Movie Reviews
  • The 'Boss' is hereCast: Akshay Kumar, Shiv Pandit, Aditi Rao Hydari, Mithun Chakraborty

    Direction: Anthony D’Souza

    Rating: **1/2

    Anthony D’Souza blatantly panders to the typical Bollywood formula. Shoddy writing and mediocre performances do nothing to lift the sagging plot.

    The plot trajectory is something like this – action, song, drama. Repeat. For some variation we have, action, action, song, drama… more drama.  Once the story starts panning out in this predictable format and you realize that the plot is as new as any 1970’s potboiler, there is little to keep you hooked.

    Akshay Kumar’s action-and-comedy routine has been done to death and there is no attempt by the actor to infuse any novelty into his character. In fact, Akshay himself looks bored and sleep walks through most of the film. Wouldn’t he much rather risk taking on something different, a character that challenges his craft as an actor, a role that is layered and complex?

    Since, Akshay was introduced so late in the narrative, I had hoped that

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  • Besharam: The filmCast: Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Jaaved Jaaferi, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh

    Direction: Abhinav Kashyap

    Rating: ***

    We have come to expect a certain amount of discretion and class when Ranbir Kapoor decides to do a film and it rankles when we realize that his latest work disappoints on various accounts. Ranbir does his best to rise above a flimsy plot but he gets no support from the other quarters.

    Abhinav Kashyap’s storytelling might not be nuanced but it usually promises to deliver on the entertainment quotient. However, the director falls short even on this account. While the first half of ‘Besharam’ holds promise, the second half quickly slips into a drag. The humour is forced and the romantic track falls flat with zero chemistry between the film’s lead pair Ranbir and Pallavi Sharda.

    Pallavi Sharda tries to play a feisty Punjabi kudi but comes across as loud, screechy and rude. With little grace and even lesser appeal she is no match for Ranbir, who oozes charm even when the role

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  • Irrfan in 'The Lunchbox'Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqqui

    Direction: Ritesh Batra

    Rating: ****1/2

    ‘The Lunchbox’ is a delectable love story, made exquisite because it’s a most beautiful rendition of the most fundamental need of an individual – the need for companionship.

    Sometimes loneliness becomes an abstract concept and yet, a very real issue and you find yourself establishing an unlikely intimacy. An intimacy with someone you have never met. It then becomes possible for you to share your innermost insecurities, the little joys, the mundane happenings and thoughts about an almost implausible escape.

    You look forward to the little joys of opening an empty lunchbox, an affirmation of the fact that your experiments with new recipes are working. And in the quiet acknowledgment you find a sense of self-worth. It gives you a sense of liberation from the detached void that exists in your own marriage.

    Your daily lunch hour is now a time you look forward to because along with the delicious food, a

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  • Movie Stills: Phata Poster Nikla HeroCast: Shahid Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz, Padmini Kolhapure, Sanjay Mishra, Saurabh Shukla

    Direction: Rajkumar Santoshi

    Rating: ***

    After last week’s ‘Grand Masti’, ‘Phata Poster Nikla Hero’ almost has a cleansing effect on your palate. The film is not a laughter riot but it’s definitely a one-time fun watch.

    ‘Phata Poster Nikla Hero’ cannot boast of a strong plot, strong performances or ingenious humour but the film is peppered with moments of genuine situational comedy and some great acting by the supporting cast. Sanjay Mishra and Saurabh Shukla shine, displaying their flair for wit and are spot on with their comic timing.

    Shahid Kapoor has an inherently charming personality but at this point of his career, he desperately needs a successful film. His previous big releases ‘Mausam’ (2011) and ‘Teri Meri Kahaani’ (2012) bombed at the box office and there’s no scope for error this time around and you can sense this tension in Shahid’s performance.

    While he is confident in the dance and action

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  • Grand MastiCast: Riteish Deshmukh, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani

    Direction: Indra Kumar

    Rating: 0

    Indra Kumar might want to pass this off as an adult comedy but ‘Grand Masti’ takes crassness in cinema to a whole new level. Even if you were to surrender yourself to the shock value of the cringe-worthy jokes, they are repetitive and unabashedly unoriginal.

    ‘Grand Masti’ is not only offensive but regressive cinema. Sample this:

    1)   The film starts with our heroes eliciting how A, B, C has been taught all wrong and then cut to tight close-up of body parts to enunciate their real meaning.

    2)   Riteish has an infant child and is always complaining about the lack of a sex life and to elaborate his desperation he doesn’t refrain from using abusive language against his newborn.

    3)   A buxom former girlfriend has no qualms about announcing that she now owns a milk factory and over again and over again they crack innuendos surrounding “milk production”.

    Some would say the film is insulting because it

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  • Shuddh Desi Romance: The filmCast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor

    Direction: Maneesh Sharma

    Rating: ***

    Big fat Indian weddings make for a colourful backdrop and Bollywood loves using it to render its many love stories. Maneesh Sharma uses the same flashy canvas to mock the vibrant façade it manages to create.

    Modern relationships are caught in transition - some are being redefined, traditional mindsets are being challenged, the man-woman equation has many new aspects to it. Societal pressure sometimes try to thwart this change, the expectation that everyone has to be happily married by a certain age puts immense pressure on individuals and their families and Indian weddings are sometimes used to veil the changing dynamics of relationships.

    Maneesh Sharma tries to address the various nuances of love and commitment. He does raise some valid points but his treatment remains superfluous at best. It’s as if the filmmakers were scared to take a strong stand, afraid that it will

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  • Will Satyagraha work?Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Amrita Rao, Manoj Bajpai

    Direction: Prakash Jha

    Rating: ***

    ‘Satyagraha’ manages to stir the latent patriotic fervor in its audience but is deeply flawed in its execution. Prakash Jha’s storytelling not only offers simplistic solutions to very complex issues but I find his approach very problematic.

    ‘Satyagraha’ brings to fore a lot of systematic problems entrenched in the Indian society – corruption, government apathy, the collusion of the powerful and the helplessness of the common man. While all these issues are real, the director’s addressing of them is almost flippant. At the very onset, it is abundantly clear that even the protesters, with the exception of Dwarka Anand (Amitabh), have vested interests.

    Manav Raghavendra’s (Ajay) involvement is totally emotional; for Yasmin Ahmed (Kareena), a peoples’ protest against the state government makes for a good story for her channel and Arjun’s (Arjun Rampal) support

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  • Madras Cafe: The filmCast: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, Siddharth Basu

    Direction: Shoojit Sircar

    Rating: ***1/2

    ‘Madras Cafe’ is an engaging tale. Commendable mostly because Shoojit Sircar manages to weave an interesting plot and well-executed conflict stories are a rarity in Bollywood.

    Any political thriller runs the risk of being biased and I am sure there will be an equal share of viewers who will be offended by the alleged pro-state stance taken by the director. To be fair to him, however, the narrative at various times does mention that every one has their version of the truth and it just depends on perspective.

    Or like our protagonist reiterates, one man’s revolutionary is another man’s terrorist.

    The director has also made it quite clear that the Indian state was quite ambiguous in its approach and subsequent resolution during the crisis. Prejudices aside, I am just looking at the cinematic merits of the film.

    The film provides a comprehensive context to the Sri Lankan civil war and a taut narrative

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  • OUATIMD: The filmOUATIMD: The film

    Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Imran Khan

    Direction: Milan Luthria

    Rating: ** 1/2

    ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobara’ disappoints on various accounts. Most of all it is the labored pace and the tedious romantic track that makes the film a boredom-inducing watch.

    If you are expecting that the sequel to ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai’ would be a fast-paced action thriller, then you are in for a not-very-pleasant surprise. ‘OUATIMD’ is a long winding love triangle where the protagonist and his aide just happen to be gangsters.

    Shoaib (Akshay Kumar) is so busy chasing his object of affection and obsessing about her that he seems least interested in cementing his supremacy in the underworld. Akshay’s quest for both love and power is handled in such a flippant manner that neither manages to make an impact.

    Akshay Kumar’s act is high on style but the portrayal falls flat. It does not have the punch that Ajay Devgn had brought on screen as the brooding Sultan Mirza (in ‘Once Upon A Time In

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  • Chennai ExpressChennai Express

    Cast: Shah Rukh Khan,Deepika Padukone

    Direction: RohitShetty

    Rating: ***

    If you are familiar with Rohit Shetty’s craft and think SRK is one of the best things to happen to Hindi cinema, then ‘Chennai Express’ is a blockbuster. Shetty and SRK keep you entertained throughout.

    There isn’t a single original idea in the plot but a majority of the audience were sure not complaining. In fact, the whole idea of spoofing everything that SRK has done before and more adds to the entertainment quotient. ‘Chennai Express’ works at a level where ‘Himmatwala’ had colossally failed – it manages to successfully spoof the Bollywood-formula.

    I guess what makes the film watchable, is the fact that Shah Rukh and Deepika sure did seem to have a lot of a fun during the making of the film. It’s quite evident that while they approached the role with utmost seriousness, they treated themselves very casually. In a film like this one, it is pointless to mention that there was absolutely zero chemistry between the lead

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