Nasha- A Train-wreck of a Film which is so bad that its actually good fun

Poonam Pandey- The Queen of Online Sleaze. The woman who has used the mantra strip your way to success so well that even a couple of case studies wouldn’t be able to do justice to her talent. In an industry teeming with casting couches and other malpractices, she chose a path less trodden and achieved the ultimate dream of millions of starlets-To bag a film as a lead heroine. Genre be damned. And this I believe requires balls which our lady has surely, tons of it in fact.

Moving on to the film, there are two kinds of bad films. One where in the maker knows the material at hand is abysmal, but he will still try to package it so that the audience may get fooled. The second is when the maker knows the material at hand is so bad, that the only way to go about it is to make it really really bad. Nasha thankfully belongs to the second category and makes no bones about it. It marks the return of Amit Saxena to film direction after nearly a decade with a film like i earlier mentioned is so bad that after a while you accept whatever is happening on screen and start having fun. Billed as the most erotic film ever, Nasha leaves you completely cold as it fails to live up to even that promise and I suggest all fans of Miss Pandey to start following her on Twitter pronto. That i promise shall offer more bang for your buck as compared to this self styled sleaze fest.

Coming to the story of this film, (yes it did have one, however harebrained that was) It is about a group of school students who seem to be unwatnted at home even during summer vacations and stay back in school which gives the director the perfect excuse to retain just 10 odd students who are used like fancy props to fuel this erotic saga.

Poonam Pandey plays a teacher whose only job is to raise the testosterone level of the students and she does so by prancing around in bits and pieces of clothing and if that wasn’t enough, calls her boyfriend over to make out with him at every available opportunity in front of the students. I wish anyone ever had a teacher like that. That apart, she ends up trying to get the students together for a drama rehearsal which doesn’t have a plot and is only defined by a theme (I aint kidding here). During the so called rehearsals, the kiddo who anyway has a girlfriend to practice his art of lovemaking at any given opportunity falls for Miss Pandey’s charms and ends up stalking here everywhere, before finally catching her in the throes of passion. If that wasn’t enough, he ends up seeing her just as nature intended. Of course, the audience just gets to imagine that bit. Almost when you are bored out of the wits with the moral mumbo jumbo, comes the climax where Poonam Pandey decides to realize our kiddo’s ultimate fantasy before leaving him high and dry forever. And that in short is what Nasha is all about.

The good thing about the film is the performance of the kid Shivam Patil who lives and breathes the role. As far as Poonam Pandey is concerned, any actress who is out of work could have done this role and could have done this FAR BETTER.

The technical aspects are just about average with one standout track, which is the title track. It is quite catchy.

One small note i made was the background score had one tune which was so good that the makers decided to use it throughout the film, situation be damned.

So, for all its worth Nasha is just an apology of a film which thankfully doesn’t really claim otherwise. And considering the opening it has taken, it has left behind the Neil Nitin Mukesh and the Preity Zintas of Bollywood strictly with respect to box office collections, which just goes on to prove what Miss Pandey is capable of.

Her success is a slap on the face of Bollywwod as she has become what she wants to, on her own terms and that is frankly speaking next to impossible.

I just couldn’t end this without adding what a friend had to say after this film. “What if Jiah Khan had been offered this film? Probably it would have saved her life” and probably the film as well. I couldn’t really agree more.

My Rating- 1/5

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Ramaiya Vastavaiya : Fun in parts, Regressive mostly……

Prabhu Deva returns with his third offering. And like his previous two ventures, its a remake of a regional film. But here is the most interesting bit of news. For the first time, he has remade his own film. Now when you do something like that, you tend to iron out all your flaws which plagued the original and come out with a film which is similar in spirit, but at the same time is refreshingly different. And this is where Ramaiya Vastavaiya fails. It is no match for the spunky chemistry displayed by Siddharth and Trisha in the original film titled ‘ Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana’. Now i do agree the actors in the original were clearly of a higher pedigree as compared to debutante Girish Taurani and Shruti Haasan. But then again somehow the magic goes missing in this Hindi adaptation.

The story is a no brainier really. Boy meets girl, falls in love, the girl reciprocates after initial rejection and just when the romance is cruising at auto pilot mode, the society decides to play spoilsport and they drift apart. But boy is determined and follows the girl to her village and finally wins the heart of everyone. Simply said and simply done. Tons of films have been churned on this story-line and there will be tons more. But the presentation is what matters. And there again this film has nothing new to offer.

There are scenes which are oddly funny in the film, but there are too less to leave any impact. The acting by the debutante Girish Taurani is terribly hammy and it irritates you after a while. Shruti Haasan who was terrific in D-Day doesn’t pass any muster here and does a role which any girl could have done. Sonu Sood plays a role akin to what Arbaaz Khan played in Pyaar Kiya toh Darna Kya. A major disappointment is an actor of the caliber of Nasseer playing such a  terrible role. He owes one to the viewers. Randhir Kapoor and Poonam Dhillon are routine parents to the hero who appear and disappear  whenever asked to do so. Jacqueline Fernandez appears in an item number, and I have no idea what is a village belle doing with braided hair. Logically insane, the song is good fun while it lasts.

If there is anything which you take back home from the film, it is the film’s music. Sachin-Jigar are in top form here and with Atif, they create pure magic. Prabhu Deva’s direction is plain ordinary and nothing to write home about.

Overall, the film tries to revive what the viewers loved in the 80s and 90s, and I guess the film hasn’t really been rejected proves that such films do have an audience base and till the time, that exists, we shall have to grin and bear it.

My rating- 1.5/5



D- Day: This one is a gritty and RAW watch which keeps you engrossed throughout.

Zero Dark Thirty anyone? That brilliant film on Osama’s capture won millions of hearts and fans worldwide. This one sets about on a similar mission. Not to win several hearts. But to capture a wanted terrorist. The terrorist in question is hands down the best Dawood portrayal we have had ever. I say this not because of Rishi Kapoor’s excellent portrayal of the D Man but because in this film Dawood is shown probably the way we imagine him. An enigma of sorts. More on that later, D- Day as a film comes across as a fine mix of fact and fiction which has been blended superbly keeping the tastes of aam junta in mind who expect our thrillers to be high on action and energy.

This film will not break any records, neither will it set the box office on fire. But like wine, this will grow on your mind. It would take rapt attention on your part to digest this film as it refuses to spoon-feed the viewer. Nikhil Advani delivers his best film since Kal Ho Naa Ho, and that was 10 years back. Meanwhile, he stooped down to distasteful levels and served us crass films like Chandni Chowk to China and overlong love story tripe like Salaam-e-Ishq. But with this film he returns and how.

Getting hold of a fabulous star-cast is one thing and extracting superlative performances out of them is purely something else. Advani succeeds on both counts and the result is a freshly baked crime thriller.

Cutting to the chase, the story is about bringing Goldman (Rishi Kapoor) back to India alive. When the prime minister ( a fine spoof of Manmohan Singh with references of Sonia Gandhi thrown in for good measure) refuses to permit a mission to officially bring Goldman back alive, the director of R & AW Nasseer (a bit out of form here) enlists the services of a an army officer, an explosives expert and a criminal who would be pardoned incase he returns successful. The troika sets off for Pakistan where they are joined by another R & AW employee who has been waiting forever (read 9 years) for that opportune moment to catch Goldman alive.  All 4 of them come together and almost kidnap Goldman before it goes horribly wrong. How the hunters become the hunted and how do they capture Goldman again forms the rest of the story leading to a brilliant climax.

The performances are all top notch but special mention should be made for Arjun Rampal who is terrific as Major Rudra Pratap Singh. Such searing intensity from the man who many dubbed as a wooden actor. This easily is his best performance.

Irfan Khan is uniformly brilliant and lights up the screen with his eyes and underplays his character beautifully. It is so good to see him getting roles which he can sink his teeth into and deliver marvelous results.

Huma Querishi left me surprised. She is in top form here after Gangs and delivers a knockout performance as the woman among the men. She has all the makings of a superlative actress and with time, she will go places.

Rishi Kapoor is good as usual, but somehow his character takes over and the credit lies in the fact that we see Goldman and not Rishi Kapoor. The man who has gone on a reinvention spree adds another gem to his crown with this performance.

The new actress Shriswara who plays Irfan’s wife is a dynamite of talent and her casting is so apt that not for once does her performance come across as an act. She is unbelievably natural and I would like to see her in more films for sure.

And here I come to the film’s most dazzlying performance. That of Shruti Haasan. She is the soul of the film and quite simply adds gravitas to the story. In a relatively smaller role, she burns up the screen and I must see she has truly arrived and her performance in ‘3’ wasn’t just a one off. In-fact her act in D Day makes me want to watch her more and I wouldn’t be surprised if I land up at a theater to watch the idiotic looking Ramaiyya Vastavaiyya only for her.

The technical crew is fantastic with Tushar Kanti Ray leading the charge on the cinematography front. One of the youngest cinematographers on the block, his snake like camera brings Karachi alive ( shot in Ahmedabad). The music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is terrific with respect to the film. For the second week in succession, I have found their soundtrack more groovy after I have watched the film ( last being Bhaag Milkha Bhaag). The song Alvida is a knockout, especially the way it is pictured. The writers (Niranjan Iyengar and Advani being the prominent ones) deserve kudos here for not getting carried away with the subject in hand and sticking to the most important factor- i.e delivering an entertaining film.

So, for me D-Day is a film which I never really had much hopes on, but what transpired in those two and half hours left me completely transfixed. Extremely topical and extremely well written, this one deserves a watch.

My Rating- 3.5/5



RaanJhanaa-A Spectacular tale of Unbridled Love…..

Today’s films reflect today’s mindset. Or so goes the saying. Taking that into consideration, today’s love is instant. You take the girl out for a cup of coffee and you propose. If she says yes, the love story begins. Otherwise you repeat the situation with another girl. And this trend isn’t just limited to hook ups. It applies to breakups as well. In fact, the couples even end up drifting apart by just SMS-ing each other. I am not saying that. Our so called realistic film makers are.

And that is where Raanjhanaa begs to differ. This is a story of one sided love where our lover compares his devotion for his love on the same pedestal as that of his devotion for god. He believes they are made for each other and he shall wait for ever to acquire her. Now doesn’t this sound as silly reading? I mean everlasting love has become such an alien term for us.

This saga of love which crosses all boundaries is the story of Raanjhanaa and its lead players Dhanush K Raja and Sonam Kapoor light up the screen with a performance so god damn marvelous that it left me dazed long after the film ended.

Embellished with one of the best musical scores in recent times from the maestro AR Rahman himself, Raanjhanaa flows along much like the Ganga it depicts in quite a lot of its scenes. The city of Benaras becomes a character and along with the lead players and Dhanush’s friends played by Mohd Zeeshan Ayub and Swara Bhaskar, the cast runs riot on screen.

In fact such is the command of all the actors over their craft  that you never once feel you are watching a film which may seem dated. The second half which has been much criticized, for me forms the backbone of the film and sets up the film for its brilliant climax.

Director Anand L Rai is a rare genius, not because he has created a masterpiece. Make no mistake, Raanjhanaa by no means is a masterpiece. It is a BRAVE film which shows us city folks what love means to an average boy in a small city who is beyond worries such as setting up a acareer, saving up for a car or a house and other such mundane activities which rule our lives.

The lingo used in the film is also another reason why you feel for the characters. The dialogues are pure gems and the timing is perfect. Every aspect of Raanjhanaa shows us that it is a labor of love. Not since Udaan has a character emerged on the Hindi screen whom you take home with you, and I did so with Kundan.

And this is why, i accept that Raanjhanaa is a terrific film in-spite of its flaws because behind every flaw seems a reason and that reason for me was totally justified.

In-case you haven’t watched it yet, go relish the experience. There are only 2 reactions you shall have-either you will love it or loathe it. Both ways, THE film wins.



BhaaG MilkhA BhaaG- A terribly exploitative film which overstays its welcome….

When i watched the first teaser of Rakeysh Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (BMB from here on) way back in November 2012 , it had me hooked. A bio pic on one of our greatest sporting icons seemed like a mouthwatering concept. So, i walked into the film expecting mehra to set the screen ablaze. And after an agonizing 3 hrs and 10 mins, i was left awed by one man-Farhan Akhtar. And this man’s total surrender to a character blew me away. It is by far THE BEST performance i have seen in recent times and that was the only redeeming factor in this regressive mess of a film.

Biopics as a genre haven’t really caught the fancy of our film makers yet, so films like Paan SIngh Tomar and BMB are an exception. But the spunk and grit which made Paan Singh Tomar a runaway success, that is missing here. And to make a film on an icon and then just scratch the surface is not doing true justice to his charismatic abilities.

And here in lies my problem with BMB. It is a film which is tedious and exploitative. It tries to abuse slow motion to the hilt to create that lump in your throat moments but beyond a point, the only pain you feel is your back which kinda hopes THE END pops up asap.

With top notch technicians at his disposal and one of the finest writers at his command, BMB was expected to be a milestone film. Add Farhan top the mix and you have a classic ready to serve. But there in, it goes horribly wrong and its so bloody wrong that if I were Milkha Singh, i would have felt shortchanged.

The reason for Milkha not going to Pakistan is so bloody obvious that it feels immaturely kiddish to watch a 3 hour long story unfold punctuated by that silly question time and again that why wouldn’t Milkha run in Pakistan? And talking about Milkha running, I believe every character was just given one brief- You need to scream Bhaag Milkha Bhaag at the top of your lungs at-least once during your screen-time.!!!!

The performances are all top notch. Farhan Akhtar’s bravura act is complimented by DIvya Dutta whose act reverberates extreme pathos that you carry her character home with you. And Sonam Kapoor in a 10 minute role takes your heart away. Her charm and screen presence is mesmerizing. And Pawan Malhotra and Prakash Raj are equally brilliant in their characters. It is Yuvraj’s father Yograj Singh who sticks out like a sore thumb. His character comes across as a caricature and the less said about him, the better.

The technicalities are A-grade with that magician Binod Pradhan lensing Bhaag Milkha Bhaag so commendably that you fall in love with the visuals. As i mentioned earlier, this is a film where slow mos have been abused to the hilt but that takes nothing away from Pradhan’s magic. Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music is so foot tapping and terrific that not for a moment did i miss Rahman’s presence, who otherwise is a mehra regular.

So that brings me to the only two culprits who messed up this saga so horribly that it has taken Indian cinema back by 20 years. Prasoon Joshi and Rakeysh Mehra. With the script which lacks direction and with a director who has a wasted script, the film fails to rise above ordinary levels and with so much talent at your disposal, expecting a good film is not asking for much.

All said and done, this Milkha ends up running a little longer than what we would have savored!!!!!

My rating-2/5.



LooTera- A Marvelous Masterpiece!!!!!!

You cant really start with a mindset that I shall create a masterpiece. Masterpieces happen, not by intent but by chance. When content marries breathtaking narration,then a masterpiece emerges out of the ordinary work around us. And this is what Lootera is. It promised us a poignant romance, a sweeping saga of betrayal in love and a daft inspiration to that other masterpiece O Henry’s Last Leaf. But what emerges on screen is sheer poetry. Vikramaditya Motwane, take a bow. As Anurag Kashyap rightly mentioned, you truly are a film maker amongst directors.

This is a film which doesn’t really set out to be anything. It just takes you on a journey,sweeping you off your feet into a timeless era where love has still not lost its innocence. In fact Vikramaditya has such control over his subject that he makes this period romance appear fairy-talesque where love transcends boundaries and the world is still full of goodness.

The plot is nothing new but the freshness is what you lose your heart to. The story takes place in the early 1950’s when zamindars lived a life of royalty and pride. It introduces us to a girl who lives a protected life wherein every wish of hers is treated as a command. Therein walks into her life a price charming and sweeps her off her feet. How the romance transpires before the shocking revelation happens,forms the crux of the story. Now I shall not spoil the fun for you by divulging the plot details. In fact i shall let you experience this cinematic effort,just the way it should be. Without any preconceived notions.

The performances are so good that I for was left amazed. Ranveer Singh for starters has given us an idea of what he is capable of in that gem “Band Bajaa Baaraat’, but it is Sonakshi Sinha who blew me away. Here was this 100 crore girl (pun intended) who we are so used to watching as a 40 plus hero’s arm candy, displaying a range of emotions which i never knew she was capable of. Truly,kudos to Vikramaditya for extracting this Sonakshi out of the mindless clutter she has been appearing in film after film.

The music breathes life into the film and is truly the backbone of the film. Amit Trivedi weaves a spell with such brilliant tracks,that the songs itself ensure your money’s worth. Yes,his background score has that stolen piece from an easily forgotten film ‘One Day’, but i guess with a title like Lootera, the musician for the first time has tried his hand at westward inspiration.

The camerawork is of such terrific quality that every frame just melts into another one and the lighting is just apt to create an ambiance which shall suck you into Pakhi’s and Varun’s world. Mahendra Shetty,the man behind the lenses can well expect to be flooded with offers after this brilliant effort.

Finally,the direction. Vikaramaditya Motwane, who has assisted film makers of the ilk of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Anurag Kashyap has married beautifully the styles of both the film makers in both of his works,namely Udaan and Lootera. His films are realistically opulent and both his films are instant classics. Infact to follow up a successful first film with an equally good or better second film is not an easy task ton achieve and most of the directors fade into oblivion when their second effort goes wrong. But Vikram belongs to a different class. he stamps his brilliance in every frame and leaves you with a lump in your throat with his cinematic masterpiece.

All, in all, if you have anything important to do this weekend which does not allow you to include Lootera in your calendar, then I strongly recommend a reschedule not because this is a must watch. It is because masterpieces are served once in a blue moon and you clearly do not want a friend of yours to recount how brilliant the film is. Trust me, you want to experience this bonanza firsthand. For me, Vikramaditya Motwane has ensured that his name shall be remembered for eons to come and if Udaan was his first stab at brilliance ,then with Lootera he climbs a step higher. To many more.

My Rating- 3.5/5