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Category Archives: Lets Talkies

AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL


ae-dil-hai-mushkil-2aThat’s a two movie streak for me!!! Bollywood is starting to make some good stuff!!! From the outrageous Happy Bhag Jayegi that i loved to the sublime Ae Dil Hai Mushkil its all good!!! I Loooooved the movie!!!!

Johar once again sets his movie overseas! Nothing says romance like Europe! And Karan exploits the unmistakable charm of England and Paris to give his movie that XFactor!!! And oh! he ditches NY for a splash of posh Vienna! There’s magic in the air!

Once again KJo explores a difficult relationship in the Indian mind set! Can a man and woman be just ‘Friends’! He packs the most sumptuous relationship drama, where characters pair up, leave, and return, all to explore ‘freedom’ in a relationship. Extremely witty in places and a corpus of sighs and tears where you simply want the lovers to fall into each other’s arms because you can’t bear to see them apart anymore, at another, the movie moves seamlessly from one situation to another! I would have loved to see some relationships that got side lined, explored a bit more. A little more real estate to Fawad would have been good too. KJo’s gamble to focus on characters more than the plot paid off!

Ranbir is electrifying and oh! so believable as an intense youngster! The Breakup dance in the Silent Disco was fantastic! Anouska however for me stole the show. Surprising me with her impeccable timing on the humour which was in itself a cut above the rest, her emotional moments were just as believable. Her admission that friendship was her strength and love made her weak was a touch of class! Aish as the cougar, femme fatale and ‘Walking talking Ghalib’ was a waste of space and no amount of make-up can make her look better than she is! (The good thing is, I got some dressing tips on how to hide those thunder thighs 😉 ) Fawad Khan has his moments… but considering he was there only for a few moments that was 100% of the time 🙂 Lisa Haydon does her role of a ditsy girlfriend quite naturally 😉 Shahrukh has lost his charm (if he had any, that is) and was there because according to KJo “We love Shahrukh Khan”!

The music however left a lot to be desired!!! Generally KJo movies leave you humming a song for days after! However Pritam lets him down with his loud cacophony! Actually I wish there was NO background score. The ‘Silence’ they talk about in the film is shattered by the incessant loud instruments and most of the time just shakes you out of your stupor! Even the use of old songs and known ghazals does not resurrect his music venture!

Also, the tenacity and tempo of the first half is lost and the acting rendered useless by lack of script ingenuity in the second half. The narrative, post interval, is sluggish and drags on like an amputated snail. In spite of some humour from Ranbir, you miss the vivacious presence of Anoushka!

But don’t let that discourage you! A nice sense of fun with smart one-liners and jokes and dancing to outrageous songs pile up relentlessly carrying you through the film effortlessly! The ILU of the 80s and 90s is successfully replaced by IFU!!!! I could go on and on, but I would be revealing too much of the film! Enough to say that all-in-all its a great movie! A must watch…

DeeScore: 4/5

 

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in Lets Talkies

 

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Sultan


Sultan-Stills-09Move over the Punjabis… it seems to be the Haryanvi culture that is taking over the tinsel town! Set in small town Rewari (Haryana) ‘Sultan’ in spite of the predictable storyline is not quite what I expected!

The disclaimer here is that I have never liked Salman Khan and with all the recent controversies he is shrouded in, I had thankfully vowed to myself that I would not see Sultan. But a recent bout of flu saw me checking out in the wee hours of the morning and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised!

The story of a small town cheery, everyday Romeo whose lady love turned down his attentions calling him a ‘Sit Guy’ and ‘Loojer’, turning first into a determined athlete to win her over, to a complacent husband and arrogant star, to a crushed, lonely, depressed and lovelorn middle aged, potbellied ‘former wrestler’; is rather believable and down to earth. I think what really made it for me was that for the first time when Salman Khan takes off his shirt and everyone – including Khan – shudders. Portraying Sultan, who goes from being fit and lean mean machine to a gloomy, middle-aged, paunch-burdened man, Khan performs with élan. Like Chulbul Pandey, he touches a chord with his depiction of Sultan!

Out of the supporting actors, his ‘langotia yaar’ Govind, (Anant) was superb as he stands by his buddy through all his travails. As far as Anoushka is concerned, someone needs to discover a way to reverse botox! She offers nothing new and is fast becoming typecast as feisty girl with rustic twang. We have seen her in similar roles enough number of times to see her get it right! There were some really touching moments between husband and wife where Anoushka trumps over Sallu. Especially touching was her “Mai te tanne ijjat kamane ko kaha tha, tu toh ghamand kama laaya”. And I wish Randeep Hooda had more of a role to chew on than the food he kept munching into!

The problem is its length and the music! A little under three hours was a bit too much! They could have cut a few unnecessary training scenes, running commentaries, kite-running, taalas & taalis to make this leaner meaner movie it could have been! The music was just passable and didn’t leave you humming a number after!

But all in all worth a watch in spite and because of Sallu!

Dee score – 3/5

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Lets Talkies

 

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Angry Indian Goddesses


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Ever walked into a movie knowing nothing about it, not knowing what to expect and walking out not knowing how to react, realising you expected something different???? Yup that’s how I felt leaving the cinema after watching Angry Indian Goddesses!

Don’t get me wrong… it was a great movie! After years of watching Jay Veeru and Dharam Veer, this movie on friendship among girls is lovely to watch. As they say in the film… they may bitch, but they’re still friends! Something like Sex in the city, without the sex and er…. the city!!

Set in a small town in Goa, the film talks about the lives of eight women. The opening credits were creatively done. Putting together a montage of sequences from their lives of fighting against misogyny in their different worlds: from struggling to be heard in a male-dominant film industry to facing the many lecherous looks while walking down a street, the prelude sets the pace for what’s in store — women fighting gender inequality through the various aspects of their lives.

I also loved how the movie broke the stereotypical mould of Indian cinema of turning the spotlight entirely on aggression when addressing violence against women. Refreshingly, at no point does it define its heroines solely by the difficulties they encounter as women. That was identifiably different! In fact the dominant memory from the film is that of the constant chatter, fun, camaraderie and support of these women of each other. In fact, the depiction of realistic explosion of these women when they do suffer assault at various stages of the film would resonate with most women! It certainly did with me.

What made it lose its credibility? The fact that Indians seem to think that profanity by women and adopting thus far male-centric vices of drinking and smoking (at least in the Indian context) is a sign of feminism. A high pitched BC and “F***ing” being used extensively, willy nilly and sometimes superfluously at every opportunity was for the want of a better word, off putting. And the decibel factor… Jeez they are loud. Why?!?!?!? Why do Indians need to shout to make a point? Why must bosses SCREAM at their subordinates? Why can’t messages be more subtle? This whole ‘in your face’ attitude just got to me.

And the gay couple…. They were just so stereotypical – the arty farty creative one and the NGO type, as if gay relationships happen only in some echelons of the society! And the priest in a Catholic Church agrees to marry them??? Do the Indians know Roman Catholic Church stand on Gay Marriages is? Even if they did find that one off priest who supports it, I doubt if he would agree to conduct the ceremony in the Church! Facts people! Facts! Why do Indians sacrifice crucial facts while keeping the flow? Where the director did such a great job with creating a scenario of women bonding without melodrama, he totally lost the plot while trying to tackle the bigger issues ending up with a Hindi mainstream film climax. A somewhat “Dhatt Tereki” effect on me!

However, despite its flaws, Angry Indian Goddesses is a decent watch.  What makes it worth watching is the superb acting by the protagonists! Each one of them handpicked for the role they played to perfection! The music was great and Anushka Manchanda’s Zindagi was the best of the lot. Lyrics and rendition both were soulful and fit well in the film. In fact none of the songs seemed out of place.

Seriously, the premise was a brave one and a hard one, and the director almost pulled it off! I wish he had kept the reigns tighter on the plot and not succumbed to Bollywoodizing the plot! Just go in there expecting some great acting and you will be fine! But expect it to make a statement on feminism or a revolutionary Bollywood film and you will be sorely disappointed!

In spite of everything good and bad… DeeScore – 2.5/5

 

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2016 in Lets Talkies

 

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Sarbjit


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Oomang Kumar’s latest venture, Sarbjit, is the real life story of a farmer who was wrongfully convicted in Pakistan and died after a fatal assault inside jail. However the movie may as well have been called Dalbir Kaur, his sister, for the amount of footage she and her fight against the system to prove his innocence got, in the movie.

Given the very real context of the plot, the movie is turned into a typical Bollywood almost fictitious, drum-beating melodramatic saga that suffers from an overly-worked-up lead actor. Her pronunciation of punjabi is more put on than her giggles on David Letterman’s show! For all the screaming and chest beating dialogues, Aish fails to bring the character to life. It just got tiring after a point.

Randeep Hooda and Richa Chaddha are superb beyond words. Richa as the quite wife delivers her 5 minutes of limelight with more elan than Aish does in the three hours. Randeep’s weight loss to suit the character, his endearing love for his sister and his wife make him so very believable and makes the heart bleed.

Despite the heavy, tragic air of the film, there are a few subtle moments – the flashback scenes of Sarabjit with his family dancing and having fun are heart warming. Then there was a delicately executed scene where we see a grieving Aishwarya clinging on to her still-born child. Randeep convinces her to give up the infant’s body. In another rare engaging scene where Sarbjit’s family goes to meet him in jail. The frisking of the women in his family is disturbing and is perhaps the only other scene where Aish looks authentic.

So, seriously, in spite of its real context, Oomung fails to deliver what could have been a moving, poignant and impactful film.

verDEEct: 2/5

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Lets Talkies

 

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Kaanchi…. the unbreakable


KAANCHI ~THE UNBREAKABLE Could pass off for Kaanchi the UNBEARABLE!

Clearly, the master has tried to recreate the magic of Taal with this doe-eyed debutante and the Himachal backdrop, but this time, has failed miserably. He continues to live in his past doling out generous amounts of glitz, glamour, visual sweep and loads of melodrama.

In this venture, Subhash Ghai explores all the pressing topics which are sadly being ignored by main stream cinema – women empowerment; men in corridors of power who create, manipulate and exploit the system with impunity;  businessmen who are allowed to lay down the rules of business; helplessness of the common populace faced with an unresponsive bureaucracy and government – albeit at the expense of sanity!

Veterans like Mithun, Rishi Kapoor and Mita Vasisht are wasted in this movie though Mithun as an evil politician (reminded me of his Mrigaya days when he did a lot more than gyrate his waist to Bappi’s music) was a genius and Rishi Kapoor stood out as the lecherous and sleazy uncle! Mita may as well have not been there! Of the newcomers I liked Chandan Roy Sanyal as Bagula (notice the outlandish names which I personally quite liked ). Because it was about women empowerment Kartik Tiwari was passable in his tiny role. Mishti though pretty had a kind of “nails on blackboard” shriek!! She goes from annoying to hysterical through the movie. And the profanity…. jeez! I can’t imagine Ghai making his beautiful muse sully her mouth with profanity! Yuckkkk it left such a bad taste!

Add to this hotchpotch is the less than memorable music score, which by the way in the second half is more than dialogues!!!! Jai he (really?!?!?) was there to distract and Kambal ke neechey was just most cringe worthy….

So two big movies on one weekend and I have decided no more Hindi movies for me for a while.

Dee score: 2/5

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Lets Talkies

 

Rang Rasiya: A Pash Fest


157166-rang-rasiyaKetan Mehta weaves magic once again on the silverscreen, this time with a tender, vibrant, touching and stirring love story that exists in her heart and his mind!

The cast is a winner! Hooda is effortlessly intense, jovial, blind in passion, untrustworthy, self righteous, a genius, a fighter and selfless, all at the same time. He has a regal enough face (especially with that perfectly aristocratic nose), that can as easily look stubborn, lecherous and manipulative. Nandana Sen looks divine, elegant and enticing. She does justice to her role and doesn’t look vulgar or out of place in that hugely publicised love-making scene. If anything, she makes it appear graceful and so believable. The chemistry is superb and they sizzle on screen.

Dialogues in the movie are superbly timed and poignant even today (like when an untouchable grabs RaviVerma by his hand and takes him to her basti with “Aap bhagawan ko (mandir se) bahar le aaye!” and the astute business man Paresh Rawal claiming that, “Bhagawan sabse zyada bikta hai!”)

But the movie largely disappoints! Like everything else Bollywood, the reality is romanticised beyond belief! What happened would have been great if it was as it was in the movie! If it wasn’t for Hooda and Nandini carrying the story through and making it believable the movie would have fallen flat! Even the much talked about scene of passion could have stopped at the subtle and poetic depiction of them lying intertwined with her covered in paint (only) and him nothing, instead of making it in your face, with an awkward build up and the gawky kissing that precedes this shot! Bollywood needs to rediscover the beauty of leaving things unsaid! Music and cinematography were average!

Advise to all… please see it on big screen for full impact! I would give it a 3 out of 5 more for the story telling and the cause and the dialogues and of course the superb acting by Hooda! I always knew he was a man of substance… he has finally met his match!

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Lets Talkies

 

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Ek Villain – a must watch


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Ek Villain, a Mohit Suri (of cult films, Woh Lamhe, Zeher, Awarapan, Raaz-2, and the recent Aashiqui-2 fame) production is an edge-of-the-seat drama with romance. I liked it because it was different… the good was not so good after all and the bad who behaved good was really not good at all! The film creates undeniable curiosity for the antagonist and is not overly sympathetic towards the protagonist! Instead of the usual happy ending there was no winner. The one who thought he had won had lost and the one who won had lost everything!! A rare love triangle with a different angle in every angle!

After all the hue and cry by the media, I was prompted to see the Korean thriller, “I SAW THE DEVIL” from which Ek Villain has allegedly been lifted!  But honestly, the similarities end with the general trend of the story. Right from the start EK VILLAIN charters a different route all together. The characters, the reason that compel a simpleton to slip into the robes of a serial killer, the clash of the good and the bad are all dissimilar! I would say the Korean version may have been an inspiration, no more!

Without getting into the story (because you will lose the fun if I do) let me highlight some of its great points. Mohit has a knack of narrating stories with flourish and the tale he sets out to narrate in EK VILLAIN keeps you on your toes all through. Numero Uno was the narrating of the tale in reverse instead of a linear fashion. The story unfolds after the catastrophe has occurred and the love has ended… violently. The tender moments between the lovers,  the wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time event causing the upheaval in their lives by the antagonist,  the twisted game of cat and mouse and the thrilling twist in the finale (which in itself is not your run of the mill variety) keeps the viewer interested, engrossed and captivated! I actually loved the mind games and battle between the good and the evil towards the end was the icing on the cake. And the conclusion the cherry on top!

Dialogue by Milap Milan Zaveri is well penned and well executed. In fact, Milap, who is known for witty and double entendre’, surprises you with punch-packed lines that accentuate the beauty of the sequences aptly. The action sequences, thankfully, are not overdone and balanced neatly where the ruthlessness of the antagonist is depicted minus blood, gore and explicit visuals. Background music by Raju Singh is superb and blends in nicely highlighting a moment effectively. I was particularly impressed with the music. In spite of its melancholic vibe it is sure to make the charts.

Coming to the acting… you cannot applaud Ritesh Deshmukh for his performance enough. Making a radical shift from his roles thus far (of the fun loving naughty friend) he gambles with a dark, intense, sadistic character in EK VILLAIN and carries off the unpretentious, sinister streak with brilliance!!! You can’t help feel sorry for this deranged middle class man fighting his inner demons, while feeling disgust for his actions. Siddharth Malhotra is one bloke that I have always liked. In a positively negative role he is an absolute revelation, handling several complicated moments with exceptional ease and understanding. It must have been rather challenging to act the good guy against the celebrated funny guy and call him bad! He seems to just groove in and keeps us all loving the man who has lost the one love of his life and forgetting that he is really not a good guy himself! Shraddha Kapoor will definitely have made a mark with this film. She is light and simple and keeps the movie moving with clarity. I am sure she will earn a few more fans with this movie.

But it would not be correct of me to not mention that the story line is a bit cocky in places. I reckon, its this need of Indian film makers to keep the movie three hours long that may be the culprit here. The plot in the middle seems to stray with unimportant details. The portrayal of the antagonist in parts need not have been as graphic. But I am happy to overlook these tiny issues and give it four stars anyway!

All in all, most definitely watchable with some wine over the weekend!

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2014 in Lets Talkies

 
 
Women in Bollywood

A journey through heroine-oriented cinema

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