Saturday, June 27, 2015

Get . Set . Fly to “eat … at lucknow”

Welcome you to eat... at lucknow
Airports are meant for transits, what if it provides good food as well. One such airport is Lucknow Airport, where you would find home-made food is at “eat … at lucknow”. What an amazing range of food and that too at a very reasonable rate. As part of my professional commitments, I end up travelling a lot and the interesting part is, whenever I travel, I feel very very hungry. I look forward to my Lucknow visit, since I enjoy food at “eat … at lucknow”. It is one of my favourite spot.

Pawan Kumar (Guest Service Associate) and Ashwini Kumar Srivastav (Unit Head)

Pawan with his smile at the counter

Basically when we go to any restaurant or eatery, what do we expect? There is far more to restaurant visits than just the food. Indeed, food is one of the most important parameter for an eatery to be qualified as good or bad; service, atmosphere, ambience, hygiene etc influence the restaurant experience. Price factor, although important, takes a back seat as long as food, service and atmosphere are good. 

Glimpse of the Menu (Price part is removed)

Regular Paratha + Egg Curry : Tastes Yummy

Pawan with Alloo Paratha
‘eat … at lucknow’ definitely meets one’s must-haves, need-to-haves and nice-to-haves. One gets greeted warmly at the counter. The very next focus of ours could be menu and the best thing is that it has a good variety of items. Staffs are friendly and courteous. You would get a very neat and clean seating arrangement. Food would be served promptly and very much hot and fresh. The quality of food is excellent. To top it all, the food is a good value for money.

Me with Chef Biresh Kumar and Ashwini Srivastav (Unit Head)
I thoroughly enjoy Alloo Paratha and regular Paratha + Egg curry. It is just yummy. I not only have it myself, but I pack Alloo Paratha for my dearest Mumma back home and she simply adores them.
Isn't it looking yummy...

A brief about this outlet (Details’ courtesy: : This is managed under HMSHost Services India Private Limited. HMSHost (part of Autogrill S.p.A) is recognized as the industry leader, who create innovative dining and shopping locations at the airports and motorways worldwide. With over 34000 associates and revenues of more than $3.7 billion, they offer travelers an unparralled blend of local, regional and international brands. HMSHost operates in more than 100 airport locations around the globe, including Europe, Asia Pacific, USA, Canada. HMSHost Services India Private Limited has started its first venture in India at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Lucknow, Coimbatore and will be opening in several other cities of India very soon. It operates the world-class brands like KFC, Barista, Taste of India, Indian Paradise, Grab & Fly, Coffee Club etc. 

Look at the ambience... 
‘eat … at lucknow’ serves people on the move and ensures positive Moments of Truth. Experience this delight yourself.

Rating: 4 / 5 (Very Good)

Note: A special thanks to Mr. Ashwini Srivastav who readily obliged me when I told him that I want to click photographs to write this article. He also shared relevant information which helped me to give this shape to the article. The images used in this article are clicked using my mobile.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Review of ABCD2

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Cast: Varun Dhawan (Suresh), Shradda Kapoor (Vinnie), Prabhu Deva (Vishnu Sir), Dharmesh Yelande (Dharmesh), Lauren Gottileb (Olive), Raghav Juyal (Raghu), Pravin Bhosle (Chotu), Sushant Pujari (Vernon), Punit Pathak (Vinod), Karthik (Raju), Prachi Shah (Suresh’s mother),  Tisca Chopra (watch the movie to know her role), Jineet Rath (Manu), Navjot Singh Sidhu (As himself, cameo), Kapil Sharma (as himself, cameo), Remo D’Souza (as himself, cameo), Terence Lewis (as himself, cameo), Puja Batra (as herself, cameo), Ganesh Acharya (Gopi, cameo)
Direction: Remo D’Souza
Produced by: Siddharth Roy Kapur
Written by: Mayur Puri (Dialogue)
Screenplay: Tushar Hiranandani
Story : Remo D’Souza
Music: Sachin-Jigar
Cinematography: Vijay Arora
Edited by: Manan Sagar
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures, UTV Motion Pictures
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios
Release Date: 19th June, 2015
Duration: 154 minutes
Language: Hindi

ABCD2, is a 3D dance film directed by ace choreographer Remo D’Souza. The prequel to this movie ABCD (Any Body Can Dance) had some great dance moves by the professional dancers playing various roles. ABCD2 will not disappoint you at all with its niftily edited dance sequences. It is only and only about Dance, Dance and Dance. While the prequel had Prabhudeva transforming a bunch of street ruffians into dance champions, this has Prabhudeva mentoring a group of good young dancers, and facilitating them in their journey to fulfill their dreams. ABCD2 is inspired by the journey of four boys Suresh, Vernon, Rohit, Pavan who are part of a dance institute called Fictitious Dance Academy. They were accused of cheating on a reality TV dance show. The movie projects their journey from Nalasopara in suburban Mumbai to the World Starz Hip Hop Challenge finals in Las Vegas. If the prequel had professional dancers / choreographers taking the center stage, this has Varun and Shraddha taking up the center stage. The weak point of the movie is poorly knit storyline, dialogues. But as Remo puts it across through one of the dialogue: We dance to express, not to impress; ABCD2 expresses as well as impresses through some brilliant, incredible dance moves, but fails to impress, rather falters through its poor storytelling. ABCD 2 might not strike emotional chords of the viewers, but it has all the elements to make you glued to your chair and enjoy the dance. One can get to experience the flavour of passion, persistence, zeal, aspirations of the dancers as well as claiming one’s reputation back, redemption, betrayal etc. ABCD2 is a full-on dance entertainment film.   

Varun plays Suresh, who along with his bunch of friends including Vinnie (Shraddha Kapur) participate in “Hum Kisi se Kam Nahi” dance contest on TV as Mumbai Stunners team. While the act got them standing ovation from the audience, the judges condemned them for copying an internationally renowned Philippines’ dance troupe. The team disintegrates after disqualification and everybody picks up or continues with their odd jobs for survival, viz. Suresh as waiter in a pub cum bar, Vinnie as hairdresser in a saloon, someone at Pizza store etc. But everywhere, they get to face lot of humiliation and called as cheaters. Suresh, who picked up his dancing skills from his late Padmashree awardee mother (Prachi Mishra), expresses his regret and pain via his dance moves. Suresh identifies World Starz Hip Hop dance competition going to be held at Las Vegas as one of the major means to undo the mistake, regain the reputation and prove to the world that they are no more cheaters. But he is unable to get his whole team back. Meanwhile, Suresh is able to see a mentor in an alcoholic Vishnu (Prabhudeva) putting up an impromptu Happy Hour dance performance in his pub. After much persuasion by Suresh and friends, Vishnu agrees to mentor them. There starts their journey to reach Las Vegas. Integration of the team happens with a few earlier members rejoining and also Dharmesh and deaf/dumb Vinod (Punit) joining the team. They overcome various challenges, right from the finance, to get an entry into a qualifying dance competition at Bangalore and to manage the tickets for Las Vegas as Indian Stunners (Probably intentionally Mumbai stunners were called later as Indian Stunners to show the journey of transformation of dancers from local suburban area of Mumbai to India to World).

Were the challenges over with their reaching Las Vegas? What new challenges awaited them? When and how Lauren make entry into the scene?  What all bottlenecks were faced by them? Does the friendship of Suresh and Vinnie take the shape of love?

All the main characters, be it Prabhudeva, Varun, Shraddha, Dharmesh, Punit, Lauren everybody has got their own screen space to express themselves through their dance moves. Prabhudeva is always a visual delight to watch, but what surprises me as a viewer is Varun Dhawan’s passionate dance moves. He has got them so perfect. Even Shraddha is so natural when she dances. We have seen rest of the dancers in various dance platforms and reality shows, and would be able to identify with them easily. Dharmesh, Punit, Raghav, Sushant Pujari, Jineet Rath and Lauren deserve a special mention.

What doesn’t work in ABCD2’s favour: A very loosely knit storyline. Sub plots are just introduced for the sake of it without getting to the depth (were these scenes required at all) viz. betrayal, racial discrimination, rivalry amongst competitors, fight sequences, bringing the sympathetic element of one of the team member suffering from critical illness etc. Although ABCD 2 is different from Happy New Year, but some similarity as far as a local team reaching out to a foreign locale to fight the competition. Viewers may not be able to get an emotional connect with the movie for  a few scenes.

What works in ABCD2’s favour: Dance, Dance and only Dance. Incredible dance performances by top notch performers. Two dance sequences during last twenty minutes of the film deserve standing ovation. And a few solo performances need special mention. The dance sequence with a mix of patriotism & divinity is certainly going to give you goosebumps. Some of the songs viz. Saathiyan, Bezuban etc. are good. Visuals of Vegas and Grand Canyon are shot impeccably.

The end credits start rolling with the original Fictitious group members Suresh, Vernon, Rohit, Pavan in the frame. The message by Remo D’Souza stand apart: “It is all about the next step in life”.

ABCD2 expresses as well as impresses through some brilliant, incredible dance moves, but fails to impress, rather falters through its poor storytelling. But a must watch for all dance-lovers, you will not be disappointed at all with its niftily edited dance sequences.

Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review of Hamari Adhuri Kahani

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Cast: Emraan Hashmi (Aarav Ruparel), Vidya Balan (Vasudha Prasad), Rajkummar Rao (Hari), Sara Khan (Naila), Madhurima Tuli (Avni), Amala Akineni (Aarav’s mother)
Direction: Mohit Suri
Produced by: Mahesh Bhatt, Vishesh Bhatt
Written by: Mahesh Bhatt, Shagufta Rafiq
Music: Raju Singh; Songs – Mithoon, Jeet Ganguli, Ami Mishra
Cinematography: Vishnu Rao
Edited by: Deven Murdeshwar
Production Company: Vishesh Films
Distributed by: Fox Star Studios
Release Date: 12th June, 2015
Duration: 129 minutes
Language: Hindi

Hamari Adhuri Kahani is a romantic drama film directed by Mohit Suri and produced by Mahesh Bhatt. It is said that this film is inspired from the story of Mahesh Bhatt’s parents and stepmother. As the name says, it is about a love story not getting to its desired destination. Although almost all the reviews for this movie are very disappointing, I watched the movie with altogether a different lens. I understand that films are a media of entertainment. I also believe that entertainment can have different meanings and dimensions to different people, which could be romance, humour, story, screenplay, message, social cause, execution of the plot etc. I found this movie to be very high on the quotient of one of the most beautiful emotion i.e. love. Love is one theme which has driven many stories of great films, be it romantic love, or the love of parent-children, siblings, family members, friends etc. Any thought of love uplifts the vibration of the universe. It is being said that love is the energizing elixir of the universe, the cause and effect of all harmonies. Hamari Adhuri Kahani has a very simple plot, which explores the romance and the commitment attached to it. Nothing could be more beautiful than love since love is the essence. The fragrance of love is mesmerizing. On the other hand, nothing could be worse than being apart for people who are in love. This movie does talk of love, where people in love are ready to even move away from their love for its own sake. Yes, it is true that this movie has hardly any scene which would make you sit and laugh, but intense emotions are handled and presented very beautifully.

The opening scene is that of Vasudha (Vidya Balan) travelling to Bastar (Chhattisgarh) by bus, and after stepping out she heads towards the forest. Her body language does reflect lot of pain. She is so frail that she falls flat on the road. Next shots show grey haired Hari (Rajkummar Rao) sitting with a psychiatrist and explaining to him that how Vasudha had come to meet him during wee hours of the day. Their conversation reveals that Vasudha had left Hari 21 years ago. Hari is being brought home by her daughter-in-law Avni (Madhurima Tuli) where he ends up in a scuffle with his son Saanjh. When Hari blabbers something about Vasudha, Saanjh literally throws him out of house. Hari steals Vasudha’s ashes and leaves a diary for Saanjh. That is when the story starts unfolding.

Hari is missing since last 5 years and Saanjh was hardly 1 year old then. Vasudha is a florist working in a luxury hotel Ruparel. Emraan Hashmi (Aarav Ruparel), owner of 108 such properties arrive at Mumbai and that is where, he gets to meet Vasudha. Aarav had a troubled childhood, lived in utter poverty and grew up to be a multibillionaire with his sheer hard work. Aarav falls in love with Vasudha whom he found traditional, authentic, loyal. Vasudha after much deliberation decides to accept Aarav’s job offer for Dubai.

What happens thereafter? What happens to Aarav and Vasudha’s love? Does Vasudha accept Aarav’s love? Does Hari come back ever? If yes, what happens then? How the story shapes up further? Was Vasudha able to accept her love for Aarav? Whom did she choose: Her love Aarav or her husband Hari? What was the Bastar connection in Vasudha’s life? Why did she choose to travel to Bastar?

Vidya has very well played her traditional, docile, mangalsutra-wearing Vasusha, who in spite of working in luxury hotel as a florist still loves the traditional space she is in. Rajkummar Rao has played Hari very nicely, who believes that he owns Vasudha forever. Emraan Hashmi has also played his character, projected the pain very well.

If one watches this movie with logic, certain scenes might raise questions viz. Vasudha’s leaving her son in boarding school to join Dubai hotel, Hari’s diary from his point of view, but mentions very little of him etc.

If one watches this movie with heart, there are so many scenes which would touch. How fragrance of love changes one’s life for good; how one is ready to love himself / herself less for the sake of living the dreams of love; how a distraught Vasudha requests to be taught to love, to live; how Aarav proposes to Vasudha with a mix of expressions on his face – anxiety, love. One would feel the pain of the characters.

Music is another strong point of this movie.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani is a movie about those who dare to leave their love for the sake of love. Watch this to feel love.  

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good+)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Review of Kaaka Muttai (காக்கா முட்டை – Crow’s Eggs)

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Cast: Vignesh (Periya Kaaka Muttai), Ramesh (Chinna Kaaka Muttai), Aishwarya Rajesh, Joe Malloori, Ramesh Thilak, Babu Antony, Yogi Babu, Krishnamoorthy, Silambarasan (Special Appearance)
Direction: M Manikandan
Produced by: Dhanush and Vetrimaaran
Written by: M Manikandan
Music: GV Prakash Kumar
Cinematography: M Manikandan
Edited by: Kishore
Production Company: Wunderbar Films, Grass Root Film Company
Distributed by: Fox Star Studios
Release Date: 5th June, 2015 (on 5th September, 2014 at Toronto International Film Festival)
Duration: 109 minutes
Language: Tamil

Kaaka Muttai (காக்கா முட்டை) is a Tamil film written, directed and filmed by M Manikandan. Awesome debut with a masterpiece! This film had seen its release in Toronto International Film festival last year on 5th September, 2014. Manikandan has set a new benchmark for the film industry. The film is an apologue of sorts, which deals with so much of relevant and vital issues of our country. Although, we know these realities, we have failed to acknowledge the same, our sensory organs deny to notice these. It appears to be Children’s movie since two boys are the lead protagonists, but it actually turns out to be everyone’s movie. Manikandan has handled issues viz. Social Class divide, underprivileged children struggling to fulfill their desires, pain of compromising with poverty, child labour, businessmen’s power to strike the right chord using money, politician’s selfish agenda to cash-in every incident & to turn it in their favour, media’s desperate attempts to show a story even without crosschecking the facts etc. Beauty of the movie is that Manikandan is able to convey these messages in a very light but heart-touching manner. I was choked with emotions while watching this movie. I was reflecting continuously how am I contributing to change the things for better. Probably no efforts at all. I just end up writing this film’s review and with due respect to every section of the society, somebody will be highlighting the issues through media, people in power might be promising a lot, but in reality, action is missing. How many of us actually become the reason for the change which makes our country a better place for every citizen? The grimness of the issues dealt in the movie is leavened most of the times with a steady stream of fabulous characters. The life of the characters in the movie is being shown through a cinematic spectrum, but it looks like as if we are watching it live and in person.   

Kaaka Muttai (means Crow’s eggs) is the story of two brothers (real names: Vignesh and Ramesh) who live in the slum area of Chennai. They stay with their mother (Aishwarya Rajesh), paternal grandmother and a pug. Filmmaker has chosen not to give names to these siblings. The two brothers call themselves as Periya Kaaka Muttai (Vignesh) and Chinna Kaaka Muttai (Ramesh). Father is in jail and mother is trying to bail him out. She is working hard to make ends meet. The opening scene itself is an interesting one with younger Kaaka Muttai’s bed-wetting. The two brothers enjoy going to a playground where the elder Kaaka Muttai feeds crow with rice which was his share of food and he had filled his pocket with the same hiding from mother and grandmother. They both enjoy having raw kaaka muttai as well. It is disturbing to see these kids (one of them hasn’t even stopped bed-wetting), not going to school, but to pick up coal from the railway lines, sell the same to earn a meager sum of Rs. 10 a day. Manikandan’s magic is to make these tough scenes also appear light with siblings’ banter. If elder Kaaka Muttai demands cell phone from his father, younger one keeps on telling mother to get a TV for him. It is a delight to watch their joy when mother does finally bring a TV and another TV was delivered at home to grandmother as part of government’s scheme.

The kids lose the playground to developmental activities happening in the city and in no time, trees were cut, ground was leveled and tall structure was standing there. A Pizza store opened which was inaugurated by the actor Silambarasan. Kaaka Muttai(s) and his friends were elated to see the actor eating Pizza. There starts a new desire for both the brothers i.e. to have Pizza. When they learn that it would cost them Rs. 299/- for a Pizza, they decide to earn it. They start working very hard, get help from their friend (an adult friend) Fruit Juice in collecting more coal, sell the same and earn more every day.

What happens thereafter? What all these two brothers do? Do they manage to earn Pizza for themselves? If yes, how do they do it? What all they had to face in the process? How do they arrange the resources to have a bite of Pizza. How rest of the cast make a part of this story? It appears to be a simple tale of two brothers desiring to have a bite of Pizza, but this story has been conveyed with so much of depth.

Vignesh and Ramesh are the true heroes of the film. They are so convincing throughout the movie. Aishwarya is brilliant as their mother and she has done such a powerful work in the movie. She is persistent in following up with advocate to get her husband back. As a loving mother of two naughty children, she adds so much value. Grandmother is also superb. Rest of the cast are all very good.

Lot many scenes are worth mentioning but that may reveal this beautiful story. Let me mention a few scenes. Grandmother’s pizza making efforts when she learns about boys’ desire to have one. Children going beyond their limits to earn Pizza for themselves. Their befriending a rich boy, and communicating with one another by standing on either side of iron fencing – the social divide is so nicely conveyed. Everyday when they meet, they have some stories to talk about. Another scene is where heart-to-heart conversation between mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law happens. It is heartening to see the relationship between them even amidst crisis.

The film has received many accolades. It has got two national award this year: National Film Award for Best Children’s Film and Best Child Artist (both Ramesh and Vignesh). It has also fetched Audience Award at Indian Film Festival, Los Angeles for Best Feature Film and Best Actor.

Kaaka Muttai is a heart-touching phenomenal apologue of two brothers and their pursuit of wanting to earn Pizza. Story, cast and screenplay are absolutely brilliant. A must-watch movie.

Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good +)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Review of Dil Dhadakne Do

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Cast: Anil Kapoor (Kamal Mehra), Shefali Shah (Neelam Mehra), Priyanka Chopra (Ayesha Mehra), Ranveer Singh (Kabir Mehra), Anushka Sharma (Farah Ali), Farhan Akhtar (Sunny), Aamir Khan (find it yourself), Rahul Bose (Manav), Zarina Wahab (Manav’s mother), Parmeet Sethi (Noorie’s father), Ridhima (Noorie), Vikrant Massey (Rana)
Direction: Zoya Akhtar
Produced by: Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar
Written by: Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar (Dialogue), Javed Akhtar (Dialogue)
Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Cinematography: Carlos Catalan
Edited by: Anand Subaya, Manan Mehta
Production Company: Junglee Pictures, Excel Entertainment
Distributed by: Eros International
Release Date: 5th June, 2015
Duration: 170 minutes
Language: Hindi

Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do is a family drama, which explores the shallowness of family relationships. Zoya started her journey as a Director with Luck by Chance, and her next work Zindagi na Milegi Dobara became a huge hit. While Luck by Chance focused on the metamorphosis of a struggler to a rising star & how the equation in his relationships changes in that process, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was all about celebrating life, friendships. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara brought lot of accolades to Zoya and it still stands apart as a superior piece of art from her. Dil Dhadakne Do is another good craft of hers which handles family relationships, lack of emotional connect very nicely. Although this movie projects the story of upper class society, but the reality is that such stories have become part of almost every household. Families stay under one roof, but lack togetherness. A couple seems to be in a state of perfect bliss, their relationship is ideal before the world, but the reality may be entirely different. One does pursue success, but on the path to success, ends up forgetting the very person / reason to pursue success. The relationship which begins on the foundation of love, forgets the same emotion of love, treads the path of getting mechanical day by day. Zoya also talks about respecting gender diversity. She emphasizes gender equality. On one hand, India as a country is getting more progressive, still, we are not ready to leave behind certain norms or rather not ready to change the norms. Even the educated, affluent, progressive families want their daughters to just get married, raise families, compromise with their dreams. They are expected to stay in marriage, however unhappy it turns out to be. Ah! Am I getting preachy? Zoya hasn’t tried to be preachy at all through Dil Dhadakne Do. Her message is loud and clear: Love, Live and Let Live.

The film begins with Pluto Mehra’s narration (Find it yourself that who is Pluto), introducing various characters of the film. Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor) is a self-made businessman. He and his wife Neelam Mehra (Shefali Shah) is a perfect couple, source of envy for others, but the irony is they hardly communicate with one another. Ayesha Mehra (Priyanka Chopra), their daughter, is married and settled in Mumbai with her husband Manav (Rahul Bose) and mother-in-law (Zarina Wahab). Within a few days of her marriage, Ayesha went ahead, started her own online travel portal Musafir, established the same, became very successful and got featured in Forbes business magazine. Kabir Mehra (Ranveer) is the younger Mehra. He doesn’t understand business much, enjoys flying.

Ayesha and Kabir plan for a 10-day long Luxury Cruise Party to celebrate parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. Family and friends join the trip. Kamal and Neelam are keen for Kabir’s match with Lalit’s (Parmeet Sethi) daughter Noorie so as to save their company Ayka from its bankruptcy stage. The relationship status starts getting clearer to the viewers. People smile and hug, whereas in reality, they can’t stand one another. The female gang ends up gossiping. Kamal and Neelam raise a toast to celebrate the beginning of their 10-day long anniversary celebrations, but are so detached and indifferent to each other. Ayesha and Manav appear to be very understanding couple, but Manav’s domination and Ayesha’s suffocation in the relationship is also evident. Noorie (Ridhima) gets closer to Rana (Vikrant Massey) and Kabir to Farah Ali (Anushka Sharma). Sunny (Farhan Akhtar) enters into the scene just before the intermission point. He does add a lot to the storyline. New relationships form, some relationships get redefined, some residues see closure, and some others get to the reality. That is how, this cruise trip goes.   

Dialogues (rather the narrator) play the magic in this movie. A few words of wisdom from Pluto Mehra about how human beings are definitely worth mention here. One of the major difference between human beings and animals is that the former one has Power of speech, still, human beings under-utilize the same. Communication can strike the right chord between people, whereas people end up not expressing love. People end up flipping the days, months and years in a calendar, but just forget to live their lives. If people boast of being self-made, why didn’t they make themselves a bit better.

If you ask me, what doesn’t work in the favour of the movie, it is the pace and the music. What works in the movie is the message which is being conveyed. Anil Kapoor is just brilliant. He has defined Kamal Mehra so wonderfully. He has played Kamal’s self-obsession, need to show off, manipulative at times so convincingly. One gets to see a different facet of Ranveer as Kabir, he is also very good. He has underplayed his energy and that is exactly how Kabir is, not sure of himself at times what he wants to achieve in life, at times inwardly perplexed and at times ready to help others. He is calm, witty, innocent. It is a delight to watch him. Sibling chemistry between Priyanka and Ranveer would make you long for more. Shefali as the depressed housewife portrays her role very nicely. There is a scene, where she is so upset, but deals with it by having chocolate pastries. Anushka and Farhan, have shorter screen time, but they add lot of value to the whole plot. Rahul Bose as Manav is also very good. Anushka and Ranveer have displayed wonderful chemistry together. They are at complete ease with one another. Both Anushka and Priyanka are looking so fit. Priyanka does wear some wonderful outfits. Rest of the cast add to the screenplay, though at times, I got lost in so many characters. Carlos’ work as cinematographer is just superb. Many shots especially that of the cruise is absolutely picturesque.
Dil Dhadakne Do would disappoint you, if you are in the lookout of lot of humour, melodrama, extravagant song/ dance sequences. It won’t disappoint you, if you are able to forgive its pace especially in the 1st half, but ready to go into the depth of the message which Zoya is trying to bring to us: Love, Live and Let Live.

Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Review of Ivide (ഇവിടെ)

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Cast: Nivin Pauly (Krish Hebber), Prithviraj (Varun Blake), Bhavana (Roshni Mathew), Jia Patel (Trisha), Prakash Bare (Mahesh Murthi), Dhanish Karthik (Sanjeev Menon), Deepti Nair (Akhila), Sathi Premji (Krish Hebbar’s mother), Haridev (Nagesh Rao), Sunil Veettil (Sathish Reddy), Shaun Xavier (Rohit Peter), Tim Naddy (Parker), Juan Alexander (Police officer), Kirstein Gilbert (Secretary)
Direction: Shyamaprasad
Produced by: Sr. S Saikumar, Krishnan Sethukumar
Written by: Ajayan Venugopalan
Music: Gopi Sunder
Cinematography: Eric Dickinson
Edited by: Manoj
Production Company: Dharmik Films, Rajmati Films
Distributed by: Central Pictures, Nanma International / USA Indian Movies
Release Date: 29th May, 2015
Duration: 162 minutes
Language: Malayalam

Ivide (ഇവിടെ) is a Malayalam film by National Award winning director Shyamaprasad. He has crafted the film so well. The movie which appears to be an investigation effort to solve the murder mystery, later explores the human relationships, inner conflicts leading to turbulence in life, manipulations for growth in the corporate world, self-centeredness etc. The threads are woven in such a manner that it also appeared to be drug paddler’s story or story of the ones who lost their jobs due to outsourcing. It also talks about racism, east-west culture difference. Shyamaprasad doesn’t attempt to rationalize the plots, rather he brilliantly tells the story of every character. The movie is very engaging. Every frame is vital which makes one glued to the screen. Shyamaprasad’s passion for filmmaking is evident.

The story is set in Atlanta (USA). An Indian by origin Nagesh Rao (Haridev) is going on a date with an American girl. But after that he is shown to be murdered and the investigating officer who has got the responsibility to solve the murder case is none other than Varun Blake (Prithviraj). Varun tries to find the connect between the last few murders happened in the city.

Krish Hebber (Nivin Pauly) is a top-notch corporate professional with Infotech, one of the most successful IT company in Atlanta. Krish is very confident that he is the reason of success of his organization, who worked hard to rise from a programmer to one of the top position of Infotech. Initially he is shown to be task as well as people-focused leader. He is shown as a traditional guy, who still believes in his roots to do Puja in the morning (clubbed with his work though), does his own cooking, skypes to family back home, takes care of employees, celebrates employees’ birthdays, assertively communicates regarding what he wants as far as the task is concerned. He is also shown as manipulator at times. One of the new recruit in his organization is Roshni Mathew (Bhavana). Roshni incidentally is the ex-wife of Varun, who left him because of his violent / insecure behaviour.

Varun was 6 year old orphan (in Kerala) when he was adopted by an American Couple. Though he is aware that his adoption gave him a very nice life, he is also facing lot of inner struggles due to bad experiences he had due to his dark skin and racism. And these reflect in his approach towards life, work and relationships. Varun’s inner conflict to compromise with his existing relationship is clear, when he gets up to attend to duty calls, writes a note to her, strikes ‘love you’ and then writes a fresh note without ‘love you.’ His vulnerabilities are also shown.

Till here, the movie which appeared to be a murder mystery, starts moving to explore the complexities of relationships, blooming of new relationships, strong ambition and drive to be successful etc.

Varun does visit and spend time with his daughter Trisha (Jia) as per his visitation rights. Varun and Roshni maintain the distance in relationship. As expected, Krish and Roshni grow closer.

How does the story shape up further? What happens to the relationship of Varun and his girl friend? What turns out to be the fate of Roshni’s relationship with Krish and Varun? How and when does Varun and Krish’s paths cross each other? Who was the serial killer? What was the intention behind murders? Towards the end, Prithviraj’s action is influenced by the quotation (by Buddha) which he read: “In the end, only three things matter: How much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” Any guess on climax?

Regarding cast, Prithviraj is excellent. He has captured the American accent, diction so well. Nivin Pauly is also very good. Bhavna is good.

Certain scenes were dealt incompletely. It is not clear, why Krish was not happy to meet Roshni who was once his classmate. It gave an impression in the beginning that they might have had some liking / relationship with each other, whereas it was not at all mentioned in the movie. In spite of being uncomfortable with her joining the office, from the next meeting onwards, it is shown Krish comfortably dealing with Roshni. I did feel a disconnect here.

Another incident, where I felt that the screenplay left it as such, is video footage showing the suspect interacting with the victim just a few moments before murder. Suspect’s back was towards camera, and the back-side image seemed to be of Krish. This did not see closure in the movie, why Krish was there and what he was doing with the victim.   

Two things which made me wonder and question the intention behind the same is naming the organization as Infotech and one of the top boss as Mahesh Murthy. Watch out to notice this, is this a sheer coincidence?

But overall, I enjoyed watching this gripping film. You may not enjoy this movie, if you want fun element in this movie. But if you want to enjoy the story, screenplay, smooth transition from one subject to the other, suspense etc. Ivide is meant for you.

Ivide is another great movie from National Award winning director Shyamaprasad. The movie begins as a Crime Thriller, but later explores lot many deeper and pertinent issues.  

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good +)