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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Cartoon, Comedy, Drama, Fiction, Hollywood

Dumbo – Cuteness overload.

Two C’s make and bake an animation or a semi-animation film successfully, is what I believe. Concept and Characters. A character becomes popular because of it’s unique approach and concept created by the screenplay artist or director.

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Despicable Me film series (Minions), The Smurfs film series, the film Brave (Merida), Alvin & The Chipmunks film series or even Toy Story film series were all super hit films and characters. There was something distinctive about all the characters of these flicks which ticked the box for the audience, completely. Similarly, Dumbo, which was an animated motion picture made almost eight decades ago, under Disney’s banner, is revamped [by Ehren Khruger (screenplay) and by Tim Burton (director)] after seventy nine years {to be precise} in a mesmerizing manner.

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Look, it is not as bad as the reviews it has got. Its passable. It’ll almost keep you intrigued but you’ll know what’s coming next. It is perfect for parents who want to show their kids a good film on the weekend and for animated movie enthusiasts. It has a lot of adorable moments which will raise your goosebumps high.

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I would definitely give a lot of credit to Colin Farrell (as Holt Farrier), Eva Green (as Colette Marchant), Michael Keaton (as V. A. Vandevere), Danny DeVito (as Max Medici), Nico Parker (as Milly Farreir) and Finley Hobbins (as Joe Farrier) who played their roles graciously and with ease. Especially Parker {who most definitely seemed like the real daughter of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) from Guardians Of The Galaxy film series}.

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I was almost about to not go for this motion picture because of the amount of negative reviews I read before booking the tickets. But I did go for it and I am happy. I will not add this to my list of recommended films but I wasn’t disappointed with it either.

3/5

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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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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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Bollywood, Comedy, Drama, Romantic

Luka Chuppi – Funny & stretched.

Honestly, it’s not the first flick based on the topic of live-in relationships. We have seen rom-coms of this type before.

What’s new about this? There are a few crazy characters. There is sort of a role reversal between the lead male and female characters on some occasions – where something what you’d expect from a man, you’ll see a female doing. This particular feature I was really happy about. Then there is Vinay Pathak in a lengthy role after eons. Plus, the film would genuinely make you laugh and giggle.

Two things which I was disappointed with were, a) the songs – which were just inclusive of revamped tracks and nothing original and b) the elasticity of a few scenes which was completely inessential.

I am glad that someone thought of putting this couple together on screen because Kriti Sanon and Kartik Aaryan genuinely look amazing together, with even better chemistry than expected. As it is they are established actors and hardly have any flaws.

Of course, the leading pair would have been handicapped without the talented fortifying cast, Aparshakti Khurrana, Pankaj Tripathi, Atul Shrivastava, Alka Amin and others. All in all, I am happy that Laxman Utekar, a cinematographer-turned-director who has worked his magic on some outstanding Hindi films before this and has directed a couple of Maharashtran films, marks his debut with directing a motion picture of this genre.

3.5/5

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