Dangal

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There is a reason Amir Khan is called a perfectionist. Ignoring all the comments about Amir’s weight Dangal is a brilliant piece of art.

This is the biography of struggle by Mahavir Singh Phogat and his two daughters. A national level wrestler himself in his prime years Mahavir decides to realize his dreams through his daughters. This movie is crude, realistic and a tad bit rustic. The entirety of 2 Hours and 41 minutes the audience sits with rapt attention. Everything is just perfect – the severity, the comic relief, the emotion, even the local Haryanvi dialect spoken.

The hardwork put in by the girls is seen in plain sight, the sport choreography is very realistic and not even one song is out of place. Both girls Fathima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra are excellent casting discovery. Sakshi Tanwar as the silent, caring but helpless mother of four girls is brilliant.

Once again Amitabh Bhattacharya lyrics are very deep and Pritam hits the right notes. Title Song is by ‘Daler Mehandi’ and is pure brilliance (reminds a bit of rang de basanti title song) ‘Dhaakad’ by ‘Raftaar’ is also quite refreshing.

In conclusion – After a long time such a beautiful movie is on screen which has such a microscopic eye for detail, the first half has the energy of ‘Chak De India’ and the second half has the struggle of ‘Saala Khadoos’ but leaps and bounds better execution than either of these movies.

Verdict – haven’t booked the tickets yet?

 

 

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Befikre

befikre

Yes, Befikre is definitely a love story.

Set in the beautiful city of Paris the story shuttles between the 1 year gap showing the relashionship-development between Dharam and Shyra. The flashback and present transitions are signified by hum-tum style drawings and feels a bit unnecessary to the screenplay.

Dharam is a stand-up comic from Delhi recently arrived in Paris and Shyra is a free-spirited girl brought up in France by her Indo-French chef parents. The relationship starts with a dare and the free-spirit modern attitude is portrayed quite effectively.

The cast and crew have quite a few French involvements and the lead actors have adopted their characters very well. When it comes to the intimate scenes both look at ease and the onscreen chemistry is pleasant to watch. The director is very seasoned in love stories and hence is almost flawless, editing is very efficient. Music by Vishal-Shekhar duo along with Mikey McCleary is quite refreshing.(BTW…Mickey is the Brother in Law of Lucky Ali) ‘Nashe Si Chad Gayi’ by Arijit and ‘Ude Dil Befikre’ by Benny Dayal are already topping the charts. The surprise number ‘khulke dhulke’ by Punjabi Rock-star Gippy Grewal has turned out quite good.

Both the lead pair can dance quite well and has done justice to all the peppy songs

In conclusion this is a feel good love story which reminds you of ‘love aaj kal’, ‘Friends with benefits’ and maybe a bit of ‘The ugly truth’.

Verdict – Watch it – Befikar

Fantastic beasts and where to find them

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At the outset JK Rowling must recognise the fact that not all book writers can write screenplay. With the last movie of Harry potter series in 2011, the director David Yates had set a bar for us and when the same guy comes up with FBAWTFT (wow, even the acronym is too long) the expectation are high. But unfortunately, the essence of magic is lost the moment you look at Newt Scamander played by Eddie Redmayne in his underacting methods. Eddie Redmayne is the same guy who delivered a brilliant performance in ‘the Danish girl’ but unfortunately he is not the right cast selection for Newt.

The rustic world of magic is upgraded to a slightly modern version in its new setting in New York and most of the daily magical awe is replaced with ‘seen that before’ graphics. The spells are unrecognizable except ‘Alahamora’ and at the final scene ‘Revealio’ and the muggles are called ‘no-maj’, as in no magic, Really?

Collin farrel looks like count Dracula instead of a ministry official and the leading lady Katherine Waterston looks and acts like the unmarried aunt of the house.

The cast selection is uninteresting and in the attempt to bring back the magical world the animators have gone overboard, and so the result is excess magical intervention which is unappreciated, but the 3D effect is very good. The beasts themselves are adorable animations but have very little screen space.

In conclusion, a simpler non-glamorous direction and tight editing could have improved the experience but the screenplay itself is the biggest drawback.

Verdict – trust me, finding this beast of a movie is not worth it.

 

Rock On 2

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RockOn was released in 2008 which was directed by Abhishek Kapoor. The main reason for its success was the fiery rebel music and the story itself and of course the smart direction. But RockOn2 is a complete contrast. The director was changed, glamour added to the cast and of course the entire movie genre became different. This is no longer a musical journey instead this is a complete masala movie with too many boring songs.

Aditya (Farhan Akhtar) and his husky voice both relocate to Meghalaya and that’s not for the scenery alone. Joe (Arjun Rampal) is now a successful (read wealthy) club owner and reality show host with a bad haircut and KD (Purab kohli) is narrator of the movie taking time out from his…..wait what is his job again ? no clue. Anyway, so enter Shraddha Kapoor with utmost confidence which is the same expression she gave in ‘ek villian’

Direction is pointless as the best moments of the movie are ruined by bad camera. Sometimes it is way too zoomed in and at other times it is microscopic zoomed out. Shraddha Kapoor does not look as good as you expect with every frame zoomed to her nose or her long forehead (seriously? I hadn’t noticed her forehead before).

In this five years’ flash-back/flash forward storyline the screenplay could have made a lot of difference but was completely wasted just like Prachi Desai looking clueless with another bad haircut.

The songs are long and just refuse to get over. Only the “Hoi Kiw/Chalo Chalo” by Usha Uthup and SummerSalt Band showed some promise. The best song still is the Rock On title track from the original movie.

In conclusion, as said before this is a masala movie which has all elements for a flop and the humanitarian angle is unappealing. The music is soddy and the beautiful Indian locations are not capitalized.

Verdict – Rock Off.

FORCE2

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Let me begin by saying that this apple has fallen quite far from the tree. It is way better than the original Force in every aspect. The plot is very tight and keeps you on edge throughout the 1st half. Abhinay Deo is the guy who shot to fame with debut direction ‘Delhi Belly’.

John’s ripped muscles and the 8 pack abs are put to good use that the lack of expression on his face can be easily forgiven, there is a towel scene as well. Sonakshi maintains her no nonsense ‘Akira’ attitude. But the highlight of the cast is Tahir Raj Bhasin. Remember the baddie in ‘Mardaani’. Even here he is his nasty best. Slewed remarks and sarcastic tidbits brings about a rawness in the character which makes it believable and at the same time fear him.

Rest of the cast just goes unnoticed but the cameos by Raj Babbar, Jenelia Deshmukh and Boman Irani are welcome surprises. The direction is neat; cinematography is exceptional and editing is strict keeping the slag moments at a minimum. The fight sequences could have been shortened a bit.

Special mention to the innovative first person camera at the climax fight sequence in the style of ‘Quake arena’

Verdict – if action thrillers your favorite genre then you should not miss it.

Doctor Strange

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So, the big news is that Marvel Studios has come up with a new logo animation which is way cooler than DC Comics logo.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the arrogant yet genius neurosurgeon doctor Stephen Strange. The good doctor soon meets with an accident and his hands are subjected to multiple fracture leaving his hands shaking just like the movie itself. As is the case usually in situations like these there is no cure – or is there?

Halfway through the movie people starts missing Rachael McAdams and so she is brought back in the action and is seen wheeling patients into an operating theater, twice with confused looking staff all around.

The best performance without any doubt is by ‘special effects’. The inception style dimension change and of course the journey through multiverse (not universe) is very well designed. Tilda Swinton as ‘the ancient one’ is not convincing at all and the baddy is played by Mad Mikkelsen, the same guy who was the bad guy in James bond Casino Royale, he was much meaner and terror invoking then but here he just falls flat with black kohl makeup below his eyes.

In conclusion, this is a movie for those who already know the history of Doctor Strange or has a fetish for 3D visual effects. Direction by Scott Derrickson is crisp but a bit of creative screenplay could have done wonders to the movie experience.

Verdict: Watch the animated movie instead – ‘Doctor Strange – Sorcerer Supreme’ or If you are a Bendict Cumberbatch fan – wait for Sherlock Season4 premiering on 17th Jan 2017.

 

 

 

Shivaay

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This is a through and through Ajay Devgan movie. He has written the story, directed, produced, and named the movie in his character name. The expat female leads look almost uninterested on the whole affair. Sayesha looks out of place and a tad bit confused. Ajay Devgan himself looks very tired and worn out playing so many roles associated with the same movie.

Shivaay is potrayed as a Himalayan mountaineer guide who has tattoos of snake& trishul and smokes chillam while pulling impossible stunts using just a pair of hooks. He is shirtless in extreme cold weather and expressionless throughout the movie. It takes about an hour to even build up to the story.

The 1st half has been shot in Missouri and the 2nd half in Bulgaria and is really picturous. The car chases and fight sequences are too much over the top and the story reminds that of taken series. The flying cars and uncalculated bridge jumps indicates towards the director’s ‘rohit shetty’ hangover.

Girish karnad and Vir Das have been wasted and not been given virtually any screen-space. Otherwise soulful songs by Arijit and Kailash kher go unregistered in the background but ‘Raatein’ by Jasleen Royal is quite prominent and well timed.

Few father-daughter moments are shot quite well and the rap-chant by Baadshah – ‘bolo har har’ is utilized in almost all action sequences appropriately.

Verdict – Taken 1 & Taken 2 put together running time is 191 Minutes and Shivaay alone is 173 minutes long. Interested patrons are advised to carry lunch, pillow & blankets to the theater.