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War (2019)
6/10
Pointless, senseless and illogical
11 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Question: How one man can get on a plane and kill every single person (who are all armed), just because he is Hrithik Roshan, is beyond me. I really wanted to stop watching the movie at this point but the fact that there was a twist coming up (per all the reviews and my friends who had watched the movie and decided to spoil it for me by stating that there is a twist, but very kind to not revealing what it was), I continued.

Another question. Why did Vaani Kapoor do this film? Ok, maybe because she isn't getting any other work. But was there a need for her character? In fact, Anupriya Goenka has a lot more to do in the film.

Both Hrithink and Tiger look great and perform their action scenes well. The Jai Jai Shiv Shankar song is an audio and video spectacle and so is Ghungroo. Like with all Siddharth Anand films, the music (Vishal-Shekhar) is foot tapping and the picturisation is grand.

The twist, though unexpected, beats logic like most other things in this film. I seriously kept asking myself, should I continue watching? You needn't.
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Simmba (2018)
6/10
Ok movie, but the lead actor ...
26 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The movie itself has it's heart in the right place, but I don't think I can ever come to like Ranveer Singh. Maybe it's just me, but i'm not a fan. Not Bajirao, not Padmavat and certainly not Simmba. Maybe Gully Boy will change it? Ashutosh Rana was good; Sonu Sood was good as well. Sarah Ali Khan didn't have much to do, but is easy on the eyes. The cameos are good. Tanish Bakshi's remixed version of Aankh Maare is well done(for a change). The film itself isn't too bad and actually quite entertaining especially the dialogues. The screenplay and writing are watertight as well and the pace moves. There aren't too many dull moments but there are a few cringe worthy scenes, especially the ones featuring the young Simmbaa. While Rohit Shetty has exploited the famous Delhi assault case to create an important sub plot (and made it feel gimmicky in the end), the assault itself is handled well without causing any titillation. But it's my non-fondness of the lead actor at the end of the day that makes this possibly 7 or 8/10 film, a 6.
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Begum Jaan (2017)
1/10
Not worth anyone's time
31 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is not a compelling or convincing film by any standards It is extremely illogical.

The opening sequence is truly remarkable. But that's about it.

One expects a lot more from Vidya Balan and she's better. Swearing on screen has never mean a measure for acting. the film has language that is justified by the fact that these characters are prostitutes, but too much of anything will hurt the final product. The performances are loud. Agreed that they needed to scream and shout in certain scenes, but they do it for most part.

My basic problem with the plot was that it made no sense. Several reviewers have raised this and so will I. Why couldn't they relocate? Why couldn't the line be drawn a few yards away? Even in the world of films and make believe, this is absurd. Even David Dhawan's illogical manages to put its pieces together!

Direction is poor. So the director had a weak, illogical plot. He went ahead and added nothing to make it convincing. To give him some credit, I do believe that the original version directed by him is supposedly better.

Another major sore thumb is Anu Malik's outdated and yet again plagiarized music (yes the song Prem mein Tohre is a note-by-note reincarnated version of Gore gore Chaand Se Mukh from the 1967 film Anita composed by Laximakant-Pyarelal). Some people never learn.

Overall, the film fails on most counts. Watch it for that opening scene and then switch to another Vidya Balan film.
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5/10
Decent songs, terrible film
21 July 2016
I watched the film a few years ago again, after having initially watched it when it released, as a kid. The production values are pretty bad and the film looks dated even for 1990-1991 when it hit the screens. Compared to their other blockbuster Dil, which released around the same time, Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit look disinterested in this one. Madhuri's make-up doesn't help either.

Oh yes, the plot. Aamir is obsessed with Madhuri and gets away with his madness only because he is the hero of the film (?) Really? Thisis how stalkers are born. Despite her rejecting him several times, the hero does not give up to the point that it is annoying and you almost want him arrested (even though he is in the film at one point if I recall correctly).

Ranjeeta made an appearance and so did Khushboo. Performance wise, both leads try but aren't above ordinary really.

So why 5 stars if the film is this bad? Only because some of the songs by Anand-Milind and Sameer are really good! Listen to Main Sehra baandh ke or the title track or even Khadi Rahi or Hum Tumse Mohabbat and you might just agree with me.
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Haque (1991)
6/10
Dimple Kapadia shines in an otherwise ordinary film
13 February 2015
Haque was one of those films that generated immense curiosity because of its promo that was released on video cassettes where Dimple Kapadia returns Anupam Kher's slap on her face with the exact same! Pretty impressive for 1991. For that scene alone, I believe many people were intrigued by this film that had the leading lady as the central protagonist. Sadly, Mahesh Bhatt's script is let down by an over dramatic screenplay. A lot of scenes are more filmy than real (but again, this was the 90s). Dimple Kapadia was outstanding and so was Anupam Kher. Sonu Walia had precious little to do except sizzle in the Anuradha Paudwal Number and so did Asif. Still, this is probably his better roles and films. Anand-Milind came up with a couple of hummable tunes, but none of them were popular. Harish Bhosle tried to make this a hard hitting film but lack of entertainment and an inconsistent screenplay according to me ruin it for him. Watch it for Dimple Kapadia.
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Dil (1990)
8/10
One of the best when it released
4 June 2013
Dil was a youthful film with Aamir and Madhuri being paired together for the first time (or was it second with Deewana Mujh Sa Nahi?). Either way, the pairing was fresh and the audiences flocked to the cinema halls to make this film the biggest hit of the year.

The story in a nutshell was that of Anupam Kher, who runs a tiny shop buying old newspapers but wants his only son Raja (Aamir Khan) to get married to a rich businessman's (Sayeed Jaffery) daughter Madhu (Madhuri Dixit). He even tricks Jaffery into believing that he himself is a rich business tycoon. Initially Raja and Madhu cannot stand each other but soon they fall in love only to their parents opposing to the alliance once Jaffery discovers the truth about Anupam Kher. Will Raja and Madhu unite? The film has everything that a good entertainer during the 90s demanded. Comedy, action, drama, romance and good songs. Director Indra Kumar received a well deserved nomination for this film while Madhuri Dixit bagged her first filmfare award.

Music directors Anand-Milind continued their top phase with this film, which was the best music of the year until Aashiqui and Nadeem-Shravan decided to rewrite history. Nevertheless, the songs of the film were extremely popular and continue to be popular till date. This is one of the few albums where all the songs were a hit.

All in all, Dil is a good entertainer and a recommended watch. Go for it!
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10/10
It's time we grew up!
11 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
404 is the kind of film that came when we also had mindless entertainers being churned out in bulk (and all being huge BO successes). Nothing wrong with the hardcore commercial films. The problem is that these are too many in number. And films like 404 are scarce. Luckily, that is slowly changing. Very slowly.

404 is a brave attempt. A film that truly ***** with your mind. A true psychological thriller with no room for any gimmicks. No item songs, no romance, no stereo type hero or heroine. Just one strong plot, a solid storyline, stellar performances, a riveting background score, shock value, suspense and an eerie climax. On the downside is the languid pace. But given the merits, let's overlook that.

Set in a hostel, the film doesn't directly try to address the problems caused by ragging (the message is there, but the film doesn't preach about it) but uses it as a catalyst. Abhimanyu (Rajvvir Arora) defies fear when he agrees to inhabit a room that's been locked for a while as it houses the spirit of Gaurav (Rucchir Raj) who ended his life a while ago in the room when ragging got the better of him. If the spooky ambiance isn't enough to terrify Abhimanyu, Chris (Immauddin Shah) takes center stage in harassing Abhimanyu, along with his friends. Professor Anirudh (Nishikant Kamath) and his wife Dr. Meera (Tisca Chopra) support Abhimanyu in every way possible but when Abhimanyu's only friend is the ghost of Gaurav, things begin to get out of hand. The climax is shocking! The film is brilliantly directed by Prawal Raman (Darna Mana Hain, Gaayab). It is the slow pace which may cause disinterest. Films like 404 demand your constant attention because every bit fits in like a jig saw puzzle. For the average cine-goer, that must have been a challenge. But for an avid film enthusiast like myself, the film haunts you even after it has ended.

The actors hit the hammer right on the nail-head with supreme performances. Each one of them. Rajvvir may have been denied nominations at popular awards for his performance but as the intelligent student who slowly is gripped by fear and who transforms into a paranoid youngster, he excels. Immaudin Shah is perfectly cast as the senior bully and also adds a dash of humor with both his dialogs and his mannerisms. It is truly satisfying to see Satish Kaushik not act as a buffoon. The actor does well in a serious role with a few smart lines. Rucchir in a smaller part is effective. Tisca Choprra is finally getting roles she deserves (her stint in the 90s as the lead was forgettable. She was known as Priya Chopra back then with films like Platform, Gunhegaar and Karobaar). The pick among this talented lot is director turned actor, Nishikant Kamath. He is confident, natural and makes Anirudh believable. The character has many layers and Nishikant gets most of it right.

404 is a great experiment when it comes to Hindi cinema. Experiment because it rips the Bollywood rule book apart and stands tall. It's time we grew up and encourage such films. The BO saw poor numbers but my rating at IMDb won't! Go for it!
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Banarasi Babu (1997)
3/10
Weakest David Dhawan film!
11 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
With several successful laugh riots behind them, one expected a lot from this Govinda starer directed by his favorite director, David Dhawan. But this film was just one big bore with almost all the jokes falling flat. Leave that aside, even the tone of the film was very derogatory towards women. I don't think any lady in 1997 would approve of their husbands thinking of them as home makers only and not wanting them to have a life beyond the one they lead together! The humor just doesn't work. Neither does the drama nor the acting nor the action. By the end of the film you realize that even the director and actor just wanted to get the film done with. The fact is that Banrasi Babu was delayed by a few years and that shows in the final product.

The story is old and formulaic. Madhu's (Ramya Krishnan) father Chaubey(Kader Khan) promised Gopi's (Govinda) father and mother that he would get his daughter married to their son. Kader Khan and his wife Lily, (Bindu) move to Singapore, only to return with their voluptuous daughter to the village and find a simpleton in Gopi. Opposites attract and sparks fly and much to the disapproval of Bindu, Gopi and Madhu get married. Soon Madhu realizes that she is way too modern to adapt to the rurally backward Gopi. They decide to separate. But Gopi is adamant on winning Madhu back. Does he succeed? Honestly, I don't think anyone cares by this point!

Govinda has done too many roles like this and there is nothing new to his performance. Ramya steps into Karisma Kapoor's territory and fails. Karisma's presence may have made some difference to this lifeless character. Kader Khan and Bindu are the usual. Shakti Kapoor is just too annoying.

The ever dependable Anand-Milind also disappointed with this film. Just a couple of songs are hummable. I say disappoint because their track record with David Dhawan and Govinda has always been impeccable. This was at best average.

David Dhawan and Govinda made the audience (including me) suffer with this one. But i had no one to warn me. You do!
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Hero No. 1 (1997)
9/10
Entertainer No. 1
11 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The David Dhawan - Govinda combination has seldom gone wrong. With Hero No. 1, they consolidated their position in the industry.

Inspired form the 70's Rajesh Khanna starer Bawarchi, David Dhawan added loads of spicy dialogs, comedy scenes and foot-tapping music to re-create a dish no one could resist. The first half may also remind you of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

The story in a nutshell. Boy meets girl in a foreign land. After initial hiccups, the two fall in love. Just when all seems perfect, a misunderstanding between the two families forces them to stay apart. In order to win the girl's family, the boy enters the girl's house as a cook. Slowly but steadily he wins their hearts one by one. But what will happen when they find out the truth?

Unlike most David Dhawan films, this one had a more solid plot. You knew that the film was not just a series of jokes playing one after the other. There was a definite storyline. Govinda and Karisma shared a crackling chemistry once again and they sparkled in their performances. Paresh Rawal proved yet again that he is extremely versatile. And this was before Hera Pheri happened. Kader Khan was excellent. Of the supporting cast, Satish Shah added some laughs. In a small role, Shakti Kapoor was quite funny.

After a series of hit films with David Dhawan including Cooloe No.1, Anand-Milind maintained their hit streak with yet another super hit musical score. The songs were also filmed extremely well. Sona Kitna Sona Hain is still popular on radio stations even 15 years after the film released.

Overall, this is a fun film that you can watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon with your family.
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Jaan (1996)
7/10
Typical but entertaining!
10 December 2012
Raj Kanwar is easily the most underrated director of the 90s. He delivered many hits from Deewana to Laadla to Jaan to Jeet and Judaai. Jaan was a successful film at the BO primarily because it was extremely well promoted. I remember how aggressively the film's producer (Ashok Ghai) and the music company (Tips) played the songs/trailers on almost every channel.

The story of Jaan reminds me of Ashok Ghaik's elder brother Subhash Ghai's smash hit Hero. They are not exactly the same but there is some resemblance. Ajay Devgun's raw appeal worked in his favor and Twinkle Khanna was a breath of fresh air in this film. The love scenes and drama will seem over the top today, but in 1996 it did seem enjoyable. The comedy was not up to the mark though (Johnny Lever and Priya Arun).

Acting wise Ajay Devgun was quite good. He had done similar roles in Vijaypath and Jigar and Divyashakti and well, you get the picture! For her second film, Twinkle Khanna was good. She looked extremely pretty. Vivek Mushran was alright. Amrish Puri was excellent in a role that suited him all the way.

One of the biggest strengths of the film was its music. Raj Kanwar's sense of rhythm, Anand-Milind's gift of melody and Anand Bakshi's poetic capabilities made Jaan one of the best albums of 1996. The title song was the pick of the lot, but the overall Indian/folksy flavor of the songs ensured that the songs continue to play in the interiors even 20 years later. In fact Subhash Ghai was so impressed with the music of the film that he personally designed the song promos.

Raj Kanwar knew exactly how to direct a film for that time period. He infused all the necessary elements in perfect quantities and made sure that the film was balanced in all respects. Drama was his forte and this film had (over)loads of it. It's not great cinema but it is surely paisa vasool and entertaining stuff. If you like a 100% commercial Bollywood potboiler, Jaan is for you!
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Baazigar (1993)
8/10
Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Shipla Shetty, Abbas Mustaan and Anu Malik
10 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Baazigar arrived like a hurricane at the BO and shocked everyone! The unconventional script and the brilliant music made this film an instant hit.

Ajay (SRK) and Seema (Shilpa Shetty) are in love with each other. Vicky (SRK again) and Priya (Kajol) fall in love as well. Priya and Seema are sisters. Do both the sisters love twin brothers? Is he the same guy? Is it going to be one of those cheesy love triangles? The intermission (which is regarded as on of the most shocking intermission sequences in Indian cinema) should answer these questions and raise many more!

SRK went out there and did something absolutely different. With Darr ending 1993 for him, he was easily the best actor that year. Everyone was talking about the new Baazigar who knew no Darr of trying something new, regardless of the Anjaam! (Corny, I know! :) ) Kajol and Shilpa Shetty did not get as much scope as Shahrukh, but both performed super confidently and delivered memorable performances.

If Khiladi gave Abbas Mustaan their first hit, Baazigar gave them their first Superhit. The talented duo would go on to make many successful suspense thrillers.

Apart for the actors and the directors, another person benefited hugely from the success of this film. That person was music composer Anu Malik whose struggling days had finally come to an end. With earlier hits that year in Sir and Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi, Anu Malik got his first mammoth hit (to be followed by many more years of successful music). He received his first Filmfare award and further added to ace composers Nadeem-Shravan's woes. Incidentally Nadeem-Shravan were offered this film. But since Kajol hadn't thanked them for their mediocre score in Bekhudi during the film's release, they swore to never compose for a film starring the Bengali actress. Their decision made Anu Malik their biggest competitor.

Baazigar is a good film in most respects and even 20 years ahead, it is enjoyable. Whether you know the suspense or no, watch it! If SRKs act won't entertain you, Johnny lever's evergreen comedy will have you in splits again! For first timers, this is a great watch.
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Kahaani (2012)
10/10
Kahaani mein twist!
10 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I walked in with high expectations to watch this film, for 2 reasons

1. Vidya Balan 2. Tremendous praise from all critics. The verdict was unanimous

And I wasn't disappointed. After such a long time I had seen such a wonderful movie. Director Sujoy Ghosh redeemed himself ... in style (after Home Delivery and Alladin)! I can go and on with the merits of the film but do not wish to spoil it for you. I won't talk about the story but only about the performances.

Except for Vidya Balan, the rest of the cast are not well known Hindi film actors. But they are well known Bengali film actors and that clearly shows in their work. Vidya Balan is flawless. But unlike The Dirty Picture and No One Killed Jessica (her last two near perfect performances), this time, the script and the film rise above the super talented actress. That shows what a powerful story and screenplay Kahaani has to offer. All the supporting actors are superb as well. Parambrata Chatterji as Vidya' confidant makes a confident Bollywood debut. He's obviously very talented. Whoever decided to cast Saswata Chatterji as Bob Biswas is a genius! Another amazing talent! Nawazuddin Shah is another show stealer. And by the time this review is up, he has already delivered kick ass performances in many more films. In fact they are all good!

Sujoy Ghosh deserves most of the awards for this film. Kahaani is truly praiseworthy and deserves all the accolades it has received ... If you haven't watched it yet, do it before the world ends! :) Jokes apart, this Kahaani is truly one to remember for years! A well deserved 10/10!
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6/10
It deserved to be do better!
7 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Chal Mere Bhai looked like a very promising film when it was announced and once the promos hit the tube. However, it sank at the BO.

Honestly, there are worse films out there that do roaring business. The story was as old as your grandfather's bread. Nothing in it. The same old tale of 2 brothers falling for the same girl. But David Dhawan brought his own to this romantic comedy with his expert comic touch. Besides, Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt looked good together on screen. Salman and Karisma's pairing was also quite fresh. The film had nothing new to offer, but it entertains while it plays. The camera-work, especially of the songs was very eye candy. The locales were plush, the cinematography was eye pleasing and the film had its comic moments as well.

A big plus was Anand-Milind's music. Unlike their other hit collaborations with director David Dhawan, which mostly comprised of mass appealing peppy songs, this film had some beautiful romantic duets. The pick of the lot is undoubtedly Meri Neend Jaane Lagi Hain, followed closely by Chori Chori Sapno Mein. The peppier tracks like the title song, Aaj Kal Ki Ladkiya and Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka were also infectious.

I don't really know as to why the film, despite its merits, couldn't survive at the BO. Like they say, not every good film is a HIT and not every HIT film is good!
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Daraar (1996)
3/10
Just doesn't work
7 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Daraar was the third remake of Sleeping with the enemy and is saved from being the worst only because Yaraana was that bad. Agnisaakshi was the only film that managed to work both in terms of BO as well as critical and audience appreciation.

The kings of suspense, Abbas Musataan did try to bring novelty with their treatment. If one has no idea what the film is about, the introduction sequence, which is muted with the background score, manages to generate interest. That probably is the only good thing about the film. From there on, it goes downhill.

Casting is another problem. The good actor that he is, Rishi Kapoor was old to play this role. And also he had played the exact same role in Yarana. The exact same role! Rishi Kapoor has also enacted in 2 of the Hindi remakes of the Hollywood flick Coming to America - Prem Rog and Pehla Pehla Pyaar. Juhi Chawla was good. She was even nominated at the Filmfare awards for her portrayal of the battered wife. Incidentally, Madhuri Dixit was also nominated for playing the same role a year earlier in Yarana. It was Manisha Koirala, who featured in the only successful remake of this Hollywood film (Agnisakshi) and wasn't nominated! Now that's irony. Arbaaz Khan made a confident debut and earned his first (and probably only) Filmfare award.

Abbas Mustaan's films always had hit music and his association with Anu Malik usually sold well. This time, the combination failed. The music, at best, was below average. None of the songs are worth remembering, even though a couple are rip offs of Pakistani Hits (something Anu Malik is famous for).

The direction was alright, but given bad casting, everything seemed unbearable as the film went on and on. And the climax was absolutely criminal. I expected so much more from Abbas Mustaan. The badshaahs of suspense cinema had delivered a big dud.
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8/10
And that's why Kajol is one of the best!
7 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In 1993 Kajol had Baazigar as her major claim to fame. SRK hogged all the limelight, but the two were noticed for their terrific chemistry. Yet Kajol probably knew that she had a lot more to prove and do. So while Yeh Dillagi earned her commercial success in 1994 (and a Filmfare Nomination), Udhaar Ki Zindagi got her tremendous respect and critical acclaim. Everyone applauded her courage for choosing a film sans item songs, a big hero, action or any other gimmicks.

UKZ honestly, is not a flawless film. It is well intended but even for 1994, it did seem a tad dated. Nevertheless, the film (a remake of a South Indian Film) had its heart in the right place and that made it likable.

The story has several sub plots around the core plot, i.e. the daughter-grandparents relationship. Today's Bhojpuri superstar Ravi Kishen played a minuscule role as Jeetendra and Moushami Chatterji's son who marries against his father's wishes and hence is asked to leave their house, never to return. In the USA, Ravi's wife gives birth to a daughter, played by Kajol. After many years when Moushami and Jeetendra receive a letter from their estranged son that he intends to visit them with his family, the mother is ecstatic. Although Jeetendra is happy too, he keeps his emotions under wraps. However, all the excitement translates into disappointment when only Kajol shows up at their doorstep, to inform them that their son and his wife (her parents) will join them in a few days as he has some important business related work to attend. Kajol must now win the hearts of her grandparents and slowly, she manages to do so. But the twist in the tale is that she has a secret that will shatter their lives.

The film has a bit of suspense (which is predictable) and loads of drama. Raghubir Yadav tries to add comedy which at best is slapstick. The hero (Rohit Bhatia) gets no scope when pitted against the powerhouse of talent, Kajol, who sinks her teeth into one of her first author backed roles and delivers a first rate performance. I'm sure she would also rate her performance in this film rather highly. If anyone matches up to her it is yesteryear's seasoned actor Jeetendra who delivers a convincing and praiseworthy depiction of the grandfather who never expresses his emotions but is saddened by his son's absence. Ravi Kishen and Priyanka get limited scope but do well. Moushami Chatterji is aptly cast and enacts her part ably. So do Mehmood and Sujata Mehta. A film that belongs to the dramatic genre needs good performances and on that count UKZ excels.

Music by Anand-Milind was not chart-busting but the songs are high on melody. While Main Bhi Chup Hoon and Dadaji Ki Chadi Hoon Mein played at the number 10-9 spots on the charts, the beautifully worded song Thodi Hansi Hain (courtesy lyricist Sameer) that appears in 2 versions sung beautifully by its singers (Suresh Wadkar, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Udit Narayan and Suresh Wadkar, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sadhna Sargam) is the song that lingers in your heart even after the film has ended.

The direction is very 90s like - melodramatic. Overall, this is not the best film out there but thanks to some excellent performances, a lilting musical score and a decent story (no double meaning dialogs or songs unlike several films released in the 90s), UKZ qualifies as a clean family entertainer. Give it a watch!
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Khiladi (1992)
9/10
Super Suspense
7 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Akshay Kumar's first hit is also Abbas-Mustaan's first hit. And probably their best till date. A perfect mix of comedy, then romance, then a murder, drama, suspense, action and a super ending. It is almost impossible to predict who is the killer.

The film has shades of the hit film from the 70s Khel Khel Mein, but manages to hold its own. Like that film, you have a college setup, a young star cast, youthful and popular songs, good dosage of comedy, romance and of course, difficult to crack suspense. Abbas-Mustaan have made many suspense thrillers since but this is their best according to me. In every department, the film stands tall, compared to their later works.

Akshay Kumar did well in his role, a role which was almost tailor made for him. Ayesha Jhulka was at the peak of her career with films with Aamir, Salman, Akshay and she had signed a film with Shahrukh (which never released or had a limited release, Kisi Se Dil Laga Ke Dekho). She was decent in the film. Sabeeha had limited screen presence. Deepak Tihori managed to make his presence felt despite being relegated to the role of a supporting hero. Shakti Kapoor and Prem Chopra added value to the film as well.

Music played a key role in the success of this film. Although Abbas-Mustaan had a successful musical run with Anu Malik in the 90s, Jatin-Lalit delivered a fab score with this film, which continues to remain popular till date, especially the romantic duet, Vaada Raha Sanam. For reasons best known to them, Abbas-Mustaan never repeated Jatin-Lalit, despite classic tunes. All the songs had melody and youth appeal and that's why the songs play on 20 years later.

Overall Khiladi was truly suspense at its best. A thorough entertainer! It's a tad lengthy but worth the time.
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100 Days (1991)
10/10
One of the best during its time ... or any time!
6 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I am going to rate this movie very high mainly because it delivered what it promised. It was one of the best thrillers/murder mysteries that released in the 1990s (probably even till date, though now it may appear dated in terms of costumes and gadgets etc). Partho Ghosh hasn't always made good films, but this one is easily his best. The film is inspired (just like his other hit, coming a close second to this one, Agnisaakshi) but let's give him credit for making a really good, strong thriller.

I remember how I had shut my eyes, at the age of 10, while watching some of the scenes in this film. It was truly fascinating. One of the key strengths of the film was its background music that added to the mystery.

Madhuri Dixit was another highpoint of this film. She was brilliantly cast as Devi and did complete justice to her role. That's why she is what she is today. I'm a huge Dixit fan, so won't go on about her, lest i sound prejudiced. Moon Moon sen in a small role was alright. Neelam Mehera did a decent job and so did Sabeeha.

Of the men, Jackie Shroff had to settle for a less meaty role when compared to his lead heroine, but he was good. Jay Kalghuta, who was introduced in this film as Jagmohan, not only looked menacing and terrifying but enacted his role convincingly as well. A good debut that sadly did not get too many roles post this film. Laxmikant Berde as Baalam provided the laughs (may seem over the top when viewed today, but did tickle back then). And lastly Javed Jaffery was well cast as Sunil. It was a pleasure to see Madhuri and Javed shake a leg in the popular song De De Dil.

Although Dixit and Shroff had appeared in films like Parinda, Raam Lakhan, Tridev, Uttar Dakshin and Vardi before this one(not sure if I missed any), this is probably the only film, where they romanced one another, that emerged successful.

Raam Laxman's music was not chart busting, which was required for a suspense film. But the songs are melodious especially Sun Beliya, which stood out.

Partho Ghosh managed to maintain the suspense till the end. No cheap thrills, just good old suspense and drama. Brilliant stuff.It wasn't like those films that had a new twist in the plot after every 15 minutes, thus introducing a new dimension to the story. It had a concrete plot to follow, with layers unfolding.

Overall, 100 days is one of the best thrillers I have seen in Indian cinema or any cinema. Copied or not, this film is a great watch even today.
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5/10
Concept is fine, the movie is not
6 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Trust Vikram Bhatt to mix everything under the sun to come out with a suspense thriller. He is known for his concoctions mixing Past Life and murder, Sex, Music, Romance etc in earlier successful and unsuccessful films from Fareb/Kasoor/Raaz/Inteha to Haunted/1920/1920 Returns/Shaapit and now Dangerous Ishq. Honestly, DI has an interesting concept. I don't believe in Reincarnation but the concept is fascinating. Vikram Bhatt has woven several layers of past life in this story and slowly unraveled the mystery. The culprits here are several things.

The pace, which drops at many points in the film.

The choice of actors (casting). Karisma does a good job and looks great on screen too. But Rajnesh as her love interest is miscast. No, she doesn't look older than him (on the contrary she's still got it) but he doesn't match up to her in terms of screen presence. Moreover, he doesn't get a chance to exhibit acting skills either as his role is an extended guest appearance. Divya Dutta is dependable as usual and the rest of the supporting cast are good, especially Natasha and Ravi Kishen. But when we talk about casting, we look at the lead pair. And that clearly, according to me, has gone very wrong. Even the makers only publicized Karisma on the posters of the film.

Moreover, Karisma looks too modern to deliver those lines in Rajasthani or Marwari (not sure of the language, sorry!)

Himesh Reshammiya's music. The songs sound pleasant but baring Tu Hi Rab, none of the other songs caught my attention. Thankfully, VB has used them in the background.

And the biggest problem if you ask me, is the inconsistent screenplay. It's not confusing, it is inconsistent. At some points you are engrossed at other times you are just bored!

Overall, what could have been a good thriller, remains a good concept only.
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7/10
A good horror flick
18 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I remember watching Bees Saal Baad as a child and covering my face every time Dimple Kapadia's hand stretched to get the hammer. :) I was truly fascinated (and scared of) with that scene.

More than 20 years later, I don't find the film scary any more but yes, it is entertaining. The film had top stars in Mithun Chakraboty, Meenakshi Seshadri and Dimple Kapadia and a superb musical score by Laxmilkant-Pyarelal working in its favor. Plus, Jagdeep hammed all over the screen, which back then, did seem funny.

I don't quite remember if the film was a hit (I think it was), but it still amounts to good entertainment. Given the fact that it was made in the 80's, it is packed with songs and dance and comedy and over the top acting. But it is still fun! And yes, compared to director Rajkumar Kohli's earlier horror flick Jaani Dushman, this was a masterpiece!
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Damini (1993)
8/10
Film(un)fare ignored the year's best performance!
18 November 2012
Damini was a well made film that dealt with a woman's lone battle against a male dominated society to get justice for a rape victim. The film had some very powerful sequences in the second half, with Sunny Deol taking control. The film is remembered for its screenplay and direction and excellent performances from 3 actors,Meenakshi Seshadri, Sunny Deol and Amrish Puri. Director Rajkumar Santoshi combined a socially relevant subject with commercial ingredients to deliver one of the best films of the year.

Sunny Deol was easily the scene stealer. Although Rishi Kapoor was the main lead, he walked away with several awards, including the National award. Amrish Puri delivered a memorable depiction of the corrupt lawyer, Chadda. Rishi Kapoor was just about okay. Nadeem-Shravan came up with an average musical score. Meenakshi and Aamir Khan's pairing in the song Bin Saajan Jhoola Jhulu was refreshing.

Meenakshi Seshadri gave Damini everything she had and she truly shone in a performance of a lifetime. All who watched this film knew that the best actress trophy belonged to no one else in 1993, but her. She portrayed the role of Damini Gupta with complete conviction. Honestly, how Juhi Chawla won for Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke over Meenakshi in Damini, is a mystery that remains unsolved till date. I have lost all respect for Filmfare ever since!
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Madhosh (1994)
6/10
A true example of great music in an average film
4 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Aamir Khan did everything in his capacity to promote his younger brother, Faisal Khan's debut film (as a lead hero; Faisal had made an appearance in Aamir's own debut Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (QSQT) back in 1988). However second time director Vikram Bhatt's attempt at re-creating the magic of QSQT did not work. The film was a box office dud. I happened to watch this film on DVD recently and that's why I am reviewing it.

Honestly, there is nothing new to offer in this film. In fact, it tries too hard to be another QSQT but just doesn't match up. The family feud, the romance, the climax ... all seem labored. The acting by the leads is raw and considering this is their first full-fledged film, it is decent at best. Anjali Jatthar lacked the innocence of Juhi Chawla in QSQT. She does remind you of Ayesha Jhulka in a few scenes.

The only redeeming factor of the film is the outstanding soundtrack. Anand-Milind deliver a brilliant score, coming very close to their award winning stint in QSQT. The songs boast of rich melody. It is a pity that the film suffered the fate that it did, because that only hampered Anand-Milind's shot at another Filmfare award.

Vikram Bhatt went on to make many a successful films post Madhosh. I'm sure he wouldn't want to be remembered for making this dull flick. I'm going with 6/10 only for the refreshing music, which sounds fresh even today.
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Laadla (1994)
8/10
Sridevi all the way
3 July 2012
It is common knowledge that Divya Bharti had canned several scenes (almost 80% of the film) for the film Laadla, which was originally scheduled to release in 1993 but had to be re-shot and ultimately released in 1994, due to the 19 year old actress's untimely death. Sridevi replaced Divya Bharti and the end result was an award worthy and truly memorable performance. There are scenes on youtube, that compare the scenes originally shot with Divya Bharti with the finally released scenes featuring Sridevi. Divya bharti was good. But Sridevi was a class apart. In fact, the Telugu version of the film, starring Naghma did not fare too well at the box office. When asked why, the lead actor Chiranjeevi candidly replied: "Because the Telugu version did not feature Sridevi!" Such was the impact of her near flawless performance.

Laadla is the story of a lower middle class man, Raju (Anil Kapoor) whose day comprises of looking after his handicapped mother and working in a factory run by the power and money obsessed, able businesswoman, Sheetal Jaitely (Sridevi). From the word go, the two can't see each other in the eye. What follows is some comedy, drama, action, song and dance, some more action and all's well that ends well. Laadla is a remake of a successful south film and director Raj Kanwar has done well. Laadla had all the elements of an entertainer ensuring that producer Nitin Manmohan reaped the benefits, despite the film going over-budget(due to the re-shooting).

Performance wise Sridevi is absolutely brilliant. She proved with this film that no one can write her off, given the right script. Laadla was almost tailor made for her. I remember the whistles resounding in the cinema hall as she confronted Anil Kapoor. Anil Kapoor's earnest performance was overshadowed by Sridevi's controlled and believable depiction of the she-devil. Having said that, Anil Kapoor delivered well as Raju. Raveena Tandon did not get much scope, expect showing her thunder thighs in the song, Meri Dhadkan Suno. Paresh Rawal, Prem Chopra, Shakti Kapoor and Monish Behl are the usual villains. Farida Jalal was alright as well. Anupam Kher provided some good laughs. The dialogs by Anees Baazmee deserve a special mention. The dialogs were smart and fun-filled, especially the line "You understand? You better understand!", which went on to become extremely popular. In fact, when one mentions this film, this particular dialog always comes to mind. Raj Kanwar's execution of a few scenes like the one when Sridevi burns her car or when Sridevi slits her wrist is truly praiseworthy.

The music by Anand-Milind topped the charts in 1994. In their trademark style, Anand-Milind delivered hits in Ladki Hain Kya and Boi Boi. 1994 was a good year for the duo and Laadla made sure they maintained their popularity.

Despite its ridiculous climax, Laadla provides wholesome entertainment. The dialogs, the acting, the scenes and the music guarantee paisa vasool entertainment. Go for it!
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Mr. Bechara (1996)
8/10
A decent family entertainer with melodious music
2 July 2012
Mr. Bechara (1996), is the remake of the 1994 Tamil film Veetla Visheshanga (There is a ceremony at home), directed by K. Bhagyaraja (both the Hindi and the Tamil versions).

The film was not successful at the B.O. despite a good story line, great performances, hummable music and some good comedy. Critics attributed the film's failure to Anil Kapoor and Sridevi's sagging careers (baring Anil Kapoor's only successful film Loafer, in the preceding 2 years) before Mr. Bechara hit the screens (only to be revived a year later with the super-hit Judaai).

Mr. Bechara narrated the oft told story of a girl who loses her memory and falls for a man, only to regain her memory and recall that her heart belongs to someone else. There have been several films with similar story lines in the past but what distinguished Mr. Behcara from these was it's comic sequences that did not fall prey to the double meaning syndrome that dominated the film scene around the time this film released (courtesy Anupam Kher, Tiku Talsania and Shakti Kapoor).

Anil Kapoor essayed the title role with ease and Sridevi is a delight to watch. This film proved yet again that she is truly one of the finest actresses India has seen. The penultimate sequence which requires Sridevi to choose between the 2 men in her life is a good example of her prowess. She uses expressions (which has always been her core strength) to convey her emotions instead of dialogs and that's what makes this scene absolutely brilliant. Anil Kapoor is good in his act as well, showing the audience yet again that he is a terrific performer and can handle any scene with maturity. Anupam Kher does go over the top in a few scenes but provides a few laughs, especially his scenes with Shakti Kapoor. The baby is super-cute. Heera Rajgopal and Nagarjuna get limited scope.

Anand-Milind's music is infectious and melodious. Khoyee Khoyee Aankhon mein (in 2 versions) is easily the best song in this film. Lage mujhe sunder was another peppy song, that was ahead of its time. And of course Saathi Mere is tuneful, which also proved to be the most popular song when the music released. Although the music did not top the charts in 1996, I still feel it is one of Annad-Milind's finest works.

Overall, Mr. Bechara is a good family film. Released around the same time as a number of films that indulged in double meaning dialogs and songs, this film refrained from all that and yet managed to provide wholesome entertainment. The film may have failed in 1996, but it has enjoyed satellite runs successfully over the years and is still aired on various channels even in 2012! Watch it, you won't be disappointed!
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