Bollywood, Drama, Romantic

Zero – A poor usage of the number.

I really wanted more out of SRK after a couple of above average films like Dear Zindagi and Raees and really had hoped that this might just do it for him because it covers a couple of sensitive topics.

Above all, it isn’t only Khan who should be held in custody for being a part of this film but also the tag team of Anand L. Rai (director) and Himanshu Sharma (screenplay), after giving us some good one-time watches and then touching the sky with Tanu Weds Manu Returns, really fall into the ocean, sinking, without any oxygen support. How much ever you try to concentrate on this flick, it just doesn’t want to give you something to look forward to.

After the film lost me for multiple times, I still didn’t understand where the story was trying to take me. I almost wasn’t going to go for it even after booking the tickets and how much I wished later that, that came true. AjayAtul‘s music keeps you from dozing off. If speaking individually, I felt Katrina Kaif is a better show to watch than Anushka Sharma, herein. That’s how frail her portrayal of the character is. She almost disgraced it, even. I could watch Margarita With A Straw three more times JUST to witness how fantastically Kalki  Koechlin performs [obviously, she played the character of person with cerebral palsy too].

I actually have no complaints with Shah Rukh Khan, individually, as he manages to give complete justice to his role. Withal, Zero touches a few emotional chords as well as tingles you slightly with it’s funny tidbits. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sheeba Chaddha, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Brijendra Kala and Abhey Deol are at their usual best.

Lastly, there were way TOO many special appearances. Completely extraneous. Was it that the producers already knew that the story was a fiasco and only wanted to amuse the moviegoers by doing this? Well, it didn’t work. Even elongated duration added to the misery.

1/5

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Action, Hollywood, SciFi, Superhero, Technology

Aquaman – The foible standalone.

I had been hearing and reading about the bad, the average and the very few good reviews about this motion picture. The trailer told a rejuvenating tale which had already convinced me a couple of months ago. Notwithstanding, I made the call, took a leap of faith and booked my tickets.

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I am really glad that Aquaman was made, not because it’s the best film you can watch under the DC Comics banner [No, I wouldn’t concur.] but because this individual film was necessary as it’s brief introduction in Justice League just wasn’t enough. Also, on behalf of the audience, we really need to witness something out of the usual, in this not-so-medieval times, even refreshing perhaps, apart from the Batmans and the Supermans.

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From a tad role in HBO’S superhit TV series Game Of Thrones to becoming one of the coolest characters of DC Comics, Jason Momoa (as Arthur Curry / Aquaman) has come up a long way. A well earned role [suiting his real personality] and elevation. His wild and high-voltage nature, off-screen, really helped him in developing this character and giving it a bit of a different angle. Amber Heard plays the worthy lead character of Mera. Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko is as amazing as he could get. Patrick Wilson as Orm honestly wasn’t that convincing as the antagonist. Nicole Kidman still looks like she is 28 and acts with the experience of her actual age, played the beautiful Atlana/Queen Of Atlantis. Yahya Abdul Mateen ΙΙ in as David Kane / Black Manta performs really well but was shown as a little insignificant.

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The plot/screenplay being barely more than average, depends on the graphics/VFX to fill the holes it comprises. Now, this being mostly an under water film [as the title suggests too], the detailing of the graphics wasn’t actually that bad. However, when talking about showing scenes from the year 1985, when Temuera Morrison (as Thomas Curry) and Nicole Kidman had to play younger characters, I don’t know whether it was the actual plastic make-up on their faces or it was the VFX doing that but it looked awfully displeasing.

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Moreover, the background score is very childish, especially in the action scenes. Apart from these noteworthy errors, there are a few glitches which are really lowering DC’s standards. James Wan didn’t really give his best, when it came to direction. Beating to that, Don Burgess with excellent cinematography and the heart-stopping action kept us glued to our seats.

3/5

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

Kedarnath – The start of her pilgrimage.

It’s not that Abhishek Kapoor hasn’t made a film of a soaked-mud drama genre before which is affiliated with true events. But, I would agree that he has made some very distinctive films, when glancing through his shelf.

I will start with giving full points to the visual effects team and graphic designers who made it look extravagantly real, increasing the level of thrill in the film. A great start to Sara‘s career. She delivers a power packed performance. We all know how well Sushant acts and the reason he has moved up from television onto the big screen. Additionally, thank the current generation, the Indian moviegoers are moving up and ahead in terms of what kind of films they want to spend their precious money on. Favoring the great stories and not the lousy storied, big budget films. Criticizing the films according to their purpose rather than according to the cast. That being said, this film does good on the plot and moreover on the individual performances.

Kedarnath very beautifully revolves around four key situations to make it a whole. One, the floods which occurred in the Uttrakhand, India in 2013, due to heavy, non-stop rainfall, destroying almost the whole state. Two, the love story of this couple Mansoor (played by Sushant Singh Rajput) & Mandakini (played by Sara Ali Khan). Three is yet again the according-to-the-book and backward thinking of Indians, pointed out by the director (Abhishek Kapoor) and screenplay writers (Kapoor and Kanika Dhillon). Herein, it is the inter-religion marriage which is highlighted and how even after reaching in the 21st century, small towns, villages and some underdeveloped cities in India still are living in the previous one. Four is how the temple and pilgrimage of Kedarnath was majorly affected during the 2013 floods and that love story took a major turn because of this catastrophe.

Music being delivered by the talented Amit Trivedi just gives an extra boost to the film, aside everything else. We (the audience) are now used to the monotonous additions of love stories into these reality based films. Hence, it won’t really matter how the love story turns out to be unless the film is solely of a romantic genre.

    3.5/5

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    Bollywood, Crime, Drama

    Baazaar – Big on the outside.

    By now you must have figured after seeing the trailer that this film is based on stock trading, exchange and majorly the story of big players in the market. If you haven’t, then that is it. That’s about all I am going to tell you about Baazaar from within. It was definitely the star cast and a potential good story (judging from the fantastic trailer) that moved me to go and check this one out.

    Let’s be honest, I am not completely impressed. It is a great attempt and a first try on this kind of topic on a large scale, yet, doesn’t create that spark for me. Now, I can confirm that after Sacred Games and now this film, Saif Ali Khan (as Shakun Kothari) is back, officially. He plays his part significantly well, right up till his vocabulary of a Gujrati descent. A lot of big actors ignore that.

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    Giving it a mixture of rapid and slow paced technique, director Gauravv Chawla balances this film, correctly, to his advantage. Now, since it’s his debut after being an assistant director to more than a few films, I can cut him some slack and say that he has done a tidy job. Chitrangda Singh (as Mandira Kothari) has been a favorite of mine since a while now. Her perfect features definitely add on to her charisma on and off screen. Plus, she is not a bad actor! I am just happy that her continuity of bagging proper roles instead of item numbers is on.

    Furthermore, throwing light to debutant Rohan Mehra (as Rizwan Ahmed). Just out of the blue he arises and gives a rock-solid performance. He is confident. His vocal tone is loud and clear, which is an advantage. Also, his dialogue delivery is up to the mark. Just if he worked a tad more on his expressions, he would be golden.

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    Notwithstanding, I really liked Sonia Balani (as Aamna Ahmed), Pawan Chopra (as Zulfikar Ahmed) and Manish Choudhary (as Rana Dasgupta) with their petty roles. The latter two have been doing well in supporting roles for more than 15 years. While the track Kem Cho made a superb background score, it also proved how incapable Honey Singh is to create something fresh. It is a spitting image of Pitbull and Jack Ryan’s Fireball. Neverthless, the music department actually surprised me. Quite a few to appreciate here, Tanishk Bagchi, Sohail Sen, Bilal Saeed and Kanika Kapoor with their groovy numbers.

    Radhika Apte (as Priya) has come up a long way only because she’s worth it. She looks ravishing and acts like a veteran. A win-win situation. Baazaar manages to thrill, with a few little mystery boxes opening in the second half of the film. I’ll give it that. However, it didn’t give me any motivation to raise my rating any higher. Lastly, according to Wikipedia, there were supposed to be Saurabh Shukla and Anupriya Goenka in this film. Nope, couldn’t locate them even in the most secluded corners of the building.

    3/5

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    Bollywood, Comedy, Drama, Romantic

    Badhaai Ho – A light-hearted drama delight.

    Last weekend, I probably saw the worst film of this year and this one helped me recover from the trauma. After losing my attention somewhere in between the first half, the plot marched forward after regaining it and never showed a sign of deterioration thereafter.

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    A good fusion of comedy and drama keeping all ages entertained, Badhaai Ho explains us how a middle class family deals with an atypical situation. At first, to accept it after being intruded by the most interfering society and relatives. Second, to deal with it and the people who blabber without any cause or involvement in the scenario.

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    It is a game of expressions more than dialogue in this motion picture, really. However, there are a few dialogue which will make you applaud, whistle and ignite you from within. EVERY actor chosen for this flick fits and transcends with what’s expected out of him or her. Neena Gupta (as Priyamvada / Jeetendra‘s wife), with her profound screen presence, creates a sensuous aura along with her motherly behavior which made me a fan of her. Ayushmann Khurrana (as Nakul) doesn’t seem to stop. Showing immense talent with every progressing film, he is opening new doors with the kind of performances he is delivering. Sheeba Chaddha (as Sangeeta / Renee‘s mother), Gajraj Rao (as Jeetendra / Nakul and Gullar‘s father), Sanya Malhotra (as Renee), Shardul Rana (as Gullar / Nakul‘s brother) and especially Surekha Sikri (as Dadi) just lit the film as if it’s Diwali season with their extraordinary, yet so conventional roles.

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    The peppy and romantic music by Tanishk Bagchi and Rochak Kohli contains limited but effective tracks. Culminating this, I wouldn’t say that Badhaai Ho would make you roll on the floor laughing but it will give you a bit of romance and a bit of genuine family drama included in the package which is labelled ‘great comedy’.

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    Amit Sharma (the director) sure didn’t start well with Tevar, but this one’s going to change everything for him. Well thought and well made!

    3.5/5

     

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    Bollywood

    Namaste England – Such a waste of talent.

    In a vocal interview, the veteran Paresh Rawal was asked whether he was aware about reception of a flop film before he did that film and what made him sign up for it anyway. To which he replied,

    Sometimes you know it is not going to do well at the box office and you are fully aware how incompetent the story is, but you got to do it to earn your basic bread and butter.

    Namaste England is probably chosen by Parineeti and Arjun (even after being such good actors) as their bread and butter film. Both have been a part of mediocre films since the start of their careers. No exceptional plots just as yet.

    Since the film is not worth your while, let me make it easier for you to read and give you bullet points, stating the reasons for not watching this film and if you are adventurous, give you a few in favor of it,

    • Reasons to use those precious 3 hours to do something better in life,
    1. An amateur story for this era. Maybe, would have worked in the 2000’s.
    2. The film doesn’t lead to anywhere.
    3. Couldn’t match the prequel, Namaste London. In 2007, this kind of a story was new and it had Akshay Kumar in it, who made the film profitable and a box office hit.
    4. Even the direction doesn’t impress you.
    5. Arjun Kapoor looks bulky and uncomfortable when it comes to his physicality in the film.
    6. The repetition of the dialogue is quite frustrating.
    7. Seems like a soap opera at times. Overdramatic.
    8. Mostly elongated.
    • Reasons you might be brave enough,
    1. The music is okay.
    2. All the actors have performed well.
    3. The tad bit of comedy in the romantic war between the leads, only in the latter part of the film.

    Vipul Shah, the director and producer of this flick probably has a lot of money to throw away, but he should really consider JUST producing films. Directing is clearly not his forte, especially after a series of flops, after his only two great films at the start of his career, Aankhen (2002) and Waqt: The Race Against Time (2005).

    1.5/5

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    Bollywood

    Andhadhun – Fifth one’s a charm.

    It took FOUR years for any other film to get me to experience this feeling again. A feeling which, if described in layman’s terms, never lets your mind to stop thinking for at least the next few hours after the film. It’s a feeling where I feel like I am Sherlock Holmes, trying to use a large percentage of my brain, predicting all possible outcomes of a particular, puzzling situation or even trying to solve a mystery.

    The last film which stirred me into such deep thinking was Imtiaz Ali‘s Highway in 2014. Sriram Raghavan has been known for his distinctive thrillers. At least someone is keeping this genre alive in Bollywood. However, 3 out of his 5 films have been a turn down at the box office. Badlapur, being the fourth, earned well at the box office, yet remained a so-so when concerned critically. Additionally, out of those three failed films, Johnny Gaddaar, according to me, was a real nice attempt!

    I am currently mind-blown with a lot of things. Firstly, the cinematography is magnificently well done by K. U. Mohanan. The camera work just creates that sense of earnestness. Second is the screenplay, simple and yet so scarily effective. Just required a few locations within the city of Pune, Maharashtra. Third is the background score and music. The beautiful affiliation of the piano and it’s usage to compliment every scene, is the detail I became a fan of. Thanks to the mastermind Amit Trivedi, the talented and speedy Raftaar and Girish Nakod. Lastly, the slight garnishing of comedy just made sure of bringing the feeling of accomplishment.

    Combined with a thriller is suspense. And a new one kept unfolding every twenty minutes TILL the last scene. Andhadhun almost gave me anxiety, post the film, making it difficult for me to calm down, concentrate on what I am doing at that moment. Films like these are raising the bar in Bollywood. Films like these are bringing down the high budget crap to the ground, showing them where they belong. Actors like Rajkummar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, Radhika ApteBhumi Pednekar and a few others are responsible for this CHANGE. Just doing their beautiful work. Choosing the correct films and slowly, steadily reaching the skies.

    Veterans like Tabu, Zakir Hussain and Ashwini Kalsekar are helping these aforementioned actors complete their good work. Not just these three, there are many to add to that list. Do watch this one, while it still remains on the big screen.

    4.5/5

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