Posted in Bollywood, Comedy, Drama, Fiction, Inspirational, Psychological, Reality Check, Romantic, Sports

Chhichhore – Entertainingly inspirational.

The writer and director of Dangal enters the ring again and this time without the ‘A’ factor. Could he (Nitesh Tiwari) actually do something as wondrous as his last directorial? Let’s find out.

First of all, full points to the casting director and the cast itself. Not only the the extremely talented Sushant Singh Rajput (as Anirudh “Anni” Pathak), Shraddha Kapoor (as Maya), Prateik Babbar (as Raggie) and Varun Sharma (as Gurmeet “Sexa” Singh Dhillon) gave great performances but the newbies and the lesser experienced Tahir Raj Bhasin (as Derek), Naveen Polishetty (as Acid), Tushar Pandey (as Sunder “Mummy” Saxena), Saharsh Kumar (as Bevda) and Mohammed Samad (as Raghav) too were exceptional.

The predictable plot inspires us with a message which is mostly directed towards the young students of India. Chhichhore is surprisingly funny. It gets serious when necessary. It generates hope. It has concentrated on a topic which has just been a tad part of a few films before. Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra, the screenplay writers, enhance this topic with grace and successfully keep it peppy at the same time.

The music by Pritam is not too bad. It doesn’t interfere in anyway in the film. Just graciously plays as a background score, adding the required emotion to it. Plus, the kind of reviews I have been hearing about last week’s Saaho, I surmise it is safe to say that this one’s a better watch.

3.5/5

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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 Based On True Events, Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Romantic, Television, Thriller

Mirzapur – Who’s the KING?

It is so difficult to find such raw television shows today, where the plot is so strong. Hearing the fact that it might actually be true, makes me wonder what is happening within this state in India. Is it all about political gains and the rule of the local mafia in Uttar Pradesh?

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The show received mixed reviews and out of which mostly were negative, pointing out the disapproval of the story and direction by many analysts. Just clearing out this that I, being a part of the vast TV watching audience, state that it is to our benefit. While most critics called it a rip off of the kind of genre of stories Anurag Kashyap likes to make, I would say that it is to our advantage that we are getting more variety to watch on the internet! It’s ideology might be similar to as of Kashyap‘s but the base of the plot, it’s cast and it’s turning point of the story and the creation is quite distinctive. Breathtaking, too.

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Mirzapur has it’s own swag and nature of impressing the audience. The fact that season two is already under production proves that not all viewers within India or out of India have disliked the theme and the style of this web series. It has a great, an almost perfect cast which blends in and shows it’s importance in it, quite magnificently. I would love to shower praises to the cast, Pankaj Tripathi, Vikrant Massey, Ali Fazal, Amit Sial, Divyendu Sharma, Rajesh Tailang, Sheeba Chaddha, Shweta Tripathi, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Rasika Dughal, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Abhishek Banerjee, Shubrajyoti Bharat, Shaji Chaudhary and Shahnawaz Pradhan. Also to it’s writers and makers, Karan Anshuman, Puneet Krishna, Gurmeet Singh, Vineet Krishnan, Mihir Desai and Nisha Chandra.

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Yes, it might not be the show of the year for many. I say it’s worth a watch. Not only for it’s story and cast, but for it’s weighty dialogue too.

4/5

Posted in Bollywood, Comedy, Drama, Romantic

De De Pyaar De – Meanwhile, in Luv Ranjan’s world.

One thing is assured that it is a different concept. The helm of direction was sure given to Akiv Ali who has just been an editor in quite a few films, but, one could sense so much of Luv Ranjan in the film.

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Ranjan IS undoubtedly one of the writers of the scripts along with Tarun Jain and Surabhi Bhatnagar. The unstable and slow first half did make it seem like the film is not going to excel. The elastic dialogue and the extremely melodramatic & ostentatious Rakul Preet Singh made sure of almost disintegrating the film. She’s not a bad actor though. Notwithstanding, the second half thankfully picked up in terms of good comedy and lesser exaggeration.

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Obviously, Tabu, Kumud Mishra, Alok Nath and Jimmy Shergill added their own dazzle to the flick. Ajay Devgn barely had any dialogue in the film, given the level of maturity and age of his character. Javed Jaffrey, even though being a good actor, is a complete extra. Plus, hiring a couple of tiktok actors was brave move by the casting directors/producers. And mind you, a cost-efficient one too. Even giving a cameo to Sunny Singh is unfit. He still needs learn how to act better.

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The music of De De Pyaar De by multiple composers is unfortunately below average. I wouldn’t call it a light-weight film because of the addition of drama, making it a bit too emotional. Yet, it’s double meaning jokes, genuine comedy towards the latter half of the film, actors’ performances and a new plot made it worthy. Oh and the unaccustomed ending too.

3/5

Posted in 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

Posted in 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

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

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Cute.

It had already been a different concept in the world of animated films, with a little more mature aspect. Without it being a kiddish musical, the story had comedy, action and something to be inspired by.

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The enterprising How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World takes a different angle in the passable story. It is probably the only film franchise which makes a dragon look pretty, lovable and in different kinds. I love the fact that how Jay Baruchel (as Hiccup) possesses the magical voice of a teenager even after him being double in age in actuality. Just the one new addition to the third edition of HTTYD is the villain. Grimmel The Grisler (played by F. Murray Abraham) is this more of a bragger but gets things done and is quite slim and dangerous. Abraham makes sure of that.

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A few stunning sceneries. Full points to the graphics and director Dean Deblois. It is a flowy, action-comedy-adventure animated film with it’s own uniformity. Plus, this part has an increasing amount of romance infused. Nevertheless, not a bad watch at all. Make sure to watch the prequels to enjoy this one fully.

3.5/5