Sunday, 24 June 2012

Teri Meri Kahaani

Director: Kunal Kohli
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Prachi Desai, Neha Sharma.
Music: Sajid-Wajid
Genre: Romance, Drama.

2004 was the year when Hum Tum ended up being a roaring success regenerating the way rom coms were written in Bollywood. It is Kunal Kohli again who sits on the director chair and attempts to spin another ‘Hum-Tum’, or seeing the magnanimous shaayaris spilled across the screen, a flavor of ‘Fanaa’, in his new outing Teri Meri Kahaani. Well, things clearly don’t go according to the so-called-plan, as Teri Meri Kahaani runs cold and ultimately falls flat on its foot.

Teri Meri Kahaani yearns to be an epic tale of lovers meeting and parting over a span of 100 years. Protagonists meet thrice under different circumstances being different individuals separated due to the complications of wicked fate. The narrative begins in 1960, goes to 2012 and strangely comes back to 1910. Yawn!

Teri Meri Kahaani has an interesting premise, but the pointless direction and the mediocre writing makes it look lame and pretentious. It limps across three eras, but fails to tug a single heartstring. The concept of three time zones seems under-utilized as the set pieces lacks originality and come across as terribly uninspiring.

It is the chemistry between the leads, Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra that saves the day for this debacle piece of writing. The mere presence of them on screen accentuates the appeal of the movie. Nevertheless, they too suffer adversely as there is eventually no character development. The individuals seemed restricted inside their own cages for the length of the time they share screen. Shahid Kapoor as Javed, from the era of 1910, comes as the only respite with his Casanova attitude vowing to love every girl he comes across.

The present time story is the flimsiest of the lot being governed by the familiar twitter world and awkwardly lame chats sprayed on the silver screen. Positive points should be awarded for some new approaches in the way first hour of the movie is told, but after a while, the setting looks fake and narration feels disjointed.

It has some share of joyous moments and is mildly entertaining. ‘Mukhtasar’, sung by Wajid, comes as a sigh of relief and makes us nostalgic over the good old times when love stories were actually written by heart. The foot tapping music raises the vibe of the movie and the climax lifts the movie from the depths of its own silliness. It is charming in parts but ultimately feels too light to have a serious affair with.

Teri Meri Kahaani is yet another run-of-the-mill romantic tale which promises a twist, but ends up being clichéd. Only for the die-hard fans of this genre!

Rating: 2/5

(first published in Udaipur Times)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Gangs of Wasseypur: An Eloquent Statement On Violence

Director: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Reemma Sen, Richa Chaddha, Pankaj                   Tripathi

Have you ever wondered how a full blown crime saga akin The Godfather, Once Upon a time in 
America or Gangs of New York, might have ended up when being bathed with rustic Indian background? Well, add a pinch of Bihari salt and churn it with an incisive revenge plot, you’ll get the highly ambitious and blatantly violent epic called Gangs of Wasseypur.

Paying his homage to directors like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese, Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur is a sprawling tale ranging over decades of feuds and enmity. Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai) has only one aim in his life and that is to avenge his father’s death that came from the hands of the Wasseypur crime Lord / coal dealer, Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Seems like a regular run-of-the-mill vendetta flick, right? But the dexterity of Anurag Kashyap and the layers of sub plots served with a complex narration keep you engaged when the proceedings are ripe and leave you breathless as the end credits roll down.

Gangs of Wasseypur is a cauldron full of bloodshed which is so acidic in its content that it catches you off guard on countless happenings. It starts slowly with a tad frustrating narration. Stay with it and you will be rewarded with a stunning piece of cinema that gets better and better as it treads on. Kudos to Anurag Kashyap for he spectacularly handles a movie that is bluntly dark and gritty, and still finds humor in the most unexpected places. The irresistibly witty dialogues keep the heat on a hold while all hell was breaking loose in the streets and nukkads of Wasseypur and Dhanbaad.

Blissed are the audience of International film festival for they saw a complete five and a half hour long GOW. Keeping an eye on the commerce prospect of the movie in India, it is broken into two parts. While pulling off such a wide epic, one must have a terrific ensemble cast. Manoj Bajpai is terrific and carries out a mind blowing performance while you just sit back and marvel at the brilliance of his portrayal. Pankaj Tripathi who plays the role of Sultan Qureshi is in top notch form. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is breath taking.

Even the bloodshed on the silver screen seemed to be cinematographed with the terrific background score of the movie. The movie falters a bit due to its excessive length which is running over two and a half hours. Some editing in the early narration scenes would have done no harm to the movie. The story line tends to get cold and distant from the viewer as the movie unfolds. But, it is the style for which the movie hits hard. And what terrific style!

Caustic and utterly corrosive in its execution, GOW is a cliché breaker. It pulls all of its punches on a high note and hits hard on the guts. Unabashed gore and unapologetic cuss words may turn some viewers off. But these are the least harmful of all toxins polluting the air of Wasseypur in which even a bird fly with a single wing as the other is used for her own protection, her izzat.

Gangs of Wasseypur is sinister and visually mesmerizing which comes out with all of its guns triumphantly blazing. It is an eloquent statement on the core nature of violence and is pulled off with sheer brilliance by its cast and crew. It is one of the finest crime drama of Indian cinema and adds another gem in Anurag Kashyap’s tapestry. Take a bow!

Rating: 4 / 5

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ferrari Ki Sawaari

Director: Rajesh Mapuskar
Cast: Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Ridvik Sahor
Writers: Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajesh Mapsukar
Genre: Drama

When a father tears his house down to gather every bit of money just to buy his proficient son a cricket bat, you know you are in for a heart-warming drama. Under the experienced eyes of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Ferrari Ki Sawaari promises perfection in the beginning but settles for mediocrity as the reel comes to an end.

Rusy Deboo (Sharman Joshi) plays a bespectacled and downright honest father having immense love in his heart for his only son Kayo (Ritvik Sahor). Kayo is an aspiring cricketer who gets an opportunity to take part in a camp which is to be held in the paradise of cricket, Lords. The only obstruction in achieving his scripted destiny lies in the deceitful face of money. And of course, his mota baba, his grouchy and ever-so-gloomy grandfather (Boman Irani) who is all grumpy about his grandson being a cricketer.

Ferrari Ki Sawaari starts beautifully with Ferrari standing tall as a metaphor for all the desires of a middle class family which are way beyond their grasps. It is the second half of the movie, which falters to an uneven pacing and an ordinary screenplay. It lays down all of its cards way too easily and neither reaches any cinematic height nor achieves any emotional depth.

On a brighter side, we have stellar performance from the cast. Our very own idiot, Sharman Joshi steals the show with a brilliant portrayal of an idealistic father torn between the desires of his son and his own father. Boman Irani, in his overgrown beard and beautifully mastered Marathi accent, shines spectacularly yet again. The little star, Ritvik Sahor, is a blissed talent and would surely evolve into a mature actor in the near future.

Though the movie is charming and has some wonderful moments, but it exceeds its welcome and feels a tad long. By the end, it becomes quite predictable and clichéd.

It is the chemistry between Sharman Joshi and his son that steers the movie home. The sparkling humor between them and the mellow moments shines spectacularly and stays with you long after the curtains roll down. The music of the movie fails to come alive on the screen and does not mark any impact on the proceedings.

Ferrari Ki Sawaari is a tribute to all the childlike ambitions residing within us and acts as a wakeup call to follow our dreams regardless of the adverse circumstances. Though it never reaches a peak crescendo, but it’s worth enough for an affectionate and subtle family ride.

Rating- 2/5

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Estranged Lair

The haunting moon hung in the dead sky,
Hollow at its core akin a madman’s lie.
Bloodcurdling screams clothing the atmosphere,
Daylight gets lost in this deranged sphere.
Welcome to this harrowed nightmare,
Come abode to the devil’s estranged lair.

Sanatorium they announced it,
A place rooted deep in hell’s murky pit.
Demented heads limped in the shadow,
Whispering rages beside an infernal meadow.
Ripped souls yearning meaning in the barren fields,
Ashes of reality lies in a cesspool caressing humans heretofore peeled.

A sea of neurotic waste,
Diabolically alive and chemically laced.
Organ grinding machines to pulp their brain,
Authorities liable for forging them insane.
They weren’t different,
Just mismatched souls to whom the command gave bitter treatment.
Sane theorized madmen as dissimilar,
But the lunatics knew that ordinary heap were never a gift-believer.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

[Movie Review] Shanghai: A Ruthless Political Pit

Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin, Prasenjit Chatterjee    
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
Genre: Thriller
Music: Vishal & Shekher

It takes a maverick director to craft a cinema so bleak and brutal in its portrayal of truth that it has the power to provoke debates and lead to heavy handed argumentation. Dibakar Banerjee steers a political thriller so acidic in its content and so bitter in its handling that it hits you hard in your guts and leaves you wanting for more.

When an activist leader, Dr. Ahmedi (Prosenjit Chatterjee) is mowed down by a fast moving truck in what appears to be an accident, the hypothetical city of Bharatnagar boils down into a war field of riots and horrors. A student of Dr. Ahmedi, Shalini (Kalki Koechlin) becomes convinced that it was not an accident and was a preplanned murder. She along with a local photographer Jogi (Emraan Hashmi), who claims to have decisive evidence, fights for justice in a city brimming with deceit, bureaucracy and corruption. A high ranking official Krishnan (Abhay Deol) is given the responsibility of investigating the case.

At its core, Shanghai carries the notion of development at the stake of humanity. As the slogan of a prominent party IBP in the movie goes, “Kasam khoon ki khayi hai, Sheher nahin Shanghai hai”, Shanghai is treated as a metaphor for all the progress and evolution that the party promises in bharatnagar. Yet, regardless of the ballgame and skin crawling riots and unforgiving violence, the citizens of bharatnagar, proudly sings, “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.

‘Shanghai’ is a painfully slow movie. So, the viewer who has to sit back in the first hour only has his comfort in the beautiful little nuisances spilled across the screen. Dibakar Bannerjee has an eye for the details and he hits all his notes correct in detailing the landscape of silver screen. It is in the second hour that the movie grips the audience and sucks us into the world so true yet so oblivious to our naked eye.

Dibakar Bannerjee who previously directed Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006), Oye Lucky Lucky Oye (2008) and Love Sex Aur Dhoka (2010) shows superlative skills of direction and writing. The script is savage and brutally raw.

Shanghai is an atmosphere driven movie and the screenplay scores brownie points by depicting the circumstances as authentic as they could have been manifested on the silver screen.

The film tends to get distant from the viewer and is deliberately a tad sluggish. Kudos to the star cast with Emraan Hashmi leading from the front with a visceral portrayal of a middle class citizen. With Shanghai, Abhay Deol gets another coat in his armor and he is undoubtedly, ‘the dark horse’ of Bollywood cinema. Kalki Koechlin shines again as a lone girl seeking for justice in a ruthless system.

‘Shanghai’ is merciless and forces the audience to ponder over the state of our nation. It is by no means a yet another 100 crore blockbuster. It is an intelligent political thriller with a noble intention and a callous crime drama at its heart.

(first published in

Rating:  3.5 / 5

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Prometheus: A Visual Grandeur

Year 1979, a director simply altered the way people used to look at sci-fi cinema by concocting Alien, a cinematic masterpiece that stood the test of time. Ridley Scott created an atmosphere so bleak and horror so unknown that it haunted people for years to come. At 74 years of age, after thirty long years, Ridley Scott has revisited the future and has come up with the much hyped visual grandeur ‘Prometheus’.

When a team of explorers come across a star map encrypted on fossils that lead to the origins of mankind and delve upon deep questions dealing with life and God, they board ‘Prometheus’, a spacecraft, to a distant moon LV-223 to fathom our existence. Never did they knew, that a mere scientific exploration would turn up into a battle of survival of the crew and endangering the entire human race on the brink of extinction.

Right from the moment the vulnerable crew sets foot on the planet, the atmosphere of dread clouds them. It is the master craft of Ridley Scott, who has an expertise in creating tension that elevates this movie from regular sci-fi clichéd stuff. The creepy cave scenes and the glimpse of the metal alien (Yeah, it makes a brief appearance!) have the potential to crawl under your skin and scare the daylights out of you.

 It has often been noticed that big screen ambitions, wind up in forgettable debacles. But, Prometheus rises from the gravity of profoundness and never looks back. The slick and neatly cut gadgets brings an air of awe to the proceedings. The spectacular soundtrack delivers the sense of meaning this movie was looking for.  Stunning CGI and visually dazzling celestial backdrop elevates the happening and the mystery of unknown keeps you on the tip of your seats.

Wait a second, what was the fuss about profoundness, when you end up giving no answers at all? Prometheus soars with a brilliant start, a decent middle and ends up in a lousy fashion. Only if the writer had come up with a finer script that had been thought through till the end, this surreal journey would have been an epic in all measures.

When a sequel/prequel is considered, the comparisons with the original are inevitable. As an individual cinema, Prometheus hovers to the heights of being a sumptuous 3D affair having state of art sequences and reaching depths of visual accomplishments. But, as a companion piece to critically acclaimed Alien, it falters on some level. It was the horror of the unknown that ignited fear in the roots of our stomach in Alien. While here, Ridley Scott and the tittering screenplay assures us that the horror is long gone, and it is the sense of wonderment that sweeps the canvas of the celestial body.

The flaws of the movie are redeemed by a stellar cast. Michael Fassbender as the emotionless android is a scene stealer. He captures the scene and grips it hard with his terrific screen presence only to let go to Noomey Rapace who outshone her role with a testament to endurance and humanity. Guy Pearce (Wait! Was he even there?) presence was unnecessary and Charlize Theron did justice with the part she was entrusted with.

Prometheus might not be a cinematic achievement which it tries too hard to be, but it bestows enough unadulterated sci-fi goods to the genre lovers to keep them intoxicated. With drops of intelligence spilled in, this is a pure summer entertainer everybody rooted for.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

(first published in Udaipur Times)

Friday, 1 June 2012

[Movie Review] Rowdy Rathore: Relish The Rowdiness

Director: Prabhu Deva
Producer: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ronnie Screwvala

Music: Sajid-Wajid

Genre: Action, Comedy

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Paresh Ganatra

“Jisne bhi yeh socha ki main darr gaya, vo arthi pe apne ghar gaya.” When you see a larger-than-life protagonist delivering such heavy handed dialogues in a rustic yet unflinching fashion, you ought to put your appetizer down and give a hand to the rowdiness of our own khiladi, Akshay Kumar. 

The dancer turned director, Prabhu Deva directs Rowdy Rathore, a remake of telegu movie VIKRAMARKUDU [2006], with eccentric confidence and panache. With Rowdy Rathore, he proved that WANTED [2009] was no fluke and he has an eye for the masala entertainment.

Shiva (Akshay Kumar) is a con who falls for Priya (Sonakshi Sinha), a girl straight from Indian heartlands, Patna. When things were going heavenly for our veteran, a juvenile girl, calling Shiva her father enters the scenario. Life threatening attacks and a deadly secret leads Shiva to a town in Bihar ruled by the ruthless politicians and small time thugs. A place whose inhabitant’s only redemption lies with Shiva!

Raving dialogues, vivid background and unabashed heroism of Akshay Kumar makes Rowdy Rathore a hardcore crowd pleaser. Sonakshi Sinha reprises the role of a desi girl with charm and brilliance. A lack of expressions of our female lead is redeemed by the brutal delivery of her raw one liners especially in the second half of the movie. Prabhu Deva deserves brownie points for handling the flashback sequences with subtlety and ease.

The first half of the movie was a tad uneven in pacing but is backed up with a visceral second hour which gives the audience enough to whistle about. Akshay Kumar found comfort in his role and brings out a strong performance elevated by his sense of comic timing. The compelling action sequences derived from the cinemas in south were a definite USP. Special mention of the music composed by Sajid-Wajid is a must as it has been a rage since its release and definitely explodes on the silver screen.

When the main aim is to make an instant blockbuster, storyline usually finds its feet in the grave. Rowdy Rathore suffers from a similar fate. With a tinge of predictability and seen-it-before feel, the storyline does not let the movie reach its crescendo. The emotional scenes lacked a punch and the romance between Priya and Shiva felt unbaked.
The packaging of the movie is such that it shadows the faults and provides paisa vasool entertainment in all measures. Rowdy Rathore has blockbuster written all over it. Have a decko, and relish the rowdiness. 

Rating: 3/5

(first published in