Thursday, February 21, 2008

Review of Mithya

Overall Rating:***
Cast Performance:****
Sound Track:***

Expect a comic thriller. Extremely comic in the first half, not the laugh a minute type, but humourous and a sudden tragic thriller in the second half. Quite like many of Shakespere’s plays.

Rk (Ranvir Shorey) is a jugadoo junior artist who lives from day to day. He is working as an extra on a movie which stars Sonam (Neha Dhupia). Not surprisingly, RK likes Sonam from afar. However, his existence is very peripheral and after one really bad day he decides to go to the seaside with his adhaia of whiskey and a glass that comes free with it. He finds himself witnessing a shootout between two rival gangs. He goes to the police and finds the gang of Gawde (Naseeruddin Shah) on his tail. He is abducted and finds that he is the spitting image of Raje, the rival Don. Gawde plans to kill Raje and implant RK in his place, to finish the gang from inside.

After some hilarious training sessions, RK infilterates the Raje gang. A hesitant RK nearly botches it up but suffers a head injury and loses his memory. What follows from here on is a fast paced thriller that will keep you glued to your seats. You wont want to take any C or P breaks. Not too many laughs either here on.

The movie is taut and the scenes are all necessary, no faltu time wasting sequences anywhere. The acting is magnificent all around. Naseeruddin Shah, Saurabh Shukla, Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia, Iravati Bhogle and Harsha Bhogle, Suhasini Mulay, and many others I dont know the names of. The brilliant centrepiece is definately Ranvir Shorey.

Is it possible to make a good movie with actors who appear in peripheral roles in other movies? YES ! Sagar Bellary proved that in Bheja Fry and Rajat Kapoor proves it yet again. I wish I could kiss star studded movie goodbye and embrace small movies forever. I saw Loins of Punjab, The Blue Umbrella, Bheja Fry last year that were unknown small movies that wowed me totally. I missed Mixed Doubles and Raghu Romeo and hope to redress that and get some DVD’s.

The comedy sequences in the movie are just too funny to describe, not slapstick, not in your face funny, but extremely humourous. When the movie takes a serious turn, expect some really heartrending scenes.

Go watch it quick. I cant really predict if the movie will do well at the box office or not.


Cast: Ranvir Shorey, Neha Dhupia, Naseeruddin Shah, Vinay Pathak
Director: Rajat Kapoor

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Review Of Jodhaa Akbar

Overall Rating:**
Cast Performance:***
Sound Track:***

After making debut with the record-shattering LAGAAN and then crafting a message-oriented flick SWADES, lot has been expected of Ashutosh’s epic drama JODHA-AKBAR. Amidst all the controversies and hooplah surrounding the movie, it has been appealed by the makers of J-A that it should be treated more as a fiction than as page-by-page adaptation of one of the most famous chapter of Indian history books. So letzz take a sneak-peek into the History Books adorned with the creativity of Mr. Ashutosh Gowarikar through Jodha-Akbar:

Extravaganza of Brilliance and Glitches: When the events of 16th Century are shown on the silver screen in modern times, then Directorial craftsmanship and technical delicacies are paramount; more so, when you are blending the little-known truth with lotzz of fiction. The movie is not about the bravado of Jilaluddin Akbar; instead, it shows the soft-romantic side of the Mughal Emperor. With each passing reel, it becomes quite evident that the fictional part is taking its toll over the ultimate truth to such an extent that it becomes a farce at the end. The Vamp spinning its web over the Protagonist’s love life comes straight from Ekta Kapoor’s K-series and all the other tricks-n-traits of the supposedly Bad-Men in the business looks inspired from umpteen Bollywood Flicks. What makes this clichéd story-line a bit different from other run-of-the-mill crappers is its execution through intermittent brilliance of the proven-director, eye-soothing Cinematography by Kiran Deohans and stupendous performance by seasoned campaigners Ash and Hrithik in relatively unknown territory. The sheer grandeur-look of the movie is just spectacular; the credit should go to the Art-Director Nitin Desai too. Ashutosh has picturised the scenes in Battlefield with élan, the Sword-Fight sequence in climax standout amongst others. But, as is evident from my title, all the above highs of the movie were dwarfed by the length of the movie. Editor Ballu Saluja is under the hammer for this three and half long costume drama which takes off brilliantly but literally crawls towards the Intermission and after mid-way even “Snail’s pace” fails to epitomize the lingering progress of Ashutosh’s dream Project. This proves the fact: “Slow and Steady not necessarily wins the Race”.

Jodha-Akbar: Two actors that could easily slipped into the shoes of Akbar and Jodha are Hrithik and Aishwarya, thanks to their royal looks. Hrithik Roshan surely possess the poise and panache to get into skin of the character of a “Larger than Life” image of Akbar, but what’s more astonishing is to watch him deliver those heavy Urdu Dialogues with ridiculous ease. Director somehow couldn’t resist himself to showcase well-toned and artistically-chiselled body of Jr. Roshan, whether or not Akbar has that kinda brawny-frame is left for everybody’s speculation. Thank heavens, Ashutosh restrained himself in showing Hrithik’s Dancing prowess – barring Akbar swirling around for few seconds in a song, else it could have been disaster. On the other hand, Aishwarya looks gorgeous and ravishing in those traditional attires. But to the delight of the audience, behind all those heavy costumes and jewelleries, she still gave a gem-of-a performance worth applauding.

The Music for the movie is composed by none other than A.R. Rahman. For a lengthy movie like this, the songs should come as a relief to make the audience totally engrossed in them, but alas- the charismatic touch of the maestro is missing here. Jasn-e-Baharaa by Javel Ali and In Lamhon kii by Sonu Nigam are melodious songs but at the same time it further elongates the movie and as a result delays the proceedings. Same is the case with other songs viz Khwaja and Ajeemo-Shaan Shehansha. While the former is too lengthy to my liking, latter is a treat to watch and credit should go to the Director, Choreographer and the Cinematographer for showcasing this song in a grand way.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Review Of Johnny Gaddaar

Overall Rating:****
Cast Performance:****
Sound Track:***

Well written and taut scripts are no longer occasional in Bollywood. The film industry has witnessed several well made films over the past two years. Rang De Basanti, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Khosla ka Ghosla, chak de India etc are good examples of that. But rarely have we seen an original out and out thriller from our makers. Johnny Gaddaar is a welcome change to that. And a pretty good one.

I had high expectations from it as soon as I came to know that the scriptwriter is Jaideep Sahni, the man behind Khosla ka Ghosla and Chak de India’s excellent screenplays. After watching the film, I can safely say he hasn’t let me down. Like typical Jaideep Sahni stuff, the film takes its own sweet time to build up and the makers don’t rush things. And once the mood sets in, its hard to divert your attention elsewhere when the proceedings become more and more tense with every passing scene.

It has its share of ultra tense moments, and unpredictable twists in the second half, and the climax ends up on an ironical note; given the film’s genre and its plot, yopu cant ask for a fitter finale.
As the name of the movie suggests, its the story of how the lead character of the film gets himself into a mess when he decides to run away with all the money which he and his four partners decide to invest. The total amount being 2 crore and 50 lakhs, each one has to have a share of 50 lakhs. Its when Johnny - in the desire of a better life with his girlfriend (who’s incidentally the wife of another member of the group) ruins things up when his plans go haywire with one single incident on a train.

The story is interesting enough to keep you guessing what will happen next, right till the end. Its not what you call a shocking thriller, but its written with intelligence and the climax is what you can call perfectly ironical.

Direction is tight and there’s an RGV touch to several scenes in the film. After an impressive debut with Ek Hasina thi, Sriram Raghavan goes one step ahead and delivers a rocking thriler.

All the actors are in good form. Neil Mukesh who makes his debut does a good job as a debutant, but still has a long way to go. Dharmendra is fantastic in a short role, and Vinay Pathak in a non comic role is very competitive. Govind Namdeo and Zakir Hussain perform brilliantly too. Rimi Sen doesn’t have a very strong role but you cannot ignore her character’s presence in the film. Anyways, she does a good job.

Overall, Johnny Gaddaar is a treat to fans of the thriller genre. Dont expect anything shocking though. Just expect a well made movie with good performances and you wont be dissapointed.

No Smoking

Year of Release:26 Oct 2007
Banner :Big Screen Entertainment, Vishal Bharadwaj Pictures Pvt. Ltd.
Producer:Kumar Mangat
Director:Anurag Kashyap
Cast:John Abraham, Ranvir Shorey, Ayesha Takia, Joy Fernandes, Paresh Rawal, Sanjay Singh
Music Director:Vishal Bharadwaj
Cinematographer:Rajeev Ravi
Screenplay Writer:Anurag Kashyap
Editor:Aarti Bajaj
Action Director:Jai Singh
Sound Designer:Kunal Sharma
Choreographer:Ashley Lobo
Playback Singer:Adnan Sami

Sashank (John Abraham) is so addicted to smoking that is has become impossible for him to live without it. However, he gets a rude jolt when fed up with her husband’s craving for ciggies, his wife Anjali (Ayesha Takia) walks out on him never to return unless he quits smoking.

It is then he decides to do something about his obsession. He goes to meet Baba Bengali Sealdahwaale (Paresh Rawal), who runs a ‘ Prayogshala ’ -- a centre for rehabilitation from all sorts of addiction and afflictions.

When he meets the Baba; he walks into an agreement he can’t walk out of. Proud and desperate, Sashank throws caution to the wind and challenges the Baba’s diktats. However, he realizes that he can’t escape Baba no matter what he tries. Until of course the contract is complete.

It is based on the Stephen king short story "Quitter's Inc."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mr.Black Mr. White

Release Date :5 October 2007
Banner:Bipin Shah Productions
Producer:Deepak Shivdasani, Bhola Malviya
Director:Deepak Shivdasani
Cast:Suniel Shetty, Arshad Warsi, Sandhya Mridul, Upasna Singh, Vrajesh Hirjee, Tania Zaetta, Sharat Saxena, Mahima Mehta, Bobby Darling, Rashmi Nigam, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Ashish Vidyarthi
Music Director :Jatin Pandit, Lalit Pandit, Tauseef Akhtar
Lyricist :Sameer
Choreographer:Rekha Chinni Prakash

Synopsis:Gopi (Sunil Shetty) a simpleton, arrives in Goa from Hoshiyarpur. His mission – to hand over an incredibly tiny piece of land to his childhood friend Kishen, which was his father’s last wish.
Kishen (Arshad Warsi), now a conman, swindles people with a little help from his accomplice, Babu (Atul Kale), to earn enough money to educate his sibling Divya (Mahima Mehta) who’s studying in London.

Kishen, however, has managed to hide his profession from Anuradha (Rashmi Nigam) merely saying that it’s Hari, his twin, who is the bad guy.

Kishen avoids Gopi like he’s bad news. He’s not going to give up his flourishing business and travel to Hoshiyarpur just to take possession of a measly piece of land!

Gopi, in his mission of chasing Kishen, is given a helping hand by Tanya (Anishka Khosla), daughter of the owner of KG Resorts.

Flash: Diamonds worth crores have been stolen in a breathtaking heist by three gorgeous girls who are now holed up at KG Resorts.

Kishen, Babu and everyone else learns about this and they all make a mad rush for KG Resorts. Gopi finds himself a part of the gang.

Who gets the diamonds? Does Gopi manage to take Kishen to Hoshiyarpur? And was the land just a meager piece of land or something more? The answers are out in black and white by the time you go through this hectic cinematic maze!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Review Of Manorama Six Feet Under

A nice thriller !

Overall Rating ***

Just so that you may know, Manorama clearly draws an inspiration from Roman Polanski’s 1974 classic film China Town starring Jack Nicholson. It takes guts to remake a film which is screened and dissected at cinema classes all over the world. So does debutant director Navdeep Singh manage to pull it off? To an extent!.

If you have seen the original China Town , you will know exactly what is in store. China Town was a complete diverse film and not an easy movie to understand in its first view. Manorama is a bit simpler to comprehend but that doesn’t mean you keep your brains at home.

Satyaveer Singh (Abhay Deol) is a PWD officer who is suspended for taking commission while on duty. His family comprises of his wife Nimmi (Gul Panag), his son and his corrupt police-officer brother in law Brijmohan (Vinay Pathak). While serving his suspension order, he ends up writing a detective novel Manorama. A woman (Sarika) who claims to be the wife of MLA P P Rathod (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) asks him to spy on her husband whom she thinks is having an affair with another woman. Satyaveer takes up the new job of being a detective and shoots photographs of Rathod with another woman. However, later on Satyaveer finds out that the woman who hired him was never Rathod’s wife in the first place. Who was the woman and why did she lie about her identity? As Satyaveer probes further he finds out that there is a bigger scam involved and as he delves deeper he finds himself even more trapped.

The film keeps you guessing and just when you expect the obvious another mystery turns up. Sorry to say but much credits cannot be given to the screenplay writer of the film for that as a lot-in fact most of it is borrowed from the original film. However, the more controversial parts of the original have been replaced with something which will blend with the Indian audience’s taste.
One problem is we wonder why Satyaveer is hell bent on solving the entire episode. The reasoning the director has given us is because he has never made a decision in his life and this is the first time he is doing something for himself. It seems a bit absurd to put one’s own life and family in danger to satisfy your search for power and personal satisfaction.

The film has been shot brilliantly and the rustic look of Rajasthan gives credibility to the proceedings. However, at some parts the Rajasthani dialect between characters might leave you confused, if you don’t understand the language.

Abhay Deol in a complete new and mature look is the light of the film. Never going over the top, Abhay does well for himself as the calm and composed Satyaveer Singh. For the record Abhay’s last film was loosely inspired from another Hollywood film Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino. Gul Panag compliments Satyaveer’s character very well. After Dor , she comes up with another fine performance. Raima Sen looks beautiful and does well for herself. Kulbhushan Kharbanda doesn’t have much of a role but he enacts his scenes with conviction. Vinay Pathak moves out of his Bheja Fry territory and gets full marks for his portrayal as the village cop.

The background music really goes well and thankfully there are no songs in the film except for one which plays in the background.

Director Navdeep Singh does a much better job in remaking a classic than what Ram Gopal Varma did with his Aag . Showing a lot of promise in his first film, Navdeep has found his type of cinema and we hope he sticks to it and gives us more films like these.

For people who grew up reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes or even Agatha Christie mysteries, this film is definitely for you. However, the film has its limitations (less entertainment value, drama, difficult plot) which the common man yearns for while venturing out to watch a movie. But the film is definitely a step ahead in the quest for better mystery films in India.