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Permanent Roommates: Goodbyes (2023)
A new season that no one asked for.
Why was it necessary to bring this show back ? Who asked for it ? This show was wrapped up quite beautifully in the second season and there was absolutely no need to extend the story, so why did TVF feel the urge to go back to this show after seven years? It's quite interesting to note, that on the day the third season of 'Permanent Roommates' came out, Sameer Saxena and Biswapati Sarkar, the original creators of the show, released Kaala Paani (2023), a first of its kind show in India; which tells you that while the original creators have moved on towards a new experiment, TVF has lost track of time and is still busy romanticizing the past, unwilling to move ahead, explore some new avenues and create some new stories.
The new season of 'Permanent Roommates' offers nothing new, everything just feels like something we have already seen a number of times. The only bits of this season that offer some sort of enjoyment are the scenes that involve the most memorable supporting characters of the show, like 'Purshottam' (played by Deepak Kumar Mishra), 'Leo' (played by Anandeshwar Dwivedi) and Choubey Ji (played by the amazing Sudheer Chobessey). It goes without saying that Mikesh and Tanya are very well written characters, but what's the point of visiting them again and again? For how long can you possibly milk them? When creators run out of ideas, they go back to old successful projects and start making their sequels to encash the nostalgia associated with them and as a result of that a substandard screenplay is turned into an actual film; I never thought that TVF would end up doing something like that.
We expect TVF to come up with revolutionary and path-breaking content but they just don't want to step out of their comfort zone and are stuck in a never ending loop of predictability. TVF really needs to do some self-introspection at this point and remind themselves of their own tagline, "lights, camera and experiment", because clearly they have forgotten about the "experiment" part.
Hostel Daze: Hostel Departure (2023)
Nikhil Vijay......Just remember the name !
I am glad TVF took the criticism received after the second season seriously and put in some genuine effort to improve the quality of the show. The third season was a massive improvement from the disastrous second season and with this one they have completely outdone themselves once again. Of course, the first season continues to be the best one but full marks to the creators for this fantastic effort. This season not only entertains but also impacts you emotionally and is guaranteed to leave you with a tear or two by the end of the show. TVF has mastered this art of creating shows that make you laugh as well as cry but I wasn't expecting something like this from a show like 'Hostel Daze'.
WHAT'S GOOD :
1. Unlike the previous three seasons, this season had a common thread that ran parallel to the central plot of every episode. This is what differentiates a web show from five random YouTube videos made for entertainment; this is what lends more believability to the universe being depicted in the show; something unique takes place in every episode, but the characters haven't forgotten the other things taking place in their life.
2. As always, Nikhil Vijay, the powerhouse of talent leads from the front in the acting department. Nikhil Vijay's performance during his monologue about placement to Shubham Gaur (who plays Rupesh Bhati) and his facial expressions after he gets placed hit you hard. I never thought I would cry watching a show like Hostel Daze, but that is exactly what happened during that scene. The writing and Nikhil Vijay's phenomenal performance ensure that you genuinely care for his character and his success felt like a personal achievement. Watching that scene, I felt happy not only for the character Jatin Kishore but also the actor that is Nikhil Vijay; this is the guy we have been rooting for since the first season, this is the guy we have enjoyed watching in so many YouTube videos, so watching him perform brilliantly on this big stage just fills you with pride. Hostel Daze would be nothing without Nikhil Vijay and the crazy character that he has portrayed in the show.
3. It's one thing to make a good season that entertains the viewers, but it takes a lot of effort to come up with a near perfect ending that leaves the viewers with tears in their eyes and a smile on their face, so kudos to the writers for achieving this rare feat. The final episode had already given us a solid ending with the farewell of Jatin Kishore but that final phone call between Jatin and Rakhi completely took me by surprise and made me so happy that I almost felt like standing and applauding for the legend that was Jatin. That ending may have felt bittersweet but it was a memorable one for sure.
4. One thing that I always look forward to in Hostel Daze is which actors are going to break the fourth wall while narrating the story of the episode. Thankfully, TVF did not break the tradition in the final season and we have a well-known face breaking the fourth wall in every episode. Among the guest appearances of this season, Gopal Dutt was easily the best. His acting was as flawless as always but the dialogues that were delivered by him were actually very well written.
WHAT'S NOT GOOD :
1. The songs were not at par with what we usually hear in TVF shows. The music of first season, composed by Vaibhav Bundhoo, was so good that it's remembered even four years after its release; I just wished the creators had asked Vaibhav to compose some songs for this season as well. The writing of the final few scenes was outstanding, I just wish the song that played in the background was equally memorable.
2. The twist added in the final few moments of the show was completely unnecessary and should have been avoided. The show was coming to a beautiful end, there was absolutely no need to take it to a completely different direction.
3. The selection of Utsav Sarkar once again raises the question as to what happened to TVF's impeccable casting team. Although, he was much more watchable in this season, it goes without saying that Utsav Sarkar's acting skills are not at par with the other actors of the show and he is definitely a terrible replacement of Adarsh Gourav. The only good thing is that he is no more the main lead of the show and has been reduced to a side character.
Now that this show is over, I really hope that TVF steps out of its comfort zone, because it's quite clear that they are stuck in some kind of a loop, where they just want to make the same kind of stories over and over again. The tagline of TVF has always been, "Lights, camera and experiment", I just hope the creative team remembers that as well.
Sex Education: Episode 8 (2021)
The writers need to hear it out that we need more of Otis and Ruby !
So finally we got to see what we were robbed off in the finale of the second season, Otis and Maeve confessed their love for each other, but unfortunately it did not have the desired impact on me. This is what happens when you unnecessarily delay something purely out of greed. The creators realized that they had messed up in the final few scenes of the season 2 finale, a beautiful message written by Otis was deleted by Isaac before it could be read by Maeve, so they had to re-create that scene with Otis reading out everything that he had written, word by word, which was stupid, and then the much awaited kiss happened between Otis and Maeve, except that as an audience it couldn't give me the happiness that it should have, because the moment had passed and I was rooting for someone else to be with Otis.
In this new season, Sex Education continues to break boundaries, by talking about some more taboo topics like gender queer with a character like Cal Bowman. The show continues to make its contribution towards normalizing things that are often brushed under the carpet because they make people uncomfortable. This show presents itself as a test of how liberal are you, by showing you all the things that most people just don't want to talk about. Just imagine the plight of all those people who don't have the freedom to live their life the way they want to, with the person they want to. These people are not harming anyone, they are not terrorists and yet they are being treated like one. They don't find acceptance in the society, and two consenting adults have to seek permission from a third, fourth and fifth person in order to get married, and in most countries they don't get that permission. In some countries, they get a death penalty. This should make everyone understand the importance of Sex Education and what a commendable job they are doing. This show is not only entertaining you but also educating you.
It's not possible to mention the positives of this season without talking about Jemima Kirke. After watching the trailer, I got the impression that we will have an evil headmistress this season who all of us would end up hating, but surprisingly I fell in love with her ! In every single scene, she looks extremely beautiful and attractive. The way she talks, her dressing sense, her entire body language makes a striking impact on you, and as a viewer you can't focus on anything else when she is on screen. Forget about hating her, Jemima Kirke as Hope Haddon has such a scintillating presence, you just want to see more of her, wish for a woman like her in your own life. She is not exactly a negative character, she is just doing her job and in that process ends up taking some tough decisions. Towards the end, where she opens up in front of Otis (who else), you feel a lot of empathy for her. I really hope the writers bring her back in the next season, because Jemima Kirke literally killed it this season with her fantastic performance. Just imagine having a professor as sexy as Jemima Kirke, no student would be able to take their eyes off her !
The writers surprised us last season by introducing an unexpected friendship developing between Ruby and Otis. That story-line continued in this season but not in the way any of us would have liked. To watch Otis move around Ruby like her dog was unbearable, but thankfully all that was short-lived as Otis took a stand and called out Ruby for behavior. I felt really happy at that moment, and to my surprise something unexpected happened, Ruby didn't break-up with him, instead she decided to change for him. Finally Ruby found someone, who didn't like her for being rich, beautiful, hot and arrogant. Otis was honest with her and called out her fake attitude and offered his real friendship, which she happily accepted. And that's how it began, the most beautiful romantic relationship in all three seasons of Sex Education. The most memorable part of this season was the relationship between Otis and Ruby and the best episode was the third episode.
Finally we got to explore the other side of Ruby, her real side, something she had been hiding from the world. Till now, all the boys were attracted to her only for her beauty, they weren't really interested in knowing what kind of life she lived outside of School. But Otis never really believed in having superficial relationships, he always believed in developing connections and made an effort to know the real side of the person. While others saw Ruby as an arrogant beauty queen, Otis treated her as just another human being. This unexpected affection surprised Ruby, and allowed her to be vulnerable in front of him. Till now, all the viewers were rooting for Otis and Maeve to get together, but the bond developed between Otis and Ruby came out of nowhere. I had no idea, that this would be such an enjoyable thing to watch, and dare I say, I like the pairing of Otis and Ruby way more than Otis and Maeve. And that's why, it was heartbreaking to see what happened at the end of the episode. The reaction that Ruby (Mimi Keene) gave after her phone call with Otis was heart wrenching and I am pretty sure it must have melted millions of hearts worldwide. Her silent face spoke a thousand words. What's worse is that the writers somehow forgot about Ruby in the second half of the show. Asa Butterfield (Otis Milburn) has always been fabulous as far as acting performance is concerned, but what Mimi Keene (Ruby Matthews) did in this episode was quite a revelation, her portrayal of the Ruby that she had hidden from the outside world was just beautiful. I would love to explore more of her works and really hope that she gets noticed by filmmakers worldwide so that we get to see her in even better roles than this one.
I did not like the Maeve story-line at all this season. Otis and Isaac fooling around her and fighting like kids was plain stupid. You have created such a wonderful character like Otis, who is sensitive, intelligent and an introvert, well somewhat, so why would he indulge in such activities ? Why would he say things like that to Maeve ? Also, how could Maeve fall in love with Isaac so easily despite knowing what he did ? How did she lose her sense of judgement? All that just did not make sense to me, that was just bad writing.
The whole love triangle between Eric, Adam and Rahim is quite idiotic. First Eric and Adam were together, then Rahim came up and he and Eric got together, but in the end Eric broke up with Rahim and went back to Adam, and in this season Eric once again broke up with Adam and now Adam and Rahim are together ! What is happening here ? I didn't enjoy this storyline at all, because it felt like a repetitive storyline going around in a loop. There is a limit to everything and you must not stretch a storyline when you don't have a story to tell.
The storyline involving Michael Groff was quite tiring and sad to watch, but Alistair Petrie portrayed the role very convincingly. Towards the end you do feel bad for the character, but I also wish that the writers had given a little less screen time to his storyline. It felt like the writers were just filling in the empty spaces, but in doing that they completely ignored the revelation of season 3, Mimi Keene.
In conclusion, the third season of Sex Education was quite entertaining as usual, but it felt quite long this time as the writers didn't have a lot of story to tell, and the one story that they could have expanded was given an abrupt ending. I really hope they bring back Otis and Ruby together in the next season because that is the pair we want to see. I really hope that instead of trying to touch too many topics, the creators should focus on the key characters of the show and give them more screen time. It's great that you want to talk about everything, but in that process you can't really ignore the storylines of our favourite characters. No series should go on forever, and I firmly believe that the writers should starting thinking about the endgame of Sex education as well before the audience starts losing interest in it.
Sex Education: Episode 8 (2023)
Not the climax i was hoping for.
At the end of this season, one does wonder as to what exactly was the point of this show? Why did they stretch this show to four seasons when clearly they didn't have anything new or interesting to depict? This season was a complete waste of time as there was absolutely nothing in it that stood out, it didn't say anything that hadn't already been said before and it didn't take the story forward in any way because by the end of it we are still where we were at the end of the last season.
A big problem with Sex Education throughout its journey has been that it tends to digress from its main storyline and pay more attention to the sub plots or the storyline of its supporting characters, characters that no one really cares for. Introduction of interesting new characters is always welcome, but the creators shouldn't forget the main reason why people watch this show. A number of new characters get introduced in this season as well, but the problematic part is that they end up getting more screen time than our central characters. Also, why do they dedicate so much time to social commentary? It's good to talk about social issues but after a while it just feels like force feeding. I felt like this season was more interested in male bashing than throwing some spotlight on the social issues ailing our society. In the name of feminism and liberalism, sometimes filmmakers overstep the line so much that they end up in the realm of absurdity and that is exactly what happens in this season.
Otis, Maeve, Ruby, Eric and Adam are the main characters of the show and I feel it would have been great if the creators focused only on them and not on some irrelevant characters that no one really cares for. In my personal opinion, Otis and Ruby should have got together in the end because they truly understand each other and never try to be pretentious in front of each other. Otis and Maeve had the chance of getting together in the first two seasons, but the writers got so greedy that I just lost interest in that relationship. Also, it was Otis who followed Maeve everywhere like a faithful friend and took care of her, Maeve never really cared for him, she just used him as and when she wanted to. On the other hand, Ruby underwent a major transformation in the company of Otis and revealed her vulnerable side to her because she found genuine warmth in his friendship. The relationship of Otis and Ruby was extremely delightful to watch on screen and easily one of the high points of this show, and yet the creators decided to destroy that beautiful relationship. Why did they have to do that? It's not like the viewers didn't want it, or there was some kind of outrage against it; in fact as far as I know most viewers actually wanted Otis and Ruby to be the endgame. So why did the writers give Ruby such a step motherly treatment? Even in this season, as soon as Otis and Ruby started working together, things became so much more interesting. I seriously wished for a show which only focused on their storyline because it was the most entertaining to watch, but instead the creators sidelined the character of Ruby Matthew, played wonderfully by Mimi Keene, and reduced her to a state of irrelevance, which was completely unjustified. In the overall scheme of things, it seems as if the Otis and Ruby subplot meant nothing to the writers, so what was the point of introducing a romantic relationship between Ruby and Otis ? The heartless manner in which the writers disregarded that relationship was quite shocking to see.
A television show is spread over multiple seasons because the entire story cannot be told in just one season, but in the case of 'Sex Education' I feel like the writers didn't have enough story and hence they kept circling around the same plot and created some uninteresting subplots just because they had to. For example, what was the point of 'Jackson' wondering about whether he had testicular cancer or not? That storyline added no value to the show, the sole reason for its existence was to increase the duration of the season. Why was so much screen time allotted to Roman and Abbi's storyline? I had zero interest in knowing the events of their life and yet I was forced to watch them as the showrunners treated them as the main protagonists of the show. Also what kind of people were Roman and Abbi? Two individuals who couldn't even properly decide if they wanted to live like a man or a woman? Is Netflix out to change the world with this show? Why is it so difficult for an individual to accept themselves as they are born? It is often said that excess of anything is bad and this show is a great example of that. Every sub plot acts pretty much as a filler, except that the screen time allotted to those subplots was way more than the main storyline of the show, the one that I actually cared about.
The most heartwarming thing of this season was Adam's reunion with his family. I was totally hooked into that storyline and felt very happy to see at least someone getting a happy ending in the show. The way divorce and multiple marriages have been normalized in our society, it came across as a pleasant surprise to see a family coming together for a change. I really liked Jem, played by the beautiful Bella Maclean, and found her track with Adam to be quite engaging. Ncuti Gatwa is an astonishing talent who has been consistently good throughout this series and in this season his performance towered above everyone else. Ncuti's portrayal of Eric has been thoroughly entertaining to watch and truly blessed are the souls who have a friend like him in their lives. Eric's final speech in the church, with him not only accepting himself as he is but also fearlessly announcing it to the world was very satisfying to watch.
Why are the creators scared of giving the viewers what they want to see in the final season? The most 'predictable ending' may not make everyone happy, but it would still be better than not making anyone happy. What is the need to experiment or shock the viewers in the final season, why can't the creators give us what we have been looking forward to since the beginning of the show? Why is it so difficult to give our lead characters the happy ending that they all deserve? In the end, the viewers are left with a lot of frustration and a number of unanswered questions, as yet another favourite show of theirs ends in a disappointing manner.
Friday Night Plan (2023)
Not a great plan.
'Friday Night Plan' just feels like a lazy effort. It's easy to see why it got released on Netflix and not in theatres, what I don't understand is that why did they even make this movie in the first place? The creators of this film wanted to make something similar to Hollywood films like "Superbad", but were not creative enough to make it relatable for every student or at least the majority of them. Does 'Prom Night' exist in Indian schools?
The movie feels like a ride that remains in the first gear throughout its runtime. It seems as if the director wanted to copy a Hollywood movie but wasn't sure about the extent to which he should get inspired. One would expect the 'Friday Night Plan' to be one crazy night where the excitement level hits the roof, considering how eager the students were to be there, but the party just turned out to be lamer than the birthday parties of twelve year old children. Frankly speaking, that was just a boring party and I don't see how anyone would have a good time being there. It's safe to say that not a lot of effort went into writing the screenplay of this film, as it fails to intrigue you at any point of time and throughout the film I kept wondering as to how to do producers approve such projects?
Babil Khan made a fairly impressive debut in 'Qala' but he came across as slightly uncomfortable in this film. Babil has the advantage of looking almost exactly like his father, the late Irfaan Khan, but he needs to work on his dialogue delivery. On the other hand, Amrith Jayan, the actor who plays the role of Aditya, came across as a complete natural on screen. The confidence with which Amrith has portrayed his role, makes it difficult to believe that this was actually his debut film. Amrith's dialogue delivery, body language and expressions are just too good, and it goes without saying that he has outshined every other actor in this film. The two female leads of the film, Medha Rana and Aadhya Anand don't get to do any heavy lifting in the film, but showed a lot of promise in the limited screen time provided to them by the film.
'Friday Night Plan' is a mildly interesting feel good film that fades in comparison to even the YouTube videos we see on a daily basis to entertain ourselves.
A long and boring lecture that just goes on forever.
Through this film Karan Johar tries to teach his audience to be more progressive and let go of stupid old traditions because they were not right in the first place and have not improved our lives in any way. It's good to talk about all these things, I just wish Karan Johar himself followed what he has preached in the film, because looking at the title of the film, it seems Karan still believes that changing the spelling of a name will actually make his film a success.
WHAT'S GOOD :
1. Ranveer Singh was easily the best part of this film. His flamboyant portrayal of Rocky Randhawa was extremely entertaining to watch and the movie would have benefitted a lot if he was the main focus of the film. Not for a moment does it feel like Ranveer is forcing himself to act and also he never feels out of character. Once again Ranveer proves how good of an actor he is and it goes without saying that he is an absolute joy to watch on screen.
2. Every scene involving Dharmendra was truly worth watching. The veteran actor has a charming screen presence and even at this age can act better than most of his co-actors. The emotional impact of the dialogues delivered by Dharmendra was more than any other actor in the film; I just wish he had more scenes in the film.
3. Tota Roy Chowdhury's performance was easily the best among the supporting actors of the film. The scene where he reveals his story to Rocky was extremely heartwarming to watch and of course his dancing was phenomenal throughout the film. Aamir Bashir is an extremely underrated and unfortunately a very underutilized talent of our film industry; be it 'Inside Edge', 'School of Lies' and now this, he always delivers a top quality performance but for some mysterious reason remains under the radar. Jaya Bachchan as the evil mother reminded me of Amitabh Bachchan in [url=tt0213890] with some added goofiness. I didn't like her character at all, which only means that she played her role quite convincingly.
WHAT'S NOT GOOD :
1. The movie just goes on forever, as if it's on a mission to bore it's viewer to death before coming to an end. When the trailer itself has informed the viewers about it's central conflict, then why does the movie waste an hour to get there? Also, after the houses are interchanged, the movie just turns into a television show, with no real intention of reaching anywhere. There is absolutely no way this movie should have had a runtime of three hours; a ninety minute runtime was more than enough.
2. Karan Johar's films are known for their music but unfortunately this one has forgettable songs. A number of songs have been thrown into the mix, but by the time you are done watching the film, you don't remember any of them. Pritam has been delivering some beautiful songs of late, but it seems even he wasn't inspired to create some gems for this dull and boring story. Every single song of the film should have been rejected at the editing table.
3. The movie starts off nicely with some genuinely entertaining scenes thanks to Ranveer Singh's flamboyant portrayal of Rocky Randhawa, but soon turns into a lecture of morals and code of conduct with non-stop lessons being forced upon you in every single scene. Now it's a good thing to talk about social evils, but it has to be done in an organic manner and it definitely should not be the whole point of the film. Also, the movie gets carried away so much in some scenes while lecturing that it just becomes absolutely nonsensical. What was the whole point of that 'bra' shop scene? Was it really necessary for Ranveer to wear a bra to understand the point? Normally, people are hesitant in talking about their undergarments, they are not ashamed of it. That scene went unnecessarily over the top. Also, how is it wrong if someone is shy to talk about undergarments? That whole sequence felt like a case of feminism gone wrong.
4. The whole movie has the feel of an Ekta Kapoor soap opera, something that we stopped watching a long time back. Rich people dressed up all the time as if they are about to go for a wedding; mind games being played between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law; even the background music reminded me of the music that played during the Ekta Kapoor produced television shows.
5. The movie tells the story of two families, one of them being conservative while the other one being liberal and progressive. Now, it's completely fine for people to have different beliefs but to show one family as regressive while the other one as progressive is stretching it a bit too much. Life needs balance in order to function properly, you need to be progressive as well as a conservative; it makes no sense to declare one way of life as wrong because both of them have their downsides. Extreme form of anything will only lead you towards the realm of absurdity, where nothing good can ever exist, so it's always best to maintain a good balance in life as it allows us to take the most logical and sensible decisions in life.
6. Alia Bhatt wasn't a good choice for this role. Of late it has become common to push Alia Bhatt's name for every big project, regardless of whether she is suitable for it or not and this of course being a Karan Johar directorial, he was obviously going to take her considering the amount of love that he has for her; but unfortunately he took a wrong decision. From the very first scene, an attempt was made to portray Alia Bhatt's character as a very sexy woman, who wears sarees and has a voice of her own, but the director failed to do so convincingly, simply because Alia Bhatt wasn't fit for this role. Alia Bhatt's baby face and her voice completely takes you out of the kind of scene that the director was trying to showcase. This role required someone like an Aishwarya Rai or Kareena Kapoor or Kiara Advani. Even her acting felt forced on a number of occasions; she just wasn't cut out for this role.
7. I was hoping to find some comedy in the film, but apart from the "Big Boss" joke I didn't find anything to be particularly funny. Regardless of how we see 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' and 'Kal Ho Na Ho' today, one can't deny that they had a lot of humour.
I had high expectations from this one after all the praise it received from the critics, but I guess it was naïve of me to trust the judgement of critics in the first place. 'Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani' is a long and boring lecture that just doesn't know that it needs to conclude things as well.
You don't need a hammer to slice tomatoes.
Why did this film go for a digital release despite being directed by Nitesh Tiwari, who has previously directed 'Dangal' is a question that I am sure a lot of viewers must have pondered over. After watching the film you do get the sense as to why it couldn't gain the confidence of the exhibitors. Getting straight to the point, the connection that this movie tries to establish with Hitler and World War 2 is rather bizarre and fails completely in convincing the viewer to buy into that idea. I understood what the director wanted to say, that no matter how big you think of yourself and your problems to be, there is someone else out there who has faced something much worse and yet tried to live their life in the most normal way possible; there is no point in crying for what you don't have, just make the best of what you have because it could have been worse; but there was no need to integrate World War 2 to prove this point. Throughout the film the director failed to establish a meaningful connection between the events of World War and the life of our protagonists; the only thing that he managed to do was give us all a good history lesson.
The action sequences have been done very well, there is nothing to criticize in the production design and cinematography of all the flashback sequences, the only problem is none of it was necessary. Auschwitz is a rather disturbing chapter of world history, using it to resolve a trivial issue of a couple was quite stupid in my honest opinion; I don't think you need a hammer to slice a tomato. In one particular scene, an Auschwitz survivor talks about his love story, which was a poor attempt by the director to establish a connection between World War and the love life of our protagonists; the connection has to be organic, you can't force people to create one. Also, it was difficult for me to understand as to why was a girl like Nisha, with all the qualifications that she had, putting up with a guy like Ajay? The behavior of Ajay, played by Varun Dhawan, was a bit too much; I find it difficult to believe that an educated girl would tolerate so much humiliation. If Ajay had made it clear that he doesn't wish to be with her, then why was Nisha still living with him?
The movie doesn't start or end well, it's only in the middle that it somewhat redeems itself with some charming romantic moments between Ajay and Nisha. The sequences in which Ajay and Nisha roam around Europe and explore each other are easily the best and the most enjoyable part of the film. Janhvi Kapoor has never looked this beautiful in any film of hers, though as far as acting is concerned she still comes across as quite stiff. Varun Dhawan does not play a very likeable character but he is extremely believable as the moron that Ajay is. Only question is why would the School hire a History teacher with no knowledge of History?
One bad film does not make you a bad director and in the case of Nitesh Tiwari, he has already proven himself with "Dangal", but he needs to realize that this was a bad film and he needs to stay away from such stupid ideas.
Made in Heaven: A Taste of Heaven (2023)
Poor writing and unnecessary male bashing ensure that this season does not give you a heavenly experience.
Most Indian web shows are not made with the intention of carrying forward the story into multiple seasons, and I strongly believe that filmmakers shouldn't go ahead with a new season unless they have an actual story to tell. After watching the first two episodes of this season, I just felt that perhaps this show didn't really need a second season. The first two episodes didn't leave any kind of impact on me as such and it felt like I was watching the show only because I had to and not because I wanted to. It was the third episode, where things finally got exciting. That's the magic of having a good director helm your show - Neeraj Ghaywan in this case - as they are quite capable of shaking things up and making the show more engaging for the viewers. I was thoroughly entertained watching the third episode and eagerly anticipated the next one as soon as this one came to an end. The writing on this episode was sharper, the pacing was fantastic and the actors finally made me believe that they wanted to be a part of this new season.
I was hoping that perhaps after a slow start this season would now pick it's pace, but unfortunately that didn't happen. Neeraj Ghaywan came back to direct the fifth episode and transformed 'Made in Heaven' into a completely different show once again. This episode was once again packed with some brilliant performances and very beautifully integrated an extremely relevant social issue in it's central plot. It goes without saying that the two episodes directed by Neeraj Ghaywan were the most praiseworthy episodes of this season, the only two that I would want to watch again. The rest of the season was highly problematic. When it happens in one or two episodes, you could say the creator just wants to highlight the problem because it's also a social issue, but if it happens in every single episode then you know that the showrunners have an agenda here. I felt like this season was more interested in male bashing than throwing some spotlight on the social issues ailing our society. In the name of feminism and liberalism, sometimes filmmakers overstep the line so much that they end up in the realm of absurdity and that is exactly what happens in this season.
In the first season I was more interested in the social issues being tackled in every episode than the events taking place in the lives of the main characters, and the showrunners also gave equal weightage to the two threads running in parallel, but in this season the marriage event takes a backseat and more attention is given to the lives of our main characters, which did not always make for a great watch because it was repetitive, boring and often frustrating. Even though this new season also takes up a number of social evils, but because the focus is primarily on the lives of our main characters, we are unable to fully invest in the issues being highlighted and as a result don't get affected as much as we did in the first season.
Made in Heaven made it quite clear in the first season that the protagonists of this show are grey characters, but with this season they have pretty much turned into Lord Voldemort, I just don't like them anymore. According to the showrunners, all the problems in this world are due to men, women are just victims, if a woman does something wrong then there is nothing wrong in it because she is just ambitious and wants to live her life independently, but if a man does something wrong he needs to be called out for it and punished severely. What kind of nonsensical ideology is that? How exactly are we supposed to empathize with 'Tara' in the final episode after the treatment she gives to Adil's mother? If the showrunners wanted us to hate 'Tara' after the final episode, then they clearly succeeded in doing that. It was such a relief to see Raghav parting ways with Tara in the end, no man deserves to be with a woman like that. This season feels like a case of feminism gone wrong.
Kabir and Jaspreet, possibly the most likeable characters of the show, had some beautiful scenes in the first season, but this season turns Jaspreet into a victim and paints Kabir as a bad person. It was mind boggling to see Jaspreet pointing fingers at Kabir even though every single one of those allegations could have been pointed at her as well! Kabir played by Shashank Arora was such a likeable character in the first season, but in this one he is hardly seen anywhere. Why did the writers destroy such a wonderful character? Why do the writers forget that Kabir is the one summarizing and narrating the story? How can a man who understands everything so deeply be so ambiguous about everything in his own life? Did the showrunners seriously ruin Kabir's character just because they had to show every man as a bad person?
This season also had two cameos by Jim Sarbh and Kalki Koechlin, yes the same two actors who were part of the main cast in the first season. Why were two amazing central characters given a treatment like this is a question that can be answered only by the showrunners. Jim Sarbh was brilliant as Adil Khanna in the handful of scenes that he was given this season, and it was frustrating to not see more of him. Were the actors not available for the filming of this season? Did the showrunners run out of ideas for them?
Mona Singh was the most notable new addition to the show in this season as Bulbul Jauhari and she did a fantastic job. Bulbul Jauhari was not only a very likeable character but the portrayal by Mona Singh was extremely believable as well. The track given to Karan and Meher in this season made me wonder, that is that all what their life is about? Looking for dates all the time, having sex with random people, taking drugs all the time? We got introduced to a new character in this season called Meher, who is so desperate that she is continuously swiping left and right, looking for hook-ups, even when she is at work; there was nothing else that the showrunners felt like telling us about her life. Also, the showrunners just casually ignored the fact that Karan stole eighteen lakh rupees from the company, he never gave an explanation for that and life just went on. The writing of this season was seriously messed up.
A couple of things in this season made me wonder if the showrunners are trying to cater to an international audience or they are completely out of touch with reality. While the first season was around 70 percent in English, this season was around 99 percent in English. It was fine in the first season because the rich and affluent people do tend to talk in English, but in this season everyone was talking in English all the time, including Ramesh Jauhari and his family, which felt extremely odd. Also, I could not understand the reasoning behind Ramesh Jauhari and his family eating food with spoons and knives. I don't think even a single middle class household in India eats their food like that. Who exactly were the showrunners trying to impress here ? Also has Zoya Akhtar and her team never met any normal Muslims? In the first Muslim wedding, alcohol was being served to everyone while the main Nikaah ceremony wasn't even shown, while the second one was a case of polygamy! It just reflects the major disconnect showrunners have with the culture.
Too much of anything can be bad and the final episode is a good example of that, where we see a rather bizarre wedding in which a bride marries herself. In the name of feminism and liberalism, sometimes filmmakers overstep the line so much that they end up in the realm of absurdity and that is exactly what happens in this episode and the season as well. By the time this season ends, one actually feels happy for Adil, his sister Gauri, his mother and Faiza; they may have lost their house, but at least they have each other; Tara on the other hand is left to live alone in that big house with her selfishness. How do the showrunners expect the viewers to root for the main leads after all this is beyond my understanding. Despite a longer runtime for each episode, this season feels extremely hollow and disappoints big time. Barring the episodes directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, there is nothing that I would wish to watch again from this season and I am certainly not looking forward to the next season.
Farzi: Cat and Mouse (2023)
Brilliant episode !
This was the shortest episode of the season but there was so much going on in it and at such a good pace that once again it felt like watching a mini movie. I loved the back and forth kind of situation portrayed in this episode as it was not only entertaining to watch but it also created a balance between the two sides. The chaotic scenario created due to no one getting an upper hand despite their best efforts was extremely enjoyable to watch.
This episode tried to emphasize on the fact that Megha has fallen head over heels in love with Sunny and is thinking more with her heart than with her mind when it comes to him; all this was done perhaps to make us understand as to why she is not finding anything off with Sunny. Although I still feel that Megha shouldn't have fallen in Sunny's trap, it's great to see the two of them together.
The highlight of this episode was the sequence that involved transporting the fake notes from Oman to Mumbai. It's rare to see a ship being featured in any Indian movie or a series, so it's always a sight when something like that happens and on top of that when you have some emphatic music, composed by Ketan Sodha, playing in the background, that scene becomes even more powerful. It was a pleasant surprise to see Anastasiya Ador in this episode, who was very impressive as the cunning and charming Svetlana. I was happy to see Anastasiya finally getting the opportunity of doing a proper role instead of the five minute cameos we usually see her doing. Anastasiya is quite an amazing talent but for some reason hasn't yet found her footing in the film industry; I really hope it changes after 'Farzi'.
The writing team hasn't missed a beat in this season so far and that consistency continued in this episode. Almost every scene had some amount of humour, with the conversation between Zakir Hussain and Vijay Sethupathi taking the cake as usual. It's unbelievable to see the amount of humour that has been packed in this show, even comedy films don't make you laugh so much even though that is what their primary job is. It's truly an incredible style of storytelling in my honest opinion and Raj and DK have my respect for that.
Farzi: Second Oldest Profession (2023)
A fantastic episode that felt like watching a mini movie.
After a small break, Farzi is back to it's normal course of action and is sprinting ahead at a breakneck speed once again. It's almost like a new beginning with Sunny and Mansoor teaming up and creating new problems for Michael and Megha's CCFART unit. This needs to be said again and again that it's a very enjoyable show that keeps your excitement level high in every single episode.
Shahid Kapoor has that unique quality to look extremely innocuous and innocent as well as ruthless with complete conviction as per requirement. In Farzi, we get to see two different sides of Munna, and Shahid Kapoor has been doing a phenomenal role in portraying both of them. Kay Kay Menon has a personality that makes you believe that he is actually the kind of person that he is portraying. Also, it never really seems like Kay Kay is acting, he keeps switching his style of talking seamlessly as per the scene and his portrayal always comes across as flawless; when you see an actor like him perform, it makes you feel that he is indeed a true 'artist'. Bhuvan Arora has also been doing an amazing job as Firoz; he is not some random supporting actor that you won't notice, he actually holds his own in front of an actor like Shahid Kapoor.
The dialogues of Farzi, written by Hussain Dalal, are very good. It's funny how things change when you are working with a much more competent script and under the guidance of good quality filmmakers like Raj and DK. A few months back, Hussain Dalal was being bashed left right and centre for writing some cringe worthy dialogues for 'Brahmastra', and now in Farzi he has delivered absolute gems in the name of dialogues. The scene where Yasir questions Munna's decision of working with Mansoor Dalal was a brilliant scene with some beautiful dialogues.
The background score by Ketan Sodha continues to be outstanding. The composer has been trying to create something unique and unheard of for this show and that is something truly remarkable. Every scene becomes more powerful because of the brilliant music being added to it by Ketan Sodha.
It was very surprising to see characters of The Family Man (2019) in this episode. In one of the previous episodes, we did get to see Inspector Shinde, who was also in The Family Man (2019), but I didn't think too much about it, but in this episode the creators made it loud and clear that they fall in the same universe and perhaps we might see a cross over between the two shows. It was a pleasant surprise and quite exciting to see characters from 'The Family Man' in this episode.
I know the creators let us know in the previous episode about how desperate Megha was for a new flat but what happened in this episode was a little difficult to digest. Megha's software CT-600 became a major stumbling block in the fake note market and on top of that Mansoor Dalal's right hand man Bilal got arrested by Michael and his team, clearly things are a little shaky for Mansoor Dalal; so when a stranger tried to get over friendly with Megha, so much so that he got her a sea facing flat at a price of her choice, why didn't she get suspicious? Also, when Sunny needed the phone, he could have asked his broker friend, but he asked her and she gave it to him without any hesitation, the same phone that receives confidential messages from the CCFART unit. Throughout the show, Megha has been portrayed as a very sharp minded girl, but that scene between Sunny and Megha broke that continuity. That whole storyline couldn't make me believe that a smart girl like Megha would fall for something like that. The show was trying to put across the point that after being constantly pestered by her mother, Megha too started believing that perhaps she needs someone in her life, which is why she allowed herself to be vulnerable when a charming young man came up to her and offered help, but unfortunately it just came across as plot convenience. Of course it brought together Sunny and Megha, two good looking individuals, so there is nothing much to complain about.
Apart from that one criticism, I absolutely loved this episode. As always it felt like watching a mini movie packed with plenty of drama, action, suspense and a possible romance.
Farzi: Dhanrakshak (2023)
A somewhat filler episode, but a very good one, nevertheless.
This episode felt like what we often call in a series as a filler episode. Although it did move the story and take it to a critical junction, most of it was giving us details of what's happening in the personal lives of our key players. Some people may not like these episodes, but I feel they are necessary not only because they act as a breather after some high intensity action packed episodes but also because they add a human touch to our heroes. Regardless of how heavy their workload may be, these characters are still human beings not robots, they have a life beyond duty and everything they do in their professional life does have an impact on their personal life.
Once again the comedy in this episode was extremely quirky and evokes laughter out of you because it hits you out of nowhere. I feel this is a great style of storytelling as it ensures viewers stay in high spirits while watching the show and don't feel bored at any moment. Vijay Sethupathi shines once again with his comic timing in the latest chapter of the Tom and Jerry saga going on in the show.
I really like that they are trying to break some stereotypes with the character of Megha. She is a girl, but doesn't really care about marriage, is obsessed with her work, has aspirations to do something big for the country and on top of everything loves eating food, lots and lots of food; I don't remember the last time the leading actress of a film was shown filling her plate with so much food.
It was good to see that Raj and DK are not shying away from doing some social commentary in their show despite all the restrictions under which web shows are made these days. Everything said by Sunny and Michael was extremely true and relevant, and also it was a nice touch to integrate humour in those monologues as it makes such harsh truths somewhat palatable and digestible.
The screenplay has been so good so far that I didn't even realize the absence of Mansoor Dalal, portrayed by Kay Kay Menon. So finally our local hero gets noticed by the biggest player of this game and we reach exactly the point from where the show started. Kay Kay Menon has a very intimidating style of talking and you know he's not messing around when he threatens you. Kay Kay was fantastic in that conversation sequence with Shahid Kapoor. Earlier Sunny was making a five hundred rupee note but now he will be making a two thousand rupee note, a metaphorical way of telling us that he has levelled up and is now playing a bigger game.
Every episode is turning out to be better than it's predecessor.
This episode felt like watching an hour long movie that was packed with content and was sprinting at the speed of light. I didn't even realize that an hour had gone by, that's how engaging it was. There are shows which move at a snail's pace because they barely have any story to tell, and then there are Raj & DK, who stack up so much content in one episode that an average filmmaker would use up to create at least three episodes. Technically this show falls under the genre of drama and thriller, but it also qualifies as a comedy, because of the amount of humour every episode has. The whole sequence where Firoz and Yasir set up MKG Publishing was absolutely hilarious. 'Farzi' turned into a full blown comedy for the next few minutes. The subtitled conversation between the old man and Firoz and the job interview session were insanely funny. That was just genius level writing and very entertaining to watch.
Finally we get an insight into the life of Michael, which is very similar to the kind of life Srikant Tiwari has been living. Also we get a glimpse of the lovely Regina Cassandra, an actress whose name had piqued my interest ever since the announcement of this show, but I was surprised by her absence from the trailer and promotions; perhaps she is not playing a very prominent role in the show, at least not in this season. I loved it when they switched the conversations to Tamil as soon as Michael came in touch with his family, it makes perfect sense for a show to do so but unfortunately it wasn't the case earlier. During Michael and Rekha's conversation, Michael was talking in Tamil while Rekha kept replying in Hindi, which felt odd initially, but then I realized that perhaps it was reflective of them not being on the same page, and also because she had a North Indian boyfriend now, so she may have been trying to adapt to a different kind of life. It was a good scene but since we have seen this kind of storyline so many times, it didn't really impact me that much.
Normally female characters exist in a show or movie only to be the love interest of the lead character or for the sake of glamour, it's not every day you get to see a smart female character with aspirations of her own, so it feels wonderful when something like that happens because it comes across as a breath of fresh air. Raashi Khanna is doing a fabulous job as Megha in this show and she shines once again in this episode with her confident act. Raashi's voice, talking style and body language is reminiscent of Taapsee Pannu, but there is more sharpness in Raashi's performance.
The scene where Megha and Shinde end up at Kranti Patrika office for investigation had an insane amount of tension in it and kept me on the edge for it's entirety. What made things worse was that Firoz and Sunny kept shouting throughout, giving me even more anxiety. That was an amazing scene because you just didn't know where was it going and how it would end. Frankly speaking, I did not expect to see a clash of their worlds so soon, but I guess while watching a Raj & DK show, one must expect the unexpected.
This was once again a fantastic episode that did not limit itself to one particular genre. The story is moving ahead at an incredible pace with unexpected twists being thrown at us every now and then. Also, it's not just trying to entertain us but also delivering a message through Sunny in a very subtle way; this business was started to fulfill a need, that need turned into greed and that greed has starting to take control of Sunny's mind. What kind of person will Sunny ultimately become, that is the big question.
Farzi: Social Service (2023)
You never truly know what to expect in a Raj & DK show, but it will be engaging that is for sure. The first episode ended on a cliffhanger so I expected this episode to continue from there but instead the episode opens with a flashback sequence showing us the kind of life Sunny lived as a child, and soon enough I was completely lost into that storyline, because of how beautifully it was done. A lot has already been said about Raj and DK's storytelling, but they also leave no stone unturned in selecting actors for their shows and I am not just talking about the senior actors but also the child artists who are always impressive; 'Tha Family Man' introduced some very promising young actors and that streak continues in 'Farzi'. The child artists portraying young Sunny and Firoz are so good that they could have easily carried an entire episode on their own.
The story opens up a lot in this episode and we get introduced to some very interesting new characters like Megha Vyas, played by Raashi Khanna, and Minister Pawan Gehlot, played by the impeccable Zakir Hussain. A decent amount of quirky humour is always expected from Raj & DK shows and this episode gave us a good dosage of it through some crazy conversations between Minister Gehlot and Michael. I wonder what kind of discussion takes place in the writer's room with regards to these kind of scenes; I am sure that must be as entertaining to watch as the final cut of the episode. Zakir Hussain was terrific as Pawan Gehlot and not for a moment did it feel like he was acting. Zakir Hussain and Vijay Sethupathi's relationship felt like that of Tom and Jerry with Zakir being Tom, and it was truly as enjoyable to watch as the cartoon.
Madras Café is the only work of Raashi Khanna that I have seen, but it was a long time back and her role was too small for me to remember anything from it; this was pretty much the first experience of watching her work for me and I found her to be very impressive. Raashi's voice, talking style and body language is very reminiscent of Taapsee Pannu, but she keeps things tight and doesn't let her character go out of hand.
This episode once again had some fantastic background score by Ketan Sodha. From the synth music at the beginning during the flashback scene (reminiscent of Stranger Things) to the upbeat and edgy score played later on, the background music beautifully elevated the emotional impact of the scenes and made them much more powerful. The song 'Fark Nahin Padta' composed by Sachin and Jigar was not only a good composition but also a perfect fit for the situation in which it was played.
Just like the previous one, this episode was packed with content and was sprinting ahead at a lightning speed; there was not a single moment where i felt like checking my phone or moving away from the screen. This episode focused on the rise of Sunny and Firoz and it's always fascinating to see such stories. You know they are going to fall at some point of time, but for now it's their moment to shine and it always feels like a personal victory when a common man does something special and earns respect from the people around himself.
Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga (2023)
A gripping thriller that surprises you in the most unexpected of ways.
In these kind of films, you want the action to begin right away, so I was somewhat unhappy when the initial few minutes focused on developing the romance between Sunny Kaushal and Yami Gautam, but after watching the entire film, it's safe to say that all those scenes were justified. While watching the first half, it was quite clear that it wasn't coincidence that brought Ankit and Neha together. With the help of common sense and the experience of watching a number of such films, it's easy to deduct that Ankit was just taking Neha for a ride because he wanted her help to accomplish his goal. What I didn't see coming was the second twist, which comes later on in the movie and catches you completely off guard. That twist elevates the quality of this film by quite a few a notches, as it leaves the viewer astonished and bewildered, with an array of questions in his/her mind, the most prominent one being, "how did that just happen?".
This is the second time I have seen Yami Gautam play a character with grey shades, the first one being A Thursday (2022); the key difference in both roles being that this time she looked convincing. In the movie 'Thursday', it was difficult for me to think of Yami as someone who could hurt anyone, she just couldn't portray that role with enough conviction. In this film however, you could really see that she had fully embodied the character of Neha; perhaps Yami was drawing inspiration from some real life experience because the depiction of all the hurt that her character had suffered felt very real. The acting performance of Sunny Kaushal was fine but not something that you would remember for a long time. Among the supporting cast, Krunal Pandit was quite convincing as the greedy and creepy Bhagat, while Sharad Kelkar looked solid as RAW Officer Parvez but his role wasn't sufficiently fleshed out.
The screenplay by Siraj Ahmed, Raj Kumar Gupta and Amar Kaushik is fast paced and extremely engaging. Credit must be given to the director Ajay Singh and his team of writers for going against the flow of things and trying out something new. It's not every day we get to see a heist based suspense thriller, what makes it even more special is that it's actually a good one. These kind of films don't take a lot of your time and offer you great entertainment, but unfortunately filmmakers don't show a lot of interest in such films anymore. Also, wonderful decision to limit the number of songs in the film to just 1, that too in the beginning.
Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)
Not as powerful as the first part but a visual spectacle, nonetheless.
James Cameron has crafted a unique methodology for talking about controversial issues without offending anyone; just tell a story about a whole new world, which is inhabited by people who look nothing like us, talk in a language that is unheard of and follow a religion that doesn't even exist in our world. With Pandora as the backdrop, even a simple story attracts everyone's attention, the message gets delivered and no one's sentiments get hurt. If you think it sounds simple, then all that you need to do is figure out a way to convince a financer to invest 300 million dollars in that simple story!
I thought this movie would never come out, but now that it has, I find it astounding that a filmmaker decided to dedicate so many precious years of his life to this project. Avatar - The Way of Water looks beautiful and once again encourages us to be more compassionate towards our natural resources, because our life depends on it. Nature gives you the gift of life but can also unleash it's fury if you stop caring about it and when that happens, no force on earth can save you from it. We all are spellbound by the breathtaking looks of Avatar but what we don't realize, is that it's the story of our world; if we don't make an effort to take care of our environment, we will go extinct, but if we do step up then Pandora could become our reality.
WHAT'S GOOD :
1. The visual effects of this film are spectacular. This movie was in the making for so many years, primarily to get the visuals right and in the end all the effort that went into making it happen has truly paid off. It's unbelievable to think that Pandora exists only in the imagination of James Cameron. The world that we see in Avatar and the creatures that inhabit it feel more real than reality itself, but the mind blowing truth is that it's all CGI. The best VFX is the one that seamlessly integrates the real with the unreal, and that is exactly what is happening in this film.
2. The action sequences in the final hour of the film are outstanding. The fiery exchange between the Metkayina clan and the RDA after a stunning attack by Payakan had me on the edge of my seat for its entire duration. For all the build-up that the movie does in the first couple of hours, which might test your patience, it delivers beautifully in the final hour.
3. It may seem like James Cameron is telling a very simple fictional story but if you see the big picture, you will realize that he is showing us a mirror, it's the story of our planet and how we are destroying it. While the first movie dealt with the subject of saving our forests and wildlife, the second one brings to our attention the water bodies of our planet and the creatures dwelling on and underneath it. It's not necessary for a movie to have any kind of message, but if a director like James Cameron is leveraging his popularity and the power of this platform to communicate an important message, then this act of his is truly worth appreciating.
4. While the first part of Avatar gave us Jake Sully, a hero we all could relate to and the immensely charming character of Neytiri, the second part gets you invested in the lives of all the children. If told well, a story centred around kids can be very exciting to watch; 'Stranger Things' is a great example of that, because regardless of how old you are, you have all experienced childhood and can easily relate to everything being shown on screen, and that is exactly the case with Avatar - The Way of Water, which spends a considerable amount of time showing the exploits of the children and the camaraderie shared between them.
5. The subplot about Tulkuns is the one that moves you the most. The scene where the calf tries to wake up his dead mother Tulkun, breaks your heart and shakes you from within and that is why when Payakan decides to spoil the party of the Hunters in the climax, you end up rooting for him as it was not only a cathartic moment for Payakan but also for the viewers. It felt so good to see Payakan toy around with the hunters and give them a taste of their own medicine. Payakan's moment of glory is easily the best scene of this film.
6. This movie is more about the children than the adults, so we don't get to see Jake and Neytiri that much, especially Neytiri played by Zoe Saldana, who has very few scenes in this one, but she performs beautifully whenever she's on screen and her shining moment arrives towards the end of the movie where she leaves you stunned with her brilliance. Neytiri's stand-off sequence with Colonel Miles Quaritch was an amazing scene that had me on my edge.
7. This film introduces a very mysterious character in Kiri, biologically the daughter of Dr. Grace Augustine and adopted by Jake Sully and Neytiri. Not much information was offered on how Kiri was born despite the fact that Grace died in the first film, who was her father and why is she different from the others. Kiri is a teenager like her other siblings but shows a greater sense of maturity and seems to have a deeper connection with Eywa, the sacred tree of Pandora. Kiri adapts easily to the new life with the Metkayina's, can breathe easily under water unlike her siblings and adoptive parents and also has some magical powers, as seen towards the end of the film; is she some kind of Goddess? It almost feels like she is some incarnation of Eywa, sent to help the people of Pandora, save them from the darkness and guide them towards the light.
WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD :
1. Minor plot holes and plot conveniences are common in almost every film, but in a movie that was thirteen years in the making and was crafted under the guidance of James Cameron, you don't really expect to see such mistakes. In the climax fight, the Reef people just disappear all of a sudden after the main ship breaks down. What happened to the Metkayina's? Where were they when Jake Sully and Neytiri were confronting Colonel Miles? A little help from the Reef people could have resolved that situation rather easily. Also, Tonowari and Ronal's daughter, Tsireya, had also been captured by the RDA group, why weren't they concerned about her? I guess the writers just forgot about them just like Daenerys forgot about Euron Greyjoy in the final season of Game of Thrones.
When Kiri becomes unconscious after coming in contact with the Spirit Tree, Jake Sully sends a message to his Doctor friend living far away in Pandora, then waits for him for a long time before he arrives; during all this time he doesn't bother to seek help from Ronal, wife of Tonowari, who was present right there on the island. Also, Ronal, despite her abilities didn't bother to go near Kiri, she waited for a long time and then as soon as the Doctor from Pandora arrived, she realized that "oh, I can help Kiri too!". That whole situation felt a bit implausible. The writers clearly messed up in that scene.
2. Kiri is supposed to be a 14-15 year old girl in the story, then why is a 74 year old woman dubbing for her? Despite their best efforts to modify Sigourney Weaver's voice, one can easily figure out that it's not the voice of a 14 year old girl. Regardless of how beautiful Sigourney's voice may be, it just didn't suit Kiri. All the kids sounded like kids, then why couldn't they give Kiri a young voice as well?
3. RDA's plans regarding Pandora were slightly unclear and also why was Colonel Miles Quaritch calling the shots? Initially we were told that RDA's mission is to silence the resistance and take over Pandora, so Jake Sully being a target was understandable because he had been sabotaging their plans for quite some time, but when Jake disappeared and things went silent in the Jungle, then why didn't they attack the Forest people or the Omatikayans? Why did they start looking for Jake Sully? RDA's primary aim was to capture the territory, not to turn into a search party looking for Jake Sully. Colonel Miles was thirsting for revenge, but why was the RDA wasting it's time and resources on his crazy mission?
4. This film is not as fast paced as it's predecessor, and the runtime of 190 minutes does test your patience. For the first 100 minutes the movie feels like a television series because of it's leisurely pace and a number of scenes that could have easily been edited out. Also, because there is not much story in this part, the first 100 minutes almost feels like watching a documentary about aquatic life.
5. The final action sequence of the film goes on for way too long. I am all for creatively done fight scenes but a conventional hand to hand combat just becomes boring to watch after a while. The fight between Jake Sully and Colonel Miles Quaritch should have been shorter and he should have been killed off; letting him live made no sense at all after all the trouble Jake and Neytiri had to endure because of him. Now we know that Colonel Quaritch will once again come back in the next film and try to do something that killed him in his first attempt and gave him a near death experience in the second. Why can't they create a new villain?
6. Avatar had some memorable music thanks to James Horner, but unfortunately 'The Way of Water' falls short in that department. It's been 13 years, but the song 'I See You' still has the power to shake you from within; I expected another amazing song this time, but there was none to be found. The background score of this film is strictly average, and that was quite disappointing.
The second part of Avatar is not as good as the first part, as far as storytelling is concerned, but it's definitely worth watching for all the effort that has gone into its making and for the message that it carries.
The Oscars (2023)
Wonderful event but they shouldn't rush things up.
What a wonderful show it was this year with some genuinely deserving winners and an absolutely fantastic host. The one thing that kept bothering me however was the rush with which things were happening. I get that it's a long show but the Oscars take place only once in a year and it holds a special place in every cinema lover's heart. For all the importance associated with the Oscars, I feel rushing through with the awards night is not the right way to go. In comedy, it's a basic rule not to say anything when the audience is applauding at your jokes; the fact that an experienced host and comedian like Jimmy Kimmel had to break that rule and say his lines even as the audience clapped, gives an idea about the kind of pressure he must have been under to move forward the show at a rapid pace.
I know some winners have had the habit of just going on and on with their speech, so I tend to agree that there should be a time limit allotted to each winner to deliver their speech, but cutting them off, especially the first time winners, comes across as a little rude. The Oscars should go a little easy on first time winners and when there is more than one person receiving the award. I felt really bad for Guneet Monga, who was ready with her speech but wasn't allowed to say anything. She won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film for The Elephant Whisperers (2022), and it was the first time an Indian had won this award, so it just felt a little unfair. Also, the next award which was given for Best Animated Short Film had two winners as well, but interestingly both of them were allowed to speak for close to two minutes, which felt rather odd. Why wasn't the Oscar management team consistent with the time allotted for the winner's speech? The award for the Best Make-up went to The Whale (2022) and even in this category more than one person was getting the trophy, but only one person was allowed to speak as the music started playing right after 36 seconds, cutting Judy Chin off; meanwhile both winners of Best Production Design were allowed to deliver their speech. This inconsistency was wrong and unfair in my honest opinion.
I was really happy with the decision of making Jimmy Kimmel the host of this year's Oscars, as he is truly an exceptional comedian and host. By the end of his initial monologue, he had delivered way more punches than what we experienced last year, only this time it left everyone in splits. I was looking forward to some more comedy from Jimmy Kimmel but unfortunately he was on stage for a very little time after his initial monologue; I guess they reduced the comedy on purpose this year to avoid a situation like the one we had last year. The segment where Jimmy Kimmel was throwing stupid questions towards the guests should have been longer as it was so much fun, but it just came to an end abruptly. I feel there are many things in an award show that can be cut short, but comedy is not one of them, because it keeps everyone in high spirits and excited.
The performance on the song 'Naatu Naatu' from RRR (Rise Roar Revolt) (2022) was truly one of the highlights of the show. The introduction by Deepika Padukone, the highly energetic dance and finally the Oscar for Best Original Song made this year's Oscars truly memorable for every Indian. Of course I can't say anything about every song that came out last year, but among the nominees, 'Naatu Naatu' was easily the most enjoyable number.
I was very happy to see Michelle Yeoh getting an Oscar; she is such an amazing talent and after so many years in the movie industry, her magic moment finally arrived at this year's Oscars. In my honest opinion, Michelle also gave the best speech of this year's Oscars; I feel it's so much better to say something that comes straight from your heart instead of thanking hundreds of people, because quite frankly that just comes across as a formality and not something that you really want to say.
This year's Oscars did not have a number of top actors and actresses like Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Tom Cruise, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joaquin Phoenix, Russel Crowe, Woody Harrelson and Lupita Nyong'o among others; I almost thought there is some kind of boycott happening his year! It would be really sad if just the nominees attend the event. It's understandable if people skip other award functions, but considering the importance associated with the Oscars, I was really hoping to see a lot more stars in the auditorium.
There is a visible effort being made by the Oscars to focus on representation and inclusivity, but in my honest opinion that should not be a criteria for selecting the winners. The award for the best film should go to the best film, that's it, there should be no additional eligibility criteria for it to fulfill. No one should be overlooked just because of who they are, but the quality of their work should be the only reason for them to win an award.
Wonderful to see Shah Rukh Khan on screen but the movie is average at best.
Movies like Pathaan are watched primarily for entertainment and if they have a good story as well, then it's a bonus; Pathaan unfortunately falls short on both counts. It feels as if the director and writer decided to throw in a lot of things in the screenplay so as to keep the viewers intrigued, but the problem with this approach is that the screenplay comes across as fragmented; there is a lot going on in the film and yet you feel like nothing much is happening in it. The director has focused more on the action and spectacle part, maybe because Shahrukh Khan wanted his return to be larger than life, but the thing is that all spectacles come across as hollow and meaningless unless they are backed by good storytelling. In movies like Pathaan, we are not supposed to think too much, because that will leave us with multiple questions with no answers; like why didn't the alarms go off as soon as Pathaan and Rubina crashed into the Woskwich Tower or why didn't anyone check the scientists dressed in white after they returned from an investigation towards the end, how is it that no one recognized Pathaan and Rubina despite their faces being clearly visible inside the helmet. Things just happen as per convenience in these kind of films and you are just expected to go with the flow. Pathaan has turned out to be a massive blockbuster, people have loved the comeback of Shah Rukh Khan, but that doesn't change the fact that it's not really a good film.
The spy movies coming out of YRF (Yashraj Films) like Tiger Zinda Hai and War have been doing quite well and the production quality always goes up with every new release, which puts forth the question as to why was the CGI of Pathaan so bad? In 'War', I was shocked to realize that a number of scenes which I thought were shot on real locations were actually filmed on a green screen, that's how good the visual effects were in that film. 'War' had some of the cleanest VFX sequences you would come across in an Indian film. In 'Pathaan' on the other hand, one could easily make out if the scene was filmed on a green screen, and it looked quite bad. The whole train sequence where Pathaan and Tiger are fighting on a train felt like a sequence from the 80's when VFX technology did not exist in India. Yashraj Films is a top tier production house and Pathaan wasn't released in a rush, so why couldn't they fix the visual effects of the film?
The character Rubina Mohsin played by Deepika Padukone doesn't make much sense and It almost feels like they just wanted to tick a few boxes by adding her to the story. How is it that Rubina, an ISI agent, was unaware of ISI's plan to attack India using Jim? Was General Qadir, an ISI officer, working on his own? Are we supposed to believe that General Qadir was so rich that he could pay up Outfit X all on his own? Obviously, that wasn't the case and ISI was well aware of Jim's plans, so how come they forgot to inform Rubina about it? Also, when Rubina left Pathaan to die in Russia, wasn't she already aware of the kind of work Jim was doing? Clearly Jim did not acquire 'Raktbeej' to create a cure for some disease, so why did she help him instead of Pathaan? I guess, not everyone who works for the intelligence services is that intelligent.
Right from the time this movie was announced, I was quite pleased to know that John Abraham would be the antagonist in this film, and after watching the film I have to say that John exceeded my expectations. As an actor, John Abraham has a very limited range but his physical presence and the swag with which he carries himself are attributes that make him the perfect candidate to play the role of Jim. In the movie he is the villain, but I am glad that they gave him a solid backstory, as an explanation to why he is the way he is, because that adds so much more weight to a character. Having a multidimensional anti-hero or a villain who is as smart and powerful as the hero is rare in Hindi movies these days, so for that the creators of this film deserve to be appreciated. John Abraham should aim for more roles like this instead of doing movies like Satyamev Jayate. John looked great in this film and it's quite amazing to see the kind of physique he has maintained at the age of 50.
The comedy in the film was good in some parts with jokes that actually landed but felt forced in other places. I really liked the self-depreciating humour involved in the conversation between Tiger and Pathaan. The sequence with Tiger and Pathaan wasn't really a surprise, thanks to the internet, but a good one nonetheless; the special effects however should have been better in that scene.
The action sequences in the film were choreographed very well. Pathaan as a top tier secret agent is expected to have some special skills and the stunts that he performs in the movie are extremely good. Typical fight sequences have become so boring that I just feel like fast forwarding them every single time, but I am glad that the stunt choreographers of Pathaan tried to be creative and designed them so well that you just don't want to look away from the screen. The fight scenes during Pathaan's introduction and in the Russian train are absolutely fantastic.
Shahrukh Khan is a wonderful actor and it's always a joy to watch him on screen, it's just that the kind of movies he often ends up doing are not quite good. Although, Shahrukh acted very well as Pathaan, I feel these kind of roles are more suited to the likes of Hrithik Roshan and John Abraham. Shahrukh should aim for more character oriented roles that challenge the actor inside him and allow him to tap the massive acting potential he possesses. The love that almost every Indian has for Shahrukh has translated into unprecedented success for Pathaan, but if I just talk about the movie from an objective point of view then it's just an average movie that couldn't offer me the excitement and entertainment that I was hoping for.
The revolution has begun!
The story of a common man who decides to take things in his own hand by challenging the very system that has turned his life into a living hell is one that we all have heard before; what sets 'Farzi' apart from every such story is it's treatment and presentation. Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D. K.; or Raj & DK as they are commonly known; have established themselves as one of the best filmmakers in Indian cinema with their unique style of storytelling; so much so that you can easily recognize their work, just like you differentiate A. R. Rahman's music from the others. In Raj and DK shows, the subject is always hard-hitting, acting is always of the highest quality, there is an insane amount of humour and the conversations between characters and their behavior feels more real than reality itself.
The runtime of the first episode of Farzi stands at one hour, but not for a moment you wish for it to get over or move faster, because the show grabs your attention right from the first scene and keeps you engaged till the final scene. There are shows that put you to sleep with boredom and waste your time in the name of one hour episodes, and then there are shows made by Raj & DK, which pack in so much information in one episode that every single episode feels like a short film. As a viewer, you get so deeply invested in the world and it's characters created by the duo, that you just don't feel like disconnecting from it. Good storytelling is an art and Raj & DK have truly mastered it.
Formulating a plan to print fake notes is the main plot of this episode and I was shocked to see the amount of detailing with which it was explained by our central characters. Any average filmmaker would have directly shown a fake currency note and carried forward the story from there, but Raj & DK went all out with their research and presented every step with as much as accuracy as possible. It's rare to see an Indian filmmaker put in so much effort to bring authenticity to their work, and for that they deserve a lot of appreciation. The whole process was presented in a very interesting manner and was backed by some amazing background score by Ketan Sodha.
The writing by Raj, DK, Suman Kumar and Sita Menon is excellent. The monologue by Shahid Kapoor where he explains how the world created by the middle class is not really owned by them, beautifully sums up the lives of the people belonging to the middle class. It's funny how dialogue writers bring out their best while working under visionary directors; a few months back Hussain Dalal was being criticized for his juvenile writing in 'Brahmastra' but while watching Farzi, you just won't realize that the dialogues have been written by the same person.
The acting performances in a Raj and DK project never disappoint, and that streak continues in Farzi. Raj and DK have my respect for bringing North and South India together in every project of theirs. There is so much talent present all over the country, why settle for some below par actors just because they live closer to your house? Of course, not every project requires actors from a particular region of the country, but at a time when so much effort is being put in to create differences among people, if two directors are trying to do the opposite and bring people closer to each other, then they need to be encouraged and applauded for their efforts.
Shahid Kapoor, Vijay Sethupathi and Kay Kay are brilliant in their respective roles, but it was Bhuvan Arora, playing Firoz, who surprised me the most. Shahid, Vijay and Kay Kay are stalwarts in their field, but this is the first time I came across Bhuvan Arora and I was super impressed by his confident yet grounded act. It was lovely to see Amol Palekar after such a long time; he didn't have a lot of dialogues in the episode but the way he delivered those lines gives you an idea about the phenomenal talent that he is.
Farzi has had a fantastic start and just like every Raj & DK show, I can't wait to see what lies ahead in this new journey that already has me intrigued.
Mickey Virus (2013)
An intriguing thriller that deserved a better climax.
Mickey Virus is not a great film by any stretch of imagination but the creators of this film have my respect for trying out something new and unique. The majority of the film is quite enjoyable, but I didn't like how they handled the climax. I have no issues with the inaccurate depiction of hacking as such because it's understandable that the idea is to entertain the viewers and not to turn their experience into a college lecture.
WHAT'S GOOD :
1. This movie has a fresh subject at it's core; the world of hackers. We do have heroes and villains, but it's not the usual story.
2. The movie takes you by surprise at multiple points with it's twists and reveals. I did not expect to see any deaths in the film, let alone the death of a key character half way through the film.
3. Manish Paul's comic timing is pretty good. Manish has done quite well in the past as a television host and this role almost felt like an extension of what he usually does. The expressions on Manish's face and his body language were extremely natural and never felt like he was forcing himself to act.
4. Elli Evrram or Elisabeth Emily Granlund Avramidou looked stunningly beautiful in the film. It's easy to see why she was finalized for this film but the thing to note is that she never came across as an expressionless beauty, this girl can actually act. I wish they hadn't dubbed her voice though, because the voice just didn't suit her and reduced the impact of her dialogues. Viewers can see that she is a foreigner, so why would it be a problem if she spoke with an accent? It's quite surprising to see that an actress who is not from India but can speak better Hindi than Katrina Kaif and Jacqueline Fernandez, looks absolutely gorgeous and is actually capable of acting, is still struggling for work despite being an active part of the Indian Film Industry for the last ten years.
5. The supporting actors are quite good. Manish Chaudhari's command over his craft reflects in every single dialogue of his; he is extremely grounded in his role of Siddhant. Varun Badola, the criminally underrated and underutilized actor is flawless as Inspector Bhalla. Among the friends of Mickey, Puja Gupta was quite charming as Chutney.
WHAT'S NOT GOOD :
1. The movie deserved a better climax than all major characters just standing in one location and reading lines from a teleprompter.
2. At one point, Manish Paul informs Varun Badola that he has reached quite deep inside the website of 'Bhram Gang', so how is it possible that he never bothered to check out the administrators of the website? That was a plot hole the writers conveniently ignored.
Micky Virus comes across as a light hearted entertainer that turns into an interesting thriller later on, but one can't deny that it's not a very polished product. It's definitely watchable, but keep your expectations on the lower side.
Goodbye turned out to be a disappointing affair thanks to it's lackluster screenplay and weak direction.
'Goodbye' is a 140 minute documentation of a death, funeral and all the rituals attached to it. Unlike it's trailer, 'Goodbye' has a very serious tone and does tend to induce boredom after a while. The biggest problem with this film is that it doesn't really have enough story in it; the screenplay has been sporadically sprinkled with some touching emotional moments and some lighthearted humour, but they are not sufficient to keep your interest alive in the film. The message that this movie tries to deliver is good but the time that it takes to deliver it is a bit too much.
In the acting department, Amitabh Bachchan stands head and shoulders above everyone else followed by Neena Gupta, who almost has an extended cameo in the film but does manage to leave an impact. Very few actors can stir your emotions like Amitabh Bachchan and he melts your heart once again in this film through his monologue towards the end. Neena Gupta never lets you feel that you are watching an actress, it feels as if you are watching your own mother, that's how natural she is on screen. After watching the trailer, I was wondering the logic behind taking Rashmika Mandanna, an actress from Karnataka, when the story is of a family from Punjab; well thankfully the movie justifies that decision but as an actress Rashmika couldn't really make a mark, largely due to the subpar writing. Sunil Grover has a very pleasant screen presence and has done a good job considering the limited scope of his character. There are plenty of supporting actors in the film but unfortunately none of them were given enough meat in their character for them to sink their teeth in it. I was looking forward to see Jasmeet Singh Bhatia in this film, an actor we have seen in so many videos of TVF, but sadly he had no dialogues in the film.
Amit Trivedi's music in the film is average at best, but it won't be fair to put the entire blame on him; if the screenplay itself comes across as dull and uninspiring, then what can you expect from it's music. A couple of songs are nice but unlike other Amit Trivedi albums, I don't have the urge to listen to them again and again.
Goodbye turned out to be a disappointing affair for me because of it's lackluster screenplay and weak direction. The trailer of this film promised a heartwarming comedy but the actual movie is just too depressing to watch.
Bullet Train (2022)
Extremely entertaining !
With a title like that, you go in expecting an entertaining ride and that's exactly what this movie is. Every time I watch a movie set inside a train, I always wonder as to why don't we see more movies set inside a train. It's difficult to explain but there is something unique about stories set in high quality trains; for some reason the proceedings become very exciting to watch. Bullet Train is an extremely entertaining black comedy that is guaranteed to give you a good time.
This movie almost feels like a Tarantino movie with multiple colourful characters, their stories being told in chapters and everyone coming together towards the end for an explosive climax. There are so many twists and turns in the screenplay that no character feels safe and the surprises don't stop till the last few moments of the film. It seems this film has been made keeping in mind the evolving audience of today, who gets bored too easily and wants to be surprised at all times.
'Bullet Train' is visually amazing; the cinematography and vfx are of top quality. The train in which this movie was filmed looks extremely beautiful and I really hope someday we get to see a train like that running in our city as well. I did not expect to see so much vfx towards the end of the movie; it almost feels like when the vfx team asked, "how much cgi do you want towards the end", the director replied with "yes"; Bullet Train literally has an explosive finale! The action choreography throughout the film is outstanding but the fight sequence in the climax is just mind blowing.
I loved the characters of this universe and the actors who portrayed them. Aaron Taylor Johnson was wonderful to watch as the foul mouthed Tangerine. This is the first time I have seen him and I was super impressed by his acting prowess and screen presence. Brian Tyree Henry was brilliant as Lemon and his scenes with Tangerine were quite funny. Brad Pitt has not only matured physically but also as an actor. When you think of good actors of Hollywood, Brad Pitt's name doesn't come up in your mind but he has been performing consistently well in the last few years. Brad's comic timing as Detective Ladybug was impeccable and the scenes that he shared with everyone, especially Aaron Taylor Johnson were extremely funny. Hiroyuki Sanada added a lot of weight to every scene that he was in with his powerful voice and screen presence and his sword fight sequence towards the end was absolutely stunning to watch.
This action adventure movie is packed in with so much comedy that you won't feel bored at any given point. This movie is not at par with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), which was quite an experience, but it has enough in it for you to watch it multiple times and have a great time.
Thank God (2022)
Light-hearted and enlightening; these kind of movies should always be encouraged.
This movie intrigued me from it's premise itself and did not disappoint me after having watched it. Movies like 'Thank GOD' may come across as unnecessary enlightenment for some but the truth is that our society is truly in need of all these lessons. I think these kind of movies are extremely necessary to shake up our conscience and show the right path to all the lost souls. Rajkumar Hirani has tried to do the same with every single film of his and has achieved great success with every single one of them, because we were able to connect with those storylines; those movies are like medicines that we always needed but just couldn't find anywhere. I think these kind of movies need to be promoted as they attempt to bring us closer to each other instead of creating some more differences in the minds of an already fractured society.
A part of this movie is somewhat similar to OMG: Oh My God! (2012) as it puts the spotlight on human beings and their understanding of religion. There are thousands of religions in this world with billions of followers who love to blindly do what they are told to but never really understand the basic message that their religion has been trying to convey. During our childhood we used to read a lot of stories, while some were told to us by our elders; they were generally called 'moral stories', the basic aim of those stories was to impart important life lessons to us like kindness, honesty, bravery, love and togetherness. Those stories were almost always fictional, the reason for their existence was to teach us the correct way of living and inculcate good habits in us. The same holds true for religion; we remember to do what's written in our holy books but never really understand the true reason behind everything we are told to do. We fight with each other over religion instead of learning to accept each other as our own, waste money and food over it instead of feeding the poor and hungry people, and feel pride in the language of our religion and place of worship, as if GOD understands only one language and will listen to us from only one particular place. It's a bold thing to do but at the same time extremely necessary as well, so I really like that this movie didn't shy away from throwing some light on that aspect.
You know where the story of this film is going but the screenplay has been written in such an interesting manner that it keeps you engaged throughout its runtime. The movie was following a template for sure but there were enough twists in the screenplay to keep you guessing and take you by surprise. The movie is not packed with laugh out loud moments but it does have scenes that are guaranteed to give you a good laugh. The visual effects during that heaven sequence were pretty good for an Indian film; comparing them to any Hollywood film won't be fair at all. Although a story like this is pretty much universal to people of all communities, I really wish that people of all religions could lower the sensitivity attached to it so that stories like these can be made from multiple perspectives.
As far as acting is concerned, Ajay Devgan seemed quite comfortable in his role of Chitragupta and portrayed the character with a lot of conviction. Siddharth Malhotra's range as an actor is quite limited and it was quite visible in this film as well where he was forcing himself to act funny. It's quite amazing to see the number of films that have Rakul Preet Singh in it these days; having good connections clearly has it's benefits in the film industry. As usual her role did not have a lot to do, but she did well in the limited scope that her character had.
It's rare to see an Indian film with just four songs, with one of them played during the end credits, but I was glad that the director took this decision as it allowed the story to flow without any unnecessary interruptions. The title song composed by Rochak Kohli and sung by Arijit Singh, and 'Manike' sung and composed by Yohani can be heard on repeat. The picturization of 'Manike' is extremely sensuous and Nora Fatehi looks absolutely gorgeous in it. That song does not break the flow of the film and is actually quite integral to it's story.
Overall I truly enjoyed watching this film and feel that more such films should be made because they not only entertain you but teach you a few important life lessons as well.
Plan A Plan B (2022)
Not a lot of planning went into the making of this.
While watching this film, I kept wondering as to what exactly am I watching, what is the point of this film? In this masterpiece, two individuals of opposite ideologies fight with each other and then end up falling for each other but before that happens you are made to endure some random unfunny sequences that are as pointless as Jon Snow's character arc in Game of Thrones. I wonder what motivates filmmakers to make films like these, perhaps a mockumentary of that might just be more interesting to watch. It's mind boggling to imagine the amount of money people have to waste!
Tamannaah Bhatia is an amazingly beautiful woman but somehow she manages to find her way into the most atrocious Hindi films. It's quite unfortunate that the Hindi film industry hasn't accepted her with open arms even after so many years, but by working in a film like 'Plan A Plan B' she is not making it easy for herself. Stylized romantic comedies with a simple storyline can be a lot of fun to watch but 'Plan A Plan B' comes across as an extremely superficial film with no sense of direction because its creator was too lazy to give it one. The movie fails to engage you at any point of time, doesn't make you care for it's lead pair, has no comedy at all and even the songs are as uninspiring as the screenplay.
Flawed but entertaining.
A well-made movie about con artists is always fun to watch, because it keeps you guessing throughout it's runtime with plenty of twists and turns and unexpected surprises; 'Sharper' is one such movie. This movie falls pretty much in the same genre as that of 'Now You See Me', a movie that I loved watching. I feel more such movies should to be made because they offer a lot of excitement to the viewer. With billions of videos turning up every day on YouTube, the viewers don't have the appetite to watch simple stories anymore, they want to be surprised, they wish to watch something unique, and movies like 'Sharper' offer them exactly that.
The acting performance of every single actor and actress was very good, with Julianne Moore and Sebastian Stan being the standout performers. It's unbelievable to see how gorgeous and sensuous Julianne looks even at this age; it goes without saying that she can easily give actresses half her age a run for their money. Sebastian Stan looked extremely sharp in every scene and reminded me of Agent Smith from 'The Matrix'. The movie made me completely believe that Max is a very smart person, which is why I found the final twist slightly difficult to digest. Towards the end, Max just turned into a cardboard character who just stood there doing nothing while his life was being shred into pieces. Also, Madeline going into panic mode and doing exactly what the 'security people' wanted her to do felt a little convenient.
The screenplay had me intrigued throughout because of all the twists and turns and also because it became impossible to trust anyone after a while as every single character turned grey. Apart from the final act, which felt a bit rushed, the movie does have enough to give you an enjoyable experience.
99 Songs (2019)
An interesting depiction of the journey of an artist with some soulful music, but unlike his music career A.R.Rahman is not off to a winning start here.
This film had me intrigued from the day it was announced simply because A. R. Rahman was not only the composer but also the story writer as well as the producer of the film. After making us wait for a painfully long period of more than seven years, when the movie finally came out, it failed to meet the expectations I had from it. Of course, it's completely normal for your first film to not be a masterpiece, but with A. R. Rahman we generally set the bar of expectations rather high.
Dialogues and lyrics of this film are not of the highest standard, and it almost feels like they were translated into Hindi. Interestingly the movie delivers beautifully through its silent moments, making you believe that there was definitely a good vision but it couldn't translate properly on screen. The movie takes a rather convoluted turn mid-way with a sub-plot about drugs just to send the lead character at a certain place, but that entire story felt like a completely different movie, because it came out of nowhere. It would have been better if that subplot was integrated in a much more organic way or some other subplot was used instead.
The story of the film is not new as such apart from the final thirty minutes but you don't feel bored initially because you are invested in the characters. The casting team did a good job in finalizing Ehan Bhat and Edilsy Vargas, for the roles of Jai and Sophia. Both Ehan Bhat and Edilsy Vargas have an amazing screen presence and have given a pretty good performance considering it was their debut film. I could not understand as to why Sophia played by Edilsy Vargas was turned mute in the movie, she could have added so much to her character if she had a voice. Although, Edilsy looked extremely gorgeous throughout the film, she wasn't just a pretty face strolling around in the movie; her facial expressions and body language gave a clear indication that she understands the art. Foreign actresses are selected in Indian movies purely on the basis of their looks and dancing skills, example being Katrina Kaif who has been in the industry for almost two decades but still has no expressions on her face, that should give an idea about how good the selection of Edilsy Vargas was, because not only does she look like a dream but can also act quite well. If offered the right guidance and opportunities, both Ehan Bhat and Edilsy Vargas could really do well in future.
In the supporting cast, Tenzing Dalha needs to be mentioned first because he is such an amazing talent. This actor has been very impressive in every single movie of his, be it Axone (2019) or Guilty (2020), but somehow doesn't get talked about much. He was extremely natural and believable as Polo Longjam, and in my humble opinion the best actor of this film. Lisa Ray was extremely sharp and sensuous as Sheela, and it's such a shame that a jaw dropping beauty like her has no real interest in being an actress. Manisha Koirala, Rahul Ram and Ranjit Barot have small roles and they have done a decent job. The surprise package of the film however came in the final thirty minutes, with an incandescent Warina Hussain taking your breath away. Warina had been kept hidden from the promotions of the film and that strategy worked very well for the film. Warina has no dialogues in the film, but you will remember her after watching the film, that's how impactful her cameo is.
The music of the film is good, but it won't be counted among the best works of Rahman. I think one should never hype any particular song, because then it's almost guaranteed to disappoint you, and that's exactly what happens with 'O Aaashiqa'. It's a good song no doubt, but it's not a great song, and the movie hypes it to be a revolutionary song that will bring about a change in people's lives. The song moves you when it hits the high notes in the second stanza and you are spellbound, but the problem with so much buildup is that you keep expecting more from it, which it unfortunately does not deliver. 'Humnawaa' sung by Armaan Malik is a beautiful song and has an equally good picturization; this particular song has a lot of repeat value. 'Jwalamukhi' is hands down the best song of the film and singer Poorvi Koutish deserves as much credit as A. R. Rahman for that. Thankfully 'Jwalamukhi' wasn't wasted in the background and picturized quite thoughtfully. Edilsy Vargas is quite a sight during that song; her gorgeous looks and expressive eyes add a lot of depth to the song. 'Sai Shirdi' sung by Bela Shende is a lovely song, but when it plays out in the film, it leaves you absolutely awestruck.
The background music of the film was very reminiscent of the kind of music Rahman composed in the 90's and after a very long time I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. The music used to showcase the magical bond between Jai and his mother was exceptional to say the least. The camerawork of the film was fine but I wish they hadn't opted for so much darkness. I just don't understand this artistic choice, why can't all frames be bright and visually appealing? The special effects were good in the scenes involving Jai and his mother but quite disappointing in the final song, 'Oracle'.
The final thirty minutes of the movie are it's best. As soon as the mysterious character of Rahul Ram meets Jai, the movie just becomes something else. The backstory of Jai's mother was beautifully told and it really uplifted the movie by quite a few notches. I think a powerful story might be able to bring about a change in a person but I just don't see a song being able to do that, regardless of how beautiful it may be. The ending with Ashwath Bhatt was a little difficult to digest and once again had some below par dialogues.
A. R. Rahman the musician is definitely way better than A. R. Rahman the storyteller, and unlike his debut as a composer he's not off to a winning start.