Wednesday, 14 November 2012

[Movie Review] Jab Tak Hai Jaan: All Hail The Badshah!

Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif

Director: Yash Chopra

Runtime: 181 Minutes

Voila! Slowly he walked towards his love with smiling eyes beaded on his face and in that very moment it strikes you why this man is known as King Khan. Drop your armors for here is Shahrukh Khan doing what he does best, Romance!

Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a sprawling love affair spanning over a decade having the splendiferous King Khan at its center and a sure handed direction by the master storyteller, Yash Chopra sahib! It is indeed a poetic dream come true with its canvas being flushed with sumptuous imageries of London and jaw dropping splendors of the valleys in Kashmir and Ladakh.

From far off, JTHJ may feel like yet another run-of-the-mill-romance-flick. On scraping the shiny surface, you will find a heartfelt account of passionate sentiments and eternal love that is tying people in a knot which is unbreakable even by the highest forces existing in this realm!

 It follows the arc of Major Samar Anand, who heads the Bomb Defusal Squad for the Indian Army and is proclaimed as ‘The Man Who Cannot Die’. Enters a dreamer; the effervescent Akira Rai (Anushka Sharma), who walks over a personal diary of our soldier. Roll back to flashback and we are introduced to the wounded love affair of the same man to an exceptionally rich mademoiselle Meera (Katrina Kaif), the Pari floating on the surface of snow. The screenplay then focuses on these three characters and their undying spirit of loving one another till the borders of sanity.

Such intricacies and such densities of emotional heights can only be achieved by someone who has seen love at its very core. Yash Chopra sahib was one such individual and was a force of nature that will resonate his love for cinema in the walls of cine-fraternity for a long time to come.  Ain’t he a genius? The sumptuous background wrapped around by the elegiac lines penned by Gulzar; Aren’t these the fundamental ingredients of a grand love story? The chords are pulled off at the right moments to strike a perfect balance between unconditional love and tragedies that go with it. The direction of JTHJ, in one word is, awe-inspiring!

Are we talking about giving a depth to the character? Who can accomplish that in a more profound manner than Shahrukh Khan! If Yash Raj can melt hearts, Shahrukh Khan can win them over by just a mere smile. He slips himself in the shoes of Samar to give us an unparalleled performance that thrives as the soul of JTHJ.

Anushka Sharma gave her best performance till date. Amidst such heavy names, she garners appreciation as the new-age-girl, who’s hesitant in falling in love with an already wounded man. Such was the energy and such was the charisma of her that she totally owned the screen whenever she made an appearance.

Well, its time people take this lady seriously. Katrina Kaif is now truly in the house with the other biggies. Carrying at once, both contemporary and retro feel, she touches one’s heart with ease.

When such majestic people are at work, the magic rarely fails. But, what went wrong with JTHJ is its runtime. Clocking around 3 hours, it feels cumbersome at times as some tête-à-têtes seem fruitless. The pacing, especially in the mid of first and second halves, lagged intolerably. Music, by A.R. Rahman, does not blows one off the hanger, but still, keeps one hooked on to the proceedings.

JTHJ recalls an earlier era when movies moved people, rather than manipulate them; and when the innocence superseded craft. A baggage full of towering performances, sweeping vistas, impeccable direction and a gigantic heart at its core, JTHJ is a beautiful ode to the essence of life.

(First Published in ; )

Rating:  ****

Saturday, 10 November 2012

[Movie Review] Stolen: A Mammoth Failure!

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Malin Akerman, Danny Huston.

Director: Simon West

Runtime: 1 hour and 36 minutes

Blimey! Cage’s back, the goons are back and guess what, the daughter of our fella is kidnapped by an age old comrade. Sounds familiar, right? If you have seen Taken, the recent Taken 2 or Ransom, there shouldn’t be any reason to squander your time in the theatre until and unless you are one of those guys who goes gaga over Nicolas Cage.

Will Montgomery (Nicolas Cage), an ex con and a distressed father finds out that he has to rescue his daughter from a buddy turned baddy by paying $10 million in 12 hours. Guess what? Our man is up to it. Rest what follows is the usual recipe swirled and whirled in ways you would definitely not like to watch again.

What’s wrong with Stolen? To start with, it has an extremely clumsy and derivative storyline. It stinks of other formula ridden movies which end up having the same fate as that of Stolen. The aerial shots, the bank robberies and the car chases leave as little as no effects as the movie clothed up by a sordid writing leaves the viewer disgruntled.

Stolen boasts of three different genres, that is; action, thriller and drama, but to the movie-goers horror, not one of them reaches to the height that would even make it a tolerable affair. 
The action is a drunken man’s job containing the most unoriginal sequences you would have seen in your recent times! Those car chases, seriously? Is this the best they can do? And well, one should not forget the FBI which was hovering over Cage as if they had no other work to do!

It is indeed true that director Simon West got all his ingredients wrong this time, but, there is some relief lurking in the shadows of those dull FBI cubicles. Guess who’s the caped crusader saving the horror for us? Bingo, Nicolas Cage! He might have lost that grip he earlier had, but still, he has one hell of a screen presence. Surprise also comes in the face of Danny Huston, the FBI agent, who cracks some chirpy one-liners to make an odd coupe laugh somewhere in the theatre. Although, Vincent (Josh Lucas), ‘the-old-friend-turned-villain’ looked like one complete lunatic on a run from asylum.

Positives: Nicolas Cage!
Negatives: Everything else. 

Stolen is a vile piece of trash and a blot on action movie’s timeline. Disappointing!

Rating: 1/5

(First pubished in ; )

Sunday, 4 November 2012

[Movie Review] 1920: Evil Returns - Fizzed Out!

Actor: Aftab Shivdasani, Tia Bajpai, Vidya Malvade, Sagar Saikia
Director: Bhushan Patel
Writer: Vikram Bhatt

What would it feel like to go through two hours of cinema which ultimately succumbs to the same shades of stereotypes that this industry has suffered for many years? What would it feel like to see a movie in which the effects become tacky and are ultimately unable to run a shiver up your spine? What would it feel like to see a horror movie that has taken its spooky sequences as unashamedly as possible from cult biggies like ‘The Exorcist’ which released back in 1973? If you have no clue about what all things I have mentioned above, well, go and watch 1920: Evil Returns.

Promise! That’s what was given to us in the first hour of the movie. A mystery was there to unveil itself and what should have been built for a gripping second half, wobbles on its knees and falls on ground. A renowned but unhappy poet Jaidev (Aftab Shivdasani), in search of muse, finds a lady (Tia Bajpai) by the shore of a lake. The female has lost her memory and thus a love affair spins between the two distressed loners. Alas! An evil spirit dooms the girl, and our hero decides to be the man of the hour. Wait! That is just not the end of the story. It also has a handful of love letters thrown around, blind love affairs, revenge served cold and confessions.

One must be wondering about the thing that clicked in favor of 1920: Evil Returns. The answer is its breathtaking cinematography which captured the country side of England in a lush and opulent manner. Right from the chilly mist to the horse carts and to the gorgeously shot mansion sequences; all of them hit correct notes as the movie came alive on the screen.

One must complement Chirantan Bhatt for giving a breath to the love story with sumptuous tracks that gave an air to the proceedings. An eerie background score also created a chilly ambience which supported the cause of the director, but, in some of the instances, it was way too loud and noisy to serve its purpose.

Performance wise, to say the least, Aftab Shivdasani ended up being an ever-so-clueless guy carrying a poker face all around the movie. I must say that he tried, but with not-so-good results. Tia Bajpai chipped in beautifully for the scenes in which she was possessed by the demon. Vidya Malvade, who played Jaidev’s sister, seemed uncertain of her act.

1920: Evil Returns churned its material in the wrong fashion. The spookiness and the chills gave its way for ho-hum scares and bookish techniques to induce chills, which took the fizz out of this foggy affair. Only recommended if you are one die-hard fan of horror-genre!

Rating: **

(First Published in ; )