Category: Film Reviews Page 1 of 3

Avengers : Age of Ultron

I do write about movies that I hate and vent my frustration here, like the time I wrote about Cocktail & Bodyguard; but you can imagine how bad the recent edition of Avengers was that I don’t even feel like venting it out against it. Maybe I have attended a zen like state in ignoring bad movies or maybe it was so damn yawn worthy that it is not even worthy of my rants anymore. I’m so disappointed with this Marvel edition that I would rather watch Dolly ki Doli once more. 

X-Men : Days of the Future Past

I’m terrible at maintaining this blog regularly – I realise it even more when I get down to pen a post and realise that I have not written about these loves on the blog before. Well better late than never right. As a kid the only superhero comics I read and watched were Superman, Spiderman and Batman – and even those were not read as extensively as some of my friends did. They know every dialogue written by heart! X-Men only caught my fascination once the movies were released. Since then the fandom for this set of superheroes has grown exponentially and I have to admit that the star cast has been a huge factor.

Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart , Halle Berry and if those were not enough in the first 3 movies, they went and cast McAvoy, Fassbender, Hoult and Lawrence as the younger lot! And then they felt this too was not quite enough; so they got all of them together in the recent instalment and had Bryan Singer direct them. These were enough reasons to expect a cracker of a movie after the awesomeness that was witnessed in X-Men First Class. I must say this one did not disappoint; in fact it was way beyond my expectations; though I must add I did have one minor disappointment.  The director did not give enough meat to Mystique’s role – yes she was the focus of the film but somehow I felt that Jennifer Lawrence did not get enough scope to prove her stellar acting prowess. She surely has oodles of talent to take Mystique’s character to the heights of popularity that the other characters in the series have achieved. As Charles, Eric and Tsark admit – she is special and unique and probably the most powerful of the lot. Also Jennifer Lawrence is a far superior actress to Rebecca Romijn who had essayed the role in the trilogy and I hope the next part does justice to her acting talents.

Now before I  go to the movie and the scenes that left me spell bound let me get this out of the way – there was Fassbender, McAvoy and Jackman on the screen together; that is criminal – I mean how are we ladies to focus on the movie and the story and the rest of the cast with so much hotness on the screen! Ok that’s the fangirl talking – ignore that and let’s stick to the movie.

The movie is a brilliant example of how movie making techniques and the technology used have evolved over years to bring to life on screen the scenes that go beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. After watching the Magneto-Submarine scene in X-Men First Class I was convinced no other scene would come close to it and it probably topped my favourite movie scene list until I saw the QuickSilver Slow Motion Prison scene yesterday. A glimpse in the trailer below.

Brilliant is a mild word for this scene. You have to be a whacky genius to first conceptualize it and then go ahead and execute it to perfection! I can assure you that The QuickSilver SlowMotion scene in the movie will blow your mind off. It is what they call cinematic genius and magic all combined into one. I can’t wait for the DVD/BluRay to hit the market soon so that I can watch it a million times and I know the more I watch it the more I will crave for it. It is intoxicating to mildly put it.

The scene was shot to this lovely song (don’t forget to read the quicksilver related comments on the song; brilliance is oozing all over – ripple effect of the movie) and it has been stuck in my head since last night in a loop!


Then there is Hugh Jackman , who is what he does best – Being Wolverine –  Sarcastic, Angry, Impatient and now entrusted with dealing with a depressed , drowning in self-pithy and self-loathing Xavier portrayed by McAvoy (flawless again!) and getting him on track to ensure the future of the mutants is in safe hands. In the process befriending Beast, getting QuickSilver to help Magneto escape from the heavily guarded prison in Pentagon so that the duo Charles and Eric can find Raven(Mystique) and ensure the murder that changes the fate of the mutant community is averted.

However the man who is the real star of the movie, the one who steals the limelight from an array of stars present in the movie has other plans. He does an U-turn on the team and goes about setting the future as he deems it should rightfully be. If Ian McKellen immortalized the Evil Magneto, to me Michael Fassbender takes the evil genius to a different level in this movie – an act that is going to be tough to beat. We saw glimpses of it in X-Men First Class but then there was the whole sympathy angle and him being good turning into evil bit. In this movie though , he is just a pure cold-hearted, unapologetic , unforgiving, conniving, evil genius that you love to hate. Magneto plays around with the weapons that were meant to destroy his clan like they were his toys. The railway tracks scene is the one where you sit on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next . You don’t quite figure out the master stroke until the last scene of the movie where Magneto single-handedly holds the entire US government at ransom. The scene though where i almost fell of my chair was seeing him execute so much style and panache in a one minute scene where he walks into the Pentagon to retrieve his prized possession (the helmet)– Did you not notice the glasses, the hat , the suit and his uber cool poise?

X-Men Days of the Future Past is a delightful entertainer for us X-men buffs but to me the enticing bit is with the future having been completely reset the movie makers can take some serious liberty to reignite the franchise and twist the stories around. The whole prospect is now making me delirious and 2 years seems like an eternity by when XMen – Apocalypse will hit the screens! Now waiting for the next instalment with bated breath – Damn you Bryan Singer!

Review : Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani

(Warning: Spoilers ahead)

Yesterday  I wrote the music review of the film and mentioned that I hope Ranbir does not disappoint – Ranbir did not disappoint but Ayan Mukherjee did while Karan Johar lived upto expectations.

The movie is too long – seriously Bollywood you need not drag a script for 2.5 hours – there is no such mandate and what can be told eloquently in 1.5 hours should be told in 1.5 hours. Too many irrelevant scenes – painting people as stupid does not generate laughs. Having too many forced songs does not help either however good they might be.

Ayan dealt with the relationship of Sid and Aisha beautifully in Wake up Sid his first movie but I did not find any such build-up to Bunny and Naina’s love story in the movie – Ranbir and Deepika’s sizzling onscreen chemistry made up for the complete lack of script.

The story is all too known by now – how 4 friends go on a trip , have fun, enjoy, let go and discover themselves. Move apart , live their lives – some grow up , some don’t. Some move on while some get stuck in a time warp. All too familiar, all too seen and heard before – Dil Chahta Hain, Rock On, Zindagi Na Mile Dobara, bring in the DDLJ romance, bring in the tomboy turned lady a-la Kajol from Kuch Kuch Hota Hain, bring in the irritating Poo like character from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham , the affluent families, the lavish weddings, trekking in mini shorts and denim skirts (only in a KJO movie)

I had thought Ayan Mukherjee would continue to be in his Wake Up Sid zone.  He did in fact for quite sometime in the movie – when he made Naina’s character extremely real and believable – I’m not a Deepika fan but she was good in the movie. Full credit to Ayan for being able to get this girl to actually act. Her expressions were controlled, did not seem forced, she seemed comfortable with the character. Balanced, rational , today’s girl who understood her priorities. Her Naina was believable – geeky, boring, falling for the guy who was not her type.  She had the courage to realise the relationship would not work as they wanted different things and she had the sanity to not lose her mind over him, value his friendship and treasure those moments. That was as real as it can get. I could completely identify with her character. And even when life offered her the second chance she was practical and sane enough to not leave her medical career and go along with her vagabond love.

Kalki as the tomboy turned lady did justice to her part but not to the dancing (No seriously Kalki please don’t dance – my eyes hurt). She was the only reason that the 4 friends came back together. Thank god they did not twist her character by getting her back with her old crush and not going ahead with the wedding. Adtiya Kapoor as Avi was an utter disappointment – he was the worst of the 4 friends who never got his life together. Aditya failed to depict Avi’s bitterness or the hurt he felt – of losing his friends or not getting his life in order like the other 3 did.

Ranbir as Bunny was superlative – I’d go for a movie just to see Ranbir on screen. He brought alive Bunny’s character – he wanted to be free, he wanted to see the world, he wanted to follow his dreams and he did. He had a few regrets but he wasn’t to blame for it. He was brilliant in that last scene with his father Farooq Sheikh before he leaves for America and then later with his step-mother Tanvi Azmi after he comes home – 3 years after his father passed away. Those two scenes were the highlight of the movie for me. Bunny’s mom gets Bunny rid of all of his guilt of not being there for his dad when he should have been. The one scene with Farooq Sheikh when Ranbir is leaving for the USA for future studies was the best scene of the movie – those 4 lines from Farooq sum up the definition of perfect parents that every child craves for.

And then I thought it would be a nice end to the movie – Bunny sets off to get his dream job finally free of all his guilt & regrets, Naina moves on and maybe finds love again – because the fact is that in real life you do. More often than not you do. Sometimes some relations are not meant to be. We don’t always have picture perfect endings and I would have really liked to see Ayan keep it real like Shakun Batra did in Ekk Main Aur Ekk Tu, but he didn’t. So the movie ended like it would in the KJO world.

The reason I felt a bit disappointed with the ending – was it felt lame and out of the blue as the movie did not focus on Naina-Bunny relationship as much at it should have – it felt a tad disconnected  and rushed at the end. And given how the whole relationship played out – I found it difficult to digest that a guy so crazy about his dream, who was lucky enough to have folks supportive of him,  just gave it all up one day. Maybe people do – but in the movie it felt completely out of character for Bunny.

If Bunny had chased his dream job would you have termed him to be a villain? Naina understood him, I wonder why the director did not and made him do a complete U-turn. Think about it!

Relive the feeling of Love with Barfi!

Here is the test: Your best friend or your one true love makes you stand in front of the lamp-post, he cuts the lamp-post and he knows how far it will fall down, but he won’t tell you and you are there standing with him seeing the lamp-post fall down towards you – what would be your first reaction?

Normal folks – that’s what most of us are who are born with all their senses working great and have no disability – physical or mental of any kind. We the ones who can think rationally and consider ourselves superior to the disabled – our first reaction would be to save ourselves from the falling lamp-post.  That’s the rational thing to do – but Jhilmil the autistic girl does not leave Barfi’s (who is deaf and dumb) side – she is the only one who passes his test. Neither his best friend of years and nor his first love Shruti stand beside him, not trusting his judgement of where the the lamp-post will fall . That scene summed up the entire movie for me – love is all about trust and belief.

Barfi as a movie is by far the best I’ve seen this year (Kahaani and Ferrari ki Sawari my other favourites, and yes I’m not a  Gangs of Wasseypur fan ) – it narrates a simple tale of love lost and love won. That there is no love if there is no trust. Barfi born deaf and dumb and brought up by his dad is loved by all in the small town of Darjeeling. The town inspector is perpetually chasing him for the pranks he keeps playing unknowingly or knowingly. Shruti – the lovely doe-eyed rich girl moves into the town with her parents one fine day and Barfi falls in love with her at the first sight. Shruti is engaged but still starts falling for Barfi’s innocent charm – who wouldn’t? When her mother comes to know about her feelings, like any mother would , she advises her daughter about the perils of the relationship – Barfi is not only handicapped but also very poor. Shruti moves on and gets married but never finds love again. She then meets Barfi again in Kolkata after 6 years but this time he is with Jhilmil – his autistic childhood friend and seeing them both together Shruti realises what true love is all about. How Barfi gets together with Jhilmil, how he loses her, and how Shruti helps in him getting back with Jhilmil is what the rest of the movie is about.

There is no great story in the movie – it’s fairly straightforward but the best story-tellers can make the simplest of stories enthralling and you must give Anurag Basu credit where due. He takes us through the lovely locales of Darjeeling, the mini trains, the greenery, the Kolkatta of 70s and you fall in love for the first time.

Then we are introduced to Shruti – Illena gives a stellar performance in her first Hindi film. Her eyes (despite the highly irritating fake eyelashes) do all the acting – she expresses so beautifully through them that you do not feel the need for any dialogue from her end when she is communicating with Barfi. Her dilemma and confusion is heartfelt and not even once do we feel that her love for Barfi is out of sympathy for his disability. I don’t know if you agree but I found an uncanny resemblance between Illena and  Manisha Koirala of the 90s when she had made her debut – in movies like Saudagar and 1942 a Love Story – Illena’s innocent face and more importantly her eyes make her the perfect fit for playing Shruti.

I’m no Priyanka fan – if people are going to head to the theatres expecting that she has pulled off what Sridevi did in Sadma, please be prepared to be disappointed.  Of the 3 leading actors, Priyanka was always going to be the weakest link and she did not disappoint me on that aspect. Her portrayal of the autistic girl was a tad overboard, but I’m not complaining as she did well within her limited acting capabilities. In fact in couple of scenes she did manage to hold fort – especially the one where she gets Barfi back and stands in front of him not letting Illena come close to them or the last scene where she pats Illena assuring her that all will be well.

The supporting cast – especially Saurabh Shukla in the role of the inspector, Barfi’s best friend, father, and Roopa Ganguly as Shruti’s mom do a good job. Some might feel the movie drags in some places but the scenes have been shot so aesthetically and the characters speak less and emote more that I really did not care if it slacked a bit in pace.

But Barfi is really about Ranbir – it rides on his shoulders and he sails through with great aplomb. He pays a fine tribute to Charlie Chaplin in many moments in the movie and makes you smile and cry at the same time. He excels in each and every scene – be it comedy or tragic. When he first proposes Illena, when he learns that she is his engaged and goes back to asking her to be just friends, his every attempt to steal a glance of her, his constant pranks on the inspector, his attempts to get the 7000 Rs to pay for his father’s surgery be it the kidnapping or the bank robbery, his reaction to his first kiss, his realisation of why he will never be fit to be Shruti’s husband – that scene where he outrages – the only time that the ever hopeful guy feels he is hopeless is par excellence – Raj Kapoor would’ve been very very proud of his grandson. His attempts to entertain Jhilmil , taking care of her, and eventually falling in love with her and going to all lengths to find her. Ranbir as Barfi epitomises love in every sense of the word – his innocence is so endearing that you wonder why on earth would any girl not want to be with this guy despite his disabilities. The beauty of Barfi’s character is that his disability is incidental to the film and not the core plot of the theme – the movie is about love – falling in love, losing it, and winning it back.

Pritam has given a fantastic score that helps the movie move ahead – when I first heard the songs 3 weeks back only one song kept playing in a loop on my iPod

I did not give the rest a listen but after seeing the movie yesterday the entire album is playing in a loop on the iPod especially two numbers:

Sawaali Si Raat where Ranbir entertaining Jhilmil, helping her get over her fears & getting back her faith along with  Arijit’s rendition soothes your heart like no other song can.

I rarely rarely cry in my real life so forget crying at movies but Barfi had me misty eyed throughout. I literally broke down during the scene when Barfi gets Illena home and introduces her to Jhilmil. You can feel Illena’s heartbreak and Barfi’s joy when Arijit’s version of Phir Le Aaya Dil plays in the background. If you loved and chose to lose it and then saw him/her move on when you realised you wanted them back; you will identify with Illena. If you loved and lost and then found the one true love you have been waiting for; you would identify with Ranbir’s joy. I did not take to Arijit’s version of this song earlier but after seeing the scene in the movie it is playing in my head and on the ipod in an infinite loop!

I can hardly recollect any dialogue from the film but I can recollect so many scenes that touched my heart. The characters talk to us – through their face and through their eyes. You feel their pain and you live their joy.

Barfi is just so pure – yes in every aspect the film overflows with simplicity and purity and that is so rare to find these days in Bollywood films.

If you have experienced love – go relive it again with Barfi, if you have not fallen in love go watch Barfi to know how beautiful and painful it can be !

Why I shouldn’t have watched Cocktail!

This is my space to rant. So if you liked the Cocktail (Hindi) Movie don’t bother reading this post.

I’m to blame, I never learn. I let my friends do this to me – take me out for a movie I know is not going to be my money’s worth in the pretext that maybe I’ll find it timepass/enjoyable with them around. Twice now it has not worked – first Bodyguard  & now Cocktail.

Why should I even be excited about a Saif-Deepika film with an addition of Diana Penty? I did not like Love Aaj Kal – Deepika cannot act, talks in the same tone – be it a happy scene or an emotional scene and I fail to understand folks who call her an “actress” – she is drop dead gorgeous and it ends at that. Diana Penty – don’t tell me you don’t see the similarities she shares with Deepika, they’ll pass off in a twin sisters role any day. Saif – there are days that I like his movies, there are also days when his same old KHNH act gets repeated oh- so-often that it does not seem “cool” anymore.

You all know the story by now, you all have raved about how fabulous Deepika and Penty looked – yeah yeah I get it. What I don’t get is if I have to go and watch two ladies look good ( I’d rather watch a Fashion Show – which by the way has to be one of the most boring events ever conceptualized on this earth); why on earth would I watch them in a movie where they don’t know the basic thing that makes up a movie – good acting.

The movie did not have a storyline, crappy dialogues and characters that made no sense. The only believable character to me was that of Deepika, whom they completely ruined by transforming her into a sati-savitri, the girl-type that any Indian boy will love to take home to his parents. I would’ve given it to the director, if he had let Saif & Deepika be themselves and continue the “no strings attached” live-in relationship by not succumbing to parental pressure or the “true love” nonsense. That transformation from the hip-cool-modern to the eventual HAHK type was totally out of character. We don’t keep it real because we want to cater it to an audience across age-groups. I therefore give it to Shakun Batra of Ekk Main or Ekk Tu fame – he did not have Kareena fall in love with Imran, there was no conclusion to the story – because that’s how it is in real life. Love is not always reciprocated but yet people mature and remain friends.

I did not get Meera’s character at all – apparently a simple, middle class Punjabi girl, duped by the husband, lives with a stranger in an unknown land, does not like the idea of the best friend and guy having a fling and sleeping with each other, and then falls for the same characterless guy, and if that’s not enough seeks help from the husband who duped her to get away from the guy she is madly in love with! Which sane woman with a reasonable stable mind will do this? There wasn’t a single scene that showed the transformation of Meera’s hate towards Gautam to falling in love with him. A few crappy dialogues such as, ‘Every guy must be wondering what lies beneath all the clothes you wear, your pretty waist and smile were enough to woo her over?’ Or wait, was it the motherly affection showered by Gautam’s mom in giving the traditional bangle to her to-be- daughter-in-law that changed her mind. Marry the mom not the guy then!

As for Gautam let me not even get there – he hits on the client with that stupid line about love at first sight, and she succumbs to his lousy charm? No sensible woman (and she must be one since she was the boss in a firm) will do that – hand over a project cause the guy charmed her. Get real!

I enjoyed the movie only when Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia were on screen. Those 10 minutes were a huge relief but not enough to save the disaster I was watching. The songs were good especially loved Daru Desi and Tumhi ho Bandhu – on a loop for quite some time on the iPod, but good songs don’t make a good film – take Delhi 6  for instance.

It took me sometime to believe that the guy who gave us “Being Cyrus” dealt such a low blow in the form of Cocktail. The movie was neither here nor there, driving home the same age old Bollywood crap about how sticking to tradition is the good thing, and how the party-crazy, alcohol drinking, one-night stand gal must reform if she needs a guy and marriage and all that is termed as the “good life”.

Blah – heard that before, seen it way too many times – give me a different Cocktail please – this combination has been done to death with!

The Rollercoaster Ride – Ferrari Ki Sawari

I have been an absolute sucker for Hrishida’s films. I don’t recollect the number of times I’ve watched his films – the classical common man, his struggles, his attitude to see the positives despite those struggles, the ever smiling characters, the films that epitomised that humanity is the strongest of all bonds in this world.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s where movies were a bit of disaster, then there was the KJo wave – the gloss, the glamour, the action movies got to me – the horror ! And then the 2000s saw some refreshing cinema hit the screens – dark movies, intelligent films, real films and then came the Rajkumar Hirani-Vidhu Vinod Chopra movies.

They are my generation’s movies that come close to HrishiDa’s genre of films. The Munnabhai Series, 3 Idiots and now Ferrari Ki Sawari. They are feel good, they are light-hearted, they are emotional, and they remind us of the simple middle-class folks whom we have forgotten exist in our world – we are chasing brands, we are chasing exotic vacations, showing off our fancy possessions, we are chasing the big bucks and job promotions, getting caught in the crazy rat race.

The simple common man is still chasing his small dreams and still knows the value of every little joy that life has to offer.

These movies take me back to my childhood and teenage days. I come from a simple Maharashtrian family where my parents strived hard to give me the best life. Being a late child I never really saw their early struggles, but when they did tell me it made me swell with pride seeing them in the place they got to from where they started. And though I may have done reasonably well now – the middle class roots help me keep grounded. There was joy in the simplest of things and that joy can never be bought even if you have millions of dollars.

This time around Rajesh Mapuskar, assistant director to Hirani in his previous movies takes us on a fun, emotional rollercoaster ride with Kayo and his Dad Rustom. The third wheel in this fun ride is the disgruntled grandpa Behram Deboo. Rustom is a head clerk in the RTO office – honest, sincere, obedient son, and a doting father. His son is his world and his son’s world is cricket and Rustom a.k.a Rusy will do his best to make his son’s dream a reality.

Kayo is the best player in the circuit but Rustom struggles to make ends meet and fund Kayo’s cricket – be it buying him a bat or a new pair of shoes. But the ever cheerful and happy son-father duo always look at the positive side of life and move on. Kayo gets a chance to be selected to a coaching camp in London but the fees are INR 150,000. There begins Rustom’s dilemma  – he wants his son to get the best opportunity but does not know how to raise the money in 2 weeks.

His EPF loan won’t come in quick time – a nice dig taken at the workings of Government and if any higher authorities watch this movie hopefully they take a lesson from this. He has to fight his grumbling dad Deboo who thinks cricket is a waste of time and is fighting with ghosts of his past. In this chaos he meets Babbu Didi – a wedding planner who needs a Ferrari for the wedding of a local corporator’s son. She suggests that if Rusy can get her the car on rent for 2 days she will pay him the 150,000 in cash.

Only one man in Mumbai owns this car and Rustom decides to go visit him and request him for the car – however Sachin Tendulkar is not at home to meet Rusy to grant his request . How Rusy gets the car and runs into a crazy adventure to fulfil his son’s dreams is what the whole movie is about.

The movie could’ve done with a bit of editing and deleting the melodrama at the end but those are too minor points to criticize the movie. Sharman Joshi steals your heart with his endearing, honest Rusy – you sail along with him – through his emotional turmoil, his struggle to to fulfil his son’s dreams, his constant endeavour to get back his father.

Then there is Boman Irani –a permanent in these movies, the villain with the heart of gold. He shines as the grumpy Grandpa, how his grandson’s talent turns him around – the scene is worth watching over and over again.

Seema Bharagava as Babbu Didi, Aakash Dabhade as Mohan the household help and Deepak Shirke as the Security Guard give fantastic performances and are responsible for all the laughter breaks in this crazy ride. The trio eases into their characters and this is probably what they say is “natural acting” – they are perfect fit for their roles  and the characters stay with you even after the movie is over.

But Kayo steals the show – you cheer him when he puts his pads on, you cry in anguish when he falls a run short of victory, you feel like smacking those corrupt cricket officials who won’t let him go ahead cause of politics, you along with his Dad Rusy, Grandpa Deboo, his coach, his best friend, his colony folks want to go to any lengths to get him to Lords.

His smile is like that of SRT – that just sealed it for me and now everytime Sachin takes strike be sure to hear this song play on your TV sets!


There are scenes in the movies that stay with you for long and get you thinking – the one where Rusy breaks the Red signal, the way Rusy gathers his savings to buy the 2800 Rs bat for his son in time for his match , the EPF loan story from Rusy’s boss at RTO, The honest traffic inspector who won’t think twice in towing the “big cars” off the roads, the MCA official Paresh Rawal who reminds us of the dirty politics that exist in the game (One of my best friends quit cricket despite being among the best owing to the politics). Rajesh Mapuskar keeps it real for most parts in the film

I don’t know about you but I identified with the film a lot – the characters & the struggles of a single parent – it touched my heart and it wooed me. I know the plot sounds a bit far-fetched but what the hell the execution is so smooth, you start thinking what if – what if !

I’ll probably hit the theatre again or wait for the DVD to hit the stands – this one goes in my prized collection – I’ll suggest you try this rollercoaster ride called Ferrari Ki Sawari atleast once!

P.S: Vidya Balan in a “lavani” item song is so wrong – if they wanted they could have just asked Amruta Khanvilkar or Sonali Kulkarni!

Why I Hated BodyGuard…

  • Bollywood is trying to make a RajniKant out of Salman Khan – so not happening!
  • I get the need for mindless movies – I’m not against them but this was beyond mindless – it was mind numbing
  • The movie tests your tolerance to irritating elements
  1. Salman has the name “ Lovely Singh”
  2. His irritating mobile tone  –  first 6 seconds of this song that play every 10 minutes in the movie
  3. Himesh Reshammiya then screams his lungs out to make a whole song out of that ringtone
  4. There is a character called Tsunami – don’t ask me why!
  • The title track is going to be the next DhinkaChinka – I just know it!
  • Why do all the action scenes have to be in super-slow motion? Also why are they accompanied with Salman’s supposedly funny histrionics?
  • What’s with his weird dance steps and constipated smiles?
  • How come Kareena’s best friend has no home of her own to live in? Is she her bodyguard too ?
  • Salman guards Kareena 24 hours – how can he not recognize her voice on the phone?
  • Of all he movie plots to copy, you copy the Kuch Kuch Hota Hain – “Write your kid letters about dad’s love story and fetch a new wife and mom” –plot?
  • Nowhere close to its namesake in Hollywood , atleast should’ve copied  the plot – would have been more bearable.
  • But the top 3 reasons ( in no order of preference) why I hated BodyGuard even more were:
  1. I let my friends talk me into watching a Salman Khan movie at the same time India was playing her T20 Vs Eng.
  2. I missed Rahane’s awesome debutDravid’s 3 sixers off consecutive balls.
  3. I came home to see the last over in which Eng hit the winning runs
    I can’t recollect the last Salman movie I saw in the theatre – BodyGuard reminded me why I haven’t watched one in a long time!

Till Death Do Us Apart

Susanna Anna-Marie Jones takes this part in her wedding wows very seriously. Divorce is not an option – murder is. Vishal Bharadwaj takes us on a giant wheel ride – every time you go up you are excited but as you start to come down there is no novelty left in the ride and the cycle repeats endlessly.

The protagonist has a code written in her brain –

loop(until movie ends)

{ marry sociopath;

bear torture;

gather loyal servants;

plot revenge;

murder }

With every husband that steps into Susanna’s life – you expect a twist in the tale, a mystery, an unexpected turn – but nothing happens. By the 3rd marriage, you are wondering how further nasty will the remaining 4 have to be to get her to murder them. It so happens that the nastiness reduces and you almost get the feeling that she is marrying cause she is enjoying murdering.

When I had first heard about Saat Khoon Maaf – I felt it would defy the traditional Bollywood mould. Plus it was based on a Ruskin Bond’s “Short Story” and was being adapted into a movie by Vishal Bharadwaj. It had the perfect ingredients and yet when the final dish was served – nor was it as delicious as you expected it and neither could you figure out what was missing in it.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge Vishal Bharadwaj fan and am of the opinion that to love his movies you have to be a on different level. As much as I liked watching Maqbool and Omkara, it was Kaminey that truly made me revere him as an outstanding film-maker. So my expectations for Saat Khoon Maaf were very high and rose even further after watching the trailer and the Darling song.

The day we went for the movie my friend gave me a horrible review and so I reset my expectation level. Thank god I did, else I would not have seen any positives in the movie.

So before I head out to list my disappointment a few positives –

Vivaan Shah – clearly lacks in the looks department but makes up with his fine narrative skills and acting ( that is hereditary). He has the meatiest role after Priyanka in the movie and does complete justice to it. Like Pratiek, I don’t see him doing conventional Bollywood movies – these two have stepped in to tread on the path of their illustrious parents and the mere thought of it is exciting.

Even though Darling is a copy of a Russian Folk song – it is still a terrific song and Usha Utthup and Rekha Bharadwaj bring it alive with their voices.

The Russian guy puts in a decent performance and pretty good Hindi diction

The pleasant presence of Konkana Sen Sharma ( Ok I’m terribly biased towards this lady)brings some relief in an otherwise boring movie.

Now for the disappointments

VB gets obsessive about keeping his movies dark and having weird characters – the dwarf jockey, the poet pervert, the obsessive major, the dark cinematography, the snakes as pets. It is a bit odd for a normal person leading a normal life to digest so many oddities at once on screen. VB known for keeping it real, goes overboard and makes everything look so unnatural. He manages the exact opposite of Kaminey in Saat Khoon Maaf.

We are supposed to learn from our mistakes but Susanna refuses to. After 3 horrible experiences she still decides to take the plunge another 3 times. Not a single story develops – the characters are half-cooked and reasons for Susanna marrying them not convincing enough. VB decided it was going to be a 150 minute movie and every guy needed his 20 minute time.

Of the husbands, Naseeruddin Shah has no role, Anu Kapoor is tolerable, Irfan is wasted, John Abraham cannot act and worse cannot even pull of a rocker act, Neil Nitin Mukesh tries too hard and so the only guy you can tolerate is that Russian fellow whose name I cannot recollect.

I thought Priyanka had reformed after Kaminey and here was her chance to get into the hall-of-fame, and be known as one of India’s finest actress. I kept feeling Kaminey was a fluke and she proved me right. Any other actress in her place, Konkana, Rani, Vidya even Kajol would’ve grabbed the opportunity and turned it into gold – Priyanka manages to hit an all time low – in her expressions, in her dialogue delivery, in her looks and messes it up;  what could’ve been a good movie becomes a tolerable watch.

My final verdict – if you are a Vishal Bhardwaj fan go watch but with zero expectations. I enjoyed it in parts especially where Vivaan was around. If you ask me if I understood the final confession of seven sins – forgive my poor intellect but I did not – if anyone else understood the meaning please do let me know:-)

At the end of it all, my mind must be beginning to hate me  – It was thoroughly confused after watching Dhobi Ghat; while it was on its road to recovery I halted the process by watching Saat Khoon Maaf. I can almost hear it say to me – “Thank your stars the mind does not take wedding wows – else death do us apart would definitely apply”

Dhobi Ghat

Arun says at his art exhibition – My paintings are about  Mumbai – My muse, my whore, my beloved.

And his description of my favourite city in the world lay stuck in my head long after the movie was over. I saw the movie 2 days back and that line just keeps coming back. Kiran Rao plays with her muse – her Mumbai.

The rich Parsi house by the sea, the 100 square feet shack by the railway tracks, the Eid festivities in the by-lanes of Mohamed Ali Road, the rat-infested gutters, the non-moving traffic, the age old yellow-black fiat taxis and the four wheel Audi zooming at speed of 10Km/hr on the roads, the gang-war in the slums, the rich doing drugs, the city that lights up when it rains, the jar that holds the water through a leaking roof, the sea that comes alive as the sun sets in and the Queen’s necklace shines.

And while she gives us a taste of the ethereal Mumbai, Kiran Rao also introduces us to the “real” people of this city. The New York returned investment banker who is attracted to a reclusive painter and her smart-looking laundry guy at the same time, the painter who runs away from relationships and gets emotionally entangled in a tape of a young Muslim bride’s video letters, the laundry guy who juggles between his night duty as the rat-killer and his dreams of being a Bollywood actor.

Of the 4 protagonists – Monica Dogra as Shai had the meatiest role and Aamir the star value. Both disappointed. For the first time since his debut in 1988 – I did not notice Aamir’s existence in the film so awed was I by Prateik Babbar’s innocence. Kriti Malhotra did a good job of a new bride in awe of Mumbai and her people – she introduces us to our Mumbai. But Dhobi Ghat is and will be Prateik Babbar’s film. Clearly we know whose genes have dominated when you see the boy act – when he is falling for the gal from the high-society, is building his muscles so that one day he can be like his hero Salman Khan, is snubbing the girl when he realizes she is attracted to another guy, is restraining himself from kissing the woman he is in love with, is narrating that hunger is what made him leave his hometown in Bihar and fetch a job in Mumbai, and is finally saying goodbye. In his every emotion, his every dialogue, his every mannerism, Prateik’s Munna charms his way into our hearts.

Dhobi Ghat is not a movie for the average movie goer. It left me confused. I had my hopes way too high as it was an Aamir Khan film and hence was disappointed even more. The story moves at a slow pace, and you keep waiting for the climax but there isn’t any and it strikes you that movie is over without any fanfare. The starters were well served and the meal seemed good too until you tasted it. I do not have the artistic sense in me to appreciate this movie and which is probably why I came out feeling a bit confused and lost.

I would still recommend though that you all go to see it once – for Prateik and for Kiran’s portrayal of my Mumbai. The Mumbai I hate, she irks me, she is going from bad to worse, she is chaotic, lacks discipline and is noisy, she differentiates between classes, she is the ground for religious hatred, she turns a blind eye to the crimes, she has become immune to injustice and she makes me cry; but when I see her, I can never forget that it was she who taught me to love, made me laugh, gave me moments I’ll treasure a lifetime, made me believe in miracles, taught me to be fair & treat everyone equally, taught me the dignity of labour, taught me pride, made me practical, and taught me to fight. She is the essence of my existence, and even though I live far away from her – she lives in me day in and out.

Mumbai is every Mumbaite’s muse, whore and beloved, she was, is and will always be – Kiran Rao you did great justice to that line and made that beloved looked divine.

No One Killed Jessica

Dilli – the capital of India. The power centre. Home to the wealthiest socialites. Home to greedy and hungry politicians. Home to  the spoilt brats of the powerful people – politicians, businessmen, lawyers, dons, elite socialites alike. As Meera puts it in her introductory narration – “Delhi is about power, the power rests with the powerful and the common man only has the strength to bear it”

In this capital, takes place a cold-blooded murder in front of 300 witnesses and yet, the verdict delivered after 7 years of legal battle is that – No One Killed Jessica.

At this point the media steps in, takes the lead in the fight for Justice for Jessica – people sms, mail, call and hold candle light vigils in their protest against injustice, against the so-called powerful people of Dilli. They pledge their support to the brave Sabrina – Jessica’s sister. She finally wins her battle and the Supreme court reverses the verdict. Justice is done and the common man realises the power within.

Raj Kumar Gupta’s “No One Killed Jessica” binds together the Jessica Lal Murder Case Timeline in front of the audience. There is no melodrama, there is no over-acting, there is no sloppy editing, there is no slack in the pace of the film – it is to the point, crisp and brilliantly portrays the case that shook the faith of the nation.

This is a director’s film and it shows in every frame enacted and every dialogue delivered. The casting is almost perfect – the tough cop who will fight for justice but does not hesitate to take a bribe to not beat up the accused, the power hungry politician, the vulnerable witnesses who retract their statements, the actor and friend who refuses to identify the main accused despite being beside Jessica when she was shot, the primary accused, the helpless parents, the common man who includes the scared father, the youth of today, the young girls – all who join in to protest.

I cannot imagine anyone else playing Sabrina and Meera. Vidya and Rani steal the show – it is their movie. Vidya is the star of the movie – her subdued, restrained, brave, strong-willed, defeated Sabrina touches your heart. You feel her helplessness, her anguish, her disbelief, her belief, her fight for justice. She scores yet again. Apart from Kismat Konnection & Hey Baby I cannot recollect a single Vidya Balan movie where she has not done justice to her role and character portrayed. She is one of my favourites post Kajol, and if she continues to keep building her portfolio with roles like these – she will soon find her name among all-time greats.

It was good to see the good old Rani back but she fell short of my expectations in her portrayal of Meera. It felt that she was trying too hard and Meera’s character does not stay with you as long as Sabrina’s would once you walk out of the movie hall. The abuses used by her were a bit overdone and looked forced sometimes. Though I loved the scene where she is directing her deputy in a sting operation against the prime witness and the airplane scene where she shocks the man with her immense vocabulary.

A special mention to Myra – the young lady who plays Jessica. Her lively portrayal of fiery young Delhi girl, confident and brave –  chasing her dreams is perfect. In her limited scenes the girl exudes charm on the screen. Also the young girl who plays Meera’s maid – she has two words to speak in the entire movie in a scene that lasts less than 30 seconds and she impresses too. Pretty much supporting my view that this is a director’s film where he has not missed out on getting the smallest of the characters perfect.

The music by Amit Trivedi is the biggest plus of this movie. I’d be damned if Dilli and Aali Re do not become a rage and the new anthem of the youth. Pal and Dua are soft delights while Aitbaar is another hard hitting number. The music CD deserves a place in your music collection. After Iktara, Ek Lau and Shaam – Amit Trived comes up with a winner again. 

Go watch – No One Killed Jessica and you will realise how this Dilli can rip your heart apart into pieces in a moment but is the only one who can put those pieces back together. Her power hungry people can ruin your life but her common man will give you the courage to face it and fight.

Kaat kaleja dilli, kaat kaleja dilli
Lai gayi kaat kaleja dilli, mui dilli le gayi
Jaan bhi le ja dilli, jaan bhi le ja dilli
Dilli, kaat kaleja dilli, mui dilli le gayi

(Images courtsey:

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