Queen- You have to leave this film with a smile on your face, its that infectious!!!!!!


Vikas Bahl who is 1/4th of the Phantom group boasting of names such as Anurag Kashyap, Vikram Motwane and Madhu Mantena has done us a favor. The man who co directed Chillar party years back has introduced us to an actress who before this was stuck doing roles which either had her playing a melancholic character or an arm candy to a established hero. Vikas offers us Kangana Ranaut  in her purest, demure-est form and gives us a film which we root for from start to end.

Queen doesn’t boast of a novel story, it doesn’t even boast of never before seen sequences. But it exudes a certain warmth which is hard to ignore. On the lines of English Vinglish, Queen is a tale told straight from the heart and you can actually feel what Rani (Kangana) feels during the film. And in that lies the director’s victory.

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The story kicks off in saddi dilli where in our Rani is excited about her marriage which is 2 days away before her fiancee rejects us. Heartbroken, she decides to go on her honeymoon alone and grows up in the process. Meeting Vijaylakshmi (Lisa Haydon in a fabulous performance) in Paris and running into 3 boys with whom she shares her room in Amsterdam teaches Rani the true value and meaning of life. And that leads us to a climax which leaves a smile plastered on your face.

Kangana Ranaut has always displayed a spark in whatever roles she has done, but the directors have always straddled her with edgy characters. But this time, she seizes the moment and delivers a performance which I am guessing will stay on to be the best of the year unless she overdoes herself with Revolver Rani. Rajkumar rao offers able support as her fiancee Vijay, but doesn’t get much scope. The cinematography by the late Bobby Singh is eye popping and the music by Amit Trivedi is foot tapping awesome.

But it is Kangana, Kangana and Kangana who bowls you over. This woman’s day witness the birth of a Queen. What the hell, just go and watch Queen. You bloody well need a good film and this film needs an audience.

Rating- 4.5/5

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Hasee Toh Phasee – A Spectacular Yin and Yang take on Romance!


When two completely opposite schools of film making come together, the one thing you can be assured of is that you will be served a delicious film. So, when Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap shook hands on a film project, it got me thinking on the template of the film. Thankfully, the film takes the Dharma approach and gives it the Phantom touch to create a film which takes the done to death Bollywood romance and gives it a fresh new coat of paint.

Siddharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra play the perfect Yin and Yang to each other in this Rom com which keeps you smiling all throughout. No slapstick here, nno over the top comedy as well. Just a warm story garnished with dollops of romance and a bucketful of smiles is what we get. And as a bonus we get a fabulous performance from not only the lead actors but also the supporting actors.

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Hasee Toh Phasee is about Siddharth and his love story which begins right at the onset. His love for Adah Sharma is defined by some rules. He needs to continuously prove himself to be worthy of her love and yet he wont let her go as he realizes how difficult it is to get into another relationship. In walks Parineeti Chopra, who plays Adah’s loony sister and sparks fly. Over the course of a week, Sid realizes his love for Pari and decides to take the plunge.

The story isn’t anything new, but its the treatment which wins you over. There are characters whom you simply fall in love with. Like Manoj Joshi who plays Parineeti’s father. His endearing love for his daughter really touches your heart or a Accapella singer from Kanpur whose bunch of funny antics easily win over you.

Throw in some soulful songs, some amazing cinematography and the good ole Bombay seen through a new perspective and you have a film which you have to like. Director Vinil Matthews makes a confident debut and narrates a story which is real as well as endearing. Coming to the actors, Parineeti Chopra is a scene steal-er that we have realized by now. This is her 4th film and she already looks a 50 film veteran by the way she acts. Siddharth Malhotra is a revelation and he plays the cool, silent lover boy with aplomb. A word here for Kashyap’s dialogues- they ROCK!!!

If you have been waiting for a love story which you can relate to, then this it! Go watch Hasee Toh Phasee and the smile you will have plastered on your face at the end of the film would tell you why the film was named so!!

Rating-4/5

BesHaraM- A cringe worthy film which tests the extent of your tolerance!!!!


When was the last time you came out of a Ranbir Kapoor film feeling cheated? For many, the answer would be never. For me, the only unwatchable film in his body of work is Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahaani….That was, till I watched Besharam!!!! I am no one to debate on the man’s talents, clearly in a span of 6 years, he has transformed into a true blue superstar who has built up a reputation of taking up the most challenging roles and dishing out performances we take home with us and he in turn has been taking home the best actor awards every year. But the juggernaut had to end some where and clearly the buck stops here. Ever since I had watched the first promo of this film, I had braced myself up for a rip roaring comedy which would have fresh, peppy music and a solid quota of dishoom dishoom and add to that, the whole Kapoor khandaan package was like a sone pe suhaga.

But then, the music released and the seeds of doubts were sown right there. After giving us one chart buster after another, here was a Ranbir kapoor soundtrack which did not boast of a SINGLE groovy track. Not just that, the music harped back to a different era altogether and it was then I decided to not except too much from this film. 10 laughs and a couple of terrific performances was all i went in expecting. Alas, I came out not even laughing once during the film although the kapoor scion did deliver a rock solid performance. Sadly, the script failed him big time.

The story is about an orphan who grows up to be a car thief. He is the best in the business and is very kicked with his life until he falls in love. And thus begins the road to redemption. Its that simple really. There is nothing more to the story beyond this. Add to this a childless police couple who want to retire rich. Throw in a villain who has a permanent scowl on his face. Every character has been designed in such a manner that in their zaniness, in their madness, you will find relief and fun. Alas, what you end up getting is a film which is so obnoxious that you really double check the director’s pedigree and realize the fact that YES, he is Anurag Kashyap’s brother. Abhinav kashyap who gave us such an iconic character in Chulbul pandey manages to come up with a hero called Babli. Is that even remotely funny? Naah.

Shot amidst the hustle and bustle of Dilli and Chandigarh, the film spends its first half showing us how sweet and good hearted Ranbir’s Babli is beneath that naughty exterior. And in the second half, it makes him fall in love. In the middle of all that, there is truck loads of Potty humour (Literally) and scenes which make you squirm in your seat. I mean who puts a sock in his underwear? I mean I am a big fan of masala films, but the fact is that they should entertain. Besharam clearly forgot that part and the writers came up with a story which did not even deserve to be made as a B film. How then did Abhinav kashyap manage to get stars of the ilk of Ranbir and Rishi Kapoor on board is still a baffling mystery to me.

Ranbir kapoor once again delivers a superlative performance, but there is only this much he can do with such a shoddy script. Rishi kapoor lightens up the screen every time he appears and his final outburst ala Sunny Deol is too Rohit Shetty in attempt but is fun all the same. The ladies in the film are the ones who further contribute in making Besharam a boring and sorry affair. Pallavi Sharda seen earlier in a two scene cameo in Love Breakups Zindagi has just two expressions in her repertoire and she still doesn’t know which one to use when. Terribly miscast. Neetu Singh is too loud and delivers a one note performance.

The music is horrible and the fact that after every 15 mins, a song pops up doesnt really help. The songs are right out of a 90’s film and clearly the famous Jatin-Lalit are incomplete without each other. lalit pandit here is the one to be blamed. The camera work is adequate and captures every frame beautifully. The script as mentioned before is absoultely crassy. But it is the director Abhinav kashyap who dissapoints me the most. After a genre breaking Dabanng, he takes 3 years to pen such a terrible film.

No doubt, the star power of Ranbir kapoor will fetch this film a thunderous start, but with the kind of content this film has, it wouldn’t even come close to the heights Yeh Jawani…had attained collections wise. Unless our gud ol junta takes a liking to this screwed up film. After all, last month we had another puerile release called Grand Masti which has emerged a blockbuster. But die hard Ranbir fans, get ready to pluck your hair out of desperation.

Rating- 1/5

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The Lunch Box – The Tastiest film of the Year!!!!!! Delicious to the core….


Do you remember how you  waited for the day when mummy will serve your favorite sabzi in your dabba? And that big wide grin on your face while relishing that. Life really was that simple. And that is what Lunchbox is about. Director Ritesh Batra narrates a simple, heartwarming tale of love, loneliness and food. The film is extremely minimalist in its approach. The director does not even care to include a background score during most of the film’s runtime and that is the film’s charm. This is also probably the most sound film in recent films. By that i mean, the ambient sound has been captured so perfectly that every sniff, every chop of vegetables, every droplet of water can be heard and felt.

The film is about two individuals, Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) and Ila (Nimrat Kaur). How a one in a million goof up by the Mumbai dabbawallas leads to a tender romance blossoming between the duo is the highlight of the story. Romance of the purest kind, where they exchange notes and share their experiences. And Mumbai as a city is a character in itself in the film. How the metro sometimes alienates you from the world is something the film attempts to showcase. The lead duo is ably supported by Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays Irrfan’s junior at his work place.

Lunchbox probably is the best film I have seen in recent times. It is everything which Ship of Theseus tried to be and failed. It makes you remember your childhood, your neighbors, your companion and all those memories which form an important part of your life.

The technical aspects of the film are marvelous. Lensed perfectly it brings alive the spirit of Mumbai. The rains, the trains, the roads. The bustling metro was last showcased so brilliantly in Wake Up Sid.

Coming to the performances, Irrfan Khan is mind blowing as a man who has spent the last 35 years doing the same job and it perfectly reflects in his performance. Nimrat Kaur as the lonely housewife is terrific and it would be no wrong to say that this is the best debut performance of the year easily. Nawaz gets limited scope but owns his part and provides the film with its most entertaining segments. The smaretest character is of Bharti Achrekar, never seen and only heard. She wins you with her voice alone. Such command, such control. I am awed.

The Lunchbox is a gem of a film, nourishing and mouthwatering and would definitely satisfy your thirst for a quality film.

Rating- 5/5

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The Curious Case of the Indian Film Audience….


Times have changed, and with time so have films. What worked in the 90’s may not necessarily work now, or wait…What worked in the 90’s still works. And not just works, it is making a killing. Branding a film as a south remake or a slapstick entertainer or a mindless potboiler are some ways by which we define our distaste for such films. We are among-st the first ones who would end up watching the recent blockbuster, but we wait for the word of mouth to emerge. Once the mass verdict is out, we take a stand on the film.

Calling a spade a spade has existed since time immemorial, but bashing films just because it stars an XYZ Khan or a XYZ Kumar is becoming the norm now. Just because our favorite superstar did not manage to break a coveted box office record, we tend to put other films down which have managed to do so. The talk then no longer remains on the numbers the film has raked up. Then we start analyzing the film to prove how the film starring your favorite superstar was so high on content, or story-line or music and ll that jazz.

The war seems to have just begun and in the age where every penny a film earns is splashed on numerous websites for public scrutiny, the star wars (with due respect to Mr.Lucas) will only intensify every year. Earlier, our definition of a hit or a flop film was restricted to our likeness for the film. If we did not like a film, we quickly branded it a flop and no one challenged our word. But nowadays, if you brand a film like Bodyguard a flop only beacuse it tested your patience, there will be 10 people who will tell you how much money it has earned over the weekend and how it is the biggest blockbuster ever.

So, where does that leave middle of the road films? This year alone, we have seen the birth and rise of 2 very important independent films, namely Ship of Theseus and B.A Pass. Another promising film ‘Lunchbox’ is up for release. People like Anurag Kashyap and Gurmeet monga are supporting the cause of independent films, short films by giving them a backing which never existed until now. This backing helps it reach the masses.

But the question is are we ready for such films? Clearly not. The fact again lies in the numbers. A terribly hackneyed film like Chennai Express is all set to become the biggest blockbuster ever, whereas an achingly beautiful film like Lootera struggles to even recover its investment. I am in no way saying bad films are accepted wholeheartedly and good films are rejected on the day of their release. Speculations fell flat when the highly anticipated Policegiri or for that matter Himmatwala disappeared from theaters within a week of its release. Another example is last week’s release Once upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara released among st  much fanfare, this was a film which was supposed to give tough competition to Chennai Express. Alas, it was rejected as soon as it released and the negative word of mouth has killed the film.

So this again brings us to the question, what does the Indian audience want? It rejects beautiful films starring credible actors and laps up incredibly silly films starring the Khans. The stars in their defense claim that this is what the audience wanted and this is what we have given them. Look at the numbers. And true to their words, numbers tell the true story.And today, 100 crores has become the benchmark for separating the best from the rest.

But then with the changing times, the magic of instant classics are lost and films running for months is an unheard of a phenomenon. The recall factor is also lost on the viewer as we are bombarded with films, week after week.

So the question remains— What kind of films do we want? And the answer my friend is as simple as the question…We shall only get the films we deserve…..Food for Thought!!!!!

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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

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