beautifully.
Bombay easily goes down in cinematic history as a classic and it does show some disturbing pictures of the aftermath of the Hindu-Muslim riot like charred, deformed bodies of little children after being burnt down which is truly heart wrenching and might melt even the stone-hearted.
Just brilliant! Give it a shot.
Kangana is the true Queen
Queen completely belongs to Kangana Ranaut. She is born to play queen. Kangana takes the cake, the cherry and the whole bakery this time with her performance. It is safe to say that the character of Rani Mehra is her career best character. I did like her when she started off in the industry with Gangster, Woh Lamhe, Fashion and Raaz 2. She sort of lost her way with stupid comedies like No Problem, Double Dhamaal and the outrageous Rascals which took her career nowhere. Kangana did try to reinvent herself with last year's Rajjo, which though failed at the box office, but had Kangana walking away with all the laurels with her heart touching performance as a gold hearted, unfortunate courtesan.
Queen is absolutely Kangana Ranaut's film. Her awkward giggle, the way she scowls, laughs and cries is just amazing. I love how she tries to gain the audience's sympathy with her hapless situation but rather ends up evoking laughter with her perfect comic timing. "Mera life kharaab ho gaya hai. Mera life itna kharaab ho gaya hai," sounded very funny.
The second half of this movie does remind you of English Vinglish when Rani (Kangana Ranaut) is all alone in a foreign land and bonding with strangers. The way Rani struggles and eventually re-discovers herself is much reminiscent of what Sridevi did in English Vinglish. However, Rani's journey is much more entertaining as she encounters quite a handful of funny situations, e.g. when she has her first drink in a nightclub and the way she puts up a fight with a thief who tried to steal her purse.
As Rani goes on to discover her identity, makes new friends, learns to live life on her own terms and starts to grow as a woman, you will be left bewildered and amazed at how well the story moves on.
Vikas Bahl does an excellent job and I am sure he'll keep making brilliant cinemas in the future. I really liked Bahl's Chillar Party and he gives an awesome direction to Queen as well.
Rajkummar Rao makes his presence felt and has good screen presence with Ranaut. Lisa Haydon as Kangana's good friend is impressive and does a fine job. Boko Mish, Jeffrey Ho and Joseph Guitob leave their impression in quite a few scenes they have with Ranaut.
Music is really impressive and tracks like Badra Bahar, London Thumaka, Gujariya and the newer version of Hungama Ho Gaya from the film 'Anhonee' are sure to be chartbusters this year.
The climax is brilliant and is certainly different from the usual Bollywood climaxes we are fed up of watching.
Queen is a delight for movie goers who love fun loving cinemas. You won't be disappointed with Kangana's performance at all. Go watch it and enjoy! It's an absolute treat.
Gulaab Gang (2014)
A treat for Madhuri and Juhi fans
After a lot of hype and hoopla, Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla's first film together, Gulaab Gang has finally arrived. To watch the two iconic actresses of the 90s coming together might seem like a dream come true for many, it did that for me at least.
Gulaab Gang completely rests on the able shoulders of these two ladies. Madhuri and especially Juhi in her first villainous role have given their career best performances in this film. I was petrified at how well Juhi has succeeded in portraying an out-and-out negative role for the first time in her career. She proves that one does not have to be loud in order to appear menacing. The way she arches her eyebrows and smiles sardonically makes her appear all the more threatening whenever she is about to do something terrible. Her face off scenes with Madhuri, especially the climax scene where only one of them can survive are brilliant. Juhi Chawla takes coldness and villainy to a whole new level in Gulaab Gang.
Madhuri does an equally brilliant job as the hardened leader of a girls' gang who is always ready to fight injustice. One of the best scenes of the movie is when Madhuri along with her protégé goes to a college in order to collect funds for a school she is planning to set up for the needy children. The way she asks the students whether they can introduce a course on hunger management for those children who can't afford to eat at all is wonderfully etched. Her action scenes are mind- blowing and she dances and even sings like a dream.
However, I feel the script could have been well written as there are several loopholes in the plot. The gang breaking out into a song every now and then does stick out like a sore thumb in an issue-driven film like this and the climax seems too sudden and forceful that the impact could not even be felt. I guess it has to do a lot with the fact that it is Soumik Sen's first directorial venture. He fails to give the movie a more proper climax.
I am quite baffled by the mixed reviews that this film got. The film is actually quite entertaining and both Madhuri and Juhi are in their top form here. I guess Sampat Pal disputing that the film is actually based on her life created a lot of bad publicity for the film. Otherwise, it's a brilliantly made film with stellar performances from the two female superstars of Bollywood.
I didn't quite understand the intention of the director Basu Bhattacharya for making this film.
The film neither glorifies nor condemns the heroine for what she did. Aastha just shows Mansi (Rekha) as being helpless in front of her desires and materialistic needs. She could have lived a content life with just what her husband earns and there's not enough justification for why she strays.
When she has her first sexual encounter with a rich client, she's not shown to be reluctant to do it neither does she attempt to let go of her desire for materialism.
The ending is deeply unsatisfying as the principal question remains unanswered: whether the husband forgives Mansi or not. I know it was meant to be that way in order to make the audience think, however, it would have been even more thoughtful to give the movie a proper ending.
I clearly doubt Bhattacharya's intentions here, however if you are a huge Rekha fan and want to watch her ooze her sex appeal with just her expressions rather than exposing her body, then give it a try!
A take on the Stockholm Syndrome
Imtiaz Ali's fascination with roads continues in Highway too. Highway captures the story of two tortured souls who find the road to salvation on the highways.
The movie is full of beautiful scenerios as the principal character, Veera played by the exuberant Alia Bhatt and Mahabir played by the versatile Randeep Hooda take on a journey to discover themselves. Just days before her wedding, Veera is kidnapped by the brutish Mahabir and his gang. Mahabir doesn't actually know who Veera really is, he just takes her as a hostage in order to save himself from the police. When Mahabir comes to know of Veera's family background that she is the daughter of a rich Delhi tycoon who has strong political connections and may offer any sum to get his daughter freed, he jumps on the opportunity to hold Veera for ransom. However, as days pass, Veera develops a strange bond with Mahabir and she begins to enjoy the journey with him even though she knows that she has been abducted and she should be scared. Deep inside her heart, Veera had always dreamed of a house on a a beautiful mountain far away from the city hustles. She has a dark past which she wants to escape and this journey enables her to do that. She begins to feel a strong connect to Mahabir as he also has a traumatic past which scarred him as a person. Hence, the two souls connect but destiny has something else planned for them.
Highway belongs to Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda. Well, technically speaking it's more of Alia's journey than Randeep's in this film. The story is told through her perspective. Alia proves that given the opportunity, she can carry off any role on her petite shoulders. Alia's portrayal of a child-woman who finds her freedom in bondage is a revelation. She steals the thunder from Randeep in many scenes. The scene where she hides from the police in the kidnappers' truck, much to her own surprise, the scene where she shares her childhood story with Randeep, the scene where she dances to an English music in the middle of a road, the scene where she tells Randeep to rest in her lap and finally, the scene in the climax when she vents out her long held frustration and anger. Alia Bhatt is certainly an actress of substance to watch out in the future. Randeep Hooda shows amazing restraint as a ruffian with a disturbed past and his scene toward the pre-climax is just brilliant when he breaks down in front of Alia.
A.R. Rahman's music is also a plus point. Sooha Saha, Patakha Guddi and Maahi Ve are some really good songs which are sure to become chartbusters this year like the songs of Imtiaz Ali's previous Rockstar did.
Highway is not without its flaws, however, Alia's performance helps us overlook the glitches at several points in the movie.
Overall, Highway makes for an interesting watch on the concept of Stockholm Syndrome. Stockholm Syndrome is not necessarily something bad and it can even help you heal your emotional wounds is what Ali tried to convey in this flick.
I give it 8/10.
Better performances, poor story!
Gunday was one of the most awaited film of 2014 and director Ali Zafar succeeds in extracting really good performances from the three lead actors. However, what Zafar fails miserably is the weak storytelling. I didn't expect this kind of direction from a potential director who gave us a wonderful film like Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.
Talking about the performances, I liked Ranveer Singh a lot. He has this innate charm which draws the audience to him. The boy proves himself yet again as Bikram, an interesting character but totally let down by a weak direction. Arjun Kapoor is good too, however I don't think he can give more facial expressions apart from giving an impish smile or an evil grin. Priyanka Chopra does her part well, especially in the cabaret number. She looked hot in some of the songs. Irrfan Khan excels in a not-exactly-a-cameo role. However, his dialogues could have been better since he is a master of that art.
Gunday suffers from weak direction, poor dialogue, slow editing and poor story. I expected a much better movie from a director of Ali Zafar's calibre.
I give it 7/10.
Dedh Ishqiya (2014)
Way better than its prequel
Dedh Ishqiya is the prequel to Ishqiya which did an above average business at the box office. While the prequel had a complex albeit an interesting plot, the sequel is miles ahead of it in terms of the script, dialogues and the fabulous performances of its lead actors.
The story revolves around Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) who are petty thieves planning to steal a priceless necklace. All said and done, they two rob the "nayab" necklace. However, on the run from the police, Babban succeeds in evading the police while Khalujaan gets injured and misses Babban. Babban is then cornered by Mushtaq (Salman Shahid) who demands the necklace from him. But Babban succeeds in escaping Mushtaq as well. Babban then goes in search of Khalujaan. Eventually, Babban sees Khalujaan on TV as Khalujaan is preparing to take part in a "mushaira" being held at the place of Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit) in Mahmudabad. The widowed Begum is in hunt for a poetic suitor who can impress her with his "shairana mizaaj." Babban catches up with Khalujaan and he also falls in love with the Begum's "chamchi" Muniya (Huma Qureshi). Khalujaan's strong contender is a local MLA gangster, Jaan Mohammed (Vijay Raaz) who is willing to go to any lengths for the hand of the Begum. Love, betrayal, trickery, suspicion and chaos ensue thereafter.
Abhishek Chaubey does an awesome job in taking the prequel even further by adding new characters and new layers of suspense and funny and witty situations in the sequel. Almost every actor is special in his or her own way. Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi may not look that great individually. However, when these two actors are combined, the duo create magic. They have strong screen presence and exude confidence together. Madhuri Dixit is a delight to watch. She is excellent in the two dance numbers that she got. Her scenes with Naseer deserve kudos and the two look good in the romantic scenes. Huma Qureshi proves yet again that she cannot be sidelined in a movie with legendary actors. She shares a good chemistry with Arshad and her scenes with Madhuri are also great, especially in their semi-lesbian kissing scene. Vijay Raaz holds his own as the villain. In a film like Dedh Ishqiya, Vijay Raaz could have been easily sidelined but he shows that he could also excel in many scenes with his witty dialogue delivery.
Urdu is used lavishly in Dedh Ishqiya and that might act like a sore thumb for many. The songs are picturized well and are easy on the ears. Editing and cinematography are up to the mark and the rural scenes are brilliantly captured.
Overall, a great movie with wonderful performances and Dedh Ishqiya is notches above than its prequel. A delight for Madhuri's fans. Go watch it. Absolutely recommended!!!
Gardish is a relief from the usual Bollywood masala movies where the plot is just an excuse for the hero to take on the bad guys and beat them black and blue. This film has a strong plot, good music, slick editing and good cinematography.
The story revolves around Shiva (Jackie Shroff) whose father's (Amrish Puri)dream is to see him become a police officer. However, circumstances compel Shiva to cross paths with a local thug Billa Jilani (Mukesh Rishi). One day while Billa beats up Shiva's father, Shiva decides to take matters into his own hands and beats up Billa severely, sending him to the hospital. While in the hospital, Billa contemplates taking revenge against Shiva and once he gets out of the hospital, he begins to terrorize the whole village and Shiva's family. Will Shiva take a stand against Billa or will he act according to his father's principles, putting his dreams of becoming a police officer to the fore?
The story is very well told and Priyadarshan did a really good job of keeping the viewer involved. I didn't know that Priyadarshan can direct an action film and that too with a good story and acting.
Jackie Shroff unquestionably gives the best performance of his career after Parinda. He proves that he is a director's actor and Priyadarshan succeeds in bringing the best out of him. Amrish Puri is excellent as Jackie's confused father and he proves yet again that he can carry off not just the negative but also the positive roles with aplomb. He has very large, expressive eyes conveying anger, sadness and fear painstakingly. Dimple Kapadia is also good as the prostitute and her last scene is heart wrenching. Raj Babbar succeeds in creating an impression in just a guest appearance.
Overall, Gardish is a good and thoughtful film. If you like meaningful cinemas, then this movie is for you to watch.
Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Watch it only for the performances and comedy but don't expect logic
Andaz Apna Apna is one of those laugh hard, brainless romantic comedy films where you have to leave your brains behind the door to be able to thoroughly enjoy the movie.
The only laurels of AAA are its two brilliant performers Aamir Khan and Salman Khan. The movie was released at a time when both the Khans were considered strong rivals and their careers were at the peak in Bollywood.Their chemistry was crackling in AAA and their comic timings were brilliant. The girls Raveena and Karisma were good in their respective roles but this is a movie where they had nothing to do.
Of course, the plot is filled with lot of absurdities and is full of loopholes. But that's something you have to expect in a crazy laugh riot like this. Salman's changing hairstyles, the swapping of names between Raveena and Karisma stick out like a sore thumb. The movie took 3 years to be completed and the gap of 3 years was certainly noticeable in the film.
Anyways, AAA is a perfect comical masala film which can surely be enjoyed with family. Go watch it for a good laugh and the excellent performances of the Khans.
R... Rajkumar (2013)
R...Rajkumar is definitely one of the worst films of 2013. Everything about this film is wrong. The story is unappealing and the comedy is grossly overdone.
You have a thug who constantly stalks the heroine and then challenges the villain that he'll be the one to remove the girl's sari and then take her to a honeymoon. Disgusting! I wonder if Prabhudeva was drunk when he made this film. Furthermore, the hero (or whatever) here acts more like a hoodlum. I know that he's made to play a hooligan but he totally lacks the virtue to win the girl.
R...Rajkumar sticks out as crass, vulgar and sick. The song "Gaandi Baat" aptly describes the sick mentality of the hero.
Shahid Kapur is an average actor and he is totally wasted in a cheap film like this. Sonakshi Sinha should START getting out of her 'desi girl' avatar. She is very bad in this movie and is getting type-casted in the 'village belle' type roles.
Overall, nothing works for R...Rajkumar. It seems Prabhudeva was out of his mind when he was making this film. I would've loved to see his magic recreated after Rowdy Rathod. But I was seriously disappointed.
I give it 3/10.
Parinda is a mind blowing film about the underworld. In fact, Parinda is not only about the underworld. It's also about the human emotions and conflicts that rule their lives.
The story revolves around Kishan (Jackie Shroff) who takes to the path of crime in order to support his younger brother Karan (Anil Kapoor). Kishan works for Anna (Nana Patekar) who rules the underworld with an iron fist. He is a pure devil who has no regrets or remorse in killing people and whoever dares to cross his path will only meet with one fate- death. Things take a turn for the worse when Karan learns about Kishan's illegal activities and about his involvement with Anna. Karan proves a real threat to Anna and Anna is hell bent on eliminating Karan who dared to challenge him. However, Anna is also torn between Kishan and Karan as Kishan is his most loyal protégé. How Kishan tries to thwart Anna's plans and what happens to Karan and his ladylove Paro (Madhuri Dixit) forms the crux of the story.
Parinda is a brilliantly made film. Vidhu Vinod Chopra succeeds in keeping us hooked with the dramatics and what goes on in the underworld. Chopra definitely knows that people don't like movies made on the crime world. So, he perfectly balances both the underworld scenes and the emotional scenes. The dialogues are praiseworthy. No preaching or overused lines. In fact, this film is the most real picture of the underworld. In a nutshell, Parinda is a masterpiece.
In a film like this, performances have to be first-rate in order to captivate the audience's attention. Nana Patekar takes the cake here as he gives a brilliant performance as the hardheaded, merciless underworld leader. Nana gives the correct nuances of a don and his coldness is displayed with brilliance by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Jackie Shroff gives his career-best performance after Hero. He is very likable in the emotional scenes and his turmoil in trying to keep his brother away from his crime life is well etched by him. Anil Kapoor is good in a smaller role. In a film dominated by men, only an actress like Madhuri Dixit can hold her own. She is immensely likable in all her scenes with Anil Kapoor and her scenes more than provide a relief to the viewer after some heavy scenes in the film. Anupam Kher is okay in a shorter role. Suresh Oberoi is good.
There are only four songs in this movie and they are neatly placed. Neither do they hinder the progression of the story.
Overall, Parinda is a must watch for those who love realistic cinema. It's a breath of fresh air from the usual 80s Bollywood masala films.
I am totally surprised to see a good movie coming out from a brainless filmmaker David dhawan.
Andaz is a really good movie. Anil Kapoor plays a professor at a college and he is often picked up on by his students. One of his students Jaya (played nicely by Karisma Kapoor) has a secret crush on him. However, Anil is happily married to a illiterate and orphaned village belle Saraswati (Juhi Chawla). The film is nit-picked with sub-plots like terrorists attacking the college and how the hero comes to the rescue.
The lead actors Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and Karisma Kapoor turn in decent performances. Actually, it's the ladies who take the cake from the hero here. Karisma is likable as the good hearted, spectacled silent admirer of the hero. Juhi is funny as the "moohfat" housewife who doesn't know how to cook.
The songs are nice. The song "Maal Gadi Ko Dakka Laga" has some suggestive lyrics but the vulgarity is not overdone here. I'd say it's much better than the pelvic thrusts done by Govinda in the song "Sarkailo Katiya Jara Laga" from Raja Babu.
Andaz is a brilliant time-pass flick. I give it 8/10.
Eena Meena Deeka (1994)
Eena Meena Deeka is one of those brainless David Dhawan movies where every scene is illogical. The film is so bad with several songs which pop in every now and then.
One of the stupid scenes in Eena Meena Deeka is when the fat lead rips off the heroine's mini skirt and out of the blue they break into a song. Boo!!
The 90s were a really low phase for Rishi Kapoor who gained a lot of weight by then and started delivering one dud after another. And in a movie with such a ridiculous plot you can expect almost nothing from him. Vinod Khanna looked bored throughout. Juhi Chawla does what she does best- giggle, giggle and giggle! Anupam Kher as the commissioner irritates. Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor were too over-the-top.
The songs were completely unnecessary and drag the already boring film to a large extent. I wonder why I even watched this movie. It's so bad that it's not even worth mentioning. Avoid!
Forgettable rehash of Romeo & Juliet
Ram Leela is another adaptation of the Shakespeare's timeless star- crossed love story Romeo and Juliet. However, Sanjay Leela Bhansali seems to have brutally massacred the story with badly written characters and too much violence and gore.
The only character which succeeds in leaving an impact on you has to be of Supriya Pathak who puts her soul into her character of Baa. However, even her character is a poorly resolved one. You wonder how a merciless matriarch who doesn't even think twice before chopping her own daughter's finger would have a sudden change of heart at the end just because a crying little boy is thrown in front of her?
Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone share good chemistry but only at physical level. It seems Bhansali wanted to waste no time in building up their love story. He was in a hurry to introduce these two characters to each other and to get their hands on each other as soon as they meet. Beware of Ranveer and Deepika's silly SMS jokes, they simply suck! Everything happens in a jiffy between Ranveer and Deepika that the impact could just not be felt.
I must say that Ranveer Singh was exceptionally good in this movie but his character was so inconsistent as is the case with the other characters of the movie. Deepika Padukone was good and she excels in scenes in which she lets her eyes speak for her. However, you cannot stop laughing once she steps into her Baa's shoes in the second half. Richa Chadda was really good in this movie and she gets the accent right for the most part. However, you feel that an actress of her caliber was left under utilised by Bhansali. Priyanka Chopra's item number is probably the worst thing about this film. Not only was the item song needless, but it was also lacking in the so-called hotness department that many claimed!
The climax is also a letdown as Bhansali seems to have ripped off the ending right off of last year's Ishaqzaade. Really, Mr. Bhansali? I was expecting a more innovative ending from you!
Overall, Ram Leela scores more on capturing ethereal settings and much attention is paid to lavish songs and dances rather than investing more intelligence in the story.
A forgettable fare!
Escape from Taliban (2003)
Manisha Koirala's acting saves the film
Escape from Taliban is a terrible movie with a terrible direction. The movie is based on a true story of an Indian female author named Sushmita Banerjee who escapes the wrath of her husband and in-laws who reside in Afghanistan during the nineties.
The only thing good about this film is Manisha Koirala. She emotes really well and is superb in almost every scenes of the film. However, I think her voice is dubbed by someone else.
Escape from Taliban also seems inspired by the Sally Field starrer 'Not Without my Daughter,' as few scenes are just a replication of this movie.
There are many implausibilities in the plot: I don't understand why do the Afghans in this movie converse in Hindi and Sushmita (Manisha Koirala) hails from Kolkata but converses in Hindi with her family. Wasn't she supposed to speak Bengali?
The music is really bad and unnecessary, especially in a film with a serious issue like that. Though one song that I really liked is 'Titli si ud chali' which aptly describes the state of Sushmita's mind as she is going back home with her daughter. However, this song's placement is all wrong. Who would even stop to sing when his or her life is on the edge?
Nawab Shah is strictly okay but appears wooden in most of the scenes and speaks his lines as if he is reading from a cue card. Prithviraj Zutsi as the only man who supports and sympathises with Sushmita is okay too. Aly Khan looks wooden as ever and doesn't appear menacing at all. The other supporting casts are nothing worth writing about.
My heartfelt condolences to Sushmita Banerjee's family. Sushmita got shot down by the Afghans last month. Seems like there was no chance of a second escape this time around for the poor woman.
A complete mockery of the prequel
Nothing works for this film. Be it the casting, direction, music, editing etc. Milan Luthria just sleepwalked through this film, thinking that he need not pay much attention to the technical aspects of OUATIMD because the prequel was a hit. What worked for OUATIM was the fact that it had the superb combo of Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi who looked more the part of gangsters than the total mockery that Akshay Kumar and the novice Imran Khan make of their roles as gangsters. Akshay Kumar shows that he's effective in delivering punchlines and one-liners in a movie and that's about it! He just doesn't seem to be getting under the skin of a bad guy. Never expected this kind of stuff from him. He did a much better job as a villain in Ajnabee 12 years ago. Imran Khan looks raw with his urbane looks to match the part of a small time crook. Sonakshi Sinha, well I was already having doubts about her acting capabilities and with this movie, I was proved right. She's only in Bollywood because of her filmi lineage (being the daughter of Shatrughan Sinha) and that's about it! The first half is incredibly boring while the second half seems to be picking up the momentum but goes slow at some point. The music is pathetic! Overall, a poor show which is not worth the wait! I thank the makers of this film for deciding not to release OUATIMD with the super successful Chennai Express. Otherwise, it would have faced an even more tough competition.
Ek Din 24 Ghante (2003)
Nandita Das is totally wasted in this crappy film
I wonder what made an intelligent actress (not a heroine) like Nandita Das who gave powerful performances in 1947 Earth and Fire act in such a mindless so-called 'thriller'. Ek Din 24 Ghante leaves so much to expect.
I watched this film because I thought it would be an intelligent Indian adaptation of the German film 'Run Lola Run'. However, I was totally let down by the shoddy screenplay, dialogues and last but not the least, ACTING.
Though I must appreciate the director's effort of Westernizing the movie by making it much shorter than the usual run-of-the-mill Bollywood movies. The film does feel like a breath of fresh air with no song and minimal dialogues in some situations but even the lines spoken by the characters are not up to the mark. Editing and camera-work are sloppy and i better not say anything about the choppy direction.
The three things good about Laadla are--Sridevi, Sridevi and Sridevi
Laadla only belongs to just one of its principal casts--Sridevi. Sridevi is in this film from the very first frame and she steals the show under everyone's nose. If Sridevi was not in this film, the film would have fallen flat on its face. I guess even the late Divya Bharati (who was the original choice for the role of Sheetal Jetley)wouldn't have pulled off the character with such ease and élan like Sri did.
The way she mouths her dialogues and her signature line "Understand? You better understand!" is just awesome. I guess no other actress would've conveyed the multiple range of emotions with an exaggerated sense. Sridevi turns in a powerhouse performance and the scene where she attacks Farida Jalal (who plays Anil Kapoor's mom) is brilliant. For the first time, I was really scared by a female vampish character in a Hindi film whose piercing eyes spew venom. At this point of her career, Sridevi has risen above all the other actresses of the industry. She hasn't spared a single role that she hasn't experimented with yet.
Well talking about the technical aspects of the film and the film itself , Laadla is not without its share of flaws. A theme like this has been experienced several times in Bollywood. What else can you expect from a director like Raj Kanwar? The cinematography, editing, music and lighting are below par. Anil Kapoor fulfills the role of a typical Bollywood hero. Raveena Tandon does what she is supposed to do. Anupam Kher and Aruna Irani are okay. Prem Chopra and Mohnish Behl ham their asses off throughout the movie. Shakti Kapoor somewhat leaves a mark with his catch line "Tunna tunna." The rest of the cast is not even worth talking about.
If you are a strict Sridevi fan, than Laadla is for you to watch!