Friday, 29 March 2013

[Movie Review] Himmatwala: Even Maa Sherawaali’s Tiger Can’t Save the Day!

Cast: Ajay Devgan, Tamannaah, Paresh Rawal, Mahesh Manjrekar, Zarina Wahab
Director: Sajid Khan
Genre: Comedy, Drama

There lies a word in dictionary, ‘Dreadful’. The word is usually referred for something that is the cause of suffering and sorrow. Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala can be easily quoted in the dictionary beside that word, as an example for better comprehension to the readers. Or eventually, not many people will catch it, so it cannot even attain that feat. Sad for Sajid Khan!

When a movie starts with Sonakshi Sinha moonwalking on an appalling dance number, one ought to expect what lies in the hold of the remaining two and a half hours. The smarter ones will simply leave the theatres while the others will sit back so as to see the heights of clumsiness that can be achieved by the remake, oops, parody of 80’s Himmatwala.

No, there is no point in going into the plot details as it is nothing short of a heap of foul-smelling trash. Only thing you ought to know is that there is this son, Ravi (Ajay Devgan) who avenges his father’s death and the turmoil of his mother and sister from a local loony goon, Sher Singh (Mahesh Majrekar).

Rest assured people, there is not a whisper else in the story apart from a twist bomb dropped before the interval; and what an atrociously lame fizz that bomb was! Sigh!

Sorry Sajid Khan, you may have scored three back to back massive blockbusters, but you got your cards all terribly wrong this time. And guess who the king of the stack was? Yeah, Ajay Devgan! Limp-riding on trivialities, he perchance gave the most underwhelming performance of his career. Who to blame, Sajid Khan for writing such mundane script or the one who penned the inexplicably worthless dialogues?

Tamannaah tried her bit. She grooved when it was needed of her and regularly pitched, “I hate Garibs” with a retard-ness that may have you laughing for once. Paresh Rawal is wasted terribly with a squeaky voice as if someone is choking his throat; though, it did not help his cause to deliver a nuanced comic performance.

If this pile of cartoonish vileness was not enough, Himmatwala pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho by re-enacting the shower sequence in the most ghastly way possible. If the stick bashing was not enough, Ajay Devgan shamelessly uttered “Naha yeh raha tha, dho maine diya!”. Take my word that the master of suspense would have committed suicide if only he was alive today. Maybe now, his ghost will haunt Sajid Khan for the rest of his life and Maa Sherawaali’s tiger won’t save him either.

(first published in

Sunday, 24 March 2013

[Movie Review] Aatma: This Daddy is Pure Evil!

Cast: Bipasha Basu, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shernaz Patel
Director: Suparn Verma
Genre: Horror, Thriller

Another wooden chair rollicks, another worn-out creepy woman gives abysmal warnings that are meant to be disregarded and yet another time, a spirit enters another body and we find some lateral shifting in eyeballs accompanied with some grumpiness in voice. So, again, riding high on banalities arrive another horror movie, Aatma. Cartoonish, eh?

A sensitive girl Nia (Doyel Dhawan); a loving mother Maya (Bipasha Basu) and a malicious father, Abhay (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who is all set to expurgate the throat of his spouse if only he gets an occasion to do so, lives together in a flat. But there lies a timid twist in this story; father and the daughter are all in chubby-chubby love with one another. So much the love is that even death of the daddy can’t separate the duo. So he decides to chip back in this mortal world, only to take away the daughter once and for all!

If not for the cast, this would have been all down in litters. Bipasha Basu yet again carries a horror-fest on her shoulders. Being the central character, the wreckage of the tragedies was dripping from her face. Only this time, she was helped by an even more accomplished actor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Green fresh from his days of Gangs of Wasseypur, Siddiqui steals scenes as if he is one masterful heist man.

Suparn Verma had his intentions right. He sure wanted to scare the living hell out of the audience by churning a mind bending thriller. Sadly though, the attempt misfired and badly at that. It is in the execution and the turtle-slow pacing that the movie falters and not even the satisfactory visual effects helped this one from the mess it had become till it reached the climax.

A movie having a runtime under 100 minutes; that’s low, even by Hollywood standards. Never does it outstay its welcome. Though being thoroughly douche in three fourth of the affair, it is somehow redeemed by a climax, which is garden fresh in Bollywood.

Aatma could have been a stirring psychological drama but feels like a slave to the clichés. Generic and brain dead, this arrow went completely haywire!

(first published in

Friday, 22 March 2013

[Movie Review] Django Unchained: Good old Spaghetti Western!

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo Dicaprio
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Genre: Western, Drama
Movie Reviewed at: PVR Cinemas, Udaipur

You muse endlessly to have a faith in this world, where ‘being bad’ is the only route to rise against the evil. You come close to it and sniff the staple nature of violence and vengeance. This is one big bad world, a world of suppression and blood, in which you either are a demigod or a fiendish devil. You settle down to the tone of it, to the saccharine goriness of the miniscule idiosyncrasies spilled across the barren landscape and then you gapes open mouthed as the shockwaves of awe run all over you after witnessing this fiery masterwork of Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained.

The undercurrent themes of Blaxploitation, dominance of whites and slavery lies heavily besides the baritones of wit and wry humor that Django Unchained offers. The result is an immensely satisfying outing from the veteran director who just doesn’t know how to miss the bull’s eye.

Django (Jamie Foxx), with a silent ‘D’, is a rowdy black sword who mostly stays silent and when he speaks, inflammable boldness flies from his lips. When being rescued by a bounty hunter who gets paid for knocking people and selling their corpses, Dr. King Shultz (Christoph Waltz), his life takes an upswing and he finds himself along with the eccentric hunter in pursuit of the man who took his wife as a slave in the badlands of 1800’s. The man, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who turns out to be a plantation owner having an unusual craze for Mandingo Fighting and a flair for being a wicked businessman, is to be fooled by the duo and so the captive wife is to be rescued by the hands of Django. Sounds simple? Wait till you watch.

Right from the bombastic beginning to a resonating climax, Quentin Tarantino reiterates what he does best; spinning magic all over the screen. Oh yes, definitely it takes an ample amount of time to put his case in the court, a massive two hours and 45 minutes at that, but who cares if the results are so astonishingly raw and brutally hilarious at the same time. The depth of the ferocity of Quentin Tarantino is not to be questioned. He himself is a movie geek and pays his homage to the western of 60’s. And with what style he accomplishes it is a tale to be told to all!

When all the praises will die down and the pulpiness of the affair will be sedated, one will realize that it had a messy narrative.  Nobody doubts over its screenplay for it is surreal in its detailing and wildly creative; but it is the social commentary that somehow loses its worth owing to the self-indulgent nature of the director and the blind faith he had on his style statements. 

Ensemble casting can’t get better than this. When the screen space is shared by such dynamic personas, you tend to hoot every time someone throws a witty line out of the window. Christoph Waltz steals the show with his crackling moustache and a hefty beard while Jamie Foxx is the silent sufferer who unchains himself in the latter half of the movie. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a baddy and looms in the prospects of sheer brutality by his show-stopping sharp one-liners.

Quentin Tarantino plays the big dad and reinvents Western genre. Revenge has not been served colder in recent memories. Call the sheriffs and call the marshals because this Django has truly been unchained! Hat tip to Tarantino!

(first published in

Sunday, 10 March 2013

[Movie Review] Oz the Great and Powerful: Enough of Desserts, where is the Main Course?

Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz
Director: Sam Raimi
Genre: Fantasy and Fiction
Runtime: 2 hours and 7 minutes
Reviewed at: PVR, Udaipur.

Look, we have three hot-shot sorceresses, a con man illusionist from a carnival, a winged monkey, some dwarves and an utterly adorable china doll. Please, also allow this crew to chip in some jaw dropping CGI and a world so surreal that it carries the stamp of stuff dreams are essentially made of. 

Err, is something missing? Wait, I get it; a sense of storytelling.

It takes a considerable time to shake the aura of the visual splendor and the smoldering appeal that Oz the Great and Powerful casts around you. But, once you see past this curtain, you realize the potholes lying in the pavements of this kingdom. It is not that the potholes are frequent; it is just that, you expect more from such a wildly famous fable.

L. Frank Baum’s wizard character, Oscar Diggs (James Franco), who is a little apprehensive when it comes to morality matters, is a small time magician in a carnival in Kansas. When magically he gets to live in Oz, he comes across three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Glinda (Michelle Williams) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz) who are awaiting the arrival of a wizard that has been prophesized in a folk tale. No points for guessing, Oscar Diggs ends up being the wizard who is supposed to do away with the evil witch as well as transform into a better individual.

When Sam Raimi, who earlier directed the horror cult Evil Dead and then grabbed hold of the mega-blockbuster Spiderman franchise, was set upon to direct Oz, you knew you are in for firecrackers. What you did not expect was the humdrum execution of such an enthralling premise. Awkward temperament shifts along with some unintentionally funny acting also ruins the day for Sam Raimi as some characters feel terribly miscast.

What rescues this ship is its dazzling visual style and breathtaking CGI. Some movies are meant to be savored in 3D and this was one of them. With such awe-inspiring effects, you tend to get absorbed into the world quicker than you expect. Special cheers for the winged monkey and the china doll for being so warm and carrying a touch of genuine emotions throughout the movie. 

It is like having this spree of desserts only to realize that you have been robbed off the main course. Do not go searching for any latent self-realization undertones or any beauty-within-self templates; and you won’t come out disappointed for Oz the Great and Powerful is a visually gorgeous family ride with enough of wits and magnetism to swoon you into its magical world.

(first published in

Sunday, 3 March 2013

[Movie Review] I, Me aur Main: Who’s the Best? Definitely not this film!

Cast: John Abraham, Prachi Desai, Chitrangda Singh
Director: Kapil Sharma
Genre: Drama, Romance

Two successive Fridays and we have back to back coming-of-age tales. While Kai Po Che was a magnificent example of finesse cine-making, I, Me aur Main was an apt illustration of how degenerate such a subject can go when it is not handled with utmost care.

“I love me too”, that is how the doors of Ishaan’s (John Abraham) world open for us, a world where even the air smells full of him. Upon entering, we are introduced to Anushka (Chitrangda Singh), who apart from being efficacious and independent, is madly smitten, for no specific reasons, with our self-infatuated music executive.

Suddenly and maybe for the sake of narrative advancement, she decides to climb the steps of maturity and dumps Ishaan out of thin air. So, rather than getting a lift for some improvement, Ishaan finds refuge is his new neighbor, the effervescent Gauri (Prachi Desai). To nobody’s surprise, what then left is the act of making a man out of a boy that Ishaan was, in the most clichéd way it was possible.

The debutant director, Kapil Sharma, fails to deliver and with a clumsily edgy storyline falls like a winged bird who wanted to touch the likes of ‘Wake up Sid!’ The good he did was in the brightly lit frames he delivered, which makes it a feel-good movie. It also rides high on the peppiness of its music and many instants are carried alone on the shoulders of the background score. The editing is a strong department and with a tight run-time, this splash of dudes’ fairytale, though being tiresome, at least doesn’t drag.

In this ever falling heap of monotony, it is the boxer cladded John Abraham who stands out for his performance. Flowing with oodles of charm, he hits straight at you and sweeps you over with his self-assured smile. Chitrangda Singh carries forward her alluring persona from Inkaar but fumbles through scenes that require an emotional depth. Prachi Desai looked similar to Anushka Sharma from Jab Tak Hai Jaan and this is nothing short of a compliment.

Though being cinematically glamorous, I, Me aur Main ended up being a hollow cannonball with nothing but stereotypical dialogues and corny situations wrapping its surface. Not an Abraham die-hard? Avoid!

(first published in