Sunday, June 26, 2016

Review of Junooniyat

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Cast: Pulkit Samrat (Capt. Jahaan Bakshi), Yami Gautam (Suhani Kapoor), Taran Bajaj (Tullu), Gulshan Devaiah (Yash), Hrishitaa Bhatt (Mishti)  
Directed by: Vivek Agnihotri
Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar
Production Company: T- Series Films
Screenplay by: Priti Singh, Vivek Agnihotri
Story by: Priti Singh
Music by: Ankit Tiwari, Meet Bros, Jeet Ganguli
Cinematography: Attar Singh Saini
Edited by: Antara Lahiri
Distributed by: T-Series Films
Release date: 24th June, 2016
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 07 minutes

Junooniyat, a romantic flick by Vivek Agnihotri, explores a few of the favourite theme of films i.e. love, romance, passion, relationship. Although, the plot of Junooniyat has no novelty, music, cinematography, and Pulkit-Yami pairing (their chemistry is definitely better in this film in comparison to ‘Sanam Re’) gives a fresh look and feel to the film. Junooniyat means passion, madness, insanity, obsession etc. I felt that the film could not do the justice towards its title, since the story / screenplay did not incorporate the protagonists’ junooniyat in the film. The love happened easily, interim separation also happened easily and then the ‘getting-back together’ also happened without much of a hassle. So, somehow, there was no scope for the junooniyat to be displayed. If I need to mention, Junooniyat was there in films like Veer-Zara, Silsila, Qayamat se Qayamat Tak or even the most recently released Marathi film Sairaat. I did find junooniyat missing from this film. But if I keep this point aside, the film is indeed watchable and it also keeps the audience very much engaged.

Jahan Bakshi (Pulkit Samrat), an Indian Army Captain, believes that everything in life is a choice and there is nothing called destiny. He does write Shayaris and expresses with much confidence that there is no such riddle which he cannot solve. Jahan rescues Suhani Kapoor (Yami Gautam) swimming in a restricted area in Sonmarg (this scene of Jahan rescuing Suhani reminded me of Veer-Zara, where Pretty Zinta was lifted by Shah Rukh Khan). Suhani who is originally from Amritsar has come along with her friends for a camp. Jahan brings Suhani to his army camp for interrogation in regard to her intruding the restricted area. Suhani manages to get away due to her gregariousness. She accuses Jahan of manhandling her during the rescue operations. She demands an apology letter from Jahan. There follows a series of banters between Suhani and Jahan and also songs. Their paths cross a few times, and ultimately the inevitable happens i.e. the love between Suhani and Jahan. Suhani is brought up in a very protective family environment, where she is being loved a lot by her parents, grandparents and sister-in-law. In her family, two uncles and brother are martyrs. Suhani and Jahan’s love catches the attention of her family. Her father is dead against their marriage.  

What is the reason of Suhani’s father resisting her marriage to Jahan ? What happens when Suhani is restricted from meeting Jahan? What are the various sequence of events ? What happens to the love of Suhani and Jahan? Are they able to overcome family’s resistance ? What happens, when life itself becomes a riddle for Jahan? What happens, when destiny plays its game in Jahan and Suhani’s lives ? The second half sees the entry of Yash (Gulshan Devaiah), what role does he play? Mishti (Hrishitaa Bhatt plays the role of Suhani’s sister-in-law; is she in support of Suhani-Jahan’s love? How the climax of the film is set up?

The film is more of a musical melody. In the first half, there are songs every 10 minutes. Most of the songs are indeed very nice.

As far as the performances are concerned, Pulkit and Yami does inject freshness into this usual plot. Gulshan has a very brief role, but he does mark his presence. Taran Bajaj as Tullu, neighbour of Suhani, who openly claims to her about his love, does make one smile. Rest of the cast are also good.

Indeed, there are some flaws with the screenplay. Vivek could have taken some amount of risk in telling the story without following a safe story-telling path and the cliché.

Junooniyat, although with a clichéd plot, has a fresh feel due to good pairing of Yami-Pulkit, the breath-taking visuals of the snow-capped Kashmir mountains, and enticing music. Watch the film.     

Rating : 3 / 5 (Good)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Review of 7 Hours to Go

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Cast: Shiv Pandit (Arjun Ranawat), Sandeepa Dhar (ACP Nandini Shukla), Natasa Stankovic (Maya), Varun Badola (Ramesh Dhadke), Vipin Sharma
Directed by: Saurabh Varma
Produced by: Nitika Thakur
Production Company: Krian Pictures
Music by: Hanif Shaikh, Sugat Shubham
Cinematography: Milind Jog
Edited by: Nitin FCP
Release date: 24th June, 2016
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours

7 Hours to Go, is another thriller released this week, which is directed by Saurabh Varma. Though the plot had great potential to be an investigative thriller, but the effort fails. Although all the characters are introduced with their name and specific role in the film, this appeared a bit lengthy. The screenplay has lot of loopholes.

The film begins with a shootout effort by Ramesh Dhadke’s (Varun Badola) and his team in Khemka Towers, when intruders entered the premises. After an odd 6 months, the frames move to Arjun (Shiv Pandit), who comes to Mumbai City to support his girl friend Maya in Mumbai High Court, who is a witness in a high profile case. Arjun takes 7 passersby as hostages at Mumbai High court itself, when Maya is shot dead in front of his eyes. Within few minutes, Arjun is able to set up the hostage site in high profile technical manner. Ramesh tries to have a conversation with him, but Arjun wants ACP Shuklaji within an hour and he is adamant that he would have conversation only with Shuklaji.

Shuklaji is basically ACP Nandini Shukla (Sandeepa Dhar), whose entry in the film is by chasing criminals. She comes to strike a conversation with Arjun. Arjun feels that only ACP Shukla can give him justice. He gives her 7 hours to arrest Kabir Khemka (Rohit Vir), a rich businessman, whom Arjun considers to be responsible for Maya’s slain. Otherwise, he threatens to kill one hostage every hour. The clock starts ticking, but the film moves forward in a forced speed.

How ACP Shukla handles the case? How Ramesh becomes a part of the investigation? How other characters viz. childlike psychopath serial killer becomes part of the story? What happens to the hostages ? How does Arjun yield? Does he kill any of the hostages? What is the real enmity between Arjun and Kabir ? Is ACP Shukla able to gather evidence against Kabir and arrest him ? The film tries to weave the answers to these questions very loosely.

There are many scenes in the film which makes it absolutely unbelievable. Usage of high-tech gadgets and security vaults are unjustified. There are two scenes in the film where the female characters ACP Shukla and Maya change their tops in front of a male colleague. What was the intention behind these scenes? What happens to the character of ACP Shukla, whose energy falls in the second half of the film?

As far as the performances are concerned, Varun Badola and Shiv Pandit are good, but poor screenplay makes their performances falter. Sandeepa looks good. Vipin Sharma as one of the hostage has a brief role. Music is loud.

7 Hours to Go, although had potential to be a good investigative thriller, falters due to poor screenplay, loud music and forgettable performances.  

Rating : 1 / 5 (Poor)

Review of Raman Raghav 2.0

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Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Ramanna), Vicky Kaushal (Raghavan), Vipin Sharma (Raghavan’s father), Amruta Subharsh (Lakshmi), Sobhita Dhulipala (Simmy), Mukesh Chabra (Loan Shark), Anuschka Sawney (Ankita), Ashok Lokhande  
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Produced by: Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane, Madhu Mantena
Written by: Anurag Kashyap, Vasan Bala
Production Company: Phantom Films
Distributed by: Reliance Entertainment
Music by: Ram Sampath
Cinematography: Jay Oza
Edited by: Aarti Bajaj
Release date: 24th June, 2016
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 07 minutes

Raman Raghav 2.0 is a thriller by Anurag Kashyap. This film is based on the notorious psychopath serial killer Raman Raghav. It was during mid-1960s that a series of murders happened in the suburbs of Mumbai. The murders were committed using a hard, blunt object. The murderer Raman Raghav was caught by Police, who confessed about his crime of 41 murders. He was sentenced to death penalty, though later the death sentence was forgiven and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Anurag Kashyap has not tried to make a biopic on Raman Raghav. His character is shaped on Raman Raghav. It is a dark film. Anurag Kashyap has indeed made dark films in the past and with this latest one, it even gets darker. I can’t find entertainment elements in such films, but that is my personal opinion.

The film begins with the scene of Raghav (Vicky Kaushal) snorting drug and dancing in a club. Raghav is a cop. Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) surrenders himself before the cops, confessing about committing 9 murders. Raghav and his colleagues just allow Ramanna to go free since they find him mentally unstable and feel that Ramanna is lying. Slowly when the investigations of the murders move further, Raghav realizes his mistake of setting Ramanna free.

Ramanna  is very much inspired from the serial killer of mid 1960s Raman Raghav. He kills people in the same style as that of Raman Raghav. Wheel changing wrench and Iron rod are the weapons of Ramanna to kill the victims. Ramanna feels that without Raghav, he is incomplete.

Anurag Kashyap has tried to convey that Raman and Raghav are two sides of the same coin. Even the poster conveys the same message. If Ramanna is a hardcore criminal, can rape and kill his own sister, Raghav is also not less. Raghav is projected as a drug addict. Raghav’s misogynistic attitude is difficult to tolerate, but then, that is how Raghav’s character has been shaped up: a drug addict, non-empathetic, mistreats his girl friend Simmy (Sobhita Dhulipala), and even kills people. The difference is that Ramanna does not have license to kill, whereas Raghav has the license to kill as a cop.

The film is about various killings and the cat and mouse race between Ramanna and Raghav. Is Ramanna able to find his soulmate Raghav? How does Raghav’s character shape up in the film? Who wins in the end – Raghav or Ramanna or neither of them? Background score adds to the dark tone of the film.

Both the major characters Ramanna and Raghav are very well played by Nawazuddin and Vicky Kaushal respectively. We have seen this Nawazuddin earlier too, but definitely, he has played even darker character this time. For Vicky, this is absolutely a u-turn character when compared to his roles in Masaan and Zubaan. Both of them have given great performances as Ramanna and Raghav, projected the grey shades so convincingly.      

But what was the motive of Anurag Kashyap behind making this film? He did try to convey that anyone can kill anytime. He made the law-breaker as well as law-maker look all the same. The characters as such are not developed properly. Why and how did Ramanna become a serial killer, a psychopath? How did Vicky’s character Raghav become a drug addict? Why Raghav’s relationship with his father is so strained? Why does Raghav end up ill-treating or sexually abusing his girl friend ? What used to be the motive of Ramanna behind his murders? These questions definitely go unanswered.

Raman Raghav 2.0, a dark film by Anurag Kashyap, is based on 1960’s psychopath serial killer Raman Raghav. Watch it for two reasons: One, in case, you like dark films and second, for performances of Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal.

Rating : 2 / 5 (Average)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Review of Dhanak

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Cast: Hetal Gadda (Pari), Krrish Chhabria (Chotu), Vipin Sharma, Gulfam Khan, Vibha Chibber, Suresh Menon
Directed by: Nagesh Kukunoor
Produced by: Manish Mundra, Nagesh Kukunoor, Elahe Hiptoola
Production Company: Drishyam Films, Kukunoor Movies
Distributed by: PVR Pictures
Music by: Tapas Relia
Cinematography: Chirantan Das
Edited by: Sanjib Dutta
Release date: 17th June, 2016
Language: Hindi
Duration: 1 hour 46 minutes

Dhanak is a very sweet film by Nagesh Kukunoor. Dhanak means Rainbow. Dhanak makes us believe that there is no dearth of goodness in our society. Dhanak has already garnered lot of appreciation at various international film festivals viz. Berlin Film Festival, Montreal International Children’s Film Festival, International Film Festival at Los Angeles, Toronto International Film Festival etc. It beautifully portrays the story of a brother-sister duo, who embark on a journey of their lifetime across the deserts of Rajasthan in an attempt to meet the superstar Shah Rukh Khan. I could not stop myself from comparing it with 2015 release Barefoot to Goa, a film by Praveen Morchhale (Click here to read my Preview as well as Review of this film). Indeed the objectives of the travel of the brother-sister duo in both the films are different, but, the tone of the film, various positive experiences of the kids during their journey are almost parallel.  

Two protagonists of the film are orphaned siblings - Pari (Hetal Gadda) and Chotu (Krrish Chhabria). Pari is elder to Chotu. They lose their parents in an accident and now stay with their Chacha-Chachi i.e. uncle-aunty (Vipin Sharma and Gulfam Khan). Pari is very protective of Chotu who has lost his eyesight at the age of four. Pari is a die-hard Shah Rukh Khan fan and Chotu, a Salman Khan fan. It is interesting to watch them walk to the school everyday with stories of either Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan. Chotu tosses coin everyday morning before going to school and that is how they decide that whose story to be told that day, whether Shah Rukh’s or Salman’s. Pari does not even mind failing in her class for consecutive two years so as to be in the same class as that of Chotu so that she can take care of him. Vipin Sharma as Chacha is very much attached to children and they have their fun moments watching film or roaming around. Gulfam Khan as Chachi is not very tolerant towards kids. But this hardly bothers Pari and Chotu, they are always full of life and enjoy each other’s company.

Pari decides to write letters to Shah Rukh Khan when she sees an advertisement of Shah Rukh for eye donation campaign. She feels that Shah Rukh can help her bring back Chotu’s eyesight. When she comes to know that Shah Rukh is there at Jaisalmer for film shooting, she decides to go to Jaisalmer, though very far from her place, along with Chotu to meet Shah Rukh Khan and ask for his help. Pari feels that it would be the best birthday gift to her kid brother, who was going to be 9 years old.

Rest of the story is about how these two kids tread the unknown path. Whom all they meet during their journey, most of them being good samaritans, how their journey shape up? Pari and Chotu’s constant banter about Shah Rukh and Salman is interesting. They do face challenges as well, be it some people with bad intention or the heat of the desert. Dhanak showcases the beauty of desert clubbed with Chotu and Pari’s journey, musical performances in between, their new friendships, associations with different people, and yes dangers too. The innocence of children is captured beautifully. It is amazing to see, how the film is woven beautifully with kids’ one simple wish and their journey for the same. Ultimately, do the kids manage to meet the superstar ?   

Chotu’s high energy performance and Pari’s lovely innocent performances add lot of value to the film. Both the kids are adorable, innocent as well as mature. Another kid who has given a very sweet performance is the one who played the role of Shamsher, whom Pari-Chotu meet during their journey. The way three kids bond is awesome. How Vibha Chibber, Suresh Menon and others become a part of their journey is for you to explore. Rajasthani folk Music in the film is soulful.  

Dhanak, a beautiful story about the journey of a brother-sister duo, is woven around one simple wish, and it encompasses the goodness existing in and around us. Not only various human emotions, relationships are explored in the film, but the beauty of deserts covered is also breathtaking. It makes one believe in one’s dreams and write one’s own destiny or atleast take efforts for the same. Dhanak would make you fall in love with the rainbow. Enjoy this film, it is certainly going to bring a big smile on your face.

Rating : 3.5 / 5 (Good +)

Review of Udta Punjab

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Cast: Shahid Kapoor (Tommy Singh), Kareena Kapoor Khan (Dr. Preet Sahni), Alia Bhatt, Diljit Dosanjh (Sartaj Singh), Satish Kaushik (Tayaji), Prabhjyot Singh (Bali)
Directed by: Abhishek Chaubey
Produced by: Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Aman Gill, Vikas Bahl, Sameer Nair
Production Company: Balaji Motion Pictures, Phantom Films
Distributed by: Balaji Motion Pictures
Story: Sudip Sharma, Abhsihsek Chaubey
Dialogues by: Sudip Sharma
Screenplay by: Sudip Sharma, Abhsihsek Chaubey
Music by: Amit Trivedi; Background score – Benedict Taylor, Naren Chandavarkar
Cinematography: Rajeev Ravi
Edited by: Meghna Sen
Release date: 17th June, 2016
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 28 minutes

Udta Punjab, a film by Abhishek Chaubey, was so much in the news offlate, due to CBFC’s demand for 89 cuts in the film, followed by a legal battle between the producers and CBFC. Finally creativity won and only one cut was demanded by the court and the decision came just 2 days prior to its release. Another fight which the producers have to fight now is against piracy, since, this film has been uploaded on torrent sites by an anonymous person (romoured to be somebody from CBFC). Critics might say that all these controversies have worked in favour of the film, it would certainly attract more viewers. But, what makes this film one of the most relevant watch is that it deals with a very critical issue i.e. drug addiction. Youths in our country are getting prone to drug abuse. Addiction of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs is high in our country. The film is brutally honest about what happens when a person becomes an addict, his / her inner struggle to overcome it, failure to detox self, losing what is good within one’s self, getting away from all near and dear ones, going to any extreme to satisfy one’s urge for drugs, even attempting to kill dear ones if they are found resisting drug usage. The film also talks about another major concern, which states like Punjab is facing (Punjab is just a representation of many other states), where drugs are made easily available due to corrupt system – be it politicians or police officers.

The film begins with a ‘Packet’ being thrown to Punjab fields from the other side of the border i.e. Pakistan. The substance reaches wrong hands i.e. in Alia’s hands who is a labourer (originally from Bihar), working in the field. When Alia realizes the cost of the drug, she plans to sell the same so as to get money. Simultaneously, another story of a rockstar Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor) unveils, who has become a youth icon with his high-on-drug-performances and weird fast numbers. He sports long hair, lot of tattoos-one of them is ‘Gabru’. He is wild, arrogant and unable to take rejections in the right stride. Third major character of the film is police inspector Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh), who does not mind taking bribe to give the clearance to trucks and containers carrying drugs, in fact he represents corrupt system. Dr. Preet Sahni (Kareena Kapoor) is fighting in her own best manner possible by treating drug addicts and also taking part in some major protests against menace of drugs.

The best aspect of this film is that the focus is not on characters, but on theme of the film i.e. what these characters are going through due to their addiction or due to society being in the clutches of drug abuse. There is not a single moment where the focus has shifted from the theme of menace of drugs. The intent of the filmmaker is very clear, i.e. to highlight the menace of drugs, narco-politics, corrupt system.

Alia goes through a tough time when she goes to sell opium which she got. What happens when Alia reaches the people to sell the stuff she has? How a young, talented national sensation rockstar Tommy’s downfall happens due to his drug addiction? What situations lead to the transformation of the inspector Sartaj from a corrupt police officer to the one investigating the root of drug supplies in Punjab? How Preet joins hands with Sartaj to fight the system ? How the drugs are made available to the youths? How does narco-politics shape up ? How the channels of manufacturing and distribution of drugs work ? How the medical shops end up selling these illicit drugs ?

As far as the cast and their acting are concerned, all of them have given great performances. Shahid absolutely fits into the character of Tommy. Alia is able to do so much of justice to her grief-stricken yet courageous character. Her name of the character is intentionally not mentioned in this review, which is for you to explore by watching the film. Kareena is also very convincing as Dr. Preet. But the real star of the film (and probably with more screen time than the rest) is Diljit Dosanjh as Inspector Sartaj Singh. In real life, he is a singer, television presenter and has also acted in many successful Punjabi films. His performance in Udta Punjab is excellent.

As far as the dialogues of the film are concerned, abusive words are used, but blended well with the plot, screenplay of the film. Music could have been better. The song ‘Ek kudi jidda naam muhabbat, gum hai gum hai…’ is very nice.

Udta Punjab, a very well made honest film, highlights the inner struggle of the people suffering due to drug addiction and also the sick corrupt system, narco-politics. It is indeed sad to see the film, which brings harsh realities attached with the menace of drugs. 

Rating : 4 / 5 (Very Good)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Short Review of Housefull 3

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Cast: Akshay Kumar (Sandy / Sundi), Abhishek Bachchan (Bunty), Riteish Deshmukh (Teddy), Jacqeline Fernandez (Ganga ‘Gracy’ Patel), Lisa Hayden (Jamuna ‘Jenny’ Patel), Nargis Fakhri (Sarswati ‘Sarah’ Patel), Boman Irani (Batook Patel), Jackie Shroff (Urja Nagre), Chunkey Pandey, Samir Kochchar
Directed by: Sajid - Farhad
Produced by: Sajid Nadiadwala
Production Company: Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment
Story: K Subhash
Dialogues by: Sajid-Farhad
Screenplay by: Sajid-Farhad, Additional Screenplay – Rajan Agarwal
Music by: Sohail Sen, Mika, Sharib-Toshi, Tanishk Bagchi, Milind Gaba
Cinematography: Voikas Sivaraman
Edited by: Steven Bernard
Distributed by: Eros International
Release date: 3rd June, 2016
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 14 minutes

Housefull 3, by Sajid-Farhad, is the third sequel of Housefull series. It is not that I don’t have sense of humour, but comedy genre has never impressed me. Probably I am yet to watch a good film from this genre. Housefull 3 also fails to generate any laughter. I wish, I could laugh, but the film is full of mindless humour. People who love comedy genre have also mentioned that the prequels were much better. I may not sound passionate at all while sharing my review about this film. I am sure, there is tremendous scope in our film industry to come up with genuine comedy flicks.

The film begins with a robbery scene followed by the police officers arresting three thieves (Samir Kochchar and two others). Then the frames move to a NRI businessman Batook Patel (Boman Irani) settled in London, who proudly says that he loves his all the three daughters Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati (Jacqueline, Lisa, Nargis respectively) and would never married them off. The logic behind his saying so is astrological; he is being conveyed that he would die the moment a son-in-law steps in their house, or a son-in-law looks at him or a son-in-law utters to him. Ganga, Jamuna and Sarswati try to find their own solutions for the same by asking their respective boy-friends Sandy / Sundi (Akshay Kumar) to act as a person confined to wheel chair, Teddy (Riteish Deshmukh) to act as a blind person and Bunty (Abhishek Bachchan) to act as a mute person. All three come to meet Batook Patel, ask his daughters’ hands and end up staying in their house. It doesn’t need mention that the boys were eying the property of the girls. Rest of the film revolves around the situations generated to safeguard themselves from Batook’s eyes and also to win him over.

Jacky shroff plays the role of a gangster Urja Nagre. What is the connection between him and Batook. Who are the three thieves shown in the beginning of the film? Whether Sandy, Teddy, Bunty are able to marry their love interests? How many of the people are claiming Batook’s property? How does Batook handle his girls’ love interests? Does he yield to them? How does the real picture come into play? What chaos is created as the film unfold?

I really have a problem with the script of the film. Is it required to make a mockery of the handicap / disability to generate sense of laughter? The song ‘Taang Uthake’ and choreography is aweful. Girls’ dialogues translate the English phrases literally into Hindi, gets repetitive and lacks humour.

As far as the cast and crew is concerned, indeed Akshay, Riteish and Abhishek are good with the comic timings. I liked Riteish of the three. Girls don’t have much to do. Music is average.

Watch Housefull 3 at your own risk. I don’t recommend this film, but if you just want to watch and forget a film, please go and watch this film, which has just a few scenes of laughter.  

Rating : 0.5 / 5 (Below Average)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review of Praktan

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Cast: Prosenjit Chatterjee, Rituparna Sengupta, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sabitri Chatterjee, Aparajita Adhya, Biswanath Basu, Manali Dey
Directed by: Nandita Roy, Shiboprosod Mukhopadhyay
Produced by: Probhat Roy, Gautam Mukherjee
Production Company: Windows, Ardor Entertainment, Eskay Movies
Dialogues by: Shiboprosod Mukhopadhyay
Screenplay by: Nandita Roy
Music by: Anindiya Chatterjee, Anupam Roy, Radha Raman; Background music: Binit Ranjan Moitra
Cinematography: Gopi Bhagat
Edited by: Malay Laha
Release date: 27th  May, 2016
Language: Bengali (English Subtitles)
Duration: 2 hours 23 minutes

Praktan, an awesome Bengali film by Nandita Roy and Shiboprosod Mukhopadhyay explores the philosophy of life, love, complexities of relationships, positive sides of relationships, maturity etc. very beautifully. This film’s plot is designed from the perspectives of people from different walks of life. Everybody’s life is a story in itself. Different stories of different people are built up so nicely. If there is a newly-wed couple, there is an old couple married for many years; there is even a couple who is divorced, and there is a couple who is happily married with kid. And then there is a group of musicians. All of them embark on their train journey with their own sets of baggages. But, Praktan talks about what happens during their journey. They go through self-discovery process, leave their baggages, and move ahead with a new found positivity, love, passion, togetherness. The film depicts how 24+ odd hours of train journey from Mumbai to Howra becomes a life changing experience for a few of its travellers. How their perception itself towards life changes? Many times, we are burdened with the thought of not able to find answers to many of our questions, but a journey ultimately ends up giving answers to our questions, isn’t it amazing and that is one of the aspect which Praktan projects. Read the review further to know the beautiful philosophies of life projected through this film. Praktan means ‘Former’. You need to watch the film to explore how and why this film is titled so. It is indeed a must watch film.

The film begins with travelers boarding train’s 1st AC compartment’s different coups at Mumbai railway station - a young couple (Biswanath Basu and Manali Dey) who just got married, an elderly couple (Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabitri Chatterjee) whose son and daughter-in-law accompanied to see them off; a mother Molly (Aparajita Adhya) with her 6 year old daughter Udita aka Putul; Sudipa (Rituparna Sengupta) and a group of musicians. Ujaan (Prasanjit) joins the journey much later. The screenplay is well crafted to introduce all the characters and the baggages they are carrying. One of the musician is reminiscing about his former band member. Newly married couple full of love with each other, but very soon husband is shown as insecure and he ends up probing his pretty wife about her ex-boyfriend. But the beauty is these scenes are that they are so nicely written generating lot of humour. The elderly couple does feel nostalgic about past, great bonding between the two is shown. Then there is Molly, who is full of praise for her husband and family, and is very gregarious. Sudipa wants to be in her shell, but develops a bond with Udita and Molly.

As the train moves further, these co-passengers’ stories are unveiled. There is a scene, where all of them play Antakshiri, projecting how co-travellers becomes one big family. Various scenes are interestingly developed to convey how Molly, Udita and Sudipa who share the coup, get connected to one another and later on how their lives get interrelated. It is also interesting to see, how Ujjan becomes part of their journey. How Ujjan deals with various incidents in his relationship, who is a guide for heritage walks, and runs a travel company ?  I really don’t want to elaborate the plot any more since the film has to be watched and explored.  

Beautiful philosophies of life, which are discussed in the film:
Adjustments / compromise in love, in relationships, is not at all losing oneself. When we love someone, it is important to give a part of us to the other person. We shall not feel powerless in the process.
One cannot undo the past, so why to worry about it, and future is uncertain, so why to bother about it too much. ‘Present’ is so important.
Many times, we don’t realize that egos can kill a relationship and when it goes out of the hand that is when we realize that we have lost something or someone special for ever. And this loss is so much irreparable.
We want to watch our spouses or loved ones in a particular frame designed by us and if others don’t fit into our frame, we start getting uncomfortable. Praktan also talks of, how peaceful, joyous and loving it can be, if we don’t try to design frames for our loved ones.
When we love a person, as we accept the good aspects of that person, can’t we become more tolerant towards their not-so-good aspects as well?

There are many more instances, which will touch your heart for sure, move you, bring smile on your face. Various emotions viz. love, passion, ego, conflict, togetherness, separation, pain, joy, complacency etc. are all shown so beautifully. Throughout the film, the positive tone of the film is maintained. The end is also very positive i.e. at times, we have to ‘let go’, learn the art of forgiving, need to gather courage to move ahead and explore better aspects of life, leaving the ‘feeling of loss’ behind, respecting the ‘good’ of life… The list is endless.

The cast is superlative in their performance, music is soulful, melodious. Mention of Tagore also makes integral part of the film. The film is also special since Rituparna and Prosenjit have come together on screen after a gap of 14 years.

Praktan, a Bengali Film, is very rich in its content, screenplay, dialogues, acting, music, theme, philosophies of life. A must watch film.

Rating : 4.5 / 5 (Very Good +)