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. 

Youtube: YouTube.com/CriticAmit

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bollyreviewsnow Cine Awards 2016

Welcome to Bollyreviewsnow Cine Awards 2016! Year 2016 witnessed ~140 movies getting released in Bollywood (including dubbed), out of which we had only 6 Super Hits or Blockbusters. But, we really don’t care about how many of them crossed Rs 100 Cr mark. Rather, we’ll be recognizing those performances which touched your hearts. We’ll salute to those artists who made you laugh…who made you cry…who made you applaud...who made you glued to your seats or made you give a standing ovation. Without further ado, here we go: 

1. Best Actor (Female) in a Supporting Role
A. Richa Chadda - Sarbjit
B. Surveen Chawla - Parched (Winner)
C. Ratna Shah - Kapoor & Sons
D. Konkona Sensharma - Akira
E. Aishwarya - Ae Dil Hai Mushkil 

Richa Chadda as Sarbjit's wife stays in background in most of the scenes yet impresses with silence and anguish in her eyes. Ratna Pathak Shah realistically played role of a woman troubled by her husband's infidelity and failures of her under achieving son. Konkona Sensharma as the pregnant yet diligent cop in Akira had a very interesting character. It was good to see Aishwarya in her new avatar. Be it her sensual appeal, catchy dialogues, confident demeanor or facial expressions. But,I would give it to Surveen Chawla for a dauntless performance outside her comfort zone. No one could imagine item girl taking up a serious role in a non-commercial film and give a splendid performance. Congratulations! Surveen Chawla hope to see more such quality roles from you in future. 

2. Best Actor (Male) in a Supporting Role
A. Diljit Dosanjh - Udta Punjab
B. Rishi Kapoor - Kapoor & Sons
C. Anurag Kashyap - Akira
D. Jim Sarbh - Neerja (Winner)
E. Rajat Kapoor - Kapoor & Sons

It was good to see Anurag Kashyap acting as a badass cop in Akira, which wasn't a tough role for him. Rajat Kapoor playing a father, who always gets questioned by Kapoor family for his decisions. Helplessness  and vulnerability of character clearly came out in his acting. Rishi Kapoor as the fun loving grandpa in an effort to keep family together was a memorable role. It was tough not to give this award to Diljit Dosanjh, who marveled his role as a diligent cop in Udta Punjab. His role started out as a harmless underdog who went on to become most powerful character in the end. Kudos to Jim Sarbh for making an insignificant role so powerful. Be it his aggression, speech or body language, he was absolutely intimidating as the terrorist on Pan Am. Congratulations! Jim Sarbh for proving yourself and giving Bollywood another fantastic actor to look upon. 

3. Best Actor (Female)
A. Alia Bhatt - Udta Punjab
B. Sonakshi Sinha - Akira
C. Radhika Apte - Parched (Winner)
D. Taapsee Pannu - Pink
E. Vidya Balan - Kahaani 2

It was rather difficult to come up with nominations leave aside giving award in this category. Even though 2016 was a year with a lot of films focusing on women empowerment, hardly any leading actress performance was remarkable. Sonakshi Sinha played the hero and heroine in Akira, which was commendable. I admire Taapsee Pannu's choice of films and characters with content and not just masala. Vidya Balan is a seasoned actress and have impressed us with many more challenging roles. Big pat on the pack to Alia Bhatt for taking the bold step of doing a non glamorous role. She could have done better but amount of efforts she has put up in the role is commendable. I would give this award to Radhika Apte for beautifully playing oppressed Lajjo in Parched. Her entire journey of liberation and her re-discovery is very realistic and enchanting. Congratulations! Radhika Apte for setting up new benchmarks for yourself with every film you sign. 

4. Best Actor (Male)
A. Amitabh Bachchan - Pink (Winner)
B. Sushant Singh Rajput - M.S. Dhoni
C. Randeep Hooda - Sarbjeet
D. Aamir Khan - Dangal
E. Manoj Bajpayee - Aligarh

It was very difficult to choose a winner in this category as we had some splendid performances. Sushant Singh Rajput completely immersed in character of M.S. Dhoni. Be it his gait, mannerism, facial expressions, nose twitch, helicopter shot or entry into the ground. Randeep Hooda gave a melancholic heart wrenching performance as Sarbjit. He famished himself and lived in solidarity for a realistic characterization. Aamir Khan gave yet another memorable performance imbibing every aspect of Mahavir Singh Phogat and virtually becoming a wrestler himself. Manoj Bajpayee known for his dynamic roles and dialogue delivery, performed the role of Prof Sirus which required implosion instead of explosion. Hats off to Amitabh Bachchan for immortalizing the role of lawyer Deepak Sehgal. His eyes spoke a million words and mesmerized audience using his voice. Especially the scenes where he talks about rule book and cross examines SHO are outstanding. Congratulations for receiving the award for Best Actor!

5. Best Director
A. Shakun Batra - Kapoor & Sons
B. Nitesh Tiwari - Dangal (Winner)
C. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury - Pink
D. Neeraj Pandey - MS Dhoni
E. Raja Krishna Menon - Airlift

Shakun Batra beautifully presented a story filled with complex relations between family. Pink had a very simple and straightforward plot, which is a perfect recipe for monotonous cliched boring films. It takes the touch of a genius like Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury to go deeper into the subject and present the social stigma in a hard hitting way. It is toughest to do justice to biographies and make them entertaining. Neeraj Pandey did that brilliantly with M.S. Dhoni, which could have easily turned into a documentary drama filled with series of predictable events. Raja Krishna Menon could make audience feel the pain of Indians stuck in Kuwait with Airlift. Wonderful job done by Nitesh Tiwari by keeping the narration simple, fast paced, engaging and very much focused. He gave audience get a realistic feel of Akhara and pehelwaans. I liked the fact that film isn't a mechanical documantary listing of all important matches and events of Geeta and Babita. But, there is a deeper story associated before and after each crucial event and viewers can relate with the joy, sadness, pain and desperation of protagonist at different junctures. Congratulations Nitesh Tiwari for winning the award for Best Director!

6. Best Film

A.Pink - Rashmi Sharma Telefilms (Winner)
B. M.S. Dhoni - Fox Star Studios
C. Dangal - Aamir Khan Productions
D. Kapoor & Sons - Dharma Productions
E.Airlift - T Series & Hari Om Entertainment

Again a tough choice with so many wonderful films this year. M.S. Dhoni showing the untold side of Dhoni to audience. How could one possibly imagine that captain cool with nerves of steel had a phase in life when he was dull, depressed and unsure of his cricketing future? Dangal was very inspiring showing the relentless journey of Phogat sisters to fulfill the dream their father saw once for India. Kapoor & Sons showing a mirror to society about complex relations and that no one is perfect and we need to accept people with their imperfections. That's what a happy family is all about. Airlift showed us all that India pulled off world's largest rescue for those people who didn't even consider themselves Indian anymore. But, I would give this award to Pink for giving a hard hitting message in the most impactful manner. Pink was a slap on face to a large section of society, who is judgmental about character of a woman based on some archaic pre-conceived notions. Pink showed the bitter, ugly and dark side of our society of which unfortunately we are a part of. Pink reinforced the idea that for a great film you don't need money and a big star cast but a great story with flawless execution. 

Hope you liked our choices and appreciate unbiased and unpaid Bollyreviewsnow Cine awards. It is always our endeavor to recognize meaningful and quality cinema, which would be remembered in history of Bollywood. Thanks for staying with us!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Dangal - Movie Review


Ratings: 4/5 

Dangal isn't a film just about women wrestling but it is about daring to dream, challenging the status quo, not just determined but being obsessed about your dream. On prima facie it is an inspiration film for women, who have championed in the areas which were said to be male bastions. But if you deeper, film also shows arduous mamooth efforts and huge sacrifices to be given (by self and family) to become a champion. It also exposes the infrastructural flaws for sports in our country, unless that sport is cricket. 

Film is based on true story of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan), who trained his daughters Geeta Phogat( Zaira Waseem and Fatima Sana Shaikh) and Babita Kumari (Sanya Malhotra) to become international wrestling champion. Plot is quite linear and fast paced and starts with unfulfilled dream of Mahavir Phogat, who couldn't represent India and win a medal for country. How the idea germinates in his mind to train his daughters? What all emotional, societal, family, financial and infrastructual challenges are faced by him? How he beats all odds despite his limited resources and yet gives India international wrestling icons. 




Dangal is directed by Nitesh Tiwari (who has given duds like Bhoothnath Returns and Kill Dill). It was quite audacious of producers Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao and Siddharth Roy Kapur to trust a newbie like him without any past great success. Nitesh does a terific job as a master storyteller keeping the narration simple, fast paced, engaging and very much focused. He gives audience get a realistic feel of Akhara and pehelwaans with title track Dangal in background with voice of Daler Mehandi. Other than the game of wrestling, Nitesh beautifully captured the "internal wrestling" being played in the minds of characters. There is a beautiful line in movie where Aamir says, "Dar se to ye jeet hi gayi hai, ab khel bhi jeet legi" 

I liked the fact that film isn't a mechanical documantary listing of all important matches and events of Geeta and Babita. But, there is a deeper story associated before and after each crucial event and viewers can relate with the joy, sadness, pain and desperation of protagonist at different junctures. Even towards the climax scene there isn't any unnecessary Bollywood cliched masala where Babuji appears from nowhere and a losing battle is won with chamatkari baabuji ka aashirvaad. Thanks a lot Nitesh for keeping the film realistic!

Film also questions whether it is OK for a father/mentor to be obsessed with a dream and prepare/train his candidate towards that dream? Is it being unfair and unrealistic to force someone else relive your dream? Or one should give credit to vision of mentor and his ability to identify talent and give him/her right training and guidance. Isn't that how Olympic gold medalists are prepared in China? In this film and many other sports films, it is shown that champions are also a great extent lucky where they get access to a good coach, their family makes sacrifices to ensure no compromises done in training, they manage to overcome politics and get a chance to show their talent. One has to be really privileged to get all this. Really? Isn't this is something that should be given by default to every talented sportsperson in India?

One always fall short of words while praising acting prowess of Mr perfectionist. Like in every film, he didn't play the character but he became that character in every aspect. He looks like a wrestler, talks like a wrestler, rides scooter likes a wrestler and breaks down like a wrestler too. Enough has been already said about his body transformation from a lean to fat and back to lean body. He refused the use of any prosthetics and wanted to gain and lose weight in real. 



Sakshi Tanwar has a small role in the film as Mahavir's wife which she does fairly well. I was amazed by acting skills of confident debutant Zaira Wasim (young Geeta Phogat). Fatima Sana Shaikh (as Geeta Phogat) impresses as well with her authentic wrestling skills. Aparshakti Khurrana (cousin of Geeta in film and brother of Ayushman Khurrana in real) has a nice role but he fails to create any impact with a forgetful performance. 

Film's music is superb and gels very well with each situation. Viewers should love the usage of local haryanvi words in songs like Dhaakad, Bagad Billi etc. "Haanikarak Baapu" is quite creative and catchy. Dhaakad and Dangal would make you feel like rolling up your sleeves and get into Akhara. Gilehriyaan is a cute number where the caterpillar Geeta metamorphise into a butterfly. Film is made with a reasonable budget of Rs 70 Cr despite starring Aamir Khan and all that moolah spent on marketing. 



Verdict: Overall a fantastic clean inspirational film suitable to all genres. One of the best films of 2016 with very good chances of winning filmfare awards. Screenplay and debut actress (for Zaira Wasim) are indeed 2 strong categories. Good luck film makers and hope you get 2 thumbs up from viewers!

Youtube: YouTube.com/CriticAmit