Naam Shabana

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Its good to know that like marvel & DC even Indian movies are getting into origin stories. The familiar characters portrayed in BABY (2015) resurface again minus Rana Daggubati who is busy with Bahubali2 release.

There is no doubt that Naam shabana is a no non-sense kick ass action thriller. The story starts with establishing the normalcy of the college going Shabana with a past. Manoj Bajpayee as the handler and recruiter is near perfect. The supporting cast include familiar faces including Anupam Kher and his ridiculous wig playing Shukla. Of course Akshay kumar had to be a part of this movie, how else would you establish the making of BABY-2 which I am quite sure is already in Neeraj Pandey’s pipeline.

The direction is handled by Shivam Nair. Shivam nair is more famous in the TV circuit. His notable contribution was ‘Sea Hawks’ of the 90s in DD Metro. But Neeraj Pandey has kept the Production, writing & screenplay to himself. Prithviraj Sukumaran plays the suave arms dealer, being the main baddie he could have been given more screen space as he is brilliant when it comes to negative roll (Kana Kandaen – 2006 tamil movie) and also can hold his own (Aurangzeb – 2013, Hindi)

Tapsee herself is absolutely fantastic; it’s difficult to acknowledge anything other than her when she is on screen. Her transformation from South masala movie heroine to character roles likes Pink and now this is truly mind blowing, The plot is tight, screenplay is crisp, the song ‘Zubi Zubi’remix is foot tapping. The action choreography is realistic along with the actors themselves.

A bit more editing to bring the entire movie under 2 hours would have made it more watchable. The climax mission could have been a bit detailed whereas the prep could have been cut shorter. As a result the execution is not that great

Verdict – If you liked BABY in 2015, you will like this as well

Bairavaa

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People who are tired of seeing Ilayathalapathy doing the same role with the same look of 3-day old stubble plz give me a cheer. That was the LOUDEST cheer I have heard in a while, thank you.

There is absolutely nothing new or unexpected in Vijay’s 60th movie. So, in this movie the hero Bairavaa is a loan collector. yes, that is apparently a job which requires him to wear tie to office. The damsel in distress is played by Keerthy Suresh who otherwise has nothing to do than look defiantly a few times, cry a little and of course dance in four songs.

Talking of the songs except the title song ’Varlaam Varlaam Vaa’ every other song is like a irritant sticking out from the entire narration and looks forced. Soul touching lyrics from Vairamuthu has been complete wasted. The background sound effects is very prominently noticed, hence they are not so much background I guess. There is however a song which is shot in the beautiful valleys of Switzerland, which tempts you to plan a vacation there.

The screenplay is really bad, the 1st half sort of keeps the audience a bit interested in the story but after the interval the movie falls with the velocity of Niagra Falls. The direction is pointless and editing is pathetic. Other than the lead pair the other characters have no depth and Jagapati Babu playing the villain is not scary at all, in fact he gives the impression of a soft grandfather who is surrounded with not so witty goons.

In conclusion, it has everything you can expect in a vijay movie – over the top action, half baked comedy, expected flashbacks, too much repeated punch dialogs, insignificant side actors and of course long preaching dialogs from Vijay which everyone hears with rapt attention…Yawn…..

Verdict –  Varlaam Vaarlam Vaa Bairavaa……. Can go back in the same route plz.

Befikre

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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.

 

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.