Movie Reviews
  • Meet the zombie hunterCast: Saif Ali Khan, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das, Puja Gupta, Anand Tiwari

    Direction: Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K.

    Rating: ***

    Are we familiar with zombies? Not really…okay, may be. But do we understand entertainment? Of course, we do. The directors of ‘Go Goa Gone’ understand that zombies are a completely foreign concept for many of us. They have therefore infused the narrative with dollops of comedy to ensure that this unusual premise is made palatable for the average Hindi film buff.

    Saif Ali Khan plays the Russian Mafioso whose rave party in an isolated Goan island goes all wrong. The revelers indulge in some red drugs and the morning after, they are loitering around zombified, hungry for blood. Blonde Saif nails it as Boris, the zombie hunter; he speaks with a twang, peppering his dialogues with choicest desi abuses (he is actually from Delhi). His portrayal, much like Javed Jaffrey’s pseudo- Australian accent in ‘Salaam Namaste’ (2005), remains the most memorable one from the film.

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  • Shootout At WadalaCast: John Abraham, Tusshar Kapoor, Kangna Ranaut, Anil Kapoor, Sonu Sood and Manoj Bajpai

    Direction: Sanjay Gupta

    Rating: **1/2

    Sanjay Gupta relies on style and noise to bail him out of a plot that’s replete with loopholes and a script that reeks of shoddy writing. ‘Shooutout At Wadala’ is not lacking in visual sheen, if only a toned canvass, low angle shots and tight close-ups could substitute the need for a rational narrative.

    It is a typical Bollywood gangster saga; reminiscent of the storytelling style in ‘Vaastav’ and this film’s prequel ‘Shootout At Lokhandwala’, the story unfolds in flashback as our protagonist (John Abraham) reveals how Manohar Arjun Surve became Manya Surve. The sketchy characterization however evokes neither compassion nor repulsion. Whether it was Raghu (Sanjay Dutt) in ‘Vaastav’ or Maya (Vivek Oberoi) in ‘Shootout At Lokhandwala’, their performances were a layered rendition distinctively angst ridden and restless. Abraham grapples with the portrayal,

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  • Tribute to Indian Cinema: Bombay TalkiesCast: Rani Mukerji, Randeep Hooda, Saqeeb Salim, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vineet Singh

    Direction: Karan Johar, Dibakar Bannerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap

    Rating: ****

    ‘Bombay Talkies’ boasts of superb craft; crisp writing, skillful direction and brilliant performances. Four directors, four stories, one film; is there a common thread? Maybe. One of the characters in each of these stories is extremely influenced by some aspect of Bollywood – old Hindi film songs (the street child who is a gifted singer), acting (a talented theatre actor who never really pursued his dream), dancing (a small boy aspires to become a dancer like Sheila) and stardom (Vijay who comes all the way from Allahabad to meet Amitabh Bachchan). For all of us who are aware of these directors’ previous works, each of them has his or her own USP and they play to their strengths.

    It’s delightful to see Karan Johar recognize that his core strength is relationships and not mush. KJo steps away from his usually voluptuous

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  • Movie stills: Aashiqui 2Cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor, Shaad Randhawa

    Direction: Mohit Suri

    Rating: ***1/2

    Mahesh Bhatt’s ‘Aashiqui’ was a musical sensation, Nadeem-Shravan and Kumar Sanu became household names overnight after the film’s release. Despite the film’s phenomenal success, there was little you could say about the story or the performances. ‘Aashiqui 2’ not only boasts of an intense love story but also solid performance by the lead cast.

    Rahul Jaykar aka RJ (Aditya Roy Kapur) is a talented singer who is headed down the path of self-destruction. The moment you hear ‘singer’ and ‘self-destruction’, comparison with Ranbir Kapoor who played Janardhan Jakhar aka Jordan with such élan in Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Rockstar’ is inevitable. Can Aditya pull off this role (his previous roles have been pretty simple and uninspired)? Will he ham it up trying to be “inspired” by Ranbir Kapoor?

    Aditya plays his part distinctly different from Ranbir. The reasons for his inner turmoil are very different; fame and

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  • Ek Thi Daayan spooks youCasting: Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Huma Qureshi, Kalki Koechlin

    Direction: Kannan Iyer

    Rating: ****

    To be honest, I was a bit weary when walking in for ‘Ek Thi Daayan’, another Bollywood horror flick and the director Kannan Iyer among his other noticeable work had co-written RGV’s ‘Daud’. However, what lured me to watch the film was the fact that it boasted of some awesome collaboration; Konkona Sen Sharma playing the female lead, music by Vishal Bharadwaj, lyrics by Gulzar and the original short story had been written by Mukul Sharma (Konkona’s father).

    Konkona is back on the big screen after a brief hiatus and she has just got better. She had said in her interview that she had enjoyed playing a dark, twisted character and it is quite obvious. The way her character evolves from the kindly governess, it is like watching each layer peel away to reveal a completely new layer of the talented actress. Konkona is a dusky seductress – gentle and vicious at the same time, essaying

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  • Ayushmann and Kunaal in 'Nautanki Saala'Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Pooja Salvi

    Direction: Rohan Sippy

    Rating: ***

    While walking in for ‘Nautanki Saala’ I was wondering what was Rohan Sippy’s claim to fame; ‘Bluffmaster’ is the only movie on his filmography that had some recall value. The film essentially worked because the film’s male leads (Abhishek Bachchan and Riteish Deshmukh) shared awesome comic timing. Unfortunately, Ayushmann Khurrana and Kunaal Roy Kapur have no such chemistry in ‘Nautanki Saala’.

    Mandar Lele (Kunaal Roy Kapur) is a bumbling idiot - abandoned by the love of his life, declared a ‘loser’ by his doting grandmother with nothing more than a few failed suicide attempts to boast of. The thing is even to play a successful dimwit, you need some kind of character – imagine Govinda in ‘Partner’. Kunal Roy Kapur is regrettably inept at playing this role with either style or zest.

    Ram Parmar aka RP (Ayushmann Khurrana), the protagonist is a compulsive do-gooder who is the director and the main

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  • Chashme BaddoorCast: Ali Zafar, Siddharth, Taapsee Pannu, Divyendu Sharma

    Direction: David Dhawan

    Rating: ***

    ‘Chashme Baddoor’ is exactly like any other film David Dhawan film, it is a good time pass. There is no clever humour but there is enough comedy to assure a few genuine laughs.

    Omi (Divyendu Sharma), Jai (Siddharth) and Siddharth (Ali Zafar) are three close friends who fall for the same girl. While the other two are just looking to have fun, Siddharth is genuinely in love with the new next door neighbor. Omi and Jai decide to play villains when they realize that their best friend has managed to win over the girl that they both had set their eyes on. Confusion and misadventures ensue as we try to figure out a way to get the lovers back together.

    ‘Chashme Baddooor’ cannot boast of any smart writing, the comedy is mostly situational. The plot seldom digresses from the point except to include the sub-plot about Joseph (Rishi Kapoor) - Josephine (Lillete Dubey) romance. The problem, however is

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  • HimmatwalaCast: Ajay Devgn, Tamannaah, Mahesh Manjrekar, Paresh Rawal

    Direction: Sajid Khan

    Rating: **

    The problem with Sajid Khan’s ‘Himmatwala’ is the director can’t make-up his mind whether he wants to make a spoof or whether he wants to recreate the nostalgia of the 1980s. The film thus hangs in a precarious balance vacillating between the two extremes.

    Ravi (Ajay Devgn) is a street fighter who discovers that his widowed mother and sister are in dire straits in his native village. He returns to Ramnagar to avenge the death of his father and seek justice for the people of his village. Sher Singh’s (Mahesh Manjrekar) daughter is equally spoiled and walks around the village in very small dresses, brandishing a whip. The spoilt brat soon falls for Himmatwala Ravi and is then swishing around in salwar-kameez plotting her father’s downfall.

    A very typical Bollywood revenge saga like this one in the hands of a better director could have become a laughter riot. Sajid Khan however, hopelessly

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  • Cast: Bipasha Basu, Nawazuddin Siddique, Doyel Dhawan

    Direction: Suparn Verma

    Rating: **

    Suparn Verma makes sure that he has incorporated every horror film cliché in ‘Aatma’. The film’s linear narrative follows a very predictable plot trajectory that hardly delivers on the thrill quotient.

    Maya (Bipasha Basu) is a single mother, just divorced from her abusive husband Abhay (Nawazuddin Siddique). Abhay dies in an accident and his ghost is haunting Maya because he wants his daughter Nia (Doyel Dhawan) back. What follows is a very obvious series of events where anyone who offends the daughter meets a gruesome end. Maya has to battle with not only the cruel intentions of her dead husband but she also has to fight for her daughter’s life.

    I understand that horror is a difficult genre to get right but we can’t expect special effects to compensate for the lack of a good script. The story progresses with very little thought to character development, actors are introduced so that they can

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  • Movie stills: Jolly LLBCast: Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani, Saurabh Shukla

    Direction: Subhash Kapoor

    Rating:  ***

    Subhash Kapoor’s ‘Jolly LLB’ has its heart in place; the plot execution is not flawless but a relevant subject matter makes it worth a watch.

    Jagdish Tyagi (Arshad Warsi), struggling lawyer from Meerut, decides to move to Delhi to make it big. Once in Delhi, he decides to re-open a high-profile hit-and-run case, hoping that the case will give his career the mileage it needs.  The defense counsel on the case is the very famous and prominent lawyer Advocate Tejender Rajpal (Boman Irani). Power and money ensure that the rich have gone scot-free and there is no justice for the six pavement dwellers who have lost their lives. Not only have the eye witnesses gone missing, even the car involved in the case is nowhere to be found.

    Jolly is initially hesitant to take on the case and ready to take a bribe and withdraw his PIL (Public Interest Litigation). A dose on morality from his girlfriend (Amrita Rao)

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