Bollywood, Drama

Kalank – So much for a “dream project”.

Seriously, what’s up with Karan Johar and his films just on broken, disastrous and impossible relationships?

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I fail to understand his ideology behind all his recent stories. Is he going through a bad phase? A depression, perhaps? Literally, it is the most lingered on film of this year. The story is lengthier than the time you take to get rid of that chewing gum, that you had accidentally stepped on while walking. It is tortoiselike, too. The speed of a dial-up internet would be more rapid than it.

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Kalank fancies a couple of well-choreographed scenes, gorgeous and sumptuous sets, dazzling costumes and a tempting star cast. But, and that is a big but, it is shattered into a thousand pieces from within. Vacuous, mostly. Predictability rate is hiked at ninety five percent. Some of the critics and editors mentioned that the film’s principle ideology and genre are very similar to that of Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s. Well, at least SLB films consist of a refreshing story line every time. It was too big a responsibility for Abhishek Varman (director and story writer) after making a small-scaled 2 States.

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Arijit Singh with the title song, ‘Kalank‘ and Shreya Ghoshal with ‘Ghar More Pardesiya‘ & her help in the background score, is the only music [by Pritam] which is favourable in the whole film.

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About the actors in the film, it is really not hidden as to how good all of them are, except Varun Dhawan [his improvisation is always over the top]. They are either experienced or skillful. Their input is pretty good, yet, doesn’t help the plodded plot in any measure. I really didn’t like the fact that the makers of the film mentioned, in the start, that the role of Sanjay Dutt (as Balraj Chaudhry) is of a ‘special appearance’. Why would you do that when there isn’t any actor in the film apart from Madhuri Dixit (as Bahaar Begum) who can take the responsibility of carrying a film on his/her shoulder. It is the little things that matter. I really loved the bits of Hiten Tejwani (as Abbas) and Achint Kaur (as Saroj) on the big screen, after a long time.

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The characters built for the actors are a bit too fragile. There is just this one character, of Kunal Khemu, which is thought of and played, very honestly. It seemed strong and rigid.

1.5/5

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Based On True Events, Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Reality Check, Thriller

The Tashkent Files – Nothing but the truth?

There is a lot of divulgence in this flick, relating to a few blunt, unresolved topics from the Indian politics, in regards to the ex-government. The trailer seemed very intriguing in terms of the controversial topic and a fantastic star cast. It didn’t include a typical Karan Johar high profile cast but consisted of a critically acclaimed [and underrated] star cast.

Well, when speaking about the film, it highlights the fact or fiction sort of a plot which is based on India’s second Prime Minister after independence, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri‘s death. Herein, the topic is inclusive of some evidences which are followed by a few mouth shutting questions, which I think blurt out everything, indirectly. Intellectual people would understand it faster.

This is one of the many films which has been released in the past four months, on purpose, to obviously showcase something which had been hidden for almost five decades. To show people [especially Indian residents] something factual for them to realize what they were dealing with, for the past sixty years. Yes, I agree that they haven’t presented any evidence in relevance to a few other stated facts, but I think the intention was to just put it out there, to create a buzz.

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Now, The Tashkent Files seems to be half documentary – half drama, where there is nothing mind-blowing EXCEPT the topic of argument. Moreover, I quickly glanced through all the reviews and critical analysis of this film, just for the sake of curiosity. I was shocked to see that ALL of the major newspaper and magazine editors and critics giving only negative reviews to the film. I don’t think it deserves that.

Agreed that the film has nothing major to offer [and I don’t speak in support of any political party] but the kind of points which have been pinched, are worth a watch. As usual, for me, the film is only until it’s attention-drawing nature. At least, films like these are much more stirring than the idiocy out there [Total Dhamaal]. Plus, apart from a bit of melodrama by lead actress Shweta Basu Prasad, everybody performed their roles with complete justice and honesty. Especially, Mithun Chakraborty, Mandira Bedi, Naseeruddin Shah, Pallavi Joshi, Vinay Pathak and Pankaj Tripathi.

P.S.:  Vivek Agnihotri (writer & director) shouldn’t have added Shweta‘s awful and displeasing jogging scenes.

3/5

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Action, Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Inspirational, Spy, Thriller

Romeo Akbar Walter – Master of disguise.

Stories like these keep my belief in Bollywood film industry alive. They come once in a year, though. It is how director Robbie Grewal kept us devoted to his film, the theater screen, until the end, he marks his win.

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Espionage-Spy-Action-Thriller is what they call it when referring to the film’s genre. Espionage-Spy is one of my favorite genres in motion pictures, serials and books. And that is not the reason I am favoring Romeo Akbar Walter (R.A.W). I have always believed and even mentioned in my previous articles that the plot (written by Grewal, Ishraq Eba and Shreyansh Pandey) is the backbone of any film. Here, it excels. The direction, on the top of it adds glamour to the story, making it look fantastic.

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However, how much I wished I could watch this film uncensored. U.A.E has always been really strict in censoring films [and cutting scenes only from films they don’t like]. It causes so much disturbance and irritation to moviegoers, especially, who are observant to detail. Moving on, setting aside a few scenes where I feel that it was overdone, the background score is ninety five percent accurate. Which also brings me to praise the soundtrack of the film which is composed by various artists. Jee Len De is easily my favorite out of all because it is the first time we get to hear Mohit Chauhan sing a Punjabi song in his fascinating voice.

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Jackie Shroff is absolute class as far his performance is concerned. Apart from him, Sikander Kher, Anil George and Raghubir Yadav make themselves stand out, with their exceptional acting. Pretty convincing. One character which was completely meaningless in the film was Mouni Roy‘s. Plus, her evident plastic lips are too disgusting to glance at. Romeo Akbar Walter is a dedication to every Indian RAW agent who’s existence is extirpated from the records when and if they are sent to secret missions. Who give up on their family, closed ones and their life just to serve their country.

It is hard to believe that I am going to be giving a good rating to a John Abraham flick. Films with him as a lead are usually okay, not this great. Howbeit, he has improved quite a bit. Winding up this article, I would just mention that ideologies like R.A.W have been developed and delivered in Bollywood before. It is just how strong the script and the execution are to keep you glued to your seats. And this one has kept all boxes ticked for me.

4/5

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Action, Bollywood, Fiction

Junglee – Not as per your talks, Mr. Russell!

Woah! Too much elephant gazing has happened in this week. Not in real, but on a 70mm screen, in a theater. “How can Vidyut Jammwal create magic on the screen when he doesn’t even know how to act?” I think ninety five percent of the moviegoers and critics would say this before even giving him a chance.

It is true, he hasn’t still mastered his skills in terms of acting, dialogue delivery or even showing any expressions. However, I feel that he is an underrated version of Tiger Shroff [no offense], possessing more talent with a lack of exposure. His films have been more of reality based, spreading awareness and good messages, as this one did too. Honestly, I liked his Commando film series.

Nonetheless, the only problem with Jammwal‘s films are that they are very amateur in terms of direction and screenplay. They lack a sense of order. Scenes are very randomly added, JUST to showcase his skills/talents. The two female actors who make a debut in Hindi films, Pooja Sawant and Asha Bhat, perform not too badly. Out of whom, Sawant is quite established in Marathi cinema.

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Music by Sameer Uddin is shipshape. The number of tracks are limited. Apt and adequate. Chuck Russell, the director, who has made good films before and of various genres, couldn’t add the stand-out factor to his Bollywood debut. Plus, script writer Akshat Ghildhial didn’t help at all, stretching the flick like a rubber band. When speaking about the real strength of the film, the supporting characters, Makarand Deshpande [from Sarfarosh (1999) and Swades (2004) fame] tops the list. I really love his acting. He has been a part of Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Telegu and many Hindi films. Plus, I am a big fan of Atul Kulkarni who is seen in a negative character in Junglee. Performance-wise, he is the star of the show.

Thalaivasal Vijay and Akshay Oberoi, two other actors in supporting roles, performed better than Vidyut, to say the least. Overall, if you really fancy action films, great scenic locations, like to watch inspirational flicks and don’t care about the plot, you can watch it.

“My biggest sin would be to bore audience.”

— Chuck Russell

(source: Mumbai Mirror)

2/5

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Action, Based On True Events, Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Hollywood, Thriller

Hotel Mumbai – Terrific & Horrific.

Mind you, this one too, is without a break or an interval in between the film, much alike Badla. Just to keep you hooked.

Dev Patel stars as “Arjun” in ’ Hotel Mumbai'.

Actually, if it mattered, even if it would’ve had an interval, it would still have managed to keep the inclination. It is directed that beautifully. Anthony Maras (director) kept our heartbeats rapid and our backsides to the edge of the seats.

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I usually don’t prefer to watch films which are based on terrorism or true events based on terrorist activities. It just leaves you disheartened, post the film. It keeps you wondering, on the trauma or horror the people must have faced during that particular period.

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I really will be disappointed, as the resident Indian moviegoers will be deprived of this film because even Netflix refused to add it to their list [Psst.: I hope Amazon Prime agrees!]. Furthermore, casting director and producers casted such gorgeous actors, keeping ‘diversification’ in mind. Everybody contributed really well. Dev Patel (as Arjun) and Anupam Kher (as Hemant Oberoi) being the leads, held the stage, till the end, on their strong shoulders.

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John Collee and Maras with the screenplay, keep you glued to the big screen until the end, along with cinematographer Nick Remy Matthews, working his magic. The background score is intense and accordingly made by Volker Bertelmann.

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Hotel Mumbai is going to remain in the list of underrated movies because of the kind of exposure it will get, but I recommend it to all the Indians who have an access to it.

4/5

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Action, Based On True Events, Bollywood, Comedy

Kesari – Legendary.

It is true that followers of the Sikh religion are one of the most sacrificial people in the world. It is the ninth largest religion in the world, by the way. You must already have seen what the story is about as Akshay Kumar is providing the synopsis of the film, wherever he is going to promote it.

It is unbelievably emotional, the film. It is realistic. It is almost well depicted. Being not longer than a hundred and fifty minutes, Kesari highlights one of the most iconic last stand battles in the history of battles – The Battle of Saragarhi. It gives you the patriotic vibe, most definitely. And an inspirational one too.

The best part about the film is the soundtrack, composed (by various artists) with such authenticity, innocence and purity. I am glad that this story is out there for the public to view and know about. Just for your information, there is no record of this battle being regarded by UNESCO in any way. Please don’t believe any rumor mills [by a lot of websites] spreading this false news.

For the Sikh audience, the background score of the film might add a little devotional feel. Apart from that, the only drawback of this film is an excess of slow-motion action scenes and over-dramatizing a few other scenes, which isn’t required at all. After all, the whole plot was only to show a day’s battle. Hence, they had to stretch it somehow. However, it is mostly the second half which might give you this irked feeling. I liked Anurag Singh‘s direction. Wasn’t the best though. Anshul Chobey‘s cinematography is great though. The writing, by him and Girish Kohli could have been better, too.

I almost forgot about Parineeti Chopra (as Jeevani Kaur). She had a cameo, playing the love interest of Kumar. She was probably added to the cast to add a romantic touch to the film. After seeing her in this, I finally am relieved of the torture of her previous film, Namaste England. Moreover, I didn’t find any actor in the list of twenty one actors portraying the roles of 36th Sikhs regiment’s brave soldiers, not capable enough to act. Even the negative characters who played the Pathans/Pashtuns, acted stupendously, adding the magnitude, emotion and power, the story demanded. Especially, Rakesh Chaturvedi Om (as Saidullah). Oh, and Akshay (as Havildar Ishar Singh) is his usual best. Maybe got a little carried away with the role.

3.5/5

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Bollywood, Comedy, Drama, Romantic

Photograph – Quiet and torpid.

Sometimes it felt like this film is getting on to my nerve. Sometimes it felt like it’s so simple and pristine [after I kept a lot of patience].

Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a romantic role? I don’t buy it. Some of you might think or believe this. But trust me, if we talk about playing a role, this guy masters it. How he has played a simple, village-born and a shy Muslim is commendable. On the other hand, Sanya Malhotra, who I have been admiring since her debut film Dangal, has played a shy, reserved and a distinctive Gujarati girl, Miloni, who is studying to become chartered accountant. However, she, very randomly meets Riazullah (Siddiqui), who clicks photos for tourists at the Gateway Of India for a living. And my my my, what chemistry the pair had between them. Quite astonishing.

Their love story is unplanned and purely coincidental. But, the way Ritesh Batra (director & writer) unfolds the story, taking his own sweet time, defines how unintentional life is and how, a love story can still seem vintage, without the use of social media, instant messaging and smartphones. I really liked how he has executed it, but his screenplay could have been a little better, somehow bonding well with the quality of the direction. Photograph is inclusive of a little bit of satire. It also consists of some cute comedy. Some double-meaning jokes. Not too vulgar though. Plus, minute roles of Geetanjali Kulkarni, Sachin Khedekar, Vijay Raaz, Akash Sinha, Jim Sarbh and Saharsh Shukla added a zest of their own.

The flick has it’s good and innocent moments. Although, it is hard to find an audience who would prefer to watch a film like this in a theater. Patience is an obligation here.

3/5

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