Posted in Bollywood, Drama, Fiction, Reality Check, Television, TV

Four More Shots Please! – What’s the selling point?

Four women, who are poles apart, trying to make their fragile life whole, meet at a bar and become each other’s crying shoulders, eventually becoming close to each other, sharing their life’s sunrises and sunsets.

A lot might have compared this web series to the film Veere Di Wedding, I surmise it is much more enhanced than it, giving the story a more practical touch. But it is definitely not a ‘version’ of it. It might be similarly themed, but it isn’t an adaptation of it. I found it really okay, when and if compared to other mind-boggling shows out there today. It proves to be more individualistic than overall.

Four More Shots Please! tries to be cool, throwing bold dialogue and strong characters at you. Yet, the script isn’t serious and that’s where it deteriorates. The characters too aren’t perfect. Maanvi Gagroo (as Siddhi Patel) and Sayani Gupta (as Damini Rizvi Roy) being the best out of the four lead characters, give you one reason to watch this. Gurbani Judge (as Umang Singh) [who calls herself “Bani J“] really needs a lot of improvement in terms of screen presence. She is over-confident. Isn’t giving attention to detail. Kirti Kulhari (as Anjana Menon), despite having experience in a few films, carelessly tends to overact. Not every time, but has done it more than a few times.

The recurring cast is a blessing to this mediocre show. Credits to all, Prateik Babbar, Milind Soman, Neil Bhoopalam, Ankur Rathee, Simone Singh, Amrita Puri and Paras Tomar. Lisa Ray, 47, however, is still not a good actor. But so is one of the LEAD characters.

People who are feminists OR tend to have a feminist outlook, in life, will favor this one. On the contrary, audience who have a general opinion & taste of things and are really looking for a critically acclaimed show, this one’s not it. Even the ending of the show might make you feel like it’s trying too hard. Director Anu Menon & writers Devika Bhagat and Ishita Moitra really have to up their game, in season two, to impress THE REST of the humans of the world.

2.5/5

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Posted in Action, Adventure, Animation, Cartoon, Comedy, Fiction, Hollywood, Romantic

Aladdin – Ecstatic. A perfect remodel.

It is one of those jubilant films which you could watch more than once. It definitely makes you sentimental and glad at the same time, bringing those precious memories back, which you loved and adored in the early nineties.

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Guy Ritchie (direction and screenplay) and his co-writer, John August had two main responsibilities. First, not to make too many changes to the story and second, to bring the exact same feel of the cartoon film Aladdin to the moviegoers, in this realistic form/version. They did it. To all those critics who gave this film a mediocre or below average rating, I want to be on the contrary. It is a semi-musical [according to me]. Be prepared for that. Even the cartoon film was, where the characters would express their innermost feelings through the medium of a melody. It didn’t seem weird, even after twenty six years.

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Mena Massoud (as Aladdin) & Naomi Scott (as Princess Jasmine) are confident and are more than apt for their roles. You will understand that from their first respective shots. It is quite fascinating how they managed to sing their parts themselves, so tunefully, which really brought relevance to their characters. It is quite better than making a professional sing for you.

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There couldn’t be a better Genie in a half-animated Aladdin than Will Smith. He has agreed and followed the rules of a musical. He hasn’t hesitated and has shown a full spirit towards his role. He is singing, dancing, having fun and all so gracefully. Smith is one of the vital reasons I would recommend this motion-picture to everyone. The flavor he brought to the film is the tastiest you’ll ever get. Two characters, which I found to be a little less convincing were Jafar (played by Marwan Kenzari), in terms of his ability to portray the antagonist, and The Sultan (played by Navid Neghaban), who, when compared to the cartoon film, was cute, fun-loving, jolly and sometimes childish. Herein, he is rigid, not all over the place, a little strict and adamant.

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The parrot Lago (played by Alan Tudyk), which was played by Gilbert Gottfried in the 1992 animated film of the same name, sadly has a very limited role (alike The Sultan) in the flick. Numan Acar played the splendid Hakim. Furthermore, the soundtrack is remade by same composer of Aladdin (1992) Alan Menken, elegantly. He is accompanied by Golden Globe winner duo, Pasek & Paul, in making the background score and music flawlessly.

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What’s new about the film? Just a little. New generation music and dance (hip-hop, rap, beat-boxing etc.) obviously because Will Smith is in it. Also, the magic tricks genie performs, while exaggerating his powers, have been added with things which weren’t available back then, in the 90’s. An addition of a character, Dalia (Princess Jasmine’s handmaiden) didn’t seem unnecessary.

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Aladdin is the most perfect adaptation of it’s animation film. There is nothing to dislike in the film. With a world class direction, graphics, plot and soundtrack, it will keep you entertained and delighted till the end.

4.5/5

Posted in Action, Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Sacred Games – Game changer.

I tweeted, tagging the cast and creators of this show post watching it, lauding and being really glad about India upping their game with this masterpiece. Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane have created a prodigy, after all.

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It is said that novels are much better than shows which are based on them. But, I think Kashyap (director) and Varun Grover, Smita Singh & Vasant Nath (screenplay writers) flipped that scenario by making this so craftily. Undoubtedly, it is based on Vikram Chandra‘s novel of the same name from 2006.

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About a year from the release of this glorious show, I had heard confirmations of Khan making his debut on a TV platform or rather web series which made him the first out of all Bollywood actors to do so. I was skeptical yet felt proud. Then when the poster released of this and Nawazuddin Siddiqui was seen playing an antagonist. There went my skepticism, out of the window, almost instantaneously.

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Let’s see what we have here. Exceptional veteran actors (Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saif Ali Khan, Pankaj Tripathi, Aamir Bashir, Neeraj Kabi, Chittaranjan Tripathy, Samir Kochhar, Saurabh Sachdeva & Girish Kulkarni) and proficient new ones (Jatin Sarna, Rajshri Deshpande, Kubra Sait, Surveen Chawla, Geetanjali Thapa, Anil Charanjeet, Radhika Apte & Vikram Kochar). A well-written and conceptualized story (Grover, Singh & Nath). A mind boggling background score (Alokananda Dasgupta) and musical track (Phenom, Divine & Rachita Arora). Plus, to top it off, a phenomenal direction (Kashyap & Motwane) and superb photography work (Swapnil Sonawale, Sylvester Fonsenca & Aseem Bajaj). You cannot go wrong. Sacred Games is my Netflix recommend, if you STILL haven’t seen it.

4.5/5

Posted in Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Fiction, Political, Sports, Television

Inside Edge – Fact or fiction?

After a couple of recommends and repeated torture by my younger sibling, I finally started to watch this, since it is related to cricket and match fixing. And mainly because IPL was trending last month.

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With quite a few masterful performances by Vivek Oberoi, Sanjay Suri, Richa Chaddha, Tanuj Virwani, Sayani Gupta, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Angad Bedi, Sarah-Jane DiasKaran Oberoi, Amit Sial, Manu Rishi and Jitin Gulati, I was rest assured that the show will impress me completely. I really wanted to love the plot, but at the end of the day, it brings us to one important question that whether all of this is true or not.

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It is quite admirable how Karan Anshuman, the creator of Inside Edge, brings about an element of suspense and thrill to what is being depicted with every episode. The ups and downs of the game and a fictional portrayal of what it could be in actuality, behind the stage, or in this case, the stadium. He is not alone when the screenplay is concerned and is aided by Ameya Sarda, Puneet Krishna, Sumit Purohit and Saurav Dey.

3/5

Posted in Action, Adventure, Animation, Cartoon, Comedy, Fiction, Hollywood, SciFi

Pokémon Detective Pikachu – Reminiscing, slightly.

I wasn’t going to watch this film for Pokémon or the characters and hell I didn’t even know many of them. What really got my attention was when I read that Ryan Reynolds has given his crazy voice to the character of Pikachu. The Deadpool star is one of my favorite actors because of his great sense of humor.

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This collaboration of actual human actors and Pokémon monsters was really well thought of, yet, lacks so much in the story and the addition of various other characters/monsters. There are 812, according to Wikipedia. It is a secret as to why Reynolds adds his comedic manly touch to the cute, adorable Pikachu, which, shall be revealed way after the climax of the flick.

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Inclusive of a display of some next-generation technology, some great graphical representation, this film is adventurous. It has a good portion of comedy, thanks to Ryan Reynolds, of course. Rob Letterman, the director, who has made a few beautiful films in the past, unfortunately, couldn’t bring out the charisma, which was very much required in this game-adapted Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

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Apart from some moments of recollection of our good old memories concerning this legendary Japanese game and characters (or monsters) [which has been played on various different mediums since 1995], there are only a few notable things this film has to offer. Which reminds me to mention about a superb upcoming actor, Justice Smith (as Tim Goodman). With great dialogue delivery and facial expressions, he is quite the impressive one. A year younger to him, the female lead, Kathryn Newton (as Lucy Stevens) still has a few skills to master, however, is not that bad an actor. Probably experience shall teach the pretty one some more.

2/5

Posted in Action, Drama, Fiction, Hollywood, SciFi, Superhero, Technology

Avengers: End Game – No spoilers inside.

Over the decades, we were made to believe that superheroes always save the day and it always ends on the note of happily ever after. Post Avengers: Infinity War, the directors (Anthony & Joe) took the Avengers series to the next level. It had grown older. It had bigger wings. It had a more realistic and a mature approach. It has reached beyond the point where the graphical representation, the actors’ performances or even the photographic work are being praised. We are way past that. Hence, it is the plot or script where it must actually flourish.

Admitting, that this one had a mediocre start. A little laid back. Possibly more practical. More human-like. The most longed-for film is huge, yet, it is not what I wanted it to be, or as per my assumption and what many of the moviegoers [especially Marvel fans] might have wanted it to be. However, it makes you run through a lot of emotions. It is inclusive of a few applause-worthy and whistle-worthy scenes. Avengers: End Game has explained the term C’est La Vie, very conspicuously. Two factors which were supported and displayed in a crystal manner, were feminism and racism. In my opinion, these factors are supposed to be conveyed very indirectly. Furthermore, this motion picture is running for twenty four hours in a few parts of the world. It has already made double of it’s investment, in the matter of two days. Fans have watched it five to six times already. That is something!

It is beautiful how Anthony and Joe Russo stitched the ten years of films of the MCU along with the End Game, combining the past, the present and the future and gave it a sense of completion. The appreciable factor is that the audience were kind and lived up to Russo brothers’ expectations and made sure to follow their appeal. Moreover, it is also important that you know that if you are expecting any after credit scenes [which Marvel fans usually do; even I did], there aren’t any. And a more pressing matter is that if you haven’t been following all the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks, you WILL not understand the details of the characters and the film.

If I talk any more about the flick, the chances of a disclosure is very high.

3.5/5

Posted in 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