Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ek Villain

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra  (Guru), Riteish Deshmukh (Rakesh), Shraddha Kapoor (Aisha), Aamna Sharif (Sulochana), Prachi Desai (Special Appearance), Kamaal Rashid Khan, Shaad Randhawa, Remo Fernandes, Asif Basra
Genre: Action, Romance, Thriller
Direction: Mohit Suri
Production: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor (Balaji Motion Pictures)
Music: Ankit Tiwari, Mithoon, Soch (Band)
Cinematography: Vishnu Rao
Editor: Deven Murudeshwar
Distribution: ALT Entertainment
Release Date: 27th June, 2014
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 10 minutes

Ek Villain, directed by Mohit Suri under Balaji Motion Pictures, characterizes people with grey shades. People have good and bad wolves within them, and ultimately, that wolf wins to whom they give more food. Yeah, the movie is about two bad people, both of them are ruthless, heartless, murderers. Both of them have their own stories to be so. One of them gives more food to the good wolf and gets transformed due to love of his life, whereas the other turns into a psychopath killer of females due to constant humiliation by the love of his life and other females who cross his path. The good part of the movie is that, in spite of the violent scenes (probably it was integral to project this theme of the movie), the romance between two lead protagonists tones down the violence in the movie.

Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor) has scrapbook of fancy and strange wish-list. And the day, her one great wish is fulfilled i.e. to see her husband Guru (Sidharth Malhotra) settling down with a job, tragedy strikes her in the form of a brutal villain who murders her by throwing her out of the window. One might wonder that what more Mohit is about to convey, since from the beginning frame itself, one can figure out the whole concept of the movie. Basically, there is no suspense, a very much predictable plot. What is to be seen is the approach taken by Mohit. How the story unfolds after the catastrophe occurs?

Mohit has cleverly blended intricately - parallel past and present tracks, which genuinely raises the curiosity in the audience to understand how actually the events might have unfold. Reverse narration happens: 2 years before at Goa. Guru is shown to be ruthlessly killing a person. He is hot-headed, cold-blooded assassin working for Goan Don Ceaser (Remo Fernandes). Aisha happens to see Guru in the lock up, and immediately scribbles in her scrapbook another wish – to save a life. Aisha starts following Guru, and tries to bring smile into his face through her jokes. Aisha is successful in pulling Guru out of the darkness. Guru’s life changes for the good. And when things start getting into track for both of them, life seems blissful for them, Aisha is murdered.  

Rakesh Mahadkar (Riteish Deshmukh) is very convincing as the antagonist of the movie. What a change from the usual set of ‘comical’ roles which he does. His expressions absolutely suit his stone-hearted character. Riteish’ menacing act sends a shiver down your spine. I remembered Ashutosh Rana of Dushman who was merciless.

We know from the beginning that who killed Aisha, but what happens when Guru’s hands reaches the collar of the murderer? How the confrontation happens? How does Guru take his revenge? Does Guru manage to get even with Rakesh? Does Guru return to his old bad world or continue in Aisha’s path of living?

Sidharth Malhotra as Guru has proved again that he can carry a movie on his shoulders. He emotes well. And his screen presence is also great. There is a scene, where, Sidharth barges into a mental asylum, where people are watching Amitabh Bachchan’s blockbuster Shahenshah movie, Sidharth’s image gets projected on screen alongside Amitabh Bachchan. Was it a conscious effort on behalf of the director to project the next Shahenshah of Bollywood?

Shraddha Kapoor as Aisha is gregarious. Although she is natural, chirpy, sweet, at times, she seems to take efforts. She has done her singing debut in this movie with the song ‘Galiyan…’. A very good effort. She is the only character in this movie who brings smiles on our face.

The movie has its own set of flaws. Aisha’s wishes on the scrap book are her last wishes, she is dying. But what is her illness, script doesn’t cover that. Another astonishing thing which needs to be researched and further studied is: can a constant humiliation from spouse / or the ones whom we love so much, make one a psychopath, obsessed with killings. This is not convincing enough. All those scenes where Sulochana (Aamna Sharif) keeps on ridiculing her husband or nagging make the movie a bit boring, although these scenes are the justification for shaping Rakesh’ brutal character. The complexities of various characters are not justified properly.

But yes the relief is the romantic moments between Guru and Aisha, although, I wish, the relationship could have been explored beyond just sharing jokes. The song ‘Kisi Shayar ki Gazal’ covers wonderful moments of togetherness of Guru and Aisha and also Guru’s efforts in fulfilling Aisha’s wish-list one by one.

Other songs like Galliyan, Banzara are also soulful and good.

Certain scenes are not required at all: Guru’s friend Brijesh (Kamaal Rashid Khan) slapping his wife in front of Guru, when she did not bring ice along with the drinks. And the obnoxious Brijesh says that slapping one’s wife is the only way middle class men can get rid of their frustration.  

Certain Dialogues which are noticeable: Don Ceaser tells Guru that “Maut ko gale lagane ki vajah dhundhne ke bajay jeene ki ek vajah dhundho” (though, how unlikely of a don to say this, but a good one indeed). Aisha telling Guru: Kisi ke hamdard jab tak nahi banoge tab tak hum dard se aur dard hum se juda nahi ho sakta.

Certain messages, though heard off, are good: Darkness can be removed with light only. Even a villain can be transformed with love. One’s pain would reduce, if he / she is able to share other’s pain. Last but not the least, what we give to the society, that would come back to us. If we give good, definitely good will come back to us…and if we give bad, no doubt, bad will come to us.

Ek Villain, the tag line says, there is one in every love story…and the movie says, every person is a story in himself / herself. ‘Just Watchable’.

Rating: 3 / 5 (Good)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Holiday: A Soldier is never off duty

Cast: Akshay Kumar (Virat Bakshi), Sonakshi Sinha (Saiba), Govinda (Pratap), Sumeet Raghavan (Mukund), Farhad, Giressh Sahedev, Zakir Hussain, Ranaq Bir
Genre: Action Thriller
Direction: A.R. Murugadoss
Production: Aruna Bhatia, Twinkle Khanna, Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Written by: A.R. Murugadoss
Based on: Tamil Film Thuppakki by A.R. Murugadoss
Distributed by: Hari Om Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment, Sunshine Pictures
Cinematography: Natarajan Subramaniam
Music: Pritam
Release Date: 6th June, 2014
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 51 minutes

Holiday, a film by A.R. Murugadoss (also based on his Tamil film Thuppakki), is dedicated to Indian Military and their families. I feel, it is challenging to review such movies because the very intention behind making such movies turns out to be more important and the issues / concepts handled / message conveyed through the movie take precedence over the presentation of the movie. This movie highlights the presence of ‘Sleeper Cells’ in our country. Sleeper cells’ people are trained terrorist guised as common men in society.  He / she may be living amongst us – a neighbour, a friend or a mere acquaintance of ours. And when they get the command from their ‘head’, they act, come out of their shells, do bomb blasts and turn out to be the source of terror. In short, sleeper cells mean a group of terrorists, who work very discreetly. Probably, various members don’t even know one another. One particular aspect of this movie is noticeable i.e. unlike other movies based on terrorism, here, sleeper cells and terrorism are explained as byproducts of disgruntlement with government / country. The movie also appreciates the challenges faced by the Military force, who guard the border day and night to give us peaceful lives. Yes, the pace of the movie is very slow, a thriller at slow pace (can we call it a thriller?). Probably the tone of the movie is kept very light purposefully.

Captain Virat (Akshay Kumar), who serves Indian Army as DIA (Defense Intelligence Agent – works on secret mission), arrives Mumbai for his yearly holiday. As part of bride-hunting process, his family takes him directly from the railway station to Saibaa’s house (Sonakshy Sinha). Virat says no to Saibaa since he got the impression that Saibaa is a shy girl, but later to his surprise, he finds just the opposite Saibaa in the boxing ring during Mumbai Intercollegiate Competition. Rest, you can definitely predict as far as the relationship status between Virat and Saibaa is concerned.

Virat and his Sub-Inspector friend Mukund (Sumeet Raghavan) coincidentally become witness to a bomb blast in a bus. Events start unfolding from here. Virat manages to catch hold of one member of the sleeper cell. With his alertness and focused strategy, he is even able to salvage Mumbai from exploding into flames. It is interesting to see (it could also be sort of howlers for some), how Virat understands various cues, takes lead from there and tries to get into the depth of the sleeper cell.

Certain light moments are there in the movie, viz. Virat’s tips to Mukund to solve a case, Virat and Saibaa’s ‘yes-no’ game, Virat’s untimely salutation to his boss (Govinda) etc.

Akshay as Capt. Virat has given some good action shots. Sonakshi as Saibaa has nothing much to do. She just appears to be a filler in the movie. Virat-Saibaa romance doesn’t take off. Probably, Murugadoss could have focused only on the main track of Terrorism, sleeper cells etc, the side tracks could have been very well avoided. The Villain Farhad has less screen time. His performance could have been more power-packed.

A dialogue by Virat is to be especially mentioned: jab hazaron ko maarne ki mansuba rakhne wale agar khud ko maar sakte hain to raksha karne wale hum kyon nahi (When, people who intend to kill others have the guts to kill themselves, then we who intend to save others, why can’t we kill ourselves for this cause).

Another incident does project the commitment of our Military officers i.e. one of the officer Joel, even after losing his complete family to the terrorists’ bullets, he is all geared up and back on duty along with Virat in his mission to explore sleeper cells and finish the same.

What seems unbelievable is that Virat is just one-man army confronting these deep-rooted sleeper cells in his own manner. Virat’s flat hair style looks a bit weird.

But overall, Holiday is not disappointing.

Holiday, a tribute to Indian Military and their families and a subject like terrorism handled in a light-manner, is a pretty decent watch.

Rating: 3 / 5 (Good)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi

Cast: Siddhath Gupta (Kuku Mathur), Simran Kaur Mundi (Mitali), Ashish Juneja (Ronnie Gulati), Amit Sial (Prabhakar), Somesh Aggarwal (Kuku’s father), Anoop Puri (Ronnie’s grandfather), Pallavi Batra (Rosy), Siddharth Bhardwaj (Ronnie’s brother), Tanvie Parab (Maitre), Rajshree Seem (Ronnie’s mother), Baby Neha Ahuja (Chota, Kukku’s sister), Monika Kohli (Malti, Mitali’s mother), Brijendra Kala (Godman)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Direction: Aman Sachdeva
Production: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Bejoy Nambiar, Sharada Trilok
Written by: Vijay Kapoor, Aman Sachdeva
Distributed by: Balaji Motion Pictures
Cinematography: Uday Singh Mohite
Editor: Bakul Matiayni
Studio: Getaway Films
Music: Mickey McCleary, Palash Sen, Anand Bajpai
Release Date: 30th May, 2014
Language: Hindi
Duration: 1 hour 49 minutes

Kuku Mathur ki Jhand Ho Gayi is a decent (means minus vulgarity) Comedy clubbed with a bit of Romance. Although this film has nothing much to offer in terms of its plot, yet the film will not give you headache, three male actors Siddharth Gupta, Amit Sial and Ashish Juneja do make this atleast a watchable movie. Contrary to the official poster of this movie, it is not a sex comedy at all, rather it projects the plight of an youngster who is in the phase of choosing a suitable career, establishing himself, proving himself etc. The movie gives the message that we may have two roadmaps to success in our lives – one path may be easier, shorter but involves crooked means and the other path may be tougher, longer, full of challenges but a true / honest path. One must go for the latter option, otherwise, success would be short-lived, success achieved through asy means may prick your conscience one-day.

This film, directed by Aman Sachdeva, is shot at Delhi. Jhand is a typical Dehlite word which means ‘taken for a ride’. Kuku Mathur (Siddharth Gupta) and Ronnie Gulati (Ashish Juneja) are great friends since childhood. Kuku comes from an ordinary service class family. His father is a government officer, who wants his son to study hard and get a good job, whereas the Gulatis run the business of sarees and dress materials.

Kuku keeps on trying his culinary skills at home who aspires to have his own restaurant one day. Both Kuku and Ronnie go to a cyber café to check their 12th class results. How Ronnie tries to persuade Yogesh (cyber Café owner) to check the results ahead of the queue by cashing on Kuku’s status as a motherless child is an enjoyable scene. Both of them have managed to score very average in 12th apart from physical education. Kuku gets scolded by his father for his low score. Ronnie, gets a surprise gift – a shop- from his grandfather –Ronnie Matching Center (for duppattas, blouse pieces and underskirts). Kuku tries for a different path to seek admission in college, but not manages to get through and ends up working as a spot boy in a shady film set. Ronnie’s getting busy with his business and not being able to turn up to spend time  / have fruit bear together, creates a deep sense of hurt / frustration in Kuku’s mind. Kuku starts feeling that his friend has changed. Ronnie snubs Kuku. A few incidents which followed thereafter create rift between Kuku and Ronnie.

Then Kuku’s cousin Prabhakar (Amit Sial) enters in the scene who has all sorts of short-cuts to achieve what he wants, devious solutions for every problem. Prabhakar steals the show with most of the lines.

Prabhakar suggests weird ideas to Kuku for starting his restaurant. And Kuku, otherwise a well-mannered person, does get influenced with his Prabhakar Bhaiya. What do Kuku and Prabhakar do? How do they manage to get money to start Kuku’s restaurant ? In what mess Kuku ends up? Is Kuku able to win his love Mitali (Simran Kaur), whom he silently loved since last 7 years, completely a one-way affair)? Does Kuku mend his ways anytime later, if yes, how?     

Romance in this movie falls flat. Certain scenes are comical: the warehouse guard’s mobile romance with his wife, Mata ka Jagaran for the whole night with parody songs, a movie titled as Facebook pe Pyar being shot, the manner in which Prabhakar takes revenge with his ex-girlfriend for marrying someone else, A Godman giving advice etc.      

Kuku Mathur ki Jhand Ho Gayi is an average entertainer, although it does convey that there are no shortcuts to success.

Rating: 2.75 / 5 (Average +)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bangalore Days (ബാംഗ്ലൂർ ഡേയ്സ്)

Cast: Nivin Pauly (Krishnan PP aka Kuttan), Dulqar Salman (Arjun aka Aju), Fahadh Faasil (Das), Nazriya Nazim (Divya Prakash aka Kunju), Nithya Menon (Natasha), Parvathy (RJ Sarah), Isha Talwar (Meenakshi), Vijayaraghavan (Kuttan’s father), Maniyanpilla Raju (Prakash, Kunju’s Father), Praveena (Shobha, Kunju’s mother),  Sajid Yahiya (Sami), Kalpana (Kuttan’s Mother), Prathap Pothen (Francis, Natasha’s father), Vinaya Prasad (Mrs. Francis, Natasha’s mother)
Genre: Romance, Family Relationships
Direction: Anjali Menon
Production: Anwar Rasheed, Sophia Paul
Written by: Anjali Menon
Editor: Mahesh Narayanan
Music: Gopi Sundar
Cinematography: Sameer Thahir
Editor: Praveen Prabhakar
Studio: Anwar Rasheed Entertainment, Weekend Blockbusters
Distribution: A & A Release, August Cinema
Release Date: 30th May, 2014
Language: Malayalam
Duration: 2 hours 51 minutes

Bangalore Days, a very youthful, vibrant, peppy and entertaining movie by director Anjali Menon. She has tried to beautifully capture various individual behaviours / perceptions, lovely camaraderie / friendship among cousins, positive outlook towards life in spite of personal hiccups / challenges, individuals having different outlook towards a situation, passion to fulfill one’s dreams etc. She has successfully justified various characters. The beauty of Anjali’s work is that she has not tried to be preachy, but makes us believe that every individual has their own frame of reference i.e. perception towards life. Anjali facilitates us to think that it would be unfair to justify a particular outlook towards life / things, rather every individual has a reason / logic behind his or her choices. The title is almost justified with all the three main protagonists landing up in Bangalore and the twists and turns happening in their lives in this city, which is the utopia every Malayali youngster wishes to escape to in search of his dreams (as projected in the movie).   

The movie begins with the narration of Kuttan aka Krishnan PP (Nivin Pauly), a techie, who is in midst of a job interview and grabs the offer to join at Bangalore after completing his training at Mysore. He is a hard-core Malayali at heart, who loves everything about Kerala. Then he introduces his cousin vivacious and bubbly Kunju aka Divya Prakash (Nazriya Nazim) who aspires to pursue MBA from IIM and then be an entrepreneur. Another cousin carefree Aju aka Arjun (Dulqar Salman) is shown to have the courage to create his own rules of life, who pursues his dreams passionately, whether it is to be a graffiti-artist, or bike-racing or repairing the bikes / vintage cars. Kuttan, Kunju and Aju have great bonding since childhood, who took different paths after school, but yes, their relationships remained intact. If Kuttan is shown as traditional Malayali guy who wants Kerala touch in every aspects of his life, Aju is projected as a rebel who doesn’t believe in giving answers to anyone, but he creates his own sets of questions and answers, Kunju is traditional enough to bid adieu to her IIM dreams and get married for parents’ sake to Das (Fahadh Faasil), yet assertive enough to get her due share in relationship.

A beautiful song ‘Mangalyam’ is there when Kuttan, Aju and Kunju dance together during Kunju’s marriage celebrations. They look so good together. Ultimately, all three of them reach Bangalore: Kuttan for his IT job, Aju for his bike-repairing assignments, and Kunju shifting from Kerala to Das’ apartment in Bangalore after marriage.

Das is a workaholic, who loves his own privacy and remains confined to himself most of the time. Kunju is just opposite, and extrovert, full of life and adaptive as well. Das seems an odd man out amongst Kunju, Kuttan and Aju. Whenever Das goes for outstation trips, three of them just hang out together and have a blast. 

Lot of light hearted as well as great moments are shown in the movie viz. Aju, Kuttan and Kunju teasing each other, Kuttan’s fantasies about falling in love with the Malayali Airhostess Meenakshi (Isha Talwar), Kunju inviting almost all the neighbours for tea at home, RJ Sarah (Parvathy)’s compering with lot of positive messages for the listeners, Aju falling in love with the positivity of Sarah and his effort to surprise her with his impulsive visit to the studio etc.     

Anjali has definitely taken a very realistic and balanced approach in this movie. When there are so many light moments in the movie, every character is also shown facing a few challenges of their own viz. Aju’s impulsiveness and brash attitude, Das not being able to get over his past of Natasha (Nithya Menon, his past is a pivotal point in the movie), Kunju’s disappointments and void in her life due to stoic Das, Kuttan’s failed relationship, Shobha (Praveena, Kunju’s mother)’s obsession towards astrology etc. Rather every character is a story in itself.

Certain serious instances viz. marital disharmony is also projected very lightly viz. Kuttan’s father wanting to breathe after suffocating for years in marriage and mother wanting to break free from the confines of a small village and to enjoy the excitement of living in cities or even abroad. Script has fabulous humour to project partners having different perspectives and outlooks.

The movie has ensemble cast who have given magnificent performances. All of them fit in so well with their characters.

Bangalore days, a great entertainer, perfectly blended with emotions, passion, dreams, romance, positivities, family relationships etc … The impact would linger on for sure…

Rating: 4 / 5 (Very Good)