Posted in Adventure, Bollywood, Heist, Mystery, Romantic, SciFi, Suspense, Television, TV

Drive – A rinky-dink spectacle.

Despite horrible reviews I decided to watch this one, only because of one reason. It was partially a heist film. My love for heist genre has been immense since the popular 2003 Hollywood film, The Italian Job.

It was completely right on the producer’s part where he (Karan Johar) decided to launch it only as a Netflix original rather than a big scale “Dharma Production” flick. He saved a lot of money and time.

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Tarun Mansukhani had an epic start as a story writer, editor and director as he was the man behind Dostana (2008). Or was it under the complete supervision of Johar? Herein, not only is the story naive, even the direction takes a toll. Throwing light on Sushant Singh Rajput (as Samar), his graph of films has been a roller coaster, really. This one’s surely the one which is going down the hill. Nevertheless, the confidence in his performance never seems to go low. He is the only actor in the film who is well versed.

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Sapna Pabbi (as Naina) and Vikramjit Virk (as Bikky) did their best. Boman Irani (as Irfan) is phenomenal, as usual. I don’t want to comment about Jacqueline Fernandez (as Tara). Drive is the kind of films she usually chooses. Spineless. She is just the eye-candy of it.

You must have heard about the song Makhna being the only good thing about the film. You’ve heard right. Tanishq Bagchi probably did this one thing right in this film. Rest all of the tracks sounded like composers in the Bollywood film industry are running out of lyrics and decent tunes.

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It’s really shocking that we are still into Maruti Suzuki Swifts, Honda Civics and Maruti Suzuki Altos for racing when the world has moved so far and up ahead. Come on man, it’s the beginning of a new century. Humans who are acting in, writing, promoting and even giving a chance to these garbage films should really get a life or evolve at least.

0.5/5

Posted in Action, Based On True Events, Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Fiction, Romantic, Thriller, TV, Web Series

The Family Man – Almost at the edge of the seat.

I heard mixed reviews of this web series, yet, I had the confidence in Manoj Bajpayee. Even if the plot is average, his presence would make an impact.

After it winning a couple of awards, I made a decision to finally watch it. There is no doubt as to how effortlessly Bajpayee has carried the show on his shoulders. A show which had a shipshape story. All of the episodes are based on true events which was a plus, as it spread some awareness about the system, government entities and many of the agencies like ATS, NIA, Force One etc.

Yes, The Family Man has the captivating feature in every episode, until the end. How Bajpayee‘s character has to balance between the first world problems of a family of four and his actual work, made me really anxious, thinking that what if I were in his position. However, it is not the most genius writing or the most suspenseful plot I have witnessed. One has to thank the casting director for choosing such a stellar cast. Actors no one has heard about, have worked in smaller roles than their current or aren’t even from the Hindi film/television industry, have been spectacular.

A special mention to the supporting actors and actors who superbly played the foes, Neeraj Madhav (as Moosa Rahman), Kishore Kumar G (as Imraan Pasha), Shahab Ali (as Sajid), Sharad Kelkar (as Arvind), Darshan Kumaar (as Major Sameer), Dalip Tahil (as Kulkarni), Mir Sarwar (as Faizan), Gul Panag (as Saloni), Zarin Shihab (as Mary), Shahid Latief (as Basharat), Mark Benington (as Bruce), Yatendra Bahuguna (as Vaibhav Therani), Sanyukta Timsina (as Jonali), Abrar Qazi (as Kareem), Pawan Chopra (as Sharma), Sharib Hashmi (as JK Talpade), Sundeep Kishan (as Major Vikram), Sunny Hinduja (as Milind) and Shreya Dhanwanthary (as Zoya). Even the child actors, Vedant Sinha (as Atharva) and Mehak Thakur (as Dhriti) have fabulously performed.

The direction by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D. K. [more commonly known as Raj & DK and are famously known for writing & producing the film Stree (2018)] and especially the dialogue by Sumit Arora brings in the heat and intensity in the show.

3.5/5

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Hollywood, Romantic, Television, TV

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air — Philly cool.

It is shocking that this show, being one of the best shows I have seen, isn’t celebrated as much as F.R.I.E.N.D.S or Big Bang Theory or even How I Met Your Mother. It literally is the best thing happened to Will Smith. It gave him a path and definitely a blockbuster career.

It is a comedy show with drama and romance sprinkled over the top, created by Quincy Jones, Andy Borowitz and Susan Borowitz. It is entertaining, inclusive of good dialogue and some of the best actors you’ll ever see. The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is vividly a show made for Will Smith. Most of the punch lines were given to him. The plot was based on his life (not the real one). It was ALL HIM.

It is not that he didn’t deserve it. He is a good actor and he proved that in the first few seasons. It is just sad that lesser focus was put onto all the supporting actors such as James Avery (as Philip Banks), Alfonso Ribeiro (as Carlton Banks), Joseph Marcell (as Geoffrey) with his exquisite comic timing, Tatyana Ali (as Ashley Banks), Janet Hubert (as Vivian Banks) and Karyn Parsons (as Hilary Banks). All of them were exceptional. This and casting a few actors who were initially called as guests for a certain role, again, for different roles, was a little childish.

It has a casual plot with various screenplays showcased during the period of six seasons. It gave room for additional characters to become the base to every story, like every television show does. I disliked the fact that the actress Janet Hubert was dropped from the show during the midway because of the internal differences between her and Will Smith. The only reason of my disappointment of this dropout was the new character who played the character of Vivian, Daphne Reid. She wasn’t as powerful and compelling as Hubert. She wasn’t even close.

Lastly, more than Will Smith, who benefited the most out of this show, I feel lesser importance was given to Alfonso Ribeiro (as Carlton Banks), post the show, who I thought was the true winner. May it be his acting, his singing, his dancing or even his performance as a whole. Plus, I was really happy to see this show appear on Netflix. Previously, I couldn’t find a source to download or view it anywhere. The reason I was so eager to watch it was because of my curiosity (since the last few years) to know what the show was all about. A show which was responsible for the emergence of a megastar, Willard Carol Smith (Jr.).

4/5

Posted in Black Comedy, Crime, Drama, Fiction, Mystery, Psychological, Suspense, Television, Thriller, TV

Dexter – Sensational.

Who would have thought that an antagonist could actually be so intimidating that everybody start to love him. Well, the director and screen writer, James Manos Jr. surely kept this for the audience to decide. Sure, it is based on the novel, Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, but Manos Jr. made sure it aired on television.

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If we talk about the plot and the direction of a television series, I can assure you that this is one of the best you’ll ever see. Now, this was created in the time where technology hadn’t been so much of an aid to the screenplay, hence, it was the story and the cast, taking on the full responsibility of deciding whether or not it is going to be a hit.

Now, seeking through the blurry images in my mind, I remember I had read someone’s status on Facebook, praising about this Dexter show and as all the users usually swipe up the news feed ignoring most of the normal stuff, I also let this status pass on to view the next funny “meme”.

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Who would have thought that many years later, I would actually end up watching the show and love it unconditionally. Although, I must warn you that it might not be for everyone. Especially for the psychologically weak people. No offense but it does categorize under psychological thriller and dark comedy alongside crime drama and mystery. Plus, it did create a few real time, heavily inspired murderers.

A big round of applause to the main, recurring [Michael. C. Hall (as Dexter Morgan) – who undoubtedly stole the show, Jennifer Carpenter (as Debra Morgan), Erik King (as James Doakes), Lauren Vélez (as Maria LaGuerta), David Zayas (as Angel Batista), Julie Benz (as Rita Bennett), James Remar (as Harry Morgan), C. S. Lee (as Vince Masuka), Desmond Harrington (as Joey Quinn), Geoff Pierson (as Thomas Matthews) and Aimee Garcia (as Jamie Batista)] and the guest cast for their mind-blowing performances.

I must praise the intriguing story and how successfully it maintained it’s quality throughout the eight seasons. It is ruthless. It is frightening. It is nail-biting. It is a cold-blooded suspense thriller. If you have the heart, I would recommend this one.

4.5/5

Posted in Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Fiction, Mystery, Psychological, Suspense, Television, Thriller, TV

Sacred Games 2 – A let down.

When you have set your standards so high, you have got to go higher! Not come slipping down. Also, you need to be really careful when you are unveiling a story of the past. It MUST be equal or higher in terms of generating inclination towards it. At least, I am not disappointed with the newly added cast [Ranvir Shorey (as Shahid Khan) and Kalki Koechlin (as Batya Abelman)] because they didn’t seem improper or out of place.

For those who also have seen Game Of Thrones, you’ll agree to my next few words. Khanna Guruji‘s (played by Pankaj Tripathi) and Daenerys Targaryen‘s (Mother Of The Dragons/Khaleesi) thinking is exactly the same. AND both of these revelations came to me as a shock, as it might have come to you too.

Yes, you might have heard, it is slow until the episode five because it takes you through the audacious Ganesh Gaitonde‘s (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) second phase of life. Notwithstanding, the grade of the last episode just falls down the cliff. So, we waited all this while to watch three good episodes of Sacred Games 2? Unbelievably, the makers have left the show hanging, ending it with another suspense which makes it seem like there will be a third season.

I definitely don’t blame any of the cast because they gave exceedingly exceptional performances. All of them! The direction couldn’t be any better (by Neeraj Ghaywan and Anurag Kashyap). The plot or the screenplay (by Dhruv Narang, Pooja Tolani, Nihit Bhave and Varun Grover) is what I am heavily concerned about. It is just went below the expectation.

2/5

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

Posted in Based On True Events, Bollywood, Drama, Reality Check, Television, TV

Made In Heaven – I didn’t want it to end!

The show is so compelling that it forced me to open my blog and write about it. It is one of the most deserving television shows I have ever witnessed. I am privileged and honored to write about this marvel.

Initially, when I heard a buzz around in the social media and through word of mouth, I wasn’t curious to know as to what it is and why are people talking about it so much. I assumed that it must be some romance flavored, fruitful show – which I probably won’t be interested in.

All I needed was one more recommendation to watch it. My brother did that and as soon as I finished the show I was watching before this (Inside Edge), I started what I didn’t know would be one of the best shows I would ever watch. The topic what they have focused on is indeed a very large one. I admired and adored each and every episode which was made and thought of, with absolute class. It has enough power to generate all kinds of emotions. Gave me goosebumps. Gave me teary eyes. Made me smile wide. Made me frown. Gave me hope.

Each and every thing involved in story telling and which is to be portrayed in front of the camera is given the utmost detail. The costumes, the casting, the dialogue and the camerawork. Made In Heaven is a profound show. It revolves around India’s mightiest weddings and their innermost flaws, realities and tales. At first, I presumed that it is all about the behind the scenes of such Indian (traditional and rich) weddings. Their deepest and darkest secrets. But, after a few episodes, I learned what this show was really about.

I would love to give my hearty congratulations to the whole cast and crew of the show [secretly hoping for you to read this article of appreciation]. There is a long list of crew but I would specially mention, the writers and the directors, Zoya Akhtar (director & writer), Reema Kagti (writer), Alankrita Shrivastava (director & writer), Nitya Mehra (director) Prashant Nair (director). Apart from this, the actors who have really showed what a true performance is, Arjun Mathur, Shobhita Dhulipala, Kalki Koechilin, Jim Sarbh, Shashank Arora, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Vinay Pathak, Vijay Raaz, all the guest appearances and recurring cast.

M.I.H very evidently depicts the struggles of the people of the LGBTQ community over the decades. Not to mention, this was before the ground-breaking day for them arrived, last year, where the law of Section 377 was made unconstitutional. It also speaks about relationships which you never consider to be important, actually are the most valuable ones and are the only ones which prosper at the end. I have never been so proud to know that everything in India has been evolving, rapidly, on a major scale. What was already legalized in the foreign countries, years ago, is OKAY in India too. Because of this, India is NOW is actually becoming democratic and boosting such kind of bold cinema to be released and showcased in the country, without any roadblocks.

5/5