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


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Raees - Movie Review

Ratings: 2.5/5 

When I go to watch any film, I invariably end up buying that tasteless, overpriced, bland popcorn bucket. I still buy it, not for its taste or I have any expectations from it. But, it has become one of my numerous bad habits. Raees bhi ek aadat hai. Only reason to watch Raees is because you are habituated and to a large extent infatuated with King Khan. 

Plot of Raees has been beaten to death more than Ishant Sharma's spell in death overs. It is the age old story on Robinhood-the-Messiah, the man of principals standing up against the system. Deeds of Robinhood are illegal but not immoral. You would have seen it recently in Shootout at Wadala, Once upon a time in Mumbai and almost all gangsta films of Amitabh Bachchan

Rahul Dholakia has done a terrible job of direction. Film has too many loose ends and doesn't look crisp. Same story could have been said in a much better way. More than the lack of ability, I felt it was a lack of effort. Screenplay could have been better and action sequences could have been made more realistic and believable. 

With all due respects to SRK, he can not do the role of a rowdy gangster. All his previous attempts have fallen flat on face (Ram Jaane, Don). When Raees bhai beats 10-15 guys all alone, it doesn't look convincing. Neither his persona not his actions are justifiable. Kudos to his style though, when he utters those one liners "Din aur raat to kutto ke hote hai, Sheron ka zamaana hota hai". Gangster roles are outside his comfort zone. Either he should be ready to put in efforts like Aamir Khan to transform himself in character or it is best that SRK sticks with his charming romantic roles. 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui (as the honest cop against Raees) makes this film watchable. I won't say that it was one of the better roles of Nawaz but in a film like Raees, he was the only character looking realistic. I can't think of anyone else playing this role so convincingly against SRK. I can think of only 2 reasons why someone would cast Mahira Khan in this film: One - Her dad might have financed the film secretly or she charges even lesser than Sonakshi Sinha. There can't be any other reason to cast mini-giraffe in the film. Supporting actors like Md Zeeshan Ayub (as Sadiq) and Atul Kulkarni (as Seth) do a fairly good job. 

Overall production quality of the film is superb. All the sets and costumes are top notch and it very much looks like era of 70s. Even the scene of Amitabh Bachchan in background and Raees in foreground was nicely conceptualized though poorly executed. Music of the film is terrible. You won't remember even a single number other than Laila main Laila

Verdict: As I said earlier, watch it only if SRK is your aadat. If you have any expectations from film then you'll regret it.