My Review : Begum Jaan

My Review : Begum Jaan

Prelude :
Why was Srijit da’s RajKhani remade in the first place ? Srijit da has better films to be remade into a Bollywood film such as ‘Hemlock Society'( A Marathi Remake is already made), Chotuskone etc..Why Rajkahini ?
Our very own pride of Bengal National Award Winner Mr Srijit Mukherjee has delivered five hits in five years, he is undoubtedly an articulate, well-informed and has a knack of choosing unusual subjects for all his films and unfortunatley ‘Rajkahini’ was not his best and had failed to deliver.
Anyway since Vidya Balan was a part of this film, I wanted to give it a try today..considering it to be a ‘Good Friday”

Plot :
The film talks about a community of eleven women living in Begum Jaan’s brothel against the male domination of two emerging states. With a strong personality and a magnetic presence Begum Jaan, played by Bollywood cinema’s veteran Vidya Balan, singlehandedly manages a group of eight young women—one of whom has a daughter—and an elderly lady, amma (Illa Arun).
These 11 women come from diverse backgrounds: they are of both upper and lower castes, of both Hindu and Muslim faith, but most importantly, the connection and community they share comes from a shared history of past trauma and violence. They’re on the fringes of society, and have been abandoned by their respective families, and all they have is each other.
Also living with them are two men: the pimp Surjeet (Pitobash Tripathy) and the guard Salim . Another, a man called “Master,(Vivek Musharan) regularly comes to visit with educational materials for the little girl.

When the agents of Partition threaten to tear down Begum Jaan’s brothel, she and the other prostitutes retaliate with all they have, earning the respect of the very men who see them as nothing more than objects of pleasure.

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Technical

Rajkahini is one of those films that demands attention no doubt — despite some obvious flaws.
Right from the splendid visuals, and the courage to bring a dark phase of India’s history back to life and composing each frame with some emotion rooted in some form of injustice, each injustice ultimately linked to a man-dominated world.
Very nicely the film manages to point out the basic difference between a man and a woman, which is non-comparable.
Though Shyam Benegal’s Mandi (1983), had a similar premise with Shabana Azmi as a madam reigning over gaggle of sex workers,

The first scene of the film which begins in present day Delhi where a couple is chased by a bunch of drunkards in a deserted CP. An old woman comes to their rescue seems unecessary and forced.

Begum Jaan ultimately fails because of its flawed screenplay. The timelapse and the story suffers from pacing problem.
The climax is dragged and loud.
There is not much change in the hindi version compared to the original film.

The intension and the plot was good, but the screenplay could have been better and tighter.

The camera work by Gopi Bhagat was okay..In few places the shaky camera movement didn’t quite work for me and especially the ‘half profile’ framing looked odd in few scenes.

Music :

Anu Malik music was average but it quite blended with the narration.

Performances :

As for the performances — be it Rajit Kapoor or Ashish Vidyarthi, who play two friends who find themselves on opposite sides of the border, the small-town cop played by Rajesh Sharama, the pimp with a heart played by Pitobash Tripathy or the ruthless contract killer played by Chunky Pandey — all shine in their well etched-out roles.
Ashish Vidyarthi and Rajit Kapoor have shown the turmoil brewing inside two friends who have seen the worst of Hindu-Muslim riots and are faced with the task of uprooting Begum Jaan from her queen-dom.But Chunky Pandey is a revelation, It’s not just his physical transformation for the role, but the way he has gone about changing his entire persona .
Great job done by Gauhar Khan, Pallavi Sharda Ridhyma M Tiwaare and ofcoz our very own Vidya Balan who nails it once again.

Overall :

You can go ahead and give it a try for Vidya Balan…she never fails to impress-)-)

My Review : Mukti Bhawan

My Review : Mukti Bhawan

My Review : Mukti Bhawan – Hotel Salvation

Prelude :
Moksha is the Hindu concept of liberation from the trials and tribulations of life. It is when you give up all materialistic pleasures and become one with your self or the Atman.
A dip in the Ganges to wash off your sins is the most popular concept but holy cities in India like Banaras are filled with devouts asking priests to liberate them. And this one house or hostel: aptly named Mukti Bhavan – gives people just that. Liberation from their life and a promise of Moksha.
Though it sounds strange, Mukti Bhavan sees thousands of visitors every year.The house is not a place where people go to commit suicide. Or it is not even a place of mercy killing. Only people right on their death-bed are allowed.
People who are on their death-bed can check-in to Mukti Bhavan and stay there for 2 weeks. However, if the person does not die within 2 weeks, he/she has to leave Mukti Bhavan and give his/her room to someone else.

And this idea of Moksha becomes the concept of Shubhashish Bhutiani’s debut feature Mukti Bhawan.

Plot :

Set in Banaras, the film revolves around a 77-year-old Dayanand Kumar who all of a sudden informs his family that his time to die has arrived, and he wants to visit Banaras for his last journey. Since Rajeev can’t let his father visit Varanasi alone, he decides to accompany him inspite for his tough work schedule..
In Benaras, Kumar prepares himself for the release from the cycle of life, death and reincarnation by checking in to a moksha retirement lodge ‘Mukti Bhawan’
Rest you need to watch the film to find out.

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Technical :
Gifted Film Director 25 year old Bhutiani does an amazing job,He beautifully handles the relationship that a son shares with a father awaiting his death. I loved the manner in which it evolves.
The cinematography by David Huwiler and Michael McSweeney is simply mind blowing and they have portrayed Banaras nothing like what we have seen it in mainstream movies till now.
The screenplay written by Bhutiani and Asad Hussain is tight, powerful and convincing.

Performances :
The father-son bond portrayed by power house of talents Lalit Behl and Adil Hussain is the USP of the film. Geetanjali Kulkarni and Palomi Ghosh through their well balanced performances make the film incredibly watchable.

Verdict :
Go and watch Mukti Bhawan – Hotel Salvation and experience the magic this great piece of cinema holds. The concept and treatment might make you forget commercial cinema. Strongly Recommended.

My Review : Naam Shabana

My Review : Naam Shabana

Prelude :
I am 100% sure and taking for granted that most of you have watched Neeraj Pandey’s one of most accomplished work ‘BABY’ and I am sure you do remember the brief cameo of Shabana Khan, where she is facing off against a terrorist in a hotel room. Tapsee Pannu’s character Shabana Khan was easily one of the high points in Baby.
This Spin-off from Baby provides the back-story of intelligence agent Shabana, and chronicles how she becomes a spy. Since the film is set a few years before the establishment of Baby, we learn why she has been recruited by a top-secret intelligence agency that has been tracking her for some time.

Review :
So, after watching ‘Naam Shabana’ the previous night, all I can say is that don’t compare it to ‘BABY’ as it has no connection or resemblance to the latter. Naam Shabana, touted to be India’s first spin off and one among several movies headlined by heroines, unfortunately does not quite live up to its franchise-(

Plot :
The story talks about Shabana, a middle class Muslim girl with a bad past living with her mother in Mumbai.
The first half of the film talks about her love life and how she is the chosen one. Both the segments, First and second are two different stories overall and has no connection.
The second half, she is recruited by a secret intelligence agency asks her to pin down the most-wanted international arms dealer.

Technical :
Right from the story line to the screenplay, the overall plot is nothing new, half baked and predictable. It lacks the depth of A Wednesday, Baby and Special 26.
The script is filled with loopholes and seemed crafted ( Don’t want to mention them as it will give out spoilers)

The action sequences look powerful and dangerous, special thanks to Cyrill Raffaeli and Abbas Ali Moghul, the action directors.

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Performances :

Tapsee Pannu is top notch as Shabana but I still feel she could have performed those emotional scene in a better manner.
Akshay Kumar has an extended cameo in Naam Shabana as Ajay,His character looks silly and stupid.

Anupam Kher is good in a brief role as tech wiz Shuklaji. Manoj Bajpayee as Shabana’s boss and Danny Denzongpa as his boss perform well with a lot of ease.

Malayalam superstar Prithviraj Sukumaran is okay as the main villain but gets very less screen time and scope to perform.

Verdict :
Overall, Naam Shabana is an average film which lacks depth. Watch it at your own risk. No recommendation.

My Review : PHILLAURI

My Review : PHILLAURI

What does Phillauri mean ? or Who is a Phillauri ? this was a very common question asked after the trailer was launched. Well ! before I get down to my review, the term Phillauri means someone living in or belonging to Phillaur city ‣ Phillaur is name of a city in Jalandhar (Punjab).
Now, why did this film have such a title ? let’s discuss.

Post her debut production venture NH10, Anushka Sharma goes supernatural in “Phillauri,” a feel-good flick about a young Canada return Lad accidentally gets married to an unsatisfied ghost while getting rid of the Manglik curse. The Punjab-set Indian rom-com is a crowd-pleaser but doesn’t quite make the mark-(

Plot :
A Canada Return Kanan returns back to Punjab to get married to his child hood sweetheart and discovers that he is ‘Manglik” He accidentally meets a friendly spirit named ‘Sashi’ after he reluctantly marries a tree to ward off any threats to his love life. Phillaur is a village in Punjab, where this spirit used to live nearly a century ago.
Shashi is an obedient younger sister of a man who is a a strict disciplinarian. He keeps her under his strict rules and regulations and is totally unaware that she writes poetry.
Sashi gets attracted to the local ‘gawaiyaa’ who is willing to change his lafangapan for the love of a good woman.
Things for Sashi doesn’t go as planned and it leads her to commit suicide. Rest of the film – Kanan helps her to get peace and justice.

Technical :
Phillauri rests on a very average story line and screen play. The first 40 mins is fun and entertaining but the fun tends to wear off after dat. The intermission portion happens pretty soon and you have hardly got a proper hang of the story.
Post intermission is slow and becomes very predictable and uninteresting and long. There is no connection between the two stories and overall offers nothing fresh or novel.
I hated the climax…it seemed long, dragged and boring.
The audiences in search of a few easy laughs won’t be disappointed — though they might secretly wish for more interesting twists and layers in the story.
Debut Director Anshai Lal has done a good job in terms of Direction but I feel he should have chosen or written a better script.

Performances :

Suraj Sharma is good and convincing as the Canada returned Punjabi ‘Kanan’ he is funny, timid and seems very natural.

Debutant Mehreen Pirzada looks beautiful and does a great job as Anu.

Veteran actors Diljit Dosanjh and Anushka Sharma share a great chemistry and both of them are splendid.

The casting and performances are one of the highlights of the film.

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Music :
The music of the film is composed by Shashwat Sachdev with Jasleen Royal as a guest composer while the lyrics have been penned by Anvita Dutt Guptan, Aditya Sharma, Neeraj Rajawat and Shellee.

The songs are soulful and soothing especially ‘Dum Dum’ and ‘Sahiba’

Verdict :

Overall, Phillauri is an average film but you can go ahead and give it a try.. Have a great Saturday.

My Review : Trapped

My Review : Trapped

Which one of us, while sitting cozily on our comfortable beds and hasn’t shivered to imagine being locked inside an empty flat located absolutely at the top floor, where not even the birds are gonna hear you? What happens when you are stranded alone, forced to survive inside an empty flat? In real life, you grow skeletally thin, and become deeply traumatised by the solitude, unable to communicate properly for months afterwards and in dire need of therapy
As potentially panic-inducing as this vision may be, there’s also something alluring about it. It’s like standing on the edge of a cliff and imagining that fatal leap into the unknown.
This eerie kind of feel is the core of ”Trapped,’‘ Super talented Rajkumar rao in collaboration with the director Vikramaditya Motwane successfully brings those visions thrillingly and hauntingly to life.
With the perfect blend of tone and timing, ‘‘Trapped” visually locks us into to deserted flat with no electricity or water.
We remain stranded there just long enough to be given a realistic taste of what it’s like to have to fend for your self without any support or help.
it is as compelling a cinematic adventure as any Bollywood has produced. The center of the film is an unforgettably gripping, heart-in-your-throat evocation of the unbearable loneliness and terror of ultimate abandonment once its hero, stranded and presumed dead, gives up hope of being rescued but still clings tenaciously to life.

Plot :

Shaurya gets stuck in an empty high rise without food, water and electricity.The door, with the key on the wrong side, that slams on his face also ends all his hopes of a beautiful future with the girl he loves.

Technical :
The most devastating sequences, instead of flooding us with music, suspend the soundtrack it allows the sounds of nature to take over. All we hear from Raj Kumar Rao are the grunts and howls of a man exerting himself to stay alive inside a deserted flat. Ultimate isolation, the movie doesn’t have a jarring soundtrack except what the environment churns up along with the ringing in our ears, our heartbeats and the voices chattering in our minds.
There are intense moments that are hard to bear, such as the one where Shaurya desperately tries to drink his ‘Piss’ due to lack of water and to quench his thirst. Second scene, where he very conveniently roasts a pigeon and eats it. Meanwhile everything is building up to that ultimate decision of whether, and how, he will get out of the flat. These moments pins you down, shakes you up and leaves you glad to be alive.
Trapped is a remarkably resonant story of luck, fate, perseverance, of confronting adversity and death. You inevitably thinks of Robinson Crusoe, but the ending also brings us to think that a strong will can make anything possible.

Three cheers to Raj Kumar Rao, who’s superb acting abilities connects the viewer to the character almost instantly, and Mr. Motwane‘s speedy, jumpy style keeps us hooked on to the film till the end. The wonderful thing about ‘Trapped’, though, is that it doesn’t shy from this fact. It’s not a film about superheroism, necessarily, because this is about a man who uses the same skill sets to get himself out of the trap. It’s not a movie with a strong message; there is nothing and nobody else to blame — Shaurya literally falls victim to his own carelessness. It is a film about optimism, about how one man, arguably takes charge of his destiny and turned things right around.
‘Trapped’ should really work, because the story line is believable. This is one of those survival stories that can happen to any of us:

Overall : Trapped is surprisingly fun, effervescent against-the-odds drama that offers an upbeat moral without the usual punishing survival-story clichés. Not for the faint-hearted, mind.
  A Must Watch

My Review : Badrinath Ki Dulhania

My Review : Badrinath Ki Dulhania

Prelude :

Even though dowry has been illegal in India since 1961, it is still prevalent. Actual numbers are not known, but anecdotally about half of the weddings in India involve dowry.

Still, it’s rarely reported as a crime. According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, in a country with nearly 10 million weddings a year, less than 10,000 cases of dowry were reported in 2015.
This curse of Dowry System must be eradicated forth with at any cost. Women from every walk of life, literate or illiterate, poor or rich, young or old must unite together and come forward to protect their own honour and interest.
Dharma Productions latest venture Badrinath Ki Dulhania talks about the widespread sexist mindset — In maximum indian household, A boy is an asset and a girl is a liability — against the perpetual business of marriage bringing together a culture of demand and supply.

Plot :

Badrinath Ki Dulhania is a rom-com about a useless Jhansi boy ‘Badri’ and career-minded Kota girl.’Vaidehi’ .
Badrinath, a bachelor thinks himself to be a over-qualified Bachelor as he belongs to a very influential family of Jhansi but his confidence goes out the drain when he meets one of the most ambitious young girl of ‘Kota’ Vaidehi.
In the Past, Vaidehi was conned by her fiancée, who took away her money and ran away. So when Badri proposes marriage as part of a lucrative package that’ll see her sister married and will also see her father saved of a huge dowry payment he can’t afford, she agrees, even though her mind is set on becoming an air hostess.
Spoilers : On the day of her marriage, Vadehi escapes to Mumbai leaving Badri at the alter. Badri’s ‘Hiitler father’ instructs Badri to either teach her a lesson or leave this place,this brings about a Badri’s revenge spree against Vaidehi.
Well ! Rest of the story – Badri has to go and get his Dulhania.

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Technical :

Though I did love the film, I had few reservations and problems with some portions and aspects.

I found Vaidehi’s character too be over ambitious and selfish..I mean, How could a person (Girl/Boy) put her family’s repuitation at risk and run away to pursue her dreams ?? I hated her post climax lolz

Badri getting molested : The male character in this film is almost raped, the incident is turned into a humourous scene. A male can also be a victim of sexual violence and it’s nothing funny about it.

The first half is fast paced, but towards the second half, the film swaps Jhansi for Singapore, the writing does suffer but the performances saves it.

The overall message and the content of the film really appealed to me as I seriously feel that women deserves to be equally treated and have the right to pursue their dream. I am dead against Dowry too.

Performances :

Varun Dhawan totally nails it as Badri and carries the film successfully on his shoulder. Varun is on his way to become a Mega Star for sure.

Alia Bhatt was simply amazing and convincing as Vaidehi. There can be no one who could have done this role as good as her.

Special thanks to the super talented Aparshakti Khurana Shweta Basu PrasadGuahar Khan once again make an impression in their respective roles.

Congrats Dhaval Barbhaya “Badhai Ho”

Verdict :
Overall, Badrinath Ki Dulhania is not what it appears to be. It is heart warming, Thought Provoking and contains a strong message with a touch of commercial elements. A Must Watch.

My Review : Split

My Review : Split

Prelude :

Mr M. Night Shyamalan has always been one of my favourite film directors. I still remember, when I was in class 6, I had watched his debut film ‘The Sixth Sense’ which totally blew me away. Later, I followed all his work right from ‘The Unbreakable’,’Signs’ ;Village’ Lady in the water etc. I really don’t know how many of us,youngsters (I still call myself) and aspiring film directors follow his work.
If you don’t…please start following.
All his movies have twisted endings,they’re all scary. You will also notice a strong emotional perspective too.
Good News – Shyamalan is back again after a series of misfires. it’s hard to imagine any writer/director sustaining a career based almost entirely on scaring the audiences.

Review :
Right from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” to Brian De Palma’s “Dressed to Kill,” a similar split personality theme was implemented— though Director M. Night Shyamalan goes to a different level is talking about DID in “Split,”. Treating dissociative identity disorder not as the twist, but as the premise on which this compelling abduction thriller is founded.

Plot :
Three teenagers, Claire, Marcia and outsider Casey are kidnapped and held captive by “Dennis”, one of 23 personalities present in the mind of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a victim of childhood abuse diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. Kevin has 24 separate and distinct personalities and seems to be able to alter his physiology, neurochemistry, and accent with every one.
Trapped underground in an unknown location, the girls spend several days trying to escape. Their every attempt will have you biting your fingernails. McAvoy’s totally all the unpredictable personalities manages to gain the upper hand, while the girls try to make sense of the information before them.
Dennis and company, meanwhile — it’s mostly Barry, actually — consult with a therapist, Dr. Fletcher, who lives alone in a gracious, house and who is played by the wonderful Betty Buckley. Dr. Fletcher’s basically explains the movie to the audience and keeps us hooked.
Rest- GO AND WATCH IT FOR YOUR SELF.

Technical :

Mike Gioulakis extraordinary camera work places the movie to a different level. James Newton Howard’s music makes it more haunting and scary to watch.
The screenplay and the narrative is tight and keeps you hooked right till the last minute.

PS : The final scene from Split was David’s (Bruce Willis Guest Appearance) realization that Mr. Glass from the first film was right; there are superpowered people in the world.

Perfomances :

James McAvoy steals the show playing various personalities with a lot of ease and perfection. We don’t get to see each of the 23 personalities, but Shyamalan wisely chooses to develop only a handful of them. Spli belongs to him.

Anya Taylor-Joy will surprise you with her price less performance.

Verdict :

Split 2016 filmA MUST WATCH-)-)