Now if you have followed the trend of Akshay Kumar films over the past decade, you simply don’t know what to expect from the man. Amid-st the whole lot of trash he churns out year after year, there comes a film which is really good. But the rarity of a good film is what irritates the hell outta you. The last so called good film from Akshay’s stables? Quite easily- Special 26. Does Holiday make it to that list? No, it doesn’t. But then it is not a trashy film. It is a thriller which is honest, earnest and if it had been a bit crisper, would have thrilled as well. But Alas, at 2 hours and 51 mins, the film overstays its welcome.
First things first. The South Indian hit machine AR Murugadoss returns to Hindi films after half a decade. In fact he was the man who started the 100 crore trend and is thus to blame for all the nonsensical number crunching which films have been reduced to. On a serious note, he almost always strikes gold whenever he makes a film. So Holiday which is a frame by frame remake of his last blockbuster Thuppaki is a film which plays to Akshay’s strengths. As a one man army out to save the city of Mumbai from a gang of sleeper cells, Akshay jumps, fights, punches, dances and parties away to glory.
It is his story from start to end. As Capt. Virat Bakshi, he stumbles across a terrorist who blows up a bus and sets in motion a chain of events wherein the city comes under threat. Although Akshay manages to avert the disaster in a hare brained fashion, he manages to extract the villain from his liar and induce some dialogue baazi into the film before killing him and saving the city once again.
Moral of the story, you may ask? It is simply the fact that a soldier is never off duty. What about the leading lady Sonkashi Sinha, I hear…Well, she comes on screen, sings a couple of songs and vanishes. The film isnt all that bad and is good fun while it lasts and if you have even a wee bit of liking for Akshay and his antics, you will love the film. Go watch and decide which side you are on.
The Queen arrives again, this time in a bad ass avatar. Flavor of the season Kangana Ranaut returns 7 weeks after her biggest blockbuster in a role which is everything which Queen was not. A woman who swears and kills every second is something we don’t see much in Indian films. But director Sai Kabir gives us a new age Bandit Queen who is phun and extremely phasunable. An attempted westerner, again a genre very new to Indian films, works like a charm in the first part before coming apart in the second half. Alas, if only the fun had lasted a lil more.
The film takes you to Chambal where Alka Singh rules. She shoots and kills with elan and wants to possess everything. Enter Vir Das, who in an attempt to take Kangana for a ride gets stuck as her toy boy. Along with Piyush Mishra who plays Alka’s mama and guardian, this film chugs along quite nicely in the first half which introduces us to Alka’s quirks. A black comedy in every sense, it is intriguing and fun at the same time. But everything comes apart in the second half once Alka gets pregnant and becomes a typical girl which we all thought she isn’t before a rousing finale which leaves the scope for a sequel.
As an idea, I give full marks to director Sai Kabir. As an all conquering woman dacoit, Revolver Rani works. And Kangana again is a revelation. But saddled with a half baked screenplay and dull songs, there is as much as she can do. The charm and wittiness in the script which made Queen such a lovely film is missing here and that is one reason why Revolver Rani collapses. Nevertheless, it is a bold attempt and such films should be encouraged.
If a hatke film is your requirement, then Revolver Rani should do just fine. Expecting a Queen kinda encore would leave you disappointed.
There was a time when Indian books rarely witnessed cinematic translations. Our films were mostly the same old wine served in a new bottle. Then came a new breed of film makers who wrote stories which were edgy and fun. But some how once in a while, there was always a film which was adapted from a book. Chetan Bhagat changed all that. The most read Indian author writes books with a single point agenda- to see them made into films. And I will not disagree that most of stories have a seed which can see fabulous cinematic translations if only it is innovated well. This is where Kai Po Che worked and 2 States fails. There is nothing new which 2 States offers and stays loyal to its literary source. But that is the least of its problems. at 2 hrs 30 mins, its a film which is 2 long, 2 boring and 2 pointless which should have ideally ended in less than 2 hours. Why then is it doing so well? Blame it on the promotional campaign, the fan following of 2 States the novel and Alia Bhatt. Yes you read that right. The 2 film old Alia Bhatt scorches the screen and is the single most redeeming factor of the film.
The story is about a typical boy and girl who fall in love and agree to marry each other. What they sweat over for the rest of the film is marrying their families. The North vs South debate is stretched like a chewing gum and there wasn’t a single cliche which the director missed. As the film huffs and puffs to its end, we see both the leads Krish and Ananya slogging over getting accepted by the other family.
I would give credit where its due. Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt make for a cute couple, but in front of Alia’s charisma, Arjun’s act simply pales. The man who must be used to rough and tough roles by now, tries his hand at playing a upscale Delhi boy for the first time and doesn’t really falter. To support the sprightly young pair, we have Amrita Singh who still has the gravitas and Ronit Roy who snarls his way through as the boy’s parents and Revathi and Shiv Subramanium who are graceful in their parts.
With a spunky soundtrack and beautiful cinematography, all the film needed was crisp editing and that would have made it work like a charm. But sadly, that is not the case and the film remains a string of beautiful images strung together which as independent scenes make for a good watch, but as a whole film tests your patience.
Director Abhishek Varman makes a confident debut and the combo of Dharma and Nadiadwala esnures that he gets the crew and the locations he asked for. IIM Ahmedabad looks beautiful on camera and appears fresh.
But all said and done, it is Alia’s performance alone which I take back home from the film. If her performances in her last 2 films are anything to go by, this is an actress who will go a long way. Calling her phenomenal would be an understatement, sadly cant say the same about the film.
An Amitabh Bachchan film is always a dekko. Why? Simply because he is the biggest superstar our country has produced. We often dont know whether the film is good or bad, we just wanna go and Bachchan it.That was what I decided too. After voting on a Thursday morning, I walked in straight into a show of Bhootnath Returns. After all, the credibility attached to the film made it simply unmissable. The director of the film is one half of the director duo of Chillar Party, that gem of a film which charmed us few years back. And going by what his partner Vikas Bahl achieved with Queen, it was but natural to check out what Nitesh Tiwari who directs Bhootnath Returns had up his sleeve. And when I emerged out of the show with a smile plastered on my face, I knew that I had been simply Bachchaned.
The story takes off where the first installment of Bhootnath ended and Amitabh Bachchan as the lovable Bhjootnath is sent back to earth to scare some kids, something he failed to achieve in his last film. During his mission, he befriends a slum kid funnily called Akhrot (Parth Bhalerao, excellent) who brings him face to face with the problems common men face. How he uses his Bhutiya power and how he campaigns for the election and teaches the country to vote, forms the rest of the film.
Amitabh Bachchan is in fine form as Bhootnath and doesn’t put a foot wrong. Boman Irani as the scoundrel politician offers able able support and Usha Jadhav and Parth Bhalerao as mother and son are excellent. What is most endearing g is the fact that the film has a heart and the issues it takes up are real. What adds to the film is the release timing. This being the election season is the best time to watch a film. A Bhoot asking you to vote. Sounds crazy, but is a riot on screen.
The lack of foot tapping music affects the film to an extent, but the songs work fine in the context of the film. Overall, its a film which is different from the usual and on Amitabh Bachchan’s credibility and star power, it will go far and wide. Give it a watch. This Ghost will surely convert you into a dost.
David Dhawan commonly refereed to as the baap of comedies returns. After his last effort, a cringeworthy remake of Chasme Buddoor, Dhawan must have been looking for ways to reinvent himself. And making a film with his son might have sounded like a perfect reinvention plan. And Varun Dhawan almost pulls it off. With his charm and acting chops, this boy is all set for a long haul in Bollywood and he provides us with ample evidence of that in Main Tera Hero.
The story is about a naughty boy who falls head over heels in love with a girl in his college and oblivious to him, the girl is also the object of affection of a police inspector. How he wins the girl from right under the policewala’s nose forms half of the story. The rest of the story is shot in a large villa where the hero is summoned as he has managed to impress a gangster’s daughter who wants him at all costs.
Both Nargis Fakhri and Ileana DCruz support Varun Dhawan ably, but it is his film and he carries the film through. Whether it be a comic scene or an action scene or an emotional scene, Varun excels and it is only becuase of him that the film is watchable. Arunoday Singh and Rajpal Yadav help keep you entertained and Anupam Kher and Saurabh Shukla as the gangster daddy and his associate are apt in their roles.
With a couple of chartbusters which have already caught on with the youth, there is no doubt that the film will make money. But what is a delight to see is how Varun has matured in just his second film. FOllowing on the footsteps of his fellow co debutants Siddharth and Alia, Varun also shows that the success of Student of the Year was not a flash in the pan.
If you are that interested to watch a film which subscribes typically to the idea of David DHawan’s toilet humour, then it is only Varun who will kep you engaged. If you dont like him, chances are youll walk out of the film midway.
It takes serious guts to even think of attempting a film like Lakshmi, let alone make it. And this is why I have developed a new found respect for Nagesh Kukunoor. The man who seemed to have lost his way in the last few years, returns with a film which I assure will knock the socks off you. A story of a 14 year old girl doomed to a life of flesh trade and her triumphant emergence amidst the debris is the stuff legends are made of. And for that very reson alone, Lakshmi is a legendary film.
The film narrates the journey of 14 year old Lakshmi (Monali Thakur in top form in her debut) who is sold by her father into a life you wouldn’t wish for your worst enemy. Chinna (Nagesh Kukunoor) who is the devil incarnate himself is the man who buys her along with few other girls. He is the younger brother of a politician (Satish Kaushik in form after years) who runs a brothel in the garb of a ladies hostel. The film displays in graphic detail Lakshmi’s transformation from a child woman to a prostitute. She finds solace in the brothel headmistress (Shefali Shah in a terrific role) and her roommate who understand her pain. As she gets used to the life of a sex worker, she never really lets go her ambition to break free and when a NGO guy comes to the rescue of her and other brothel girls, it is only Lakshmi who stands up for a fight. And along with her lawyer (Ram Kapoor in a terrific cameo), Lakshmi shows the world that its not the age which matters, it’s the mileage.
The gut wrenching story of Lakshmi which is supposedly a true story has been narrated in a o holds barred manner by Nagesh Kukunoor which makes it such a riveting watch. And the performances he extracts out of his star cast is just fantastic. In fact it wouldn’t be erroneous to say that this is the finest cast ensemble we have seen in a film this year. And the production design which adds to the agony is top-notch. The grime, the filth of a brothel has been duly replicated. And the music by Tapas Relia is strength of the film. Never really interfering and just flowing with the film, the songs leave an indelible impression. Nagesh Kukunoor manages to do the double whammy here. His acting is incredible in the film. To transform from the soft spoken director we know of to the monster he portrays in the film is insanely good. But it is Monali Thakur who takes your breath away as the titular Lakshmi. If it was her voice which won me over in chartbusters like Sawaar Loon and Zara Zara Touch me, its her acting which I have fallen for this time.
Lakshmi is a film which should be made a mandatory watch. It’s a film with a heart and soul and most importantly, it doesn’t shy away from calling a spade a spade. This is cinema in its truest sense.
The film starts with the original Ragini scratching walls before you are treated to the opening credits which don’t just roll out, but literally blare out of the screen. You need to watch it to understand what I mean. The film then moves to a film launch which is the launch of Ragini MMS (yes film within a film again). And there in sways our Baby Doll in gay abandon. Sunny Leone scorches the screen in that one song and then heaves and thrusts throughout the rest of the film. Parveen Dabbas plays Rocks, a director hell bent on making a Horrex film ( a combination of Horrer and Sex) and takes a motley bunch to the same place where Ragini MMS actually happened. For company he has Sandhya Mridul playing naughty at forty, Anita Hassnandani playing boho at forty and a TV actor who hams to the hilt and a scriptwriter who has nothing to do apart from making a puppy face whenever Sunny is within 100 mts around him. And thus begins the madness. Divya Dutta joins the fun as a psychiatrist trying to solve the puzzle behind Ragini’s looniness. Sunny Leone is in various stages of undress throughout the film. And she is so bloody hot that even the ghost doesn’t bother to join the party. Loosely inspired from The Conjuring, this is what I would call a perfect disaster film. But Alas, with a chartbuster soundtrack, this film is all set to make merry at the box office.
As for the performances, this is Sunny Leone’s best performance and considering she is 175 films old (which includes 2 Hindi films) doesn’t say much. But I must say I enjoyed 1 particular scene in the film. It is when Sunny transforms to her true self and moans her way to glory. She excels in that scene and that apart, the film is as dumb as it can ever get. The climax which was supposed to be Sunny’s acting breakout moment or so she claimed is as weird as the rest of the film. And a film which claims to be a horrex, even the horror and the sexual bits are just for tease. And what’s more, the success of this film ensures we will have to endure a third part. Now that is SCARY!