Sunday, August 13, 2017

Toilet (Ek Prem Katha) - Movie Review

Ratings: 3.5/5 

Toilet Ek Prem Katha is made on a very noble topic and clearly exposes the lack of basic sanitation in our rural areas. In today's scenario superstars aren't Khan or Kapoors, but it's the plot. That's why a film like this with a fresh plot interwoven with a social message is a good recipe for mass acceptance. What I really like about the film is that arguments against making a toilet at home are brought out emphatically. To us it might look pointless but from their point of view it might make all the sense. Unless their point of view is taken into consideration and is addressed in their own language, it is difficult to bring a change in society. 

Film starts off at a fast pace without wasting much time in boy wooing the girl and romancing around the trees. Director comes to the point quickly and stays focused on the main issue without any digressions, which keeps the film tight. Director Shree Narayan Singh is a debutante director but a successful editor and ensured that editing of film is perfect. 

Akshay Kumar (as Keshav) brings in a lot of liveliness in his character. Someone, who is not well read and shares same mentality of other people in village. Yet, he is not someone who out-rightly rejects a different opinion. When he sees a merit in bringing a toilet home, he is ready to fight with whole system. I truly appreciate choice of films, Akshay Kumar is making. He is like an old wine, which tastes better as it matures. Bhumi Pednekar plays role of wife (as Jaya) and is someone with great potential. She wowed everyone with her debut film "Dum laga ke haisha".  While this film is all about her mission but as an actress, she doesn't leave much impact. To a large extent, her role is also a bit passive with 2-3 fiery dialogues here and there. But all said and done, she is one of the finest actresses of current lot. 

Divyendu Sharma (as Naru) looks quite confident in all his scenes with Akshay Kumar. Supporting actors with insignificant roles tend to get shadowed by leads in most films. But, I liked the way Divyendu played his part with full conviction and comfort. Bollywood has been missing the terrific Sudhir Pandey for quite some time. He is a household name on small screen who hasn't got his due on silver screen. I don't think anyone could have done his job better. Totally outstanding as the orthodox antagonist father-in-law. Other character actors include Rajesh Sharma, Anupam Kher, Atul Srivastava (TVF Fathers fame) and Ayesha Raza Mishra (Bang Baaja Baarat fame). Overall a superb ensemble with all fantastic manjhe hue kalaakar. 

Music of the film is again outstanding. Each song is a part of the plot and takes the story forward. Subah ki train is a cute number and you'll understand its significance once you watch the film. Hans Mat Pagli is soothing and touches your soul. Gori tu latth mar has beautiful picturisation of Brij holi with folk dance steps done well by Akshay Kumar. But, what makes the music outstanding is voice of Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal. In my opinion, they are the most talented and gifted singers of current era.  

What I didn't like in the film is magnitude of change, it tries to bring in towards the end. It is difficult to show convincingly in 150 min that orthodox mentality of people can be changed, Government inefficiency can be improved and a mass revolution can be brought in by 2 individuals. It was unnecessary and made the impact a bit artificial. A small win of changing mentality even in one home and being an inspiration for others to start revolution would have been more realistic.  

Verdict: Overall, this is a film which everyone should watch and Government should screen it in all rural areas. Difficult to say, if it would bring in a revolution but it could be a small step towards changing their mindset definitely. Watch it with your family and you won't regret spending time and money on it. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hindi Medium - Movie Review

Ratings: 3/5 

Hindi Medium is a satire on present generation parents who are obsessed with their kids getting a seat in top rank convent/private school. While the director's attempt was to make entire experience comical for the sake of entertainment, it is a palpable stressful challenge for parents. Unfortunately, current generation of young parents belong to "Competition Era". They competed to get into Engineering/Medical, followed by competition to get into a B School, followed by competition to get a job and in some cases competition to get their better halves. 

Fundamentally, this problem is farcical in nature (discussed in post review section) yet it is real for many parents. Hence, the plot was fresh and different from other cliched films. Film talks about story of a couple Raj  Batra (Irrfan) and Mita (Saba Qamar), who have to get their daughter admitted to Delhi's top school. Raj Batra is a millionaire but isn't well educated and not fluent in English, which is a topic of constant embarrassment to his wife. Couple tries all gimmicks to get the coveted seat for their daughter and learn a few lessons of life in this journey. 

Film had potential to be a critically acclaimed hit, yet director faltered in execution and end result is.."Hmmm nice, could have been better". To begin with, plot was quite predictable and trailer gave away everything. There wasn't any edge of the seat moment or audience wondering "what would happen next". While the problem of school admission is real, it has been blown up by 10X times out of proportion. It would be a piece of cake for anyone with that kind of money and minister contacts. Portrayal of super rich as pretentious and pseudo-elitists and lower class as inclusive is again a concept beaten to death by Bollywood.  

Director Saket Chaudhary is a king of duds and we don't see him building on the plot anywhere. Film is made under banner of T-series and there are high chances that producer Dinesh Vijan and Krishan Kumar would have poked their super long nose in creative inputs. Sahabzade Irrfan Ali Khan is the best that Bollywood have today, but this role couldn't leverage his capabilities. His role was too defined and confined to have any creative freedom. Saba Qamar is very average in the film. Amrita Singh as the school principal is impressive in her small yet powerful role. Deepak Dobriyal as the neighbor(Shyam Prasad) is the "wow" element of this film. He is known to play comical roles and second fiddle to the hero. But, the role of Shyam Prasad gave him a range to play from comical to emotional. His character of Shyam Prasad would indeed win many hearts. 

Film is made on a meager budget of Rs 15 Cr hence there isn't much set, location and costumes for visual appeal. Plot also demands scenes to look normal and not opulent. Editing and screenplay could have been better and may be story need not be linear. Music of the film is sub standard and doesn't appeal at all. 

Verdict: Overall, this is a film which you won't regret watching but there is hardly anything worth appreciating except Deepak Dobriyal 

Post Review Discussion : I mentioned in my review that this problem of getting a seat in best school is farcical in nature. First, this definition of best school is highly subjective and is mostly dependent on perception of your social circle. Whichever, school is most revered in your circle becomes best school for you. It is completely driven by herd mentality and most often parents don't even know the parameters which makes their so called school as the best. Unfortunately, there isn't any official evaluation from Ministry of Education / credible 3rd party organization which can do a scientific evaluation. 

Even in absence of such an evaluation, every parent must have list of parameters which matters most to them. It can range anything from board/curriculum, Infrastructure, fees, sports, co-curricular, distance from home, day-care facility, teacher student ratio etc. For every parent importance of each of these factors would vary, then how can we have a cookie cutter evaluation to make one school best over others? For some people, it is important that their kid hangs around with politician/celebrity kids where some parents might want their kid to be more grounded. Some might want a highly competitive environment for kid, while some might want him/her to enjoy the learning process. For some anything less than 99% is disgrace, while others might not believe in this institution of marks at all. I wish parents invest some time in understanding what is best for their child and take an informed decision. This rat race is never ending and no matter what you try, your kid won't win this rat race. Every finish line is a start line for another rat race. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hindi Medium - Trailer Review

Trailer Appeal - 3/5 | Release date: 12th May 2017

Hindi medium indeed brings out a persistent problem of contrived Indian mentality and our fetish with English medium. While the plot and trailer looks gripping, super talented Sahabzade Irrfan Ali Khan is the only bankable factor. Saba Qamar is a Pakistani actress and I hope saffron brigade doesn't get too motivated by that. Director Saket Chaudhary is a king of duds and yet to give a good film. Presence of Deepak Dobriyal can be another positive factor in the film.

Film is made under banner of T-series and there are high chances that producer Dinesh Vijan and Krishan Kumar would have poked their super long nose in creative inputs. Film albeit has the advantage of not clashing with any big releases post Baahubali 2 on April 28th. Good luck to Hindi medium and hope it does well.

Isn't it an irony that I am writing about Hindi Medium in English. Tch #ThugLife